Sunday, July 3, 2011


"does driving these winding roads make you feel as comfortable as they make me feel anxious?" my wife asked as we zipped along us 15 that zooped the crests of ridges and around the edges of mountains. "yes," I answered, because the truth is that I am left feeling--in control, I suppose, even as my eyes grew heavy and started to droop.

the day before, driving to elmira to meet her plane, I annoyed her by texting as I whipped along the upsanddowns and edging of narrow places that have no shoulders or whose shoulders dip 20 feet before ending in scree and rock. when I visited the eastern end of the state, driving the shawangunks and along rte 9, I was reminded how much I miss these narrow passes with treeline and shrubs humped up on each side so that one can legitimately call them "shoulders," and of how envious I've always felt by people who lived in houses abutting such places. back home on the rim the roads are wide and getting wider by the day, the fields are pressing back but losing the fight as asphalt takes the place of hay. it is like riding in a windup car on a kids' racetrack; in contrast, driving some roads in the east can be like hugging the bottom of a huge canyon with very definite boundaries. such a thing leaves my edges sharper; in all my decades, through all my drinking and driving, nodding off and driving, being drugged and driving, I have never collided with bumpers to the right or vehicles to the left.

my favorite of these roads is 44-55 leading from new paltz to kerhonkson and specifically the above photoed curve, infamous as the spot where bob dylan had his lifeanddeath crash in the mid 60s. I've always been curious why there is no marker there, but I suppose dylan is appreciative that there isn't--who among us would want such a moment commemorated for tourists?

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