"Life is like a camera. You focus on what's important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out, take another shot." - Unknown
The next morning, we took our time getting ready. We had to wait until Woodchuck opened so that we could pick up some more cider for me since we would be spending a few days at Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill’s. It took most of our day to travel to the Hoffer House, and when we got there we were happy to be able to see Emma go for her Practice Skate. Since they live up-state (New York) it’s nice to be able spend time with them. As luck would have it Craig and Jamie were also visiting the Hoffer's, so while Emma practiced we were all able to catch up and spend some time together. We had a great dinner at a restaurant nearby, and headed back to the house for the night. The next day was spent at the Saratoga Race Course. I had never been to a racetrack before, so I was amazed at how big it was, and how many ways there were to bet! After a crash course, and mostly failure, the big winner of the day was Emma. We were positive she was the only one coming home with any real profit for the day. It was a great day of crazy outfits, talented horses, and a lot of math, and while it was unbelievably fun I was surprised at how exhausted we were by the end of it, definitely a once in a life time experience!
The next morning the boys went shooting with Bill, and the girls mostly laid about the house, being lazy and relaxed. When the boys came home from shooting, we went right back out to go rummaging a huge yard sale, a reclaimed wood workshop, and a neat produce shop. After working up an appetite shopping, we headed to a nearby ice cream shop where we ate an ice cream lunch. Ice cream eaten, we drove back to the Hoffer House and relaxed in the afternoon sunshine, spending quality time with family. Uncle Bill made smoked chicken, and after dinner we went on a boat ride across the lake to go swimming. We spent a good amount of time playing in the water, the sun sank low below the horizon, and we rode back to the house. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing on the couch, and watching Olympic swimming.
In the morning, everyone was packing up to go their separate ways. So as a group, we brought Emma to art camp in the morning to see some of her unbelievably well done paintings, and then we had to say our good byes to Emma. Aunt Jean walked with us around town for a while, Craig and Jamie showed us their favorite metal work art in one of the town shops, and then we stopped for breakfast. After eating, we hugged each other goodbye, and split off into our traveling groups. It was such a wonderful thing to be able to spend real quality time with Hoffer's, since we don't get to see them that often.
Joe and I had decided our next stop would be Niagara Falls, Joe had been when he was younger, but I had never made it there myself. It was a decent drive from Saratoga to Niagara, so we stopped for lunch on the way at Dinosaur BBQ and enjoyed a dive bar atmosphere and fabulous BBQ. After filling up our personal fuel tanks, we hopped in the car and lumbered off to our destination for the day. When we arrived, we searched for a good campground nearby and ended up at Grand Island KOA. It was a hot day, and the site that had been picked for us offered absolutely no refuse from the heat of the sun. After deciding that we as a couple could not tolerate the unyielding heat, we went inside to see if we could switch spaces. As luck would have it, there was one space that we could upgrade to that offered not only shade, but running water. We jumped at the chance, splurged a few dollars over budget and moved on up in the campground… just in time for someone else to come in and attempt to claim the space as his own. Timing is everything. Victorious, we went back to the car and moved our hot selves into the shade. Around the time we finished setting up camp for the evening, it was dusk, and time for dinner. Since we were on a spending spree with lunch and the extra amenities, we settled on making our own food, watching the sunset, and enjoying watching the hustle and bustle of the campground. Dinner eaten, we burned off our calories the old fashion way, by taking a walk through the campground on a truly beautiful night. We started our after dinner tour through the campground wandering in between all of the rows of RV’s and trailers; talking about what it would be like to own such a massive vehicle for ourselves - never having to go home because it was always with you. As night fell, we meandered back to the tent site, and settled in for the evening, excited for the next day’s trip to the incredible waterfalls that acted as the border for the United States and Canada.
