July 26: Backroads. Lots and lots of backroads.

The first thing I did this morning was get my hair cut for the second time since I left home, at a Great Clips (where I’ve been getting my hair cut for years) in Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The second thing I did was drive to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where I went to JCPenneys in the Lehigh Valley Mall to replace the khakis that did not survive yesterday’s laundering (no, it wasn’t the washing machine – I knew they were on their last legs when I left home, and Quakertown is where they died [g]).

I also saw some interesting signs as I passed through town, too.

Now *that's* a last name!
Now *that’s* a last name!
Look at the founding date on that hotel.  Things are so old here!
Look at the founding date on that hotel. Things are so old here!

Then I wound north and east on Route 57 to the New Jersey state line, where I was confounded by how pretty and bucolic the countryside was. The last time I was in New Jersey, I only drove the turnpike from Philadelphia to New York City and back, and it was ugly and urban. Apparently not all of New Jersey looks like that. Who’d a thunk it?

Beautiful, bucolic northwestern New Jersey.
Beautiful, bucolic northwestern New Jersey.
Isn't that a cool tunnel?
Isn’t that a cool tunnel?

Around 1 pm I stopped just south of the town of Washington, New Jersey (and didn’t those road signs confuse me!), where I ate some of the best pizza I’ve ever had in my life for lunch. If you’re ever in that neighborhood, I highly recommend the pizza by the slice at Desiderio’s Brick Oven Pizza. My gosh, was it good.

I also stopped in Hackettstown,  when I saw a sign for the town’s historical society museum.  It was a classic small-town historical museum, full of all sorts of stuff, including something I’d always wondered about — a melodeon.  In one of my favorite children’s book series (the Melendy books by Elizabeth Enright), one of the characters plays a melodeon, and I’ve always wondered what one looked like (sorta like a small piano with about half as many keys).  Today I finally had my curiosity on that subject satisfied.

I drove on up through the northwest corner of New Jersey this afternoon, and now I’m just south of the New York state line, in a motel on a hilltop just a mile or two north of a ski area, believe it or not. It’s actually pretty darned hilly. And so pretty. It’s cooler and less humid here, too! Yay! I mean, 90dF is cooler, right? It sure feels like it is.

The view from my motel.  Hopefully I'll be able to do hostels and camp more after I spend a night or two with Irene in Connecticut.
The view from my motel. Hopefully I’ll be able to do hostels and camp more after I spend a night or two with Irene in Connecticut because I’ll be farther north and closer to the ocean.

Tomorrow I think I’m going to visit Sleepy Hollow, and Washington Irving’s house. I haven’t been there since 1981, when I was visiting my parents while they were living in Connecticut.

Then it’s on to New England. At last.