After a tough day yesterday when we both crashed, we were in bed by 9:00 and up at 5:45 this a.m., when it was already daylight. It’s surprising how different the daylight hours are the farther north we travel.
Without harking on about the galloping obesity in the US, this morning’s breakfast was a prime example of what’s wrong with the American diet. Two options for cereal – both sugar-coated; toast (only white); hot biscuits (which translates into ‘scones’ for the Europeans); waffles coated with maple-flavoured syrup (not real Canadian maple); slightly healthier – yoghurt, but none ‘au naturel’, all sweetened….
Not an especially interesting selection you might think, but the healthiest option was scrambled eggs, which Peter and I both scrambled to select! While Peter had toast, I decided to try a hot biscuit – which was certainly light and fluffy, but highly salted, so when I finished I felt like eating a waffle with syrup to remove the taste of salt in my mouth…. Okay – I class myself and Peter as healthy eaters, and most people know that we’ve both been vegetarian for many years (we do eat eggs, fish and dairy – so I believe we should be designated more accurately as pescatorian or flexatarian). Perversely, the US diet is like a pendulum that encourages people to over-indulge by training taste buds to crave either salt (sodium) or sweet – a crafty plot designed by the makers of soda, chips, and everything else that should be struck off the list of dietary requirements. To say nothing about the pan of what can only be described as a thick, grey ooze that people were pouring over their biscuits. Too yucky for words, so none passed my lips, even in the interests of another sentence on food for this blog.
After the good night’s sleep we were both feeling a lot more chipper when we hit the road this morning, and also had to end the sabbatical the windshield wipers have enjoyed for at least the past six months. And the car felt a lot cleaner after the last of the Mexican dust had been washed off by passing showers. Thankfully, so many of the big rigs on the highways and byways are now fitted with spray aprons under their chassis, and rain baffles on their wheels, so you’re not blinded every time you overtake one, or they overtake you. A wonderful safety feature, so hats off to 90% of the truckers and, for all I know, it may even be a law that they’re fitted in some states.
Our early start was fortuitous as we crossed from Central to Eastern Standard Time at 8:30 this morning, so immediately lost an hour. At the same time, I decided to put Annapolis Royal, NS, into the GPS, just to see how far we were from our new ‘home’…. Almost exactly 24 hours if we wanted to drive non-stop, spelling each other at the wheel! Were we tempted? Nah! We’re getting too old to sleep in the car in lieu of a nice comfy bed. So, common sense prevailed and we set the destination – but fell short by about an hour after stopping twice en route for Starbucks, and once for a Petco, as we’d used the last of the dog food this morning for their breakfast.
As a marginally interesting aside, we’d learned to our cost, from previous crossings onto US soil from Canada, that dog kibble is considered a meat product – even though it’s been boiled to within an inch of its life, dehydrated, and finally extruded. On one occasion, a 30lb bag was confiscated (likely to keep the canine drug sniffers from starvation…), so we crossed the Mexican border with the smallest bag we could find, duly declared it, and lo-and-behold the guy waved us through with it.
So, nothing new to report horticulturally today, except that some of what I thought were cape myrtle trees may have been redbuds (thanks to my friend Ruth, who asked whether we’d seen any redbuds), and the answer is a definite ‘maybe’ – but we were never travelling slow enough to do an accurate ID. Maybe the photos will help, so any master gardeners among you can feel free to comment. (Ruth, again?)
Finally, with an advance apology to all our American friends, I’m not sure whether there is a designated height at which a hill becomes a mountain – but we spent much of the day alongside the Alleghenies, the Appalachians, and the Blue Ridge mountains and I have to confess that we found them somewhat underwhelming! Sorry, but this comes from someone who lived in sight of and hiked in the Rockies for a number of years, and has skied the Alps – which can truly be called mountains. Interestingly, I looked online to find the highest points of the Appalachians (6,600’ – only 1,000’ higher than our lakeside neighbourhood in Mexico!) only to learn that they used to be as high as the Alps, but have been eroded over time, so perhaps it wouldn’t be completely out of order to suggest that they be re-designated as ‘hills’!
Although we’d planned to overnight in Pennsylvania, after a quite leisurely day we opted to stop just south of the state line in Virginia, but tomorrow is another day….