Well rested and excited, we hurriedly packed up camp and jumped in the car to make our way toward the massive natural phenomenon. Having no true idea where we were going, we kinda just followed the hordes of people heading in a particular direction (you learn to do this in touristy areas, for better or worse, who knows). We eventually found our way to the ticket booth for Maid of the Mist. Like good cattle we made our way through the rope lines and down through the elevators, and to more fenced lines. It was at this point that the staff insisted that we fill all the spaces nearby, much to the chagrin of the woman in front of us who did not hear the staff member say to fill up the space. She essentially set a body block and thrust herself in front of Joe as if he were the devil himself come to take her children: “NO CUTTING! WE HAVE BEEN HERE JUST AS LONG AS YOU!!” My husband, never one to back down when he knows he’s right, simply stated that she should learn to listen when people in charge are speaking. After a nice long tense death stare, the offended party stomped off shuffling her oblivious children on to the boat. Good start to the day.
We donned our obligatory protective sheathing from the inevitable mist, and began to take absolutely all of thousands of pictures we could manage. As shown below:
After fully immersing ourselves in the spray of Niagara, we decided to make the climb up the steps towards the top of the falls. A decision that ultimately ended in Joe panicking about his sopping wet shoes and socks, and insisting that we leave to change our shoes and eat something. Thankfully, there was a Rainforest Café nearby which was also a part of a hotel; making them uniquely qualified to assist us with lunch. As we enjoyed our dining experience our lovely waitress Valerie told us about a unique travel line they call the Discovery Bus. After eating, we went on the free bus line to tour the nearby area attractions, including Whirlpool State Park where we walked along the rim of Niagara Gorge, and climbed the steps down to Devil’s Hole… shortly thereafter we realized we were terribly ill prepared for hiking (we were wearing flip flops now and had absolutely no water with us). Spent after climbing all the way back up the gorge steps, we went back to the bus line and off to the next interesting stop – a discovery center where you can take an elevator down to the gorge floor and see the falls in the distance. After taking the whole day to traipse around the falls, we were exhausted and ready to relax for the evening, so we took the bus back to the car park, and turned our tails towards the Sands Motel where we would be staying for the evening.
Since it was a motel night, we did our due diligence and looked for a pizza place with gluten free options and delivery. And we thought we found one, so, we ordered, set about our showers, laundry, and well…. Adult beverages. (Hey! I’m getting delivery! Or at least that’s what I thought.) Turns out an hour or so later when the food is supposed to be at the door, that we receive a phone call. Even though we cleared with the restaurant beforehand that they deliver to this location, we are now told that no driver will be coming. Apparently, the manager decided that despite the food being made and us having already paid for the food, there would be no delivery, the manger didn’t even bother to apologize, and just said we should come pick up the order. In much gentler words, I essentially told him where he could put the aforementioned pizza, and then hung up. After venting hangrily about our situation, we eventually submitted to the will of the universe. We opted to wander the streets since it was a beautiful evening, hoping both to tamper our tempers, and to find something nearby that would suffice our need for food. As luck would have it, about a mile away was a 7-Eleven (The amazing simple joys of being in the Northeast!)
Truthfully by the end of our walk we admitted we were ultimately grateful the pizza didn’t come. It turned out to be a lovely sunset, on a gorgeous summer night, and a bit of extra exercise that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. As night fell, we made it back to our room and set about eating dinner, finishing laundry and planning our moves for the next day.
Our next adventure involved driving from Niagara to Corning. Being art enthusiasts, we were excited to visit the Corning Museum of Glass and tour the exhibits. On the way we stopped for incredible coffee at the Sugar Bowl, and when we landed in Corning, we were fortunate enough to find a pizza place called Aniello’s that took great care and consideration in the making of their gluten free pies. Even in the middle of a lunch rush, the manager made sure to handle the creation of my pizza, and watch it through the entire process (I know because I’m a super creep, and I watched him). It was FABULOUS, and exactly what we needed before meandering through a massive collection of painstakingly crafted glass.
