Where the Streets Have No Names (or Four). (The Final Day of the Cross-Country Road Trip)

We drove into Massachusetts today.

The Berkshires were gorgeous.

The drivers on the Mass Turnpike were as advertised.

Worcester smells funny (but different funny from Gary, Indiana).

MetroWest Boston is different than I expected. More heavily wooded. Very narrow streets. Our rental Yukon is by far the largest vehicle we’ve seen here. It’s not well-suited to this environment. It looked a lot more at home in Utah or Nebraska or Iowa.

And the roads here don’t seem to follow any rhyme or reason I can figure.

Our first adventure was to AAA to get maps. I am, frankly, amazed we found it.

I’ve been spoiled with parallel numbered streets for the past three years. I never needed a map in Utah. If you had the address, you knew where you were.

Marlborough, Massachusetts, doesn’t seem to be organized in the same fashion. The roads aren’t straight, they aren’t parallel, and they aren’t even named the same thing a half-mile down the road as they were where you started.

And, according to a friend in Connecticut, they sometimes aren’t named at all.

The advice we got from the AAA guy:

“This heah’s 95,” he said, tracing a blue line on the map with his finger. “It runs from Providence up to heah. Heah it’s the same thing as 128. Some people call it 95. Some call it 128. The people who’ve lived heah all theah lives call it 128.”

“But you won’t evah see a sign that calls it that,” another guy behind the desk chimed in.

“Right,” the first guy said. “That’s why I’m telling you. So if someone says 128, you’ll know they mean 95. Oh, and that city just west of heah that looks like it’s called War-chester? It’s pronounced ‘Wistah’.”

That last part we knew, although we thought it was pronounced like the Ohio city Wooster (“oo” like in book, not like in cootie).

We eventually made it back to our hotel, and even stopped (intentionally) at a little beer and wine store on the way (I got a GF beer from Spain called Estrella Daura. I’m drinking it now. Quite tasty). My husband was behind the wheel of the Yukon and had corrected his route because he thought he recognized a spot where he’d almost made a mistake on the way out.

“I have an excellent sense of direction,” he proclaimed.

I got out the map.

After a remarkably long time, I finally figured out where we were, and it wasn’t where my husband thought we were. I navigated us back to our hotel after yelling at my daughter to shut up (she kept saying, “Are you going east or west or south or north? Are you turning left or right or left or right or left or right?” And I said, “For the love of all that’s holy, would you please shut up?” And she cried. And I felt bad. And I apologized once I figured out where we were and got us back on a new track).

What I’m wondering is how I’m going to find my way around without a navigator in the passenger seat. I guess I’ll do it like I’ve done it everywhere before Utah: by getting lost over and over again, and finding my way back out over and over again. And likely yelling and crying and apologizing over and over again.

At least it’s June and not Decembah.

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5 Replies to “Where the Streets Have No Names (or Four). (The Final Day of the Cross-Country Road Trip)”

  1. I’ve spent some time in Massachusetts, and loved it there, but I thankfully never had a car. Just walking the streets of Boston was enough to make me cry. And I got really really good at riding the T.


    1. Oh, I can ride the T. Unfortunately, it doesn’t run this far out. If it did, I’d consider never, ever driving.


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