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April 14, 2013


I'm not a cigar guy, but as a pipe guy I run into them fairly frequently; I think CT shade tobacco is almost exclusively used for cigar wrappers.

eta: Wikipedia corroborates:

Also: I-80 is a quicker shot across PA IIRC, but 76 has more tunnels. I think. Which is cool.

You a James Taylor fan, Doc? I'm a big fan, and will just note that his son sounds exactly like him in this song. I'm not sure why in that song, he sounds so much like his father, in his other stuff, you can hear the family resemblance, but in that cover, I thought he was his father when I first heard it.

ah... I88. how i love I88.

when i was young, i lived in Corning NY with my mother. and my father lived 45 min north of Albany. a few times a year, i'd go up to the north country to hang with dad. and at the time, there was no I88. so that drive from Corning to Albany was on rt7, a two-lane road which follows pretty much exactly the same path as I88 - but it took six or seven hours, depending on traffic. you get to see a lot of small-town NY Main Street on Rt 7 ! Cooperstown, Oneonta, Cobleskill, Duanseburg, etc..

now, that drive takes about 2.5 hours. it still blows my mind a little bit every time i do it. what do you mean we're here already? it's only noon!

I've found I-80 to be more scenic and less monotonous than I-76 (tunnels aside) - and less planned, as in, "by a turnpike authority." It's more northern wilderness than I-76, or was when I was traveling to and from Ohio in the mid 90s, both in terms of scenery and lack of turnpike-style rest areas.

Now that I'm thinking about it, there was talk of I-80 becoming part of the PA Turnpike system some time ago (I think...?). I don't know if that ever happened, but that's why God made Google.

It was considered, but never happened.

Didn't comment on the earlier post, but when you mentioned Tolkien and his loving descriptions of scenery I was right there with you--it's one of the things that makes his fantasy world work for me. Anyone can write battle scenes and invent scary monsters, but putting it in a world with hills and hikes through woods complete with thorns and biting insects and for me it comes to life. I always had this thing for scenery and also for topographic maps--when I was a child and we visited national parks I usually tried to purchase the plastic "bumpy" maps that they sold back then (don't know if they still do). I had one for Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone--Yellowstone was disappointing to me because the vertical scale was exaggerated (factor of 2) and as a kid I didn't like the inauthenticity of it. The Grand Teton one was neat, because the mountains were nice and dramatic and really were that tall ((an inch or so on that scale, iirc). Of course Yellowstone covers so much area you have to exaggerate the heights of the mountains or they'd barely show up, but as a child I was quite unforgiving of the dishonesty.

But yeah, scenery fascinates me-I could get excited over almost any terrain, except the utterly flat soybean and/or rice fields of eastern Arkansas. But those would have been cool if they were still covered with forest and swamp. And further south, if they also had alligators. (We visited a wildlife refuge in Arkansas once that was all boardwalks and swamp, but too far north for alligators. What's a swamp without alligators? Disappointing, that's what.)

On the bridge phobia, I knew one other person like that. I don't have that particular fear, though I am afraid of heights. But it's a more subdued phobia, apparently--I won't walk up the edge of a cliff if it doesn't have a guardrail or something similar, but will get down on hands and knees and peer over.

Someone still makes raised relief maps of the National Parks, though these aren't the ones I remember (the ones we bought were smaller)


I didn't know about the Boston bombings when I wrote all that--not that I have anything to say about the tragedy, but I wouldn't have been writing about scenery and plastic relief maps if I'd been aware of it.

There was a time when the Connecticut Valley and Gadsden County, Florida were reputed to be the only places in the country where shade tobacco was grown. We left the Hartford area before I turned 4, so I don't have any memories of seeing growing areas up there, but after we moved to Tallahassee we would regularly go to south Georgia to visit relatives. Which meant driving on US 27 through Havana, outside of which were many tobacco barns, and fields beyond. The barns are mostly or all gone now.

JT and the Dixie Chicks? not bad. and the son does sound amazingly much like dad.

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