In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

10 Pounds of Travel in a 5 Pound Can

I'm getting too far behind so it's time to cram a bunch of stuff together to almost get you caught up on my travels.

So now it was time to leave Maine behind. I headed back down the coast the way I'd come; stopping in Machias again where Andy Beal took me out for another great lunch. I got to Ellsworth, Maine that evening and planned to stay there for the night. I had plenty of time to kill and wasn't sure what to do when the idea hit me to go see a movie. I got really excited about the idea. I don't get to go to movies very often and I planned on really treating myself by eating lots of junk food.

When I walked into the theatre though I found out that they only had two movies showing that night and they'd both already started for the evening with no later show times. I was really bummed out until I had the brilliant idea of renting a DVD and watching it on my laptop in back of my van. The more I thought about it the better the idea sounded. I could watch whatever I wanted, talk all I wanted, go buy any candy I wanted from the grocery store, and drink.

I loaded up on junk food, grabbed a Curb your Enthusiasm DVD and pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot to spend the night in the midst of 5th wheelers and motor homes for the evening. I couldn't help buy laugh at myself for being so excited and the situation seeming a bit ridiculous. The setup worked great though and 2 hours later I went to bed thoroughly entertained and sick to my stomach from junk food. Definitely a successful evening.

I woke up the next morning and drove to Bangor where I met up with John Sweeney. John only had a little time since his daughter had a birthday sleep over the night before and he had to get back to take them home. We met at a truck stop and I jumped in his truck while he showed me some sights around Bangor (like Steven King's house!) and I accompanied him on some shopping errands. It was just your typical mundane stuff but I really had a good time. I enjoyed talking with John and I don't get to do things like that anymore. I think I had more fun shopping at Home Depot and the grocery store with John then I would have doing anything else in Bangor.

The best part was that I found the ultimate replacement for my stolen mug! While we were in Target I found an extremely nice OXO mug. They always seem to have nice stuff. This one is truly spill proof and well insulated. I tested out the spillproofness of it as soon as I could and it sealed up tighter then a drum. It also kept my hot chocolate nice and hot for a long time. Boy, I sure am glad someone stole my other one or I never would have known how nice a mug could be! Now I just need to find the perfect replacement chair. I figure I'm not going to settle for second best now. I've got to find a way to turn a negative into a positive.

After a successful morning of shopping it was time to start moving on again. I drove down the coast to a lobster joint John recommended. I figured since I was leaving the coast for the foreseeable future I better get my last fresh seafood meal while I could. I don't remember if I've ever actually eaten a lobster that I had to dig the meat out of before and I know I'd never had clams. It was a fun meal and the lobster definitely slowed down my normally rapid eating pace. I took my last look at the Maine coast and headed back inland on my way back to Montpelier, VT.

When I got to Montpelier I stayed with some relatives of mine I'd never met before, Meg and Ken Page. They lived a couple miles outside town and were fantastic hosts. I got my very own room and was treated to some excellent meals. I stayed for a couple days and was a total bum. The second day I actually managed to drag myself out of the house and into Montpelier to buy a new backpack (I swear I needed it) and a bunch of used books. Again, I was very impressed with the town. It really looks like it would be a nice place to live.

Meg, Ken, and I didn't do much, which was fine with me. I've been “doing stuff” for 5 months now so it's nice to just relax in a house for a while. One evening we had to laugh as Meg commented it was good I was easily entertained. We were all in the TV room with Ken sleeping in his chair, me reading a book, and Meg ironing while the Red Sox game was on TV with the sound low. Some company and conversation was plenty good enough for me.

After leaving Montpelier I went out a bit of a whir wind tour, heading over to Salem, MA to hang out with Marc Darisse and checking out downtown Salem as they prepare for their big Halloween celebration (this is the Salem from the Salem witch trials). I was there early on a Thursday morning and there were still tons of people site seeing. I can't imagine what it was like the next couple weekends. Halloween is HUGE in Salem. That evening I made it over to Chicopee, MA where I caught the tail end of one of John Robison's book readings/signings. The day I got to see his shop and chat a little before we both had to get going. He had important stuff to do and I had a lot of driving ahead of me.

I left there and drove straight through to Philadelphia, which took me through some more really slow traffic. I made it that evening though and met up with Guido and Hal and Jen Lewis in downtown Kennet Square. They bought me dinner and beer while we talked and listened to the live band playing. After an hour or so we all headed back to Hal's house where I stayed over the weekend. Hal and Jen were great hosts and I got the whole upstairs of their house all to my own. I got to see a lot of the local sites and even got to go to a birthday party which included a lot of food and ice cream cake. Sunday afternoon Hal took me into Philadelphia so I could get an official Philly Cheese Steak at Pat's.

A couple things about Philly:

1: It's amazing being somewhere that's so old and with so much history, real history. I mean, everywhere you look is the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross' house, Independence Hall, and tons of other stuff

2: It's fun to see that the “stereotypical” Philly people/accents/attitudes don't just exist in the movies. People really are like that!

From Hal's place I planned on driving SW into the Virginias and then probably into Kentucky and Tennessee before figuring out where I'd go after that. Before I went that way though I drove North of Philadelphia to see some other iATN members I'd been wanting to meet. They were just as nice in person as they seemed to be on-line. I had a great time with them and got a great recommendation to check out Ricketts Glenn state park. It was farther north then I'd planned on driving but it sounded incredible and since I didn't have any plans anyway I figured I might as well hang out there for a few days.

I made it to Ricketts Glen in the middle of the afternoon in the pouring rain; that wasn't quite in my plans. I thought about putting on my rain gear and going for a hike anyway but I just couldn't motivate myself for that. Instead I found a nice place to park and hoped to wait out the rain while I read for a couple hours.

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You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.