Overlaying the whole two weeks has been a pair of annoying colds. As we mentioned in the last posting, Louise came down with one as we approached the suburbs of NY. Those 5 days we spent at Ardsley Acres were in part to get her past the worst of it. Well, spend 24 hours a day rarely further from someone with a cold than the length of a motel room, and you're bound to be in trouble. Just as we left Ardsley, Jeff's throat started to burn, and pretty soon the rest of the symptoms followed. We ended up spending three nights in Milford PA, partly to avoid two days of rain but, as at Ardsley, to get Jeff past the worst of the cold. That low spot we hit two days ago turns out to have been Louise's last night of her cold, more or less, and Jeff now sees some hope since he's on a similar schedule, but ten days behind Louise. In short, the coughing and tiredness have played a part in dragging down our spirits of late, but hope is around the corner.
Another factor has been the changed nature of the trip, which has led to some surprising discoveries but carried with it the stress of uncertainty. For the first hundred days of this trip, all but 7 nights were booked before we left Seattle (three places where we had lots of options for lodging and needed flexibility for route selection). The next week wasn't booked but the route was fairly fixed, and proceeded smoothly. Since leaving the NY metro area, however, we've been booking rooms only a day or two ahead, keeping an eye on the weather, and followed only a general outline of a route. This gives us flexibility, but the downside is the stress of finding those places -- for example a major re-routing when a plan to go back through New Paltz would have put us there while the local college celebrated Parents Weekend, and every motel room was booked for 50 miles out.