Memorial Day: the busiest road travel day of the year, and the start of my voyage. Not the best planning perhaps, but it had to do. I left Norwich with Jared, and we drove the first four miles together before I dropped him off at his house. It was a bittersweet goodbye; this should have been our trip together, and it was only due to the vagaries of scheduling that we could not enjoy each other’s company. Maybe next time. Until then, this is my story and we leave this character for his own voyage.

Three hours to Boston, my first time driving in the city where I’ve lived for the past three years. I missed the exit to Cambridge; an inauspicious start. I circled around through Government Center and cursed the designers of that impossibly ugly City Hall. Picked up Chase and Marko at precisely the appointed times, and we were off. That is, once we could find an on-ramp to the Mass Pike. What should have been a few easy turns ended up being a trip through Brookline and into parts unknown. Things were not starting well, but spirits remained high.

Our first fillup was in Southbury CT, the state with perhaps the highest gas prices on the East Coast. We had been warned to avoid paying the steep taxes, but we funded some poor Connecticutian’s college education at $3.15 per gallon. Marko maintained that this isn’t expensive at all compared with his experience of nearly $10 per gallon in Britain. Impressive, but the price still shocked Chase and my American sensibilities. Marko was intrigued by the first full service station he had seen, although he disputed the economics of paying some poor shlub to breath fumes all day.

Had lunch at a stand somewhere in CT; onion rings and a burger, the perfect authentic fast food. Went through New York and eastern Pennsylvania without incident. Some interest in visiting Gettysburg on the way past Harrisburg, but no agreement. Much discussion of the suitability of the -burg suffix for town names in a place where the Germans left long ago.

Arrived at Ken’s house to steaks and wine, as expected. They were delighted to see us, and it was wonderful to have someone else ask the penetrating questions of Marko, so I didn’t have to. Later some of Allie and Jackie’s friends arrived, and we were soundly beaten at Pictionary. I had some difficulty at drawing, due to my handedness and general lack of artistic ability. I was able to decipher some of Chase’s scribblings due to our long hours doing problem sets together.