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.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I've been violated

Since I sleep in my new house now when traveling I don't have a tent or anything to mark my territory, so to speak. To keep someone from squatting on my campsite while I was out exploring during the day I would just leave my folding camping chair sitting next to the fire pit. This seemed to work fine as a family pulled in the day after I arrived and even though I wasn't there they set up someplace else upon seeing the chair, knowing the spot was taken. Seeing how it's a very rural area and I have the utmost faith in the majority of humanity I never gave a second though to leaving it behind while I was gone for 6+ hours at a time. So you can imagine my bewilderment when I pulled into my campsite, all ready to relax in my chair in front of the fire while drinking a hot chocolate, and found my chair was missing!

I was totally shocked! I got out my flash light and walked around the campsite thinking maybe I'd moved it and forgot about it. I even checked the trash cans in the park in case some hoodlums thought it would be funny to toss it in one. There was no sign of it. While losing the chair was pretty upsetting the most devastating part was that I'd left my double walled vacuum insulated stainless steel travel mug sitting in the arm rest of the chair and it was missing too! Now not only did I not have a chair to sit in while I enjoyed my hot chocolate, I also didn't have a something to drink it out of! I was becoming quite distressed.

I calmed myself down though and tried to be practical about it. Most likely someone didn't steal it, they just thought it had been abandoned. After all, it had been sitting in nearly the same place for 2 days and if they were only there during day light hours they wouldn't have seen any sign of me. They figured someone had left it behind so they were cleaning up camp. That still didn't explain why my leather work gloves and pot for boiling water were still right where I'd left them though. I was too distraught for a fire that night so I climbed back in my house, did some reading, and went to sleep convinced it was all a misunderstanding that would be straightened out.

I woke up the next morning, started a fire, and made myself some pancakes for breakfast. Thankfully I had a nice stump that I'd been using to chop wood that was a satisfactory fill in for a chair, it was pretty lacking on back support though. I rummaged around in my house and found that I'd packed a plain old regular cup as well so I did have something to drink hot chocolate out of after all. Unfortunately it wasn't a double walled vacuum sealed stainless steel mug so the hot chocolate soon turned to warm, tepid, and finally cold chocolate in pretty short order; forcing me to drink it much faster then I would have liked. Somehow I needed to get my stuff back.

As I ate my breakfast I contemplated my plan. I decided that since it was a small, probably pretty tight knit community I'd put a post on the community bulletin board; and I even knew where it was. I'd gone to the local convenience store/gas station/grocery store a couple days earlier because I needed someplace to refreeze the water jugs I kept in my cooler. They were kind enough to let me put them in their chest freezer over night. I'd noticed outside they had many postings of things lost, found, and wanted and everyone that came in or out seemed to stop and read them.

My plan was simple as well as genius. I'd put a simple note on the bulletin board that would get across the fact that I was a nice, easy going guy who wasn't accusing anyone of anything. If the offending party happened to see the note they couldn't possibly help but feel guilty and would surely return my beloved chair and mug. Anyone else who read the note would surely feel terrible that someone from their small, honest community could do such a thing. Word of the infraction would spread like wild fire through the town. Jimmy would tell Jeff and Tom at the barber shop. Tom would tell his wife Carolyn over dinner that night who would then tell Vickie, May, Dorothy, Barb, Samantha, Ruth, Violet, Gertrude, and Chuck (don't ask) at the Passion Party she held at her house that evening. By the middle of the next day 3/4 of the town would know about it. And to top it all off my impeccable, yet witty, descriptions of the items would ensure that no teenage hoodlum would be able to let any eyes fall on his newfound treasures lest he be found out as a crook and a denigrator of the town of Pembroke's reputation. Even a hoodlum would read the note and realize that this wasn't some stick in the mud old fogey he'd stolen from but a cool, hip, understanding dude.

With my master plan all laid out I walked into the convenience store/gas station/grocery store and bought a notepad. I went back out to my house, composed my letter, and posted it on the bulletin board in plain site. As I was walking away a fella passed me as he went into the store, I saw him pause to read the note just before he went inside. I smiled to myself as I climbed back in the house, the plan was already in motion. It was a beautiful and sunny fall day as I drove off to explore some more of the Maine coast.

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

On a lighter note I'm happy to say this is my 100th blog post. Before I left on my trip and decided to keep a blog to keep everyone up to date on my travels I really didn't think I'd stick with posting this long or this often. I never would have guessed that I'd it enjoy it this much and I have no intentions of stopping any time soon. Thanks to everyone that's followed along on the way.


debbieuu said...

Your posted note was a stroke of genius! From a graphic design viewpoint, you did many things right. You started off with something to catch attention (large lettering to lead the viewer in), used simple language, stated your information in small, easy to read portions, and told the reader exactly what action to take. I'm sure many people read your message. Hopefully you got some results.

Roy Gage said...

Whew, that was a close one, When I read your lead in I figured you had got Dueling Banjoed.(-:

Thermos and camp chairs they sell new ones.

Rex C said...

Alan thank you for your blog posts, I look forward to your adventures as they continue. Keep up the good work.

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.