Miscellaneous thoughts from my journal.
The mountains: some people say that people either love mountains or oceans. I love both, because what I love, what speaks to me in a way I cannot describe is the water with both. Mountain streams, rivers, waterfalls are as beautiful and compelling to me as the ocean, if not more so. So far these mountains are at a distance. We are getting there. The drive is much stop and go. This is, after all, MittleEuropa, and has been settled for centuries, if not millenia (plural). The roads are narrow, and congested. Single lane highways as the major thoroughfares between northern and southern Poland. One of Eisenhower's geniuses was the Interstate Highway system. In my experience my European friends and colleagues fail to appreciate what they mean. Yes, they are hideously ugly to travel on. Yes, speed come at a cost. For all that they are a scar, they are hairline scars, finely etched over a much larger body. What they have done is given a unity within America, that the EU is still struggling with. Yes, Europe has a magnificent train system, but we are in a bus, not on trains as we go across five, six countries of Europe. Here is a question: absent highways and the car, would America have split into multiple countries? Or is the post-civil war Federal inertia enough to hang it together. Do the people of America perceive something that they can see and visit and therefore feel differently? It is impossible to know except by going and asking.
We are now more into countryside, but still long chains of trucks and cars and busses on the narrow highway. Small farms, villages line the sides of the road. Some are what would be called picturesque, but I mostly find them an ugly conglomeration of bright primary colored signs, and ersatz something or other. It would be good to drive through the forest.