For reasons passing my understanding, I am sitting my office at 6 a.m Basically, here’s what happened: I had to leave work early on Monday and I can’t afford to miss hours. So I woke up at 5 a.m. feeling not completely horrible and it made sense to me to just come in two hours early rather than leaving two hours late. So here I am in my office….and my lights aren’t working. Oh I have power to all my outlets, but my lights won’t work. So I’m sitting in my office, in the dark, which somewhat limits what I can do, waiting for the sun to come up so I can see my desk. Yes…it’s going to be a day.
Yes. It did in fact take me an unholy amount of time to post the rest of my trip rundown. In my defense….I’m very lazy. When last we left the intrepid duo of Yaeger boys, we were half-frozen in the wilds of Maine. Our next stop was my best friend from grad school, Rob’s, digs in Vermont. To do this it was necessary to cross New Hampshire. It really couldn’t be avoided. After a lobster lunch at a small restaurant near Acadia, we set out across New England for South Royalton, VT. Honestly, no one lives north of Massachusetts. No one. It’s completely dark and forested. People may huddle together in little enclaves, but all you’re to see is dark and trees. My brother is of the opinion that in order to “visit” a state you must interact with the people who live there. I am of the opinion that if I am physically in the state, the visit has occurred. We were nearly out of New Hampshire to the Vermont state line, when my brother swerved off the road. “This is no good. I need to interact with locals or this doesn’t count.” That is how we ended up on the campus of Colby Sawyer College, a small liberal arts school in New London, New Hampshire. My brother parked and then wandered into one of the dorms (a note to Colby Sawyer, your security is not that awesome) and talked to girls, got invited to help with a garage sale, got discovered as a poser, and ran quickly back to the car where I was waiting and rehearsing what I was going to tell the state police.
South Royalton, VT is where they keep the University of Vermont law students, of which my friend Rob is one. There are 600 students in the school and a good 200 of them were at the “Welcome Dave/It’s Friday Let’s Get Obliterated” party. I don’t know if you went to a party school, but I went to James Madison University and much like Vermont because of the rural location, the only thing to do really is gather people together, drink, light things on fire, and try to avoid frostbite. This we did in the Virginia mountains where cold was 30 degrees. It was 17 degrees and people were walking around in short sleeves at this party. Out of control. People were pledging, stuff was on fire, ….just nuts. Good times were had, I have missed my bro Rob quite a bit and it was great to meet his friends (none of whom will recall me once they sober up come…June-ish) and see a bit of his world. I personally crashed out in Rob’s apartment around 2 am, but was awoken around 3 am and looked up to see, I kid you not, six or seven people sitting around my sleeping bag, smoking weed from a hookah and Rob was playing the mandolin leading them in singing protest songs. It may be the most surreal moment of my life. That addendum to the party ended around 5 am and I was sound asleep when I was awoken by someone downstairs screaming, “WHERE’S THE POT? WHERE THE $*($( IS MY POT? OH $*()I LOST THE POT!!” I took that as a cue to get up and get on the road before my local experience included meeting Vermont State Police.
From Vermont we drove south to Philadelphia where my cousin lives. We had a nice night there playing Wii and catching up. By this time in the trip, Steven and I were approaching catatonia. Sunday we got up, had a quick breakfast with my cousins, and then drove the final leg from Philly back to DC, where I caught a flight from Dulles to Atlanta and from there home, where my lovely wife scooped my remains into a car.
7000 miles. Unbelievable. I think now, just after a Thanksgiving weekend of doing nothing, I’m finally caught up and recovered. It was total insanity, but it was a heck of a lot of fun and my brother and I have stories enough for years. Also we may have to stay out of New Hampshire for legal reasons….
It began with Steven’s “vision”. My brother doesn’t have ideas. He has visions. It makes them harder to argue with and tougher to medicate away. This particular vision involved his personal quest to visit all 50 states in five years. I have the same goal, but spread over my life. New England was a blank spot for us both. Six states sitting there waiting to be crossed off. I had a conference in Washington DC and Steven’s vision was that once I was finished, he’d pick me up, we’d drive up to Maine, loop around, and be back in time for my return flight. In case you’re wondering, that’s about 2000 miles worth of driving. I said yes, because…..well if nothing else, it would make a more interesting blog entry than “why I hate people who turn around in my driveway”.
