And so I end the journey where I began:
Boston, MA New York City. I’m approaching from north of Manhattan, heading across the top and over the Throggs Neck bridge to put me near JFK Airport, where I’ll be flying from in a couple of days. The traffic being funnelled into toll booths and bridges and tunnels is slow and torturous. It can be very boring, but sometimes a driver will end up leaving you with a deep philosophical quandary that you can mull over. I find it particularly appropriate, as I type this on Easter Sunday, to consider the question posed by one driver:
I managed to leave Washington DC without selling out my principles. It’s not that I didn’t try, it’s just no lobbyist wanted, “I believe families should be built around a firm foundation of wine gums”. I’m heading north east and, by the end of the day, will have arrived in my 48th and final state, New Jersey. Before I get there, though, there’s something else I should see, The First State: Delaware.
Do you think there’s a laundrette here called “Washing A Ton”? Now that we’ve set the high-brow tone, let’s explore the cess pool of power, corruption and cherry blossom.
The Battle of Antietam has become infamous as the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. Fought during the Civil War, it was the first major battle to take place on Union soil, near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland, and by the end of the day the number of dead, wounded and missing stood at 22,717.
There’s a town in Virginia called Farmville. I wonder has it turned into another Forks? I didn’t wonder enough to actually head there, because instead I was being called to just outside Luray, to find some caverns, with one of the coolest musical instruments I’ve seen since—is that Kofi Annan holding an AK-47-turned-guitar?
The route up from West Virginia brings us to Pittsburgh, PA. Pennsylvania has a broad and varied history, from Philadelphia’s legacy of the American Revolution, to the industry of Allentown, or the Josh Ritter song that inspired Harrisburg. Come to think of it, you’ve also got Billy Joel’s Allentown. Together they don’t paint a terribly cheery image of the state. Thank God Youngstown is Ohio’s problem or everyone would just kill themselves.