As for the drive home, well, argh. It was pretty rough. I've declared that never again will I set out on such a road trip. No more long-distance automobile stuff, no matter how much train tickets cost. The next trip to New England (or anywhere else more than two hundred miles from here) will be on a train or maybe a plane. But no more cars, please.
We left the cottage about noon on Monday, and things were going fairly well until we hit a traffic jam on I-84 in NY, a few miles east of the bridge across the Hudson. It took us more than two hours to go the distance from Exit 12 to Exit 7, less than ten miles, where, it turned out, there'd been a wreck. Facing west, we had the afternoon sun the whole time. Surrounded by idling semis and other cars, the air stunk of hot asphalt, exhaust, skunk, and roadkill. Two hours, creeping along. I tried to console myself with the extended view of the river valley as we crept across the bridge towards Newburgh. There was a beautiful view of Storm King to the south, tall and blue through the heat haze. We tuned the radio to 1060 AM, some sort of NY state traffic broadcast thing, and discovered that the accident had occurred at 2:27! Yet it was 5:17 when we finally reached Exit 7. There was no sign remaining of the accident, just a big yellow maintenance truck obstructing the otherwise clear left lane. So, we lost more than two hours the first day, and Spooky drove until 2:30 a.m. trying in vain the make it up.
Somewhere near Scranton, after stopping for gas at a scary convenience store where everyone had shaved heads and pro-bush stickers on their Great Big SUVs and trucks, Spooky dubbed everything south and east of New York to be Pennsyltucky, to which I added that Pennsyltucky was bordered to the south by Virginessee, which, in turn, abuts the northern edge of Georgiabama (and then, to the east, you have Alassissippi). It's a bad sign when you get punchy before sunset. But Pensyltucky stuck. Or, as Spooky put it, "Pennsylfuckingtucky." Fly-over country. Whatever. At least the mountains in northern Pennslytucky were pretty, great Appalachian ridges and road cuts exposing sandstone and coal and shale beds of the Pottsville Formation, along with Silurian-aged beds of hematite and shale. After all the Avalonian igneous rocks of southern Rhode Island, at the least the geology was becoming familiar again. We finally stopped driving somewhere just north of Roanoke. And the less said about Day 2, the better. We made it home about 8 p.m. Since then, we've both been a wee bit car shy.
Yesterday, we proofed the prologue of Daughter of Hounds. Today, we'll do Chapter One. We have to hustle if I'm going to have the book back to NYC by September 7th. By the way, for anyone who might be interested, in print my 638-page typescript comes to only 434 pages (I think Amazon.com says 448, but it lies). Previously, my longest novel was Murder of Angels, at 335 pages. Anyway, please, please do preorder Daughter of Hounds. Selling out the first printing before publication (January 2nd) would help the book's prospects tremendously. I know the review copies have gone out, and I'm beginning to dread the reviews.
As for Sirenia Digest, I still hope to get the August issue out sometime tomorrow. Vince sent the sketch for his illustration last night. As soon as I have the final version, we'll be good to go.
Okay. Time to make the gorramn doughnuts.
Postscript: Tourists or no, Rhode Island scores major points for having the lowest approval rating of President Asshole — 22%. Further evidence that this is where I should live...