Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First 24 Hours On the Road

Well, first 19.5, actually. It's 10:30am and I am lolly-gagging at a rest stop on Hwy 17 near Bath, NY. Got a late start yesterday, leaving New Paltz between 2:30 and 3pm.

The van has been running smoothly and it makes me nervous to feel comfortable about that; so many people took one look at Swanky and shook their heads sadly, that I fear something catastrophic will occur along the way. Please universe, protect me from that!

After driving past the Mohonk Preserve one last time, and waving good-bye to my beloved Clove Road(See you next year, cabin! Hank says it is likely I can have it again.),I headed south on 209, and then west on 17.

A half tank of gas later, I stopped and filled up as was suggested by the security guy at the preserve Visitor Center(I forget his name!!!) who told me to go this route over the one I had chosen, which was 209 through the Delaware Water Gap and then crossing wide through Pennsylvania. He said, "After Corning, there's nothing for a loooong while! Get gas!"

And as I passed Corning, I had to listen, but instead pulled off the highway at the town just further, called Painted Post. The reason being that the Corning exits offered only one gas station choice, and I felt my wallet might be taken advantage of if there was only one choice. Painted Post had 3 choices, and it was just a quarter mile off the highway exit to the one I used.

I thought it would be an easy off/on to the highway, but as I went back, the exit was closed for roadwork. So I had to backtrack for the detour, which....I didn't follow. Instead I pulled off at the very next exit, but then it intersected with another big highway, and worried I would somehow get herded onto that unwanted route, I turned off to the smaller road instead. I figured I'd drive down that a while, turn around, and get a decent warning as to where the entrance back to17/86 was, instead of having to make the choice in the seconds I would have otherwise had. What can I say? I haven't been regularly behind the wheel of a car in a long time.

At any rate - as I drove down that side road, I saw a Walmart.... And it lured me right in! Ever before, when people said "You can camp overnight at Walmart," I would snub the idea. I thought I would want to do better than that. I had figured I would get back on the highway and continue on to the rest area near Bath, where I actually am now. But I had stopped at the previous rest station to feed and walk Teddy and you know....the people I noticed sort of had a really anonymous vibe. Plus, the parking is right there where every single car using the place drives within feet behind your vehicle. So - I figured WalMart couldn't be any worse.

And it wasn't. Probably better even, since I did notice a few condom wrappers on the ground as I made coffee here this morning. I don't think anyone was hooking up in the cars at the WM lot...but anyway....

So, I even went in to use the WM potty, but I will say it now - I pledge to do my best not to give WM any of my money on this trip. But that won't stop me from using their bathroom, and yes, I will sleep in their lots again I think.

Somewhere around midnight, a cleaning truck drove through the lot. I was awakened by the recurring droning sound it made, and finally after several passes I was like "WTF IS that?" and looked out the window, just in time to see the big yellow behemoth swipe right up alongside the passenger side of the van.!

"That's a little close," I thought, but figured it was probably just an open lane the truck would use, and who knows - maybe there was some trash sitting there to be scooped away.

But then the truck turned around and came for another pass - and repeated it three damned times! "Shit," I though. "They are going to have someone from security come rapping on my window and ask why I am here."

But, they didn't, and eventually I fell back asleep.

It was a far cry from the nights of peaceful bliss I've spent at the cabin the last half a year, where maybe 6 cars quietly pass down the road per night, but it wasn't so bad, I guess. The cel reception for my mobile broadband was 4 bars strong, and that was a plus, though I ended up not staying online for very long.

I woke up about5am, which I have been doing for the last month anyway, and lolled in half-sleep, and then opened my eyes again later and it was pretty light. 7am! oops!

I decided to just get on the road and make coffee at the rest station I had intended to go to the night before, and that is just what I have done. I also did a little more organizing in the van, and....well, I am going to stay online for just a little longer, and then walk Teddy again and head off.

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