Corning Museum of Glass was unbelievable. We spent hours wandering the halls of the collections housed within those walls, evening being fortunate enough to witness a demonstration in glass blowing. We watched from the stadium seats as the craftsmen displayed one of the oldest trades in modern culture. It was an engaging presentation, and was a great way to end our tour.
After soaking in all the impressive figures and fixtures, we hopped back into Hefe and made our way to our accommodations for the evening. Ferenbaugh Campground, a one of a kind, tiered road campground that had a considerable number of seemingly permanent residents anchored into the hills. After driving the circuit to select the perfect site, we planted ourselves in a shady nook and set up camp for the last time. As blunt as I can be, I really couldn’t believe that we had come to this part in the journey. It was the second to last night we would have on the road, and as we inched closer to clustered civilization, there were less campgrounds to choose from; so our true last night had already been promised to a hotel, further down state. This night however, we had given ourselves one last hurrah in the form of camping. We made ourselves a rice, corn, and enchilada soup dinner, watched the sun sink below the trees while listening to nature and each other, and begged the universe to slow time down. Alas, nightfall persisted; marching on with no reverence for our wishes. We stayed up late talking about where we had been in the last three months, how many odd things we had seen, and how many bucket list items we managed to cross off our lists. We waited until late dark had fallen completely, and popped out of the tent for an attempt at a pure night picture of our resilient little home.
Morning came, and with it restless and heavy hearts. We knew that this would be the last day living the in the reality we had cultivated over the last three months. In 24 hours the reality of “real life”, that both of us had managed to forget completely in the seductive wake of the living the vagabond dream, would come crashing down on us. We decided to linger a little bit longer, and stop in Owego at Las Chicas Taqueria for a Mexican brunch. Absolutely Incredible. We lingered in the town a little while, walking through its small side streets, window shopping. After walking off the added taco weight we drove off to Middletown where we had previously decided to spend a night in a hotel. There was an incredible storm that was coming in, and we were not interested in battening down the hatches. We decided to have an early dinner at the greatest fast food place I have ever had the pleasure of eating at; a small place called Mix n’ Mac that takes pasta and quickly makes you an individual serving of mac n’ cheese with any possible combination of cheeses and fixings you could ever hope to mix. And, most gloriously; an entirely separate line for gluten free. In minutes, you have a perfectly made mac n’ cheese and all the joy that a full belly brings. Unapologetically bloated from ingesting all we could finish, we drove off to our Poughkeepsie hotel to make sure we were indoors before the skies let loose their fury.
As we drove down the roads leading to the hotel, we began to realize we were in unexpectedly familiar territory. Unwittingly, we had booked a room in the same hotel we stayed in the night that we were engaged. The hotel had been sold in the time we had last visited, and they had renamed it, in hopes of rejuvenating business. When Waze announced that we had arrived we drove right past it, we only knew it by its other name, and incredulously couldn’t believe it was the same hotel. We turned around at the behest of the GPS, and pulled into the parking lot laughing. We checked in, and with curious onlookers we unloaded our bins, and bags like crazy drifters, and began settling in. The skies grew darker, and soon it was darker than midnight. We showered, and organized ourselves for an easy unpack for the next day, with the full gravity of journey coming to an end. Several hours later, and admittedly childishly hungry, we opted for a vending machine raid. After leaving our room we noticed that there was a peculiar smell, but truthfully, after the number of places we have stayed in, strange smells are simply customary. Dismissively, we went looking for the lobby and found the machines, and began the categorical search for the best options for under $5.
While perusing the products, a voice peeps out from behind us exclaiming “I’m Sorry!” Admittedly startled from the pop up stranger, we turned around to find the manager of the hotel, standing behind us and looking incredibly concerned. Confused by the abrupt apology, we asked why an apology was necessary, thinking maybe the vending machine was broken. Consequently, we were very mistaken. The manager then informed us that the man staying in the room across the hall from us had brought in a portable stove, and had been frying chicken in the room… setting off his fire alarm…. Which we did not hear. We did however, then piece together that the peculiar smell did remind us of fried chicken, albeit a touch overdone. Comforted by the fact that the problem was handled, and we didn’t have to deal with the fire department or evacuation during a thunderstorm, we celebrated by enjoying some Reese’s and M&M’s, and hoping the man with the deep fryer was done risking everyone’s lives.
