Monday, October 26, 2009

Skyline Drive aftermath

We got back late from yesterday's jaunt out to Skyline Drive. To be fair, we started late, too, but our trip was unexpectedly prolonged when we discovered that every tourist on the east coast had decided to go to Skyline Drive. Who can blame them? It was a magnificent day to be outside, and a Sunday to boot. The traffic jam into the park started in Front Royal, the town closest to Shenandoah National Park's northern entrance, where Skyline Drive begins at Mile 0. We crawled past the park's entrance gate (Dad gave us his lifetime senior citizen's ID to flash at the park rangers, so we got in for free), then continued crawling for about the first seven miles.

The pace was painful, but it helped us to appreciate the scenery in a way that none of us had up to then. Although we've all hiked and camped in the park many times, this was our first opportunity to crawl along the road itself.

After ten or so miles, we decided that doubling back would be unwise: the traffic leaving the park through the Front Royal exit was as bad as the influx. Instead, we continued driving south until we reached the Route 211 exit toward Washington, DC. Before leaving the drive, however, we made one pit stop at Elkwallow Wayside to allow antsy passengers a restroom break, as well as to let Mom stretch her legs and walk a bit.

In all, it was a fantastic trip on a perfect day. Even the crowds and traffic jams weren't a problem: the mountains and trees and sky were too flush with autumnal exuberance to be diminished by human distractions. Mom, for her part, took it all in, not napping once despite hours on the road. I drove us to the park, and my brother David drove us back home.

It was a good day on the culinary front, too. We had started the afternoon with my own version of a BLT: prosciutto with Gruyère, broiled to crispness, with baby spinach and thinly sliced tomatoes, all on toasted multigrain bread with spiced-up mayonnaise. I decided to name this sandwich The PTSD: prosciutto, tomato, and spinach delight. The "D" might also stand for "disaster" or "destruction": the sandwich is so good that you'll suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after eating it. Heck, the very sight of the sandwich might put you into an ecstasy-induced coma.

That was lunch, just before the trip. Dinner, when we got back, was chili dogs. The chili was an amped-up version of the leftover homemade taco sauce from the previous meal-- I merely added two cans of pork and beans. David also left us a four-berry pie (he often purchases such pies when out on company trips); we baked it, but the hour was late, and David felt the pie needed time to cool and settle before it would be edible. We might tackle and devour it tonight.

Today, the weather is once again fantastic. Dad's off to Walter Reed Medical Center to meet with military docs about his back. He's had nasty back problems for years, and it's gotten to the point that he requires cortisone injections every five or six months in order to function. The alternative is dangerous surgery, so he's sticking with the injections for now. Dad's last injection occurred in early April, just a few days before Mom presented with symptoms.

Mom's got a visitor today: Mrs. Merrill, who will be here any moment. Guess I'd better sign off here.


1 comment:

Charles said...

The PTSD sounds delicious. Is the prosciutto broiled first, or with the Gruyère on top? And what exactly goes into the "spiced-up mayo"?

Inquiring minds want to know (even if said inquiring minds don't have access to all the ingredients).