Archive | July, 2010

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost Stone House Museum

Robert Frost Stone House Museum, Shaftsbury Vermont

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

– Robert Frost

Academics will tell you that the popular interpretation of this poem as a tribute to non-conformity is wrong, and they are, of course, correct.  But I like the popular interpretation better, regardless of what the actual words say.  So screw them; trying to ruin everything with their fancy “reading“, and their “understanding.”

Perfect Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Image

As far as road-food goes, nothing can touch a tasty pulled pork sandwich.  And in a delicious twist of fate, nothing is simpler to make on the road, or easier to clean up afterward.

I use a generous amount of the same barbeque rub we made earlier (recipe, here) on a four pound pork shoulder and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for several hours.  Throw a sliced onion, a couple of garlic cloves and a cup of ginger ale in the bottom of a crock-pot.  Place the meat in the pot, turn it on low, and let it cook for twelve hours.  Remove the pork from the crock-pot and shred it with your fingers, which is easy because after twelve hours it basically falls apart into a meaty pile of deliciousness.  Mix the shredded meat with an entire bottle of Stubb’s Spicy barbeque sauce and you’re done.

The two of us will get four meals out of this and only have to clean one pot.  That’s pretty freaking perfect in my book.

Zipping Through The Berkshires

Ziplining

Shannon, disguised behind sunglasses and an attractive orange helmet, rocking the zip-line

Flying through a tree-top canopy at 35 miles per hour while suspended 50 feet in the air by a harness and a cable is one great way to experience the beauty of the Berkshires, or really anywhere for that matter.  Zip-lining is something we wanted to try ever since we first saw it on the Amazing Race several years ago.  Now it was our turn.

The Deerfield Valley Canopy Tour starts with a brief tutorial covering such trivial things as how to break and how to perform a “self rescue”, blah, blah, blah.  After practicing the techniques on the zip-lining equivalent of a bunny slope, we head up the mountain for the real deal.  Our group piles in to a 4 x 4 vehicle that speeds up a half-mile of twisting, rutted, dirt roads as it makes the 500 foot vertical ascent to the beginning of the course.  This beats the crap out of a ski lift as far as getting up a mountain goes.  If the entire trip is as much fun as this, we’re in for a great day.

Rappelling is the only way to get down

The 4 x 4 stops a little shy of our final destination, but after a short hike and a quick ladder climb to a tree stand, we’re finally in position for our first real zip.  Meghan, one of our guides, goes first and gets in position so she can signal us noobs when to start braking.  If you slow down too soon you’ll stop before reaching the other tree stand.  Slow down too late, and, well, there is a tree to meet you on the downhill side of the cable.  No biggie.

Our other guide, conveniently also named Meghan, hooks my harness to the zip cable and gives me the green light to go.  I thought I’d have some trepidation about stepping off a completely solid tree stand into the nothingness below, but it is different than I expected.  Most of my weight is already supported by the harness so picking my feet up feels more like sitting on a swing than stepping off a ledge.  There is no moment of free fall.  Instead of plunging downward, I start moving forward.  Gaining speed, the tree-top canopy becomes a tunnel of green blur all around me.  Too soon, I see the platform ahead with Meghan signaling for me to break.  “This is Awesome!” I yell to those still waiting on the other side.  “It gets better” encourages Meghan. Somehow, she always knows exactly what to say.

Sky bridges connect adjacent platforms

And she isn’t lying.  The zips get progressively longer, and faster, with the longest cable stretching the length of one and a half football fields.  This is crazy fun.

After a couple of zips we’re all feeling pretty confident.  But at this tree stand I don’t see our next zip cable.  I see a rope hanging from a pulley.  We have to rappel down the tree to our next platform.  Sweet!  Meghan gives us some basic instructions and before long I’m leaning back over a 15 foot drop trusting that a complete stranger will lower me to safety.  She did.

After about three hours we complete the entire course, including eleven zips, three rappels, two “sky bridges,” and a 4 x 4 ride.  Feeling exhilarated and a little exhausted I head back to my car determined to do this again someday soon.

Money Brook Falls

Money Brook Falls is a 70-foot, cascading waterfall found on the Northern slope of Mount Greylock.  While not as spectacular as Kaaterskill Falls in New York (possibly because we missed Money Brook’s peak runoff, which occurs in late spring), it is still well worth the effort.  And it is somewhat of an effort.  The hike is categorized as “strenuous” by the Massachusetts DCR because of its 200-foot altitude gain over it’s three-quarter-mile length.  But the trail is only seven-tenths of a mile so tough guys like us can still hack it.

If ever we wonder why we’re doing what we’re doing, it’s because of days like these when we have the opportunity to go on great hikes in the afternoon, and then attend the symphony at night.

Campfire Songs

The beauty of the R.V. lifestyle is that it can be virtually anything you want it to be.  For some people that means gathering around campfires and roasting marshmallows.  But it doesn’t have to be.  After three months of fulltime RVing, Shannon and I haven’t lit a single fire.  We really have no desire to.  Maybe that is because we don’t view our campgrounds as destinations but rather as basic places to stay.  They’re like hotel accommodations for our house.  The real draw for us is always activities available outside the campground.

This past Friday night, we took advantage of our proximity to Tanglewood, in Lenox, MA, and saw the Boston Symphony Orchestra perform Mozart’s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio).  Now those are what we call campfire songs.

Tanglewood Tip: In the event of rain, there are a surprisingly large number of bench-spaces under the pavilion that are available for “lawn ticket” holders.  Arrive early and grab a spot to save the extra cash charged for an indoor seat. Tanglewood’s “Shed” isn’t that large so there is no advantage to buying the premium priced seats.

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