The conference was good. It was a national meeting of grant administrators and….yeah I just put myself to sleep so screw that. Probably the most interesting portion of my trip was the battle between the Marriott and Normandy’s over who had to put up with me. This argument necessitated me trundling up and down Connecticut Ave. with my luggage three times (once at 2 a.m.) and leading me to an intimate familiarity with that stretch of the city (want to defect to Malta? I know where the embassy is!). I didn’t do any sightseeing in DC, having been there over a dozen times, but I did get to see two of my best friends from grad school, so all in all a fine visit to our nation’s capital.
I guess I should try to describe my brother at this point. You know what? That’s really not going to be possible beyond this: you know when you were sitting around with your friends in high school and someone brought up a place and one person would always shout out WE SHOULD GO THERE! My brother is that person with a high-paying government job, a reliable automobile, and some kind of obsessional disorder.
Wednesday was the longest driving day. We wormed our way up the I-95 corridor, which for those of you who have little experience with the northeast means traveling through DC, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark (home of the gag reflex), New York City, Connecticut (which I’ll get to), and Providence before you hit Massachusetts. All of the aforementioned cities had traffic. Nothing compared to Connecticut. Out of all the states we visited, only Connecticut gets a thumbs down. It sits there, blocking access to the rest of New England, providing residence to all of the crappy drivers who work in New York City. Also, it apparently is closed for construction. The state. Closed. One lane of highway open from border to border. There are no obscene rhymes to chant that rhyme with Connecticut. I know. I sat there for three hours and tried to come up with some. We finally arrived at our destination (Plymouth) and collapsed into the only hotel room we’d have on the trip for all of six hours.
Thursday morning I awoke to my brother standing over me with a slightly manic look on his face. “We’re behind schedule. We need to be at the rock in 60 minutes. It’s GO TIME!” That was 8:30 a.m. The rock was of course Plymouth Rock, which is situated next to a replica of the Mayflower and in the middle of a herd comprised of every schoolchild in Massachusetts. I think we were the only non-chaperones over 4’5″ within a mile of the rock. It’s a rock. We made up some time after taking a picture of the rock. From there it was to Boston, where we ate lunch at Cheers (awesome!) and took the tour of Fenway Park (awesome!). Then we got in the car, drove north through New Hampshire, and half of Maine to a little island called Acadia National Park (according to the brochure the 2nd most visited national park in America). I’m betting most of those people do not wait until the middle of November to visit. We rolled into the park in the blackest night I’ve ever experienced, past all the signs which had tarps over them (Steven assured me this was not at all a problem), past the CLOSED RANGER STATIONS, and found the one open campsite in Acadia. I’m not much of a camper. I think the last time I camped was when I was 10. I recall disliking how outdoors it was. My main problem this time was that it was 30 degrees and, though my brother dropped right off, me and my insomnia didn’t cope that well. I laid there and shivered through the night, praying for wolves to attack us, and didn’t drop off until light was streaming through the tent.
Friday morning at 9 a.m. I heard the tent zzzzzzzzzzzzzip open and twisted my frozen carcass to look at my brother poking his head through the opening. “Are you still sleeping? WE NEED TO HIKE, MAN!!!” So we hiked the ocean cliffs of Acadia. Despite my hypothermia (IT WAS REAL, STEVEN!) the beauty of the park really stole the morning. If you ever get a chance to go, IN THE SUMMER, go. Gorgeous. After a 3.3 mile hike (yes I measured) we got back into the trusty tripmobile and continued on our way. I’ll detail the second half of the trip the next time I have an absurdly large block of free time at work. You won’t want to miss it. It involves lobster, hookahs, and random New Hampshire liberal arts students!
1. Halo 3
3. Lego Star Wars The Complete Saga
4. Elder Scolls IV: Oblivion
5. Marvel Ultimate Alliance
7000 miles, 15 states and the District of Columbia, bitter cold, odd rugby parties, and a new hatred for Connecticut later, I am home. I will blog in detail when my brain catches up to my body (I believe it may still be in Maine).