We’re home!!! With an unexpected and dramatic end to our trip, that was more exciting than we deserved, wanted or imagined, but fun, now that it’s over and we lived to tell about it. The train trip from California to Massachusetts, in our room with a view, was sensational as usual, with the almost-full moon following us the whole way home.
The topography changes as we cross the country, from desert to farmlands, to cities, then deep woods; but no matter where we were, it was the same moon shining in on us. Here it is coming up over New Mexico.
We had a delicious dinner during our layover on Thursday in Chicago (at Big Bowl, delicious Pad Thai, with coconut ice cream for dessert); slept like babies while winding past the Great Lakes; all day Friday we had gorgeous views of leaves, rivers, lakes, and red barns while speeding through upstate New York and the Berkshires.
Hello man out there. The room with a view lives up to its name. The train is late, but we don’t care.
Because we’re watching the beautiful world go by.
And then the drama begins: we know now, we’re going to miss the last ferry boat to the island. It was always going to be close. We were supposed to get off the train in Worcester (pronounced Woosta, by the way) at about 7 pm; we’d hired a car to come collect us (for the two hour drive from the train station to the ferry) and maybe, we hoped, we’d just make the last boat home to the island. But the train is two and a half hours late; there’s no chance we’ll make it. We have to get a motel for the night and take the first morning boat. No kitty. Whimpering noises could be heard. I petted Joe and told him not to cry. ♥
It was raining when we got off the train; the driver was waiting for us — with our first surprise of the evening; their regular car was out on another job, so they sent a long, really long, embarrassing actually, like prom night, stretch limo to pick us up! That was fun! The driver also knew we were too late to make the last boat; we started to tell him what motel to take us to. That’s when we got the second surprise; he told us he had called and found out that if we wanted, for the same price as a motel room, “Captain Jim” was willing to take us over to the island tonight (even though it was going to be near midnight) in one of the Patriot boats (a 24 hour shuttle service to the island which we never heard of before). OH BOY!!! We are ecstatic. What a surprise! Yes!!! Sign us up! Girl Kitty here we come!!!
I’m bound for the island. The tide is with me. And it feels like I’ve never, ever been gone. ♥ Carly Simon
I know just how she feels! As we drove across Massachusetts, the storm began to clear, the clouds were blowing by at top speed, and the moon peeked into the car window (that’s what that is in the photo above!). We felt so lucky. We were sorry we didn’t have champagne because there was a row of champagne glasses, lit up with pink light in the limo. Things were slightly surreal.
We drove through the rainy night, us in the back, sitting in pure luxury (about six blocks from the driver), across the Bourne Bridge onto Cape Cod, and then into Falmouth at almost midnight, down to the dock to where the Patriot Boat was tied. The car backed right up to the boat, where we start unloading our bags, while I, for the first time, as the wind about blew me off the dock, got a look at the boat that is supposedly going to take us across the deep, deep, really cold and choppy water to the island. Hmmm, I said to myself. Wouldja look at that.
At first I don’t even think it’s a boat. It takes a moment for grasping the situation. It’s bobbing up and down, nudging the dock, the storm has just passed so the wind that blew it away, is now UP, the water around the boat is black and choppy with white caps, and I am questioning everyone’s sanity. It’s way past my bedtime, my thinking-thing is messed up; I’m giddy with the idea of going home, prudence and caution has left the building. Joe is saying, “It’s OK.” Captain Jim looks normal. He is very experienced. He does this every day at 4 am, for starters, to deliver the newspapers to the island … including all winter long. And of course, Girl Kitty is waiting.
The suitcases are loaded, and we are supposed to go into that little door, down the stairs, to the little row of wooden benches, and experience the trip in a dark room, at sea level, or below — right now, in port the waves lapped at the windows. Fifteen minutes ago we were in the lap of luxury, now we were bobbing up and down in the dark briny night; with clanging noises, scudding clouds, blustery waves, and sea spray. The good news is, the big ferry takes 45 minutes for this trip; on this boat, it will be only 20 minutes. I can do almost anything for 20 minutes.
Goodbye cruel world I say to myself. The engines start, and for the first minute and a half, we stay outside to take pictures as we pull away from the dock, but then we realize how stupid this is because we can’t stand upright, no one has offered life jackets, so we get ourselves inside.
OK girls, try not to get seasick while looking at these next photos, I held still as I could, but we are rising to the top of each wave, and then slamming down to the bottom, not the best conditions for photography (or anything else), but you will get the gist of the thing.
It was nice to see the moon. But it was very dark out there. We didn’t stay in the below-sea-water unlit room, we went up front with Captain Jim, so we had the view out the front windows. I kept my eyes, like a lasor, on the tiny lights of the island twinkling in front of us . . . we plowed through the waves, going up, down, slam! Up, sideways, down, slam! And so it went, salt spray blowing over the boat, metal parts echoing and clanking, floor shuddering, me holding on for dear life.
See how dark it is? See how far away the lights are? The guys are so calm, talking about how the patriot boats started; I didn’t say a word, my job was to keep the white light flowing around us, will us toward the lights, take photos, and not throw up. Up, down, slam!
We are not in Kansas anymore.
Look how close! Giddiness is beginning to return to my heart. Home! I could almost swim this if necessary!
Our hero, Captain Jim Scudder, getting us to shore.
Docking the boat in the safe harbor of Oak Bluffs . . .
And a civilized cab to take us home . . .
Joe helps cast off, and Captain Jim heads back out to sea, with a ton of gratitude to take home with him to his own bed . . . And us?
We go home too . . .
And Girl Kitty helps us unpack. ♥
We spent all day yesterday in Domesticity City, putting things away, looking at the mail, making chicken stock, cutting parsley and marigolds from the garden, filling the bird feeders, saying hello to the house, walking out to the pond, all the things people do when they’ve been gone a long time and are grateful for home sweet home.♥
Little things, a fire in the fireplace and a lap kitty, tea in my favorite cup, a big bed to stretch toes way down to the end; shower pressure!!! I love our shower.
Thank you for coming on the trip with us! Hope you had fun!
With pomp, power and glory, the world beckons vainly; in chase of such vanities, why should I roam? While peace and content bless my little thatched cottage, and warm my own hearth with the treasures of home. ♥ Beatrix Potter