Friday, July 18, 2014

now how do you spell that?

7/17/2014 Cayuga Lake State Park, New York

A weird grinding has developed in my right jaw. It is hard to eat apples. I could Google symptoms but then I might just get worried. Hopefully it will get better and just be a temporary weird thing, and not get worse and force me to book it for Washington to get dental work done (i.e. if I can’t eat solid foods at all). I feel like I can’t open my jaw as wide as I could, but then again I can’t remember how wide I could open it.

So! I’m in New York! Caroline can host me a day earlier in Toronto! Hurray! So tomorrow I’ll go to Buffalo and stay two nights with Janet, then go up to Toronto! Woohoo! I spent today driving a nice scenic route through upstate New York. I left Rollins Pond along 3 West, which took me out of the Adirondack Mountains and up into 1000 Islands. The parks were plentiful, but not much privacy was to be had, so I decided to continue on to the Finger Lakes region and stay at Cayuga Lake State Park. I love the big fluffy clouds that plop right on some level of the atmosphere. I love rolling hills that get patchy under the clouds, so some are dark green and others are more faded. I was almost sad to stop driving, I felt like I could have gone for many more hours. I have the urge to cover more ground, whereas a few days ago I had the urge to stay in one place. Previously that desire was thwarted by bad weather (it did rain my last night in Vermont, so at least I was right in not setting up my tent), and now I am thwarted by the schedules of others. I’ll be happy to be on my own calendar again.

I ended up not staying at the Rutland, Vermont Walmart. It was in the downtown, and had signs warning against parking longer than 3 hours. Not good signs. The Mega Walmarts that are open 24/7 that are located outside of towns are my ones of choice. So I crossed the border into New York and stayed at Glens Falls. Glen Falls. Glen…it’s an hour north of Albany just outside of the Adirondack Mountains. I forgot that Brynne gave me a contact in Albany. Oops! Had I remembered I would have just gone there from Burlington (provided I could stay). New Hampshire & Vermont being all rainy and me having to drift about has thrown me off. I wish I could have camped in both those states, and they seemed very beautiful, but alas it was not camping season. I’ll have to come back because New York has many lovely locales. Could easily spend a few weeks just up here, though having a kayak with me would be primo. Lots of lakes.

I topped off my tank going into the Adirondacks and got some food and off I went!  Over hills through green mountains aplenty. There were hikers setting off every which way, and signs directing to snowmobile paths. I went up to Saranac Lake, which is by Lake Placid, where there have been two Winter Olympics. The ski jumps loomed; these odd monolithic structures that could not be more out of place in the summer.

The visitor’s center provided me with park listings and I chose Rollins Pond due to plentiful campsites and free showers. Hundreds of sites, but there were plenty of people. Still, I had my choice and I went with 27. Nice shade, right on the water (almost all the sites were on the water, though some were moreso than others). My neighbors were the Reids, and Jason came right over and offered to help me with my tent, I declined as it is just a two pole tent that I’ve got a pretty good handle on setting up. We got to chatting about travel and this and that. Really nice fella! He gave me a few mountain tips.

I didn’t feel up to a 5 mile hike, so I did the Baker Mountain summit, which is one mile up, one mile down. Except if you are me then you will lose the trail and climb up rocks that you think are the trail and wonder why it was so difficult! And how did those kids coming down early in the hike ever do it? But oh what a lovely view! There are six mountains around Saranac Lake, and if you summit all six of them you get to be part of a club, but…I’m not going to do that. I don’t have all week to climb mountains. One is good enough. I got pictures (and I got excellent cell reception). Going down I found the actual hiking path, which was easy and relatively flat with minor rocks to scramble over. How I missed it, I’ll never know. But hey, make your own loop trail!

I drove into Lake Placid because I wanted to get a picture of the ski jumps. Seemed like a nice low-level tourist place. Not totally busy as it was a bit off season, but still had stuff going on. I wonder how it is in the winter. I made use of the shower upon returning to Rollins Pond. I used the new conditioner I bought (ran out of the last bottle) and my hair is so soft! It’s some of the best it’s been in a while. I also used several leave in products…but yeah. Gave it a good clean.

