This is the third 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.
We awoke on the second day to great possibilities. The sun was shining, and though it was a tad chilly, it wasn't snowing and it was milder there in West Virginia than it was back in Corinth.
Morning of the 2nd day. Roadway Inn, Martinsburg, WV.
The “plan” was still in effect; we would visit Harper’s Ferry and then head to our first campsite of the trip (and the last on the East Coast, before heading west).
We hooked the trailer to the Toyota, sneaked Buddy back out of the hotel room, and headed on our way. We knew that we may stay in Harper’s Ferry for an undermined amount of time and may end up at our campsite late, and since we were in Martinsburg, we decided to get some supplies before we left town.
That is when things first started to get strange.
Our first stop in Martinsburg after we left the hotel was Aldi. My back was killing me and though Dennis was showing concern and compassion, he did so with a “what the hell did I get myself into with this guy?” look on his face. We shopped for some food: sausages and various other meat products –the whole spectrum of a healthy diet. When we got to the check-out lane, I went through first and emptied my cart. After I paid, I dared put the packed grocery bags back in the cart.
“Um, sir. You can’t do that.” Spoken in fearful tone from the mousy clerk.
“I can’t do what?”
“You can’t put your bags in that cart. It’s no longer your cart after you go through the line.”
So, with my usual calm demeanor, I said, “You've got to be f%*king kidding me.” I snatched the bags from the cart and with my sore back I hobbled hurriedly back to the truck. Dennis came out soon laughing at the situation and at me and we hoped that would be the last of “those” types of occurrences for the day.
Time to leave Martinsburg, we plugged the coordinates of Harper’s Ferry into Dennis’ GPS system. Easy-peasy. Except it wasn't. We drove following the directions and couldn't seem to leave Martinsburg. Right turn, followed by more right turns and of course we ended up in the same place –Martinsburg.
Hmmm… we tried it again. This time the GPS had us on an imaginary road. The LED arrow icon that was supposed to point the way, seemed to want to hop off the LED screen, and it definitely didn't want to stay on any LED roads.
“TURN RIGHT IN A QUARTER OF A MILE” said the female computer voice. “THEN TAKE ANOTHER STRANGE AND UNNECESSARY RIGHT TURN WHERE THERE ARE NO ROADS.”
We were back in Martinsburg. We were stuck in the “Martinsburg Vortex.”
There is really no telling how long we remained in the vortex. We took many right turns and none of them were the right turns.
Some may say that we never left the “Martinsburg Vortex” and that two Upstate New York dudes and a dog are still seen there in a Ghost Toyota, taking right turn after right turn.
Eventually, though, minus the possibility of an alternate universe, we did get out of Martinsburg. It was time to get to our first real “trip destination,” Harper’s Ferry. All we had to do was find the signs. How hard could that be?
…to be continued. Next installment: “We get the scoop.”