Ventured west of Lemonstar into the hills and towns beyond Mt. Wachusett for 4th of July with friends. One road we intended to take was closed for stage 3 of the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, a time trial, so we improvised and navigated little country roads (Knower Rd, Old Westminster Rd) through New England woodland and old farm land.
Mojitos, grilled burgers and dogs, grilled pineapple with a quick-make peanut sauce courtesy of Mark Bittman of the Times, a sauce that never really ‘sauced,’ (‘gooped’ is a more apt descriptor), potato salad, cold beer after the mojitos, we dined on the open porch of C & A’s arts & crafts-style house as the day cooled down and the sun slipped below the trees.
Afterwards? Ice cream seemed in order, so C fired up the Unimog, a truly bizarre vehicle of Shrek-like size and audacity, and away we roared. This particular Unimog hails from Germany where it once pulled aircraft around hangers and runways (when not, presumably, transporting maintenance men to beer halls). Grinding and roaring along the narrow unpaved wood roads just north of the little town center of Barre felt strange, like churning a tugboat across a cow pond. The beast roared, the cab shook, I imagined growling across a post-apocalyptic landscape like a gigantic green insect, the gargantuan wheels turning relentlessly, devouring ditch, mud hole, and hillock.
At Carter & Stevens Ice Cream and Farm Stand, we chugged into the parking lot near closing time, C elegantly backed the Giant into a parking place, and we lowered ourself to terra fima. The sky doming the wide expanse of lush green farm fields was a collage of summer clouds infused with the deepening yellows, pinks, oranges, and reds of the setting sun. Chickens squawked and clucked in the chicken hutch getting ready to roost. We ate ice cream in waffle cones, watched with amusement two baby goats frolic in their pen, then re-ascended Mt. Unimog and ground our way back.