Leaf Peeping

It's important to know that when I say "leaf peeping", I say it the way Al would—in a sort of high-pitched, introducing-His-Majesty-the-King fanfare style. LlllLeaf PppPeeping! OK, now that the correct pronounciation of "leaf peeping" has been established, here's what we did today:

Austen and I drove from Philadelphia to Danbury, CT, leaf peeping all the way. Well, I was, anyway. Austen SLEPT the entire way—all 3+ hours—only waking as we entered Connecticut. Most of the areas we passed through were past peak, colorwise, but there were some pockets of vibrant color nonetheless. The clumps of yellows, browns, oranges, and greens in southern New Jersey and western Connecticut brought to mind spray-painted model train trees, while the deep reds and oranges mixed with leafless dark brown branches at the northern end of the Garden State Parkway reminded me of a dying fire.

I made a game of scanning for the most vibrantly colored trees that still had a full complement of leaves (like the amazing yellow-orange one that I admired—but forgot to photograph—in Schyulkill River Park yesterday), which made the drive more interesting. Also making the drive interesting were a discussion of Abraham Lincoln with his latest biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, on WHYY's Radio Times, and an audio CD of Joseph J. Ellis' His Excellency, George Washington. So far I'm enjoying learning about George Washington's pre-Revolutionary adventures, though after reading/listening to David McCullough's John Adams and 1776, I think I prefer McCullough's measured revelation of colorful details to Ellis' ya-ta-da-ta-da-da, nudge-nudge, wink-wink style. Still, I learned a lot about Washington in about 90 minutes today; the most surprising detail for me was the pattern of others' deaths making room for Washington to advance. I do love a good history story, and I'm finding that listening to these epic histories on audiobook is very satisfying. (I only wish my car stereo had a 3-second jump back button like Tivo does so I could review what I missed when I was scanning my Triptik, reading road signs, or zoning out for a bit. Alas, the only option is to move forward or back an entire track at a time, and the tracks are each about 45-60 minutes long.)

In addtion to the audiobook, I also brought two hardbacks with me: The Search, which I'd forgotten to add to my Additional Reading list in the sidebar, and The Great Unraveling, which I picked up after hearing Paul Krugman on Fresh Air a couple weeks ago. I love business/technology histories as much as I do the more traditional kind, so I'm enjoying The Search. Battelle's writing style grated on me a bit at first, but I'm used to it now, and the narrative and details are interesting enough to keep me reading. The Great Unraveling I will start as soon as I'm done with The Search; I can tell already that I'm not going to finish it before its Nov. 9 due date (at the library). I've long enjoyed Krugman's editorials in the New York Times, but it really wasn't until I heard him (and another economist) discussing the Bush Administration's plans for dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that I really got interested in reading any of his books. Anyway, I hope to have that started soon (and reviews of the last few books I've read posted to my book reviews area soon, too).

I don't think I'll get much reading done tonight, unless I step into the bathroom; the Boopster went down an hour ago, and I don't want to risk waking him up by turning on the light next to the bed. I'm crossing my fingers that he'll stay down until at least 5am, since I don't have Al here to take him in the morning, and if he keeps me awake all night I'll be useless for driving tomorrow. With that in mind, I think I'll probably go to sleep myself in a few minutes. It's only 8pm, but with the sleep deficit I've been running for the past 13 months or so, I should have no trouble conking out right away.

Posted by Lori in books and travel at 8:02 PM on November 2, 2005