Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Plans? Ha!



Perhaps you've heard or read about my confrontations with "plans"?

"We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."

Perfect. Maybe that's why Steinbeck was Steinbeck:

"When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road away from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must first find in himself a good and sufficient reason for going. This to the practical bum is not difficult. He has a built-in garden of reasons to choose from. Next he must plan his trip in time and space, choose a direction and a destination. And last he must implement the journey. How to go, what to take, how long to stay. This part of the process is invariable and immortal. I set it down only so that newcomers to bumdom, like teen-agers in new-hatched sin, will not think they invented it. 
Once a journey is designed, equipped, and put in process, a new factor enters and takes over. A trip, a safari, an exploration, is an entity, different from all other journeys. It has personality, temperament, individuality, uniqueness. A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. Tour masters, schedules, reservations, brass-bound and inevitable, dash themselves to wreckage on the personality of the trip. Only when this is recognized can the blown-in-the-glass bum relax and go along with it. Only then do the frustrations fall away. In this a journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it. I feel better now, having said this, although only those who have experienced it will understand it."

--Opening lines: John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley In Search of America

Saturday, July 15, 2017

What's Past Is Prologue

This trip started in Vermont, took me into eastern New York around the western shores of Lake Champlain thru Ticonderoga and Plattsburgh to the Canadian border at Rouses Point then south. The original "plan" (ha!) was...stop me if you've heard the before...Maine. The last of the lower 48 I've yet to see.

Like most of my "date's" fathers as a teenager, Maine clearly hates me despite having never met me. I've aimed for it no fewer than three times with three failures. At the end of June I actually started in New England! At least this time I didn't end up in Idaho. Progress?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Dopamine Drip & A Mushroom Miracle



Grab a Twinkie. You're about to learn more about your friendly virtual Toddzilla than you're entitled to. Whatevs. I think my example may be of some use.

As I’ve greatly disconnected, I’ve become more tuned in to reality. People, places, and things that can be physically touched. But, as my focus returned and I mindfully moved away from the Dopamine Drip of social media’s constant barrage of likes, comments, and ceaseless manufactured “outrage”, I came to feel naked!

With the commitment to ending the reflexive pursuit of the virtual mob’s approval came an uncertainty as to what to do when not seeking validation! To quote that shitty 90’s band, how bizarre!

Not really. Strap in.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

7/5/17: Springfield, VT - Steinbeck Heard (Video)

The second (post-epiphany) part of the day. A more in-depth debrief is here.

7/5/17: Springfield, VT - Steinbeck Screaming (Video)

This is the first of two distinctly different parts making up this Wednesday (7/5) in southern Vermont. The trip begins "taking me", again, and its course has nothing to do with my silly "plans" (ha!). Again. Unfortunately, I hadn't realized it quite yet. Funny things, expectations! Perhaps I'll just pack the book next time.

Part of the after-the-fact debrief is here. In the meantime, have some fun at my expense. I did! 

And drive your damn cars!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7/4/17 (3): Waterbury to Springfield, VT - Jerking the Wheel



Adventures In Waterbury

I wasn’t “getting anywhere” so around 2:30 I abandoned my roundabout in favor the interstate. My initial instincts: solid. The ramp blew. Hard. No way anyone could stop. After half an hour, despite the blister on the ball of my foot barking, I chose to walk the mile and a half thru Waterbury in hopes of better luck with Route 2 from the other end.

These little New England towns are intoxicatingly Mayberry, especially when they crackle in the summer sun with July 4th patriotism! I enjoyed chatting up an elderly couple sitting on their porch who asked all sorts of questions as I waddled past, then another chat with some folks who’d noticed me earlier. These two were stereotypically “New England”, congenial but not “too” nice, and walking away I’d come to see how conspicuous I’d become loitering in their tiny town. One unaccustomed to the appearance of drifters!

7/4/17 (2): Colcester to Waterbury, VT - Amy & The Beacon



Bob dropped me off in comfortable territory: a large rural Mobil station that happened to be alongside US-7, the road with whom I’d begun the trip almost a week before, and a short walk from I-89.

Mostly out of habit (I had Subway and plenty of water from earlier), I took a lap around the store to see if I wanted anything and caught the attention of three kids whose age I couldn’t judge. They could have been anywhere from 15-21. Seeing the backpack, they said something to each other then the brave one asked, “Are you just out traveling around to see what’s out there?”

“Yeah. Pretty much. Somethin’ like that,” I chuckled without bothering to break stride.

“Whoa. That’s like…inspiring.”

7/4/17 (1): Alburg-Colcester, VT - Daddy Mammon's Consumerist Plantation



Part 1

I'd arrived in Rouses Point feeling rejuvenated! The stomach bug…so familiar by then I’d named it Ticonderoga’s Revenge…had passed and I was ready to attack my old friend Route 2 and make my way to Maine.

Things began perfectly and generated optimism. It took just 10-minutes to hitch a ride across the bridge spanning part of Lake Champlain back into Vermont and Alburg, a little town on an islet surrounded on three sides by the lake and attached by land only to Canada.

Monday, July 3, 2017

7/2 & 7/3/17: Whilehall, NY to Alburg, VT - Around Lake Champlain (Video)

Freed from Ticonderoga's Revenge, I finally leave Whitehall, make up for lost time, and resume my relentless obsessive hitching pursuit of Route 2 and Maine.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

7/1/17: Poultney, VT to Whitehall, NY - Bill's Ark (Video)

This video is in no an adequate representation of the day but, then again, I'm no videographer. Consider this a placeholder until I properly write it up. 

"The weather unleashes a left hook and and is counterpunched by a level of  unsolicited generosity & humanity that would sooth any savage cynic. Including this one. Top to bottom, days (and people) like this are why I choose to travel this way."