The Reids invited me over for s’mores and salad and brewskies. We sat around, I told stories of my travels, I got stories of their travels, Jason is going to do a sojourn into Maryland, which will be amazing I’m sure. It’s so nice to have consistently met nice people on this trip. Just friendly “hi neighbor, come on over if you’d like” invitations. And they let me use their kayak! So at the end of the day, Jason and I paddled around on the lake and star gazed. And wow every star was out, as was the Milky Way. These are the skies where you can really see how people came up with constellations. All that detail, all those stars, all that glory. That is why one ought to go out to nowhere near no development. Nature isn’t just trees, it’s the sky and earth.

At Cayuga Lake I updated my atlas, marking where I’ve been sleeping (little x’s) and I’ve covered so much ground, and still have a ways to go. So many more landscapes await. Badlands National Park, Yellowstone, Tetons…I want more parks and landscape. There are not many cities remaining that I want to see. Chicago, Toronto, Butte…I’ll have to consult the map.

It’s comforting in a way to know that I could do this trip again on an almost entirely different route. There is so much to see everywhere I go, that if I miss things then I don’t feel so bad, because I am missing things everywhere. So much will still be here whenever I come back, and what I’ve experienced is mine and it’s wonderful.

7/18/2014 Dunkin Donuts off 20 West

My indulgence in mochas has switched to the number 1 at Dunkin Donuts: medium coffee (with crème) and two donuts. I kinda like DD more than Starbucks in terms of décor. It’s much brighter with its pink, orange, and browns. Maybe not as high fallutin. Starbucks also seems to have “destination mugs”. I like my Florida DD mug. It has space ships and flamingoes on it.

I’ve started thinking about retrospective illustrations. Best rest stop, best shower facilities, the best states, cross referenced by the length of stay. That’ll make for a good series. I have plenty of notes to source from.

I had such a good sleep in my tent. It’s been great being able to spread out. My legs get cramped sleeping in the car. I can’t stretch out. But in my tent I can sprawl as much as I want. And with an 11am check out, I can sleep in for a very long time. It only takes me around 30 minutes to break down my camp, and that is if I go slow. Everything has its place in my car.

On the advice of the office worker, I drove down to Taughannock Falls State Park. I parked and ate some bagels with crème cheese and salmon that Jill & Darrah gave me. I relocated to the beach and read in the sun for a while. It’s a gorgeous day once again. Sunny, warm, with those fluffy clouds I keep mentioning. I drove down one road and up another. The lakes are lovely. There are oodles of wineries, but I’m not a wino so I haven’t checked any of them out. That one in Rhode Island to get a thank you bottle for Darrah was enough.

After I do the rounds here, I am off to Buffalo! Got a few hours of off turnpike driving to do, but oh the weather is perfect for the scenic route.

xoxo Trillian

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

sweet tooth

I'm sitting in a Dunkin Donuts in Rutland, Vermont. I'm charging my phone and mp3 player and killing time. I want to camp but the weather reports haven't been good...but it hasn't been stormy. I think if the weather looks good, I'm going to camp tomorrow night somewhere in Vermont. It's a beautiful state, I'd hate to dart through it. I'm meeting Caroline ... oh I already mentioned that. But yeah, I have a few days to spend in the area. After Toronto, I'm looking forward to doing some more long distance driving. Listening to stuff, covering ground. I'm getting tired. I don't like being on other people's schedules, though of course I respect their time. I'm the guest.

Okay so after Plymouth, I continued south to Manchester, where I oogled books in a used book store. Except the books I really want (Edan Lepucki's California, Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation, Jojo Moyes' Me Before You) are all brand new and not second hand...yet. But cheaper on my Kindle. But I have other books to read already! The Goldfinch! N0S4A2! Biographies! I'll just add them to the Christmas ISBN list...

