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The long and dark drive to Hatboro, PA

Night Landscape

"When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer -- say traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep: it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Night Landscape

October 20, 2003

Fresh from genealogy talk with Jennifer and Frances, I had to drive through Hinsdale, NH, the home town of my great great grandparents, Oliver Harris Higgins and his wife, Harriet. I took the slower state highway routes, ending up on MA State Highway 119 for much of the way. As I was driving, I saw many old houses and small colonial style towns, and contemplated what it might have been like to live here over the past 380 years or so.

By the time I got to Hinsdale, it was dark and I was hungry again. Because it was dark, it wasn’t a time to see any of the town that was patronized by the Higgins. I would patronize this town today by eating at what looked like a small town drive-in called Great Scoops. As soon as walked in the door, a young waitress was seating me at one of the 4 or so tables. I seemed to have walked in to the middle of a birthday party attended by 10 or so friendly individuals from all age groups. Even with that crowd, the waitress was sure to tend to all my needs and wants. I chose a favorite classic of mine, fish and chips. I’d call it home made food, fast food style. It was delicious, but greasy, and it fortified me for the long drive yet ahead of me. I thought about asking the birthday party attendees if they knew of the history of the Higgins family in that town, but it was late, about 7:00 pm and time to go, I did want to sleep that night.

Hinsdale, NH

Coffee Seafood Sundae

My sister, Teresa, called to make sure I had directions to Hatboro, PA, where she lives. Before too long, I found myself back on the interstates. If I was to get some sleep tonight, there would be no more slower highway driving. Not too far out of Hinsdale, I found myself on I-91 towards Hartford, CT, where I would go west on I-84 and eventually take other interstates, thruways and highways to Hatboro. As I was driving and stressing through the big city of Hartford watching for the exit to I-84, I received a cell phone call out of the blue. It was my boss from San Diego with questions about work. I answered the questions the best I could, but missed my exit, so had to go a different direction and loop back to get on I-84. It seemed a surreal time to be dealing with my boss and work matters while I was driving through an unfamiliar city late at night, trying to locate unfamiliar highways on the way to Hatboro. It broke the reflective mode I was in.

I finally drove various busy highways and interstates with Teresa directing the way by phone on occasion until I arrived somewhere north of Hatboro and got on to York Road. I drove for a while, I stopped outside a closed gas station, looked at maps and called Teresa to see if I had driven far enough yet. While at the gas station, a cop pulled over and asked if I was OK. I told him I was trying to find my sister’s place, and he assured me that I was going in the right direction. As he pulled away, I thought to myself that the cops sure keep an eye on this town, in this case, it was a good thing, as the cop seemed concerned for my well being.

And I finally arrived in Hatboro about 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to sleep as much as I could until the activities later in the day that Teresa had planned.

Travel Tip #2: The northeast part of the country has many toll roads, highways, turnpikes and bridges. If you are driving in that part of the country, you will want to have some quarters and dollar bills in hand. For most other trip expenses, I use debit or credit cards to streamline cash management, but many toll booths don't take these. Drivers in New Jersey and the rest of the northeast can save their cash by signing up for E-ZPASS. E-ZPASS provides a small electronic device tag that is recognized by toll booths throughout the northeast. This tag is tied to a prepaid account that you replenish with cash, check or credit card.


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