We’re back on the road again after an unexpected detour from Anchorage, Alaska to Bangor, Maine, where Mark and I attended to the daily needs of my mother, who at age 99 developed some serious medical issues for the first time. Despite her ailments, she still likes to engage with people constantly and to go out for a cup of tea when she can.
My mother lives at an assisted living facility along with 45 other residents, many of whom we got to know during our four-month stay. Mark and I appreciated the opportunity to get to know these women (yes, there are six men, too) and to learn about how their life stories brought them together under the same roof in their final years. It was a humbling and enriching experience.
We stayed in campgrounds in the area until October, when we moved into a furnished apartment on Fields Pond. It was fun to spend the holidays in Maine but the cold weather and snow made us think of getting out.
Two days after Christmas we put the rig back on the road and headed south, first to Cornwall, where we had a chance to visit with many old friends. We enjoyed the house and hospitality of our friends Doug and Lynn, with whom we rang in the New Year. Here's a photo of the gorgeous Hudson River at sunset taken from their house.
From New York we headed south and west, up into the hills of West Virginia. There was snow on the ground at the Blackwater Falls State Park where we met up with friends Melissa and Randy, who make the best jams this side of the Smokies. Over dinner and breakfast we talked about our shared pasts and uncertain future, then bid them farewell.
Mark and I wound our way through the hollers and backroads of Appalachia on a cold, wet day.
It was my first time back since visiting Camp Solidarity in support of the striking Pittston coal miners back in 1989. Not much had changed since then with the hauntingly beautiful hills and hollers and the pockets of poverty.
From here we dropped down to North Carolina, where we entered the South.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.