The morning was a somber one. The clouds were overcast and coincidentally matched our moods. The day had finally come for our trip around the Lower 48 to come to an end. We dawdled as much as we could, and stopped for coffee at a great little place called Bad Ass Coffee and had a great cup of coffee, while donating to a great cause. Which did make us feel better, but was not delaying the inevitable. We realized that one of the only ways we would feel better about ending our escapade was to visit a place that was very special to us. We considered COSM the true origination point of this dream journey, since this is where we were engaged. I’d like to pretend that it was this beautiful and incredible experience, but truthfully, in the true hilarity of life, it was a blistering and humid day.
We arrived before they opened, wandered the grounds and were bit by all of the bugs that were on the grounds, made it to the engagement site (definitely made out a bit) and then went back to the car. By this time, they had opened so we stopped in the store for about 6 minutes, and then climbed in the car to continue our way home. We laughed about the roguish nature of our visit since we didn’t pay to walk the grounds, (We represent the true resistance, I know) and drove down increasingly familiar New York roads. We reminisced about different trips we had taken through these roads, and through others. Eventually, and all of a sudden, we found ourselves at the door of family members, stopping by to drop off cans of food for a fundraiser that was happening that day. In true Pfeifer fashion, the house was a revolving door of family members, coming and going in various stages of responsibility for the event. We stayed for lunch, and then afterwards made our way to the Celeste house for a welcome home hug. After spending not enough time catching up, we had to hit the road again back to the McKee house for a quick unpack of the car, before running out to the Engine 3 Food Drive Fundraiser.
Who could ask for a better homecoming, than to come home, see, and hug, all the people that you missed the most in one day, and to have it end with a good cause? We drove home from the event and pulled into the driveway as the official last day’s drive. Exhausted, happy, sad, and still; we looked at each other before getting out of the car. We leaned over the seats, put our heads together for a brief moment, and then gave each other a kiss. Knowing full well that after 3 months and 2 days on the road, we had accomplished something that very few people had dared to dream, let alone attempt. In a Honda Element, a tent, and with tremendous planning, working in a maximum of 150 sqft of living space, we traveled for over 16,000 miles. We witnessed corners of the world that people dream of seeing but never do. We river rafted, ziplined, go-carted, hiked, traversed caverns, and stood at the base of monuments – both natural and manmade, and marveled in their majesty. We stood in Death Valley and were privy to an unbelievably rare rain. We threw a GoPro in a cavern and a man retrieved it with his foot. We had left months ago, never having camped together in our entire relationship, never having been this brave with our definition of what life could be. In that moment, before we left Hefe and returned to reality, we had a moment where we knew that those memories would last a lifetime and inspire us to reach for the unthinkable, the undoable and we knew in that moment we could do anything we could imagine together.
We left Hefe in the driveway, went inside, and began the first steps of another adventure; Beecoming Conscious.
We woke up early, anxious riddled and excited for our day’s adventure. We packed the car in such a rush, that we collectively checked the room 14 times to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind (to be completely fair, I think I checked 11 times and Joe checked 3). We pointed Hefe in the direction of Lincoln, New Hampshire’s Best Attraction – Alpine Adventures Ziplining. We got lost going to the park, which made us even more nervous because now we were thinking we would miss our preferred time, so now we’re hastily calling the place, getting the right directions, arriving at the place and! We were 30 minutes early. So, with plenty of time to spare we got ourselves signed up, and chose the midrange course package. More experience than the beginners course and a little less terrifying than the super course.
