Monday, July 28, 2014

We're Not Supposed to be Here.

This is the second installment of an ongoing series recounting the events surrounding a two month cross country trip by two friends and a dog named Buddy, all from the Upstate New York village of Corinth. The trip began in March of 2013. Each installment will be published on Monday's.

Chapter One: It’s snowing.

Sunday morning on March 3rd 2013, the day began gray and with a light snow. This is not a rare event in our neck of the woods, but that particular winter, it was. The winter of 2012-13 was mild and with an unusual lack of snowfall. So, for it to snow on the day we were to travel, left us a bit uneasy. Frankly, we were unsure of the traveling rig that we had created with the help of our friend, Bryan Bourdeau.

Our rig on the morning of our departure, March 3rd 2013.

In the weeks leading up to our departure, Dennis, Bryan, and I conceived and constructed a trailer-box to carry all of our gear. The box was built on a utility trailer, it was big, black, and square and looked to the untrained eye, as if it were meant to hold secrets from the outside world. What it actually held was all of our travel belongings. Those things we thought would sustain us for an undetermined amount of time on the road. The box was put together by Bryan with more screws and nails and wood glue than some small houses. It looked tough, but we had no idea. It was all trailer-box theory until we put it to the test.

The vehicle that would tow our Franken-trailer, was a gray, 4 cylinder, 2004 Toyota Tacoma --pup size. A small truck with a small cab. The truck bed was covered by an old beat up cap, that had several leaks, and could not be completely latched and could never be locked. Why tow a trailer, you may ask, if there is a truck bed and cap? Good question. Well, that truck bed was nearly all devoted to a five year old, 100 lb, red-golden retriever named Buddy --Dennis' dog-- a wonderful dog that was about to go on the trip of a lifetime and he basically had a traveling doghouse all to himself.

Close to 8:00 A.M. Dennis and Buddy arrived at my childhood, and (due to lack of direction and gumption) adulthood home on Center Street. He was driven by his father and accompanied by his mother, who wanted to see him off on what was to be a trip of an unknown period of time. Dennis’ father, Bruce, being an automotive man, wanted to give a quick inspection of the truck and trailer-box. Everything seemed to be fine, there was no spare tire on the Tacoma, but we reminded him that we had recently purchased AAA, and so Bruce gave us his blessing. Dennis said his goodbyes to his parents and I said my goodbyes to my parents. We got in the truck and sat in our respective positions. Dennis sat in the passenger seat, I sat in the driver’s seat and Buddy was sprawled out in the back. We entered our destination into Dennis’ GPS system: Martinsburg, West Virginia.

As we drove south from Corinth, our immediate excitement outweighed any slight and unspoken nervousness regarding the falling snow, especially because we have seen our share of snowy days and would both tell you, “We are Upstaters” and could surely handle this paltry showing of late winter spitting.

Also, because of the excitement of the trip I did not complain too much to Dennis about my sore back. That would all change eventually.

We cranked the tunes on the satellite radio (mostly Grateful Dead -almost all the time) and we tried not to cringe every time we hit a bump too hard. We were still pretty darn nervous about that trailer. If that trailer didn't hold up --trip over. All those people who told us we would be back in a day would be right. We needed that trailer to hold.

The snow continued to fall and we made our way to the NY/Pennsylvania border on our way to Interstate 81. As we entered Pennsylvania the welcome sign said, "The State of Independence" and we both grinned proudly that the sign would provide us with such an overt essence of meaning and significance --or... we didn't notice it at the time and added the meaning and significance during the first draft of our story.

The State of Independence.

Either way, we were out of New York and not far into Pennsylvania we crossed US Highway 11.

In our trivia gathering mindset we immediately researched US 11 and found out that it was a 1,649 mile long route from the Canadian border all the way to Louisiana. At the time, we thought that would probably be a good idea to travel 11 for awhile. Even though we had I-81 taking us nearly all the way to Martinsburg, we had always stated that the trip would be mostly spent off major highways, so this little detour would probably be for the best and probably be the last time we saw US 11 and along our new route we quickly came upon our first trivia stop: The Tunkhannock Viaduct.

Tunkhannock Viaduct.

Dennis and Buddy at the Tunkhannock Viaduct.

The Tunkhannock Viaduct is basically a train trestle, but this particular trestle is massive, made of concrete, and is just a tad imposing to drive upon unawares. We stopped along the road, snapped pictures in front of the beast, and went along our way, happy that the trivia gathering was coming to us both so easily.

US 11 eventually met back up with I-81 and as night started to fall, we plowed through the rest of Pennsylvania and on to Martinsburg.

Now in West Virginia, we reached the Roadway Inn, our first night stop on the road, at about 9 p.m.

Our plan was to sneak Buddy into the hotel, and we succeeded magnificently only to find out much, much later that the Roadway Inn is a dog friendly establishment. Oh well, our first day was a rousing, if not chilly success and we would all sleep well after a few celebratory beers. The next morning had nothing but the world as a road in front of us. be continued. Next installment: "The Martinsburg Vortex"

-The G.O.


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