Okay where was I? Yeah I went to Manchester. Nothing really made me want to stick around, so I drove to Lebanon, where Dartmouth is. I dried some of my wet camping stuff at a 24/7 laundromat. A little girl gave me one of her Skittles that she got from the crank machine. One of her precious Skittles! She was only allowed a quarters worth and she gave me one with no prompting. I was originally going to sleep in the Walmart parking lot in Dartmouth but they had a no loitering sign and it was a smaller one, so it didn't seem as open as other, larger ones. So I continued into Vermont! 33rd state! I grabbed some brochures from the visitor's center and continued on to the Walmart near Montpelier and slept there. I went in in the morning to use the bathroom, but this lady was like "what are you doing? can I help you?" turns out they weren't open! Well then why was their door open? She was grumpy but the other employees weren't fussed. So I drove on into Montpelier, and used the bathroom in the City Center building and changed and sat in the little coffee shop and worked on my journal and woke slowly up.

Montpelier is so cute! Just a few streets of cute shops. Not a whole bunch of goings ons, but it is tucked in a nice bunch of green mountains. And it does have a cute little movie theater. My kind of little town! I surveyed the local books shops. Walked about. Then got in my car and went to the maple farm nearby. I tried all the maple syrups. 100% pure good shit, aww yeah. And the maple creme. I didn't buy anything to take home, because home is my car for the next two months or so...I've done a pretty good job of not buying souvenirs! I have a shirt from the Museum of Osteology, a bunch of crushed pennies, a Dunkin Donuts mug from Florida...yeah. And a few other odds and ends. The main thing are the stickers and those are going on my cooler.

And the memories.

After the maple farm and the maple creemee (sort of a soft serve) I continued North about 30 minutes to the Ben & Jerry's Factory. It was a lovely compound. Well painted and decorated. They had food, a tie dye stand, and cut outs to stick your head through. Cut outs are sad when you are by yourself because you have no one to take your picture...or no one to take your picture with.

I took the tour. Only four bucks! Though the tour is just a video, an overhead view of the production plant (which is relatively small scale, I think this is just a smaller batch one to show tourists), BUT you get to try an ice cream flavor at the end that is exclusive to the Waterbury location. This one was strawberry ice cream with white chocolate and a fudge swirl. Delicious! I didn't have any more ice cream after that because dang, a creemee and a sample size! That's already a lot for one day.

It was starting to rain. I drove towards Burlington and stopped at the rest stop and ate a bagel and tried to think of what to do. I continued on to Burlington. I saw the World's Tallest Filing Cabinet (it's pretty tall, but it's just a bunch of cabinets welded together, but I also guess any taller and the structure would break). I swung by the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and got a crushed penny and a picture of the VERY CREEPY teddy bear made of hay that they have there. It's all falling apart and...very creepy looking. I got my oil changed. I ended up in the college area of town. It's amazing how readily obvious those sections of cities become. Flyers for concerts, more mixed crowds of people, gutter punks, upscale trendy coffee places, more little restaurants.

I headed south on 7 to Rutland. Beautiful drive through more rolling hills. I arrived at the Dunkin Donuts. Ray, a customer, gave me some camping tips. There is a Walmart nearby, so I'm off to there. It is raining. Hopefully the weather is better tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2014

lovely spot of camping/horrible spot of camping

7/12 8:12 PM Peaks-Kenny State Park, Maine

Oh typing up my blog in a tent far away from electricity and wifi, how I’ve missed you! The last successful tent camping was in Georgia. If you remember, rain hindered my enjoyment in Shenandoah, and since then I’ve been staying with people (Dan & Anita, Carly, Wilson, Darrah, Elnora, Kathryn) or sleeping in my car. It’s great having a roof and a bed and a shower and company and conversation, but wow I’ve missed just being cozy in a tent and being in nature and long drives and spectacular vistas and actually making use of my cooler.  Cities have city stuff. Museums and food and variety, but cities are costly and busy and just…they get to be a lot to deal with. So I’ll be camping for a few days more. I don’t know if I’ll camp another day in Maine. Find a spot near the Maine/New Hampshire border maybe. But I’m many days ahead of where I left you, dear readers, so let us go back to Massachusetts.

 I left Gloucester in the midafternoon, after washing my sheets and eating. It was a great day for driving. It was just a bit cooler than it has been (low 80s) so I didn’t have to run the a/c. I drove North on 95, or was it East? Either way, I went up. I stopped in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at my beloved Trader Joe’s and stocked my provisions. I am going with bagels and crème cheese instead of PB & J, because my bread keeps ending up soggy before I can finish it, and that is a waste of food. But I know I can eat six bagels. Also carrots and apples and string cheese. My staples. Amy, the cashier, was so into the trip that I am on, that she have me a few flowers! I turned a waterbottle into a vase for them, and they are sitting pretty in my car, if a bit wilted by now. I don’t want to chuck them, because they were such a wonderful gesture.