We were called into the equipment room, where we were sized for harnesses and helmets, and introduced to our new found flying partners. We were grouped up with about 9 other people for the day, and said hello. Four of our members instead said “Hallo” back. It was a family from Holland, the two parents spoke perfect English, and the two girls (14 and 16) didn’t speak any. The other group members were a Father and his group of 4; son, daughter, and their 2 friends, they were from New Jersey, and were there on vacation. As we finished our introductions, the first fun part of the day’s adventure arrived. In order to get to the top of the Zipline Course, we needed to climb there, in a 6 wheel truck. We buckled in and held on for our lives as we climbed up the craggy mountain path, laughing through the rest of our introductions.
After surviving the road to the top, we climbed out of the back and hit the course. Our guides were wonderful, funny, and engaging. They breezed through the course and kept it interesting with races, and bets. Everyone knows I’m not competitive – not at all. Nope.
After flying through the air with the greatest of ease, we were positively famished. Lucky for us there was an awesome little delicatessen styled supermarket called the Purple Tomato nearby. We had the Jumbalaya, and were amazed at how unbelievably flavorful it was, and dense. Bellies brimming with food, we waddled back into the car to make our way to our next stop, and another state – Rockefeller Marsh Billings National Park in Vermont.
The day itself was very rainy for most part, not lending itself to anything particularly fun or beautiful about our travels, but it felt comfortable for us. We knew the foliage, and the winding roadways, we mused about how out West so many of the roads went straight on for what seemed like infinity. We made good time to the park, and drove around it for a while. We landed at the visitor center, where we tried some raw milk cheese, and read about early small farming practices. Fortunately for us, the rain had let up enough where we felt comfortable pitching for the night, and we headed to Quechee State Park, where we pitched in a cozy little spot for the night.
As we settled into bed, it began to rain softly on our wind cover. We reminisced again about our time out West, and the different campgrounds within the South, and the North. We looked forward to our time in Vermont, as both of us had been here before around the time of our engagement. The best part about the campground we had chosen was the clean bathrooms and showers that were in close proximity to our site.
We woke in the morning, put our money in the shower machine, and enjoyed the hot water. After spending a quality $4.00 worth of time scrubbing in hot water, we went back, got dressed, and packed up Hefe. Our first stop was Knight’s Spider Web Farm where we received an education about spiders and collecting spider webs. Our host was all too happy to have some company in the early morning hours. Originally a surveyor for the state of Vermont, when the work dried up he started making furniture with his wife to support their family. At his wife’s suggestion they started collecting spider’s webs on scraps of wood which then quickly became his best seller. After several short TV segments about his unique business they were able to make ends meet and provide for their children. We happily purchased a unique web on a small black plaque, just as our bellies began to growl and beckon us to our next stop at the Ladder 1 Grill, an awesome restaurant that also serves as a hotel. We enjoyed a great meal, and explored around upstairs in the rooms. After our exploration through the reinvented firehouse, we got back in the car to travel to our dessert – Ben and Jerry’s! Of course, we had to go on the tour, we made some spin-art, and we waited on the insanely long line for ice cream. We also bought a faux melted ice cream statue to torture our parents with, and with our absurdly childish souvenir in tow, we drove off to our next tour.
But what do you tour after an ice cream factory? Why, an Apple Cider Mill and Distillery, obviously. Cold Hollow Cider Mill is an upstart in the world of Hard Cider, but what a great start it is! We happened to come on the day where they had just finished filming a news piece on the company for their recent success with their brew. While they were not supposed to be open, they invited us in anyway. We had a drink with the two bartenders, and talked about their company. They asked about our trip, and before we knew it our glasses were empty. We started to say goodbye to let them go home, and instead we were invited to stay a bit longer and meet a few of the cooks in the back for a drink at the bar. We spent more time laughing, and socializing, and bought a growler for when we eventually left. Before we left the kind staff members gave us a coupon for a free lunch, since we had missed the chance to try the food they had. We thanked them for their hospitality and immediately were grateful our campsite was 2 miles down a straight road, and an easy access place. The weather was beautiful, and we backed Hefe up to right in front of a stream, pitched the tent and honestly? Drank the night away watching movies cuddled up in our tent. (Jealous? I am. I’m nostalgic just reading it.)
