I awoke late today to the smell of breakfast coming from Liz's big kitchen and the sounds of eight or nine enthusiastic 20-somethings getting ready to go their separate ways. The Mulshines have one of those houses where all the kids gather. Its a fun, nonjudgmental, and huge space, with a tremendous view and an expansive deck to savor it from.
The kids lingered and I lingered until almost 2:30, talking and eating and telling stories. Then we all left, including all but one of Liz's children, in the space of 15 minutes. Man, if I were her, I would've had a couple stiff drinks and napped for the rest of the day! I'll check on her tomorrow. Here's a picture Liz took of me leaving (finally):
After that I motored along (Mini's don't just drive, they "motor") in a generally eastward fashion toward Maine, which the cursed Google lady said was about 4.75 hours away. In the course of the next few hours, I passed through the rest of New York state (which is what people call it to differentiate most of the huge state from New York City), Vermont, New Hampshire, and finally into Maine.
I did make a stop in Woodstock, New York although locals disagree on whether this is a good idea or not. I came upon the Woodstock Farmers Market, which is like Whole Foods before Amazon, except part of it's outdoors. Everything is free range, grass fed, organic, sanctified, holy, and thoroughly unbesmirched. I left with a sandwich, a six-pack of craft beer, and a ginger-molasses cookie (vacation!) for $33. Jesus. So much for leaving high prices back in California. I'd wanted to buy some chocolate for the road, but my hand jumped back of its own accord as my rational mind registered the $15.99 price tag for a small bar of some local small-batch maple bacon artisan something-or-other. "Fuck it," I thought. "I still have some M&Ms in the car." Now, don't get me wrong--my mom raised me to be a total health nut, and I am. But she also raised me not to be stupid.
As the skies lowered and it started to rain off and on, I passed through little ski towns like Killington and Sugarbush. After living in the West for so long and skiing once in Colorado (sort of), these didn't look like big ski slopes to me. But I guess if you live out here and you're jonesing to ski, this is what you do. A lot of these places host epic mountain bike races in the summer, too.
Everywhere today were lakes and rivers, right alongside the road. They got bigger and wider, and I started to see cottages along the shores, like the kind we used to go to when I was a kid. Man, we looked forward to that all year. It was one of the high points of my life, those two weeks on a lake. Mom would pack frantically for days before we left, and then Dad would wake us all up at the crack of dawn by blasting the classic military bagpipe march "Waltzing Matilda" on his super-powerful hi-fi stereo. It rattled the windows. As groggy as we always were, it was the sound of freedom and of cool, fresh lake water on hot summer days.
At last, I was about 30 minutes from my temporary home, Gorham, Maine, where my mom and dad have a nice, new place in a very quiet country setting with lots of open fields and trees dotted here and there. At this tender point is when Google, the lying whore, decided to take me on another wild goose chase. She had me drive up to a random, solitary farmhouse and then shamed me with the dreaded "rerouting" message. She took me in a 10-mile loop around the town. By now it was after 8, although she'd promised me I'd be at my mom's by 7.
The tiny, winding roads out here have two or three names apiece and used to literally drive me to panicky tears as a new driver in my teens, but here I was, all cocky with satellite technology and all grown up. And yet, I felt the same red rage rising in my throat as Google yanked me back and forth, leading me on and then scolding me for not following its bizarre "instructions." I knew I was within a few miles of my mom and the end (for now) of this 24-day journey, but here I was, circling endlessly in the darkening woods.
To my vast relief, Google finally got its sorry ass figured out and I drove into my mom and dad's driveway as night fell. Keep a paper map in your cars, people! Modern technology is both miraculous and treacherous. It's highly unreliable. Here's a picture of me when I got to my parents' house tonight.
So, now here I am! There are thunderstorms in the forecast, and I'm taking tomorrow off from writing, if I can. But this isn't the end of the story by far! I hope you'll stick with me on this blog as I chronicle my adventures and exploits in starting a new life here in Maine. This week I'm going out to see Peak's Island, where I'll live from August to June, and look for some part-time work that doesn't suck. As long as I get to keep writing, I'm happy!
Thanks for following along on this part of my adventure, friends! Blessings to all of us who are trying new things, busting out of the boxes we thought we had to live in, and becoming true to ourselves before anyone else. Please stay tuned and let me know how you're doing with your own changes!