That brief sojourn across New Hampshire was state 31, and then Maine brought me to 32. First time I’ve seen a distance sign that had three cities in three states on it, with all the distances being under 40 miles away. That little bit of MA, NH, & ME is not big at all. But going to Bangor and then down to Acadia…that is another story. But it was a nice drive, with good roads and nice rest stops, and reasonable tolls. I listened to podcasts, I admired the trees and woods that just go on and on, and wow Maine is lovely! It’s nice to be away from big cities and development and old money and just, all of that. It really is. I’ve missed the long drives. I got into Acadia before sunset. The whole island isn’t a National Park, just the good bits. There are roads that ring around the island, and it’s all very quick and easy and easily marked when it comes to getting around. I drove a bit, finally located where a campground was, and signed in for the night. Only one night unfortunately, but hey it’s the weekend. It’s to be expected. I couldn’t find my hammer at all, so I borrowed a mallet to pound my tent spikes in.

It was a nice night to be in a tent. No rain, no massive breeze, not too hot. Just very nice. I finished reading Edward St. Aubyn’s Lost for Words. It was a gentle, silly book. It felt like it was missing a few chapters, like they got edited out. Another thing that happens when I tent camp: I read more. I’ve missed the reading in my tent for several hours, because once it gets dark and you have no fire, but at not tired, what are you going to do? Yeah, I’ve missed this.

Check out was at 10, and I was outta there at 9:45. I went to the visitor’s center and got my stamps. Saw  the informational video. I drove on the ring road and went up to the Cadillac Mountain peak. I sat on the flat rock and read and basked like the sea lizard that I am. I’ve done a lot of basking in the past few days. It’s been nice. I drove some more. The ocean air brought tears to my eyes; I’m not ashamed to admit. I didn’t know how much I missed that smell, but it is so specific. The fresh air, the sea weed, the salt, the…everything!

I sat on Sandy Beach for a while and wished I had packed a two piece swimsuit, because my legs and arms are getting tan, and the top of my back, but not my stomach. It’s all very patchy. What’s the point in spending months getting a tan, if it doesn’t happen evenly! Well, as long as I don’t burn. I spent more time on Sandy Beach today and I am right on the cusp of being pink. My back should be a nice tan in a few days. I’m not giving off that heat that happens when you burn, but I think I have such a nice base tan going on, that a few hours won’t lobster me like it would if I were my pasty Pacific Northwest self. It’s kinda fun doing the tan thing. I’ve got 26 years of pasty good skin care, I think I can take a few months of controlled exposure.

Anyway, Acadia! I went downtown in the evening and got an Italian soda, which was refreshing. All the seafood prices were cha-ching so I forgoed the local samplers. And who knows how local it even is?  If I’m going to have Maine seafood, I’d like to know that it was alive and snipping in the sea not too long ago, and not too far from where it died.

Bar Harbor (pronounced Baa Haa Baa by a few) was like any tourist harbor. Imagine … uhhh Friday Harbor? Is that the one on San Juan Island? Orcas Island? Anyway, it’s like that. Cute shops, lots of little food places, lots of higher end food places. Just that stuff, but with less nautical looking tourists. I didn’t have a place to camp that night, but there were a Walmart in Ellsworth just 30 minutes away from the park! It was the safest looking lot thus far, and I settled in. I bought some coffee and doughnuts from the Dunkin Doughnuts in Walmart, and a mallet and some fuel injector cleaner from the Walmart, and that was my day. I remembered to drink the coffee and poor the fuel injector cleaner in. That would have been a bad mix up. The mallet is for the tent spikes, and it has already proven itself a worthwhile purchase (it cost less than $3 but still). I drove around the left side of the island. The less parky and populated side. I went to the Seur le Mons (or suchlike) garden and got my stamp. Then I returned to Sandy Beach. I hiked a little bit, but I wasn’t feeling up to the very vertical part of the trail, so I went back down, put on my swimsuit, and hit the beach. I’m reading The Goldfinch and it is doing a very good job of holding my attention just enough to keep reading, but it isn’t exactly enthralling me.