We woke up the next morning, mildly hungover but raring to go. We had both been to Smuggler’s Notch as children, and we both wanted to see what it looked like as adults. I had seen it in the winter time during a ski trip, Joe had seen it as a kid while on vacation during the summer, and apparently had loved it so much that his parents thought he had been brainwashed. So, we drove the extremely harrowing and narrow road up the mountain to Smuggler’s Notch, took a picture with the sign, drove briefly through the grounds, and then made our way back down the mountain to try our luck at lunch at Cold Hollow Cider Mill Creek. We got there in just the nick of time too, because they were hopping! We ordered our food, took a seat in the back and looked out the window at the bustling Cider Mill that the restaurant shared a parking lot with.
After eating our fill, we bought another growler to bring to Aunt Jean’s and Uncle Bill’s, and then drove off to our next destination. Which was… another cidery. We agreed that we were not really ready to start drinking this early in the day, so, we backed out of the parking lot and drove down into Burlington instead to stop and get some coffee at Maglianero Café. Beverages in hand, we took a leisurely stroll down to the docks on Burlington Bay. We admired the boats on the water, and the view, while walking along the train tracks talking about how both of our families had an affinity for old train sets. After a nice walk and a great conversation, we were finished stretching our legs, but we took our time driving down the road, enjoying the Northerly parts of our 48 State adventure. Admittedly, we drove slowly for another reason; our next stop was – Surprise! Another Cidery! (Mom, I swear I’m not an alcoholic.)
However, this cidery is special. It’s Woodchuck Cider, where we spent the day celebrating our engagement, and the opening of their new facility, almost 2 years to the day of our visit. We made use of the self-guided tour, finishing at the bar for a tasting. Afterwards, we drove to a local campground named Riverbend, where we backed up to huge, lazy, river to set up camp. Fortuitously, in perfect time for us to watch the sunset while sitting in amazing little fold up chairs, listening to the sounds of the world in the fading sunlight.
As soon as the sun was up, so were we, albeit lazy about getting on the move; taking our time brushing our teeth, and packing up the car. We started the drive from Portland to Acadia National Park. We stopped in Bangor and had lunch at the Fork and Spoon, decided to walk up and down the main street and found a little spot that made some great coffee. We were very much taking our time, blessedly unaware of the camping enthusiasts we were about to meet. Being novice campers, we had no idea about seasons or timing, which places were better to camp than others, we just hit the road and hoped for the best.
When we arrived in Acadia, we did the same thing – fly by the seat of our pants! We drove through the town loving every minute, meandered through the gorgeous landscape of the park visitor center, and promptly discovered that like the Mountainous Central States, Maine brought a substantial camping base. Panicked, we hopped back in the car and drove back through town searching for an available campground,or vacant hotel. Checking our apps and making phone calls. Every. Single. One. Was. Full. As we crept further out of town, we found one with first come first serve rules. We combed the campground and claimed one of the last spots, of a campground with 150+ spaces. Joe backed in, and ran for the campground pay booth. I pitched the tent. Can’t say it’s yours, if it’s mine!
By the time Joe got back I had managed to have the entire tent standing. We decided to spend 2 days in Acadia, so, after setting up the tent for the night, we basked in the warmth of fading afternoon sunlight. Hunger had seeped its way in to our bellies, and we decided to try Garlic SPAM and wild rice. Sitting in our camp chairs, drinking Corn vodka from Smoky Quartz Distillery mixed with Lemonade, in our last moment campsite, we were very, very, happy. ….Waking up the next morning at 4:00am not prepared to go to a sunrise on a mountaintop, I was very not happy.
