In lieu of the New York Thruway (I-90), we often take US20 when we are traveling from Caz to all points east. It’s a beautiful drive through the hills of central and eastern New York that lets you experience the small historic towns in the region. The Interstate system, which was originally designed for rapid transport of freight, is now the ‘fast-lane’ by which Americans cruise from city to city without experiencing the country in between. We’ve lost the fact that the journey itself is part of the experience of travel and not just the destination. This lost era, which I call the American Driving Era, was when roadside attractions were common place and hotels, roadside inns and car-cabins were needed in every small town. US20 like many US highways in this time period was not just a route to a destination, but a path along which a vacation could be formed. Our modern luxury destinations and centralized service vacations stifle the adventurer’s spirit that formed the basis of the United States for most of its existence. Now we’re lead to believe that exploration is something one does from a luxury cruise liner or a chartered helicopter.
So in an attempt to capture some of this Americana before it is lost forever, I am starting a new series of posts about a recent journey from near Albany, NY, to Caz. What could have been a simple 2 hour drive home was transformed into an all day whimsical adventure. Unfortunately, it was also often somwhat melancholy due to the disrepair and abandoned feeling one got at so many stops.