After the beach, I drove  on a bit and parked once again and this time sat on the flat rocks and read there. I found a great spot where the rock chipped away enough to make a comfy seat, and there was a rock to clean against. Perfect. Sailboats went by, the surf crashed up on the rocks below, all was well and awesome.

From there I departed and decided to go north instead of further east. I stopped at this antiques place and browsed while talking to Ma & Pa on the phone. They were due for a good long conversation. I continued on to Bangor, a less than an hour drive. Almost everything in the part of the city was closed at 4pm! Except for the comic shop, but I have the latest issue of Lumberjanes and Sandman, so whatever.

Another hour north found me at Peaks-Kenny State Park. I got one of the last spots. Only being in a tent and only staying for a night gives me a good leg up on RVs and long term campers. My tent was set up in seemingly record time thanks to the mallet making the peg pounding a much faster process. I put my swimsuit back on and went down to the beach (this park is on a lake) and got a sunsetting swim in. The water wasn’t all that cold. The hills were green and rolling, with the ones in the distance that atmospheric blue color. The sky was blue and the sun was shining through mottled clouds. This campground has free showers! I’ll wash my hair in the morning if it feels like it needs it. I gave myself a good “if there are any ticks they better be off” soapy scrub.

I guess that is one benefit to having a husband: someone that’ll check you for ticks after a hike. The last person who found a tick on me set me on fire. So hopefully that won’t happen ever again.

And now I lay me down to sleep. I begin to go west tomorrow. The return begins. I’ve come so far, it’s time to go back to what was but will be different for I am ever changing.

7/14 3:09 pm, Plymouth, New Hampshire

I've got 30 minutes left on my meter so lets get to it! 

I left Peaks-Kenny at noonish for Mt. Blue State Park. It was a nice drive, took me through Skowhegan. Only a few hours. I swung by a hardware store to see about getting some slime to repair my tire that has been loosing air, and the dude in the store advised me to go to a local shop and that it wouldn't be that much for them to repair a puncture with a plug (he estimated $20). I figured what the hell. I drove down to the garage he indicated, and the guy was available to help. Jacked my car up, got off the tire, and well there was a screw embedded in the tire! A long one that was really stuck in there, which is probably why it wasn't going flat in an instant. Really tight in there. He patched it with a plug and the cost was $6! I've spent more than that on air keeping the tire inflated since North Carolina. Dang! Well, happy I set off to go camp. I got in to my spot at 4pmish and the park was far from populated. Got my tent set up and ate my bagel and...it started to rain. And it kept raining till sunrise just about. I made sure my tent was closed all the way and took a walk in the rain with my umbrella. My tent was not flooded upon my return, but it was leaky. It is classified as "water resistant" but not "water proof". It comes through the stitching and the mesh if the top cover is soaked enough. I kept a towel in the tent and wiped down the leaks, but eventually it just rained more and more and I just gave up and slept in my car. Nothing got wet outside of my tent and the towel, because I learned a valuable lesson in Shenandoah! Still, ugh a wet tent. And more rain is predicted for New Hampshire, which is a bummer because I want to camp more! I love camping! But I can't do it in the rain. I could if my tent were waterproof, but it isn't.

So I packed up and left relatively early. I took a beautiful scenic drive through the White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire. Just quality winding roads, rolling hills, mountains blue in the distances with clouds coming up behind them. Just lovely. I don't know what I'll do with myself. Maybe drive down to a city and go to a used book store or something. Get some A/C. I'm eating in a little cafe in Plymouth. Charging my phone and laptop and mp3 player. I'm due to meet Caroline in Toronto in a week. So a week to explore New Hampshire, Vermont, and up state New York. I think I'll skip Montreal. I'll contact Janet in Buffalo, maybe go hang with her for a day or so. I need to find a place to try the inside of my tent. Place being rest stop.

I really like being dry and getting a good night sleep. Sleeping in my car just wears me out as I seem to wake up fairly regularly to adjust my position.