Acadia National Park is very famous for their photogenic mountain top – Cadillac Mountain. On a poorly executed whim, we stumbled amidst the darkness for a very long time, and then managed to get ourselves shoved into the car and off to the park… almost. Basically we made it to a tiny little cut out on the side of the road, a real nowhere place, and we opened our chairs and watched the sunrise. We watched the tide flow in, and we watched as another beautiful summer day began. Truth time – it did not feel like summer – it was cold! But, it was beautiful.
We watched the sun come all the way up, and we drove back to our campsite…. and went back to sleep! I know, I know! But it was just a little nap, and I needed it. Once we woke up we decided it was time for a legendary thing – Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast. An INCREDIBLE place that offered a seriously unreal gluten free menu, and a serious wait time. But honestly, the 45 minutes was worth it. They leave the pot of coffee in a warming pot on the table. And they believe in incredible food. Most importantly, this was my first ever Eggs Benedict. I left a true believer in the power of a perfectly poached egg and masterfully made cheese sauce. We split an order of massive fluffy pancakes and polished off a pot of coffee. After praising every person we could praise about our unbelievable breakfast, we made our way to Acadia to explore the park.
We traveled the park loop road and admired the unique spaces that were carved out as tourist attractions. We admired the sand beaches and the otter cliffs, and we climbed over some seriously craggy rocks to get to Thunder Hole. We then drove around and up to Cadillac Mountain, we had been on the fence about waking up the next morning for the “Real Acadia Sunrise” which happens on Cadillac, but after reaching the peak of the mountain, we knew we had to come back to see the sunrise. After taking in our fill of the beautiful landscape, we headed back down the mountain to go back to our campsite. It was at this point that we realized it was too hot to want to cook a hot dinner, and we were trying to be good about eating too many big meals in a day, after much deliberation, we settled on walking to a nearby ice cream shop, and having milkshakes for dinner. Adult Life. We spent the rest of the night sitting in our camp chairs, watching the fading light. Once the sun set we prepared for the next morning’s quick departure from the site, and went to sleep.
Our alarm went off, we got dressed, detached the tent, and set off. (Much more fluid compared to the morning before) We rolled through the quiet town and made our way to Cadillac. When we pulled into the parking lot, we were one of three cars. We pulled out our chairs, set up a spot, and waited. Time went on, people gathered, clumped, and blocked camera shots, so; we moved. And then we watched, and then more people came. They brought with them noise, and garbage, and general rudeness. In the stillness of this beautiful natural wonder, a thoughtless woman opted to play the Celine Dion Song from Titanic.
Now, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m the stick in the mud, but I didn’t sit in a car for all these hundreds of miles to listen to your tinny, shitty, cell phone play a watered-down version of a love song while I’m watching the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness unfold before me. Thankfully, the song ended and we were spared an encore. Just in time for the sunrise to be over, and for daybreak to be official. In that moment, Joe and I turned around to see the sea of people who had gathered not so silently behind us. Scores of people in heavier coats and their folding chairs littered the mountain and were snapping pictures of the daybreak. When we made it to the parking lot it was overflowing and cars were lining the side of the road leading up to the lot. Grateful that we had prepared ourselves and gotten in early, we made our break for the bottom of the mountain. We opted for another nap before breaking down the tent and moving off to our next state.
While driving the country, you happen to see things. It’s an undeniable consequence of travel. However, while you’re traveling you’re hardly ready to see what you do sometimes. Case in point, traveling down a highway in New Hampshire, there were two boys driving a tractor, that contained two other boys, drinking from red solo cups, inside the scoop piece of the machinery. For a brief moment I was flabbergasted, but the “cheers” motion the 2 boys made in the scoop, made me raise an eyebrow and shrug my shoulders. Not my circus. Not my monkeys. We continued to Lincoln, New Hampshire where we opted to stay in the Franconia Notch for the night. Adorable little motel, that had a beautiful and peaceful river running through the back. It was going to be a torrential downpour, and we needed our energy for the adventures of the next morning. After all, it’s not every day you get to fly thought the air.