Monday, May 31, 2010

All Roads Lead To Our Past

Several years ago, when things were better with the economy, a few of my counterparts in other field offices, and I would suggest a weekend trip that would bring us all together and finally meet face to face. We did after all work together, share information and help each other with work related tasks. This is the way of the world these days. Those you work most closely with are not necessarily sitting in your local office. Then the tide of economic uncertainty set in, followed by the dreaded RIF that spread its dark cloud over us. When the dust settles, of the three of us, one has been felled.

I came to learn that Mary Jane, who got the ax in New Jersey had made her way back to her roots. She is living now, in Cornish Flat New Hampshire and this weekend I would finally meet her face to face for the first time. I check the map and realize that Saint-Gaudens Historical National Site is in Cornish as is the longest covered bridge in the world, which spans the Connecticut River between Windsor Vermont and Cornish New Hampshire. My excitement grows. Not only will I get to meet MJ, I will get two more check marks off my bucket list; visit another covered bridge in New Hampshire, and get a stamp in my National Parks Passport book. With waypoints downloaded in the GPS, Andy and I throw a leg over the saddle and head off.

The day is breezy and with each gust we witness visible clouds of pollen carried on the wind. Most of which it seems, finds its way directly into my eyes and under my contact lenses. No face shield or foam rimmed sun glasses can keep these fine particle from under my lids. I spend the morning riding in tears. It is the best solution. Let the eyes water profusely to wash away the pollen. For the most part that works, except that when the eyes water the nose runs. I am grateful for the full face helmet to conceal this mess!

This day has another first too. I lead the way, following my GPS to the first way point. I am overcoming my fear of being lost, misunderstanding the GPS directions, and having bikes make a million U turns. The new RAM mount helps in that the GPS is more easily visible, and my eyes are not away from the road too long. This may have been my biggest problem all along. The day is gorgeous with white puffy clouds scuttling across the sky, traffic is light, and the air a comfortable level. We arrive at the covered bridge in the time predicted by the GPS, with time for photos and a bit of enjoyment of the area. Then off to Saint-Gaudens just up the road.

It is Mary Jane who spots us first, and I know her right away. She leads us into Windsor for lunch at Dan’s Windsor Diner. As we chat it is as if no time has passed. We know the characters of our conversation and catch up on what has transpired in the year and half since she’s been away from the Company. We are barely beginning our tour of Saint-Gaudens, when a woman stops me and says “don’t I know you?” I shrug. “Did you used to sell real estate?” Well indeed I had! This woman before me is Kathy Byam! Of course I know her, but it must be more than twenty years since I’ve seen her. We chat a bit, and the realization that all roads do indeed lead to our past becomes more evident.

As the sun begins to make its way to the western horizon, we wave goodbye to Mary Jane. It is Andy’s turn to lead, and he takes us to Bellow’s Falls, where no ride is complete without a stop for ice cream. The sign we see here has us stop, and we are fortunate too, in being served by the Queen herself! Can a day end any better?

Enjoy the bridge and the National Historic Site here in Photo.


Richard said...

I didn't get to ride this weekend. I worked Saturday and Sunday and sadly, my back just wasn't up to it on Monday. Doesn't matter because I just got to spend a nice day on the road with you and Andy. I can't tell you why but this particular blog post brought me a peacefulness. I think maybe the pictures and the words combined to lull me into it. I really liked the Dari Joy sign. Small town stuff. I love it.

Willie aka NomadWillie said...

I have been to Gaudens 3 times and enjoy it each time I go. We will hit Gaudens probably sometime in October after we finish our trip out west. So you getting addicted to these little inkspots