Saturday, September 12th, 2015
I finally escaped the clutches of work to head north for a New England road trip! I had traveled abroad, and had taken several road trips with my husband, including one all across North America living in a Chevy van for 6 months, but neither of us had ever ventured to our own backyard passed New York City. Our adventure began at 3:15 am and we were planning on making our first stop in Albany, NY.
It hadn’t been 30 minutes in until we experienced our first dilemma. We were close to the Pennsylvania border when we came to the realization that we had forgotten to pack our tent. We made a u-turn and headed back. Once we grabbed the tent, wiped down the dirty windows, and said our second round of goodbyes to our fur children, we were finally back at it! We were one hour behind schedule, but shrugged it off as a minor set back.
As we traveled through York, PA, and the air smelled of broccoli farts. Don’t ask me why. It wasn’t me. We took I-81 north until we reached much better scenery. We were subjected to “highway robbery” after we reached a ticketless, unattended tollbooth. What would have been a $6 toll would become a whopping $45.95 fee once we reached the next booth. Fuck the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
If you’re ever traveling through, go on ahead and avoid that mess if you can. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, and so we have since opted for the longer scenic routes. I was feeling bitter about our wallet getting raped and I suppose I was suffering from a little low blood sugar “hangry-ness” as well, however we both wanted to get the hell out of Pennsyltucky and across the state line into New York, ASAP!
Once we arrived at a little hole in the wall called, “Gramma’s Country Kitchen” in Binghamton, NY, I was starting to feel a little bit better. Trevor ordered some massive pancakes, and I went with scrambled eggs and an English muffin; both with a side of home fries. After we got the “you ain’t from around here” stare down from the locals, we took I-88 north towards Albany, NY.
There was another toll scare, which ended up being a false alarm, before we got there and found parking near the Greyhound station. To all those who live out west, in the south, or out of the country for that matter, and are planning on heading to the Mid Atlantic/New England region, do yourself a favor and set that GPS to “avoid tolls!” You’ll thank me later.
We admired the architecture before stumbling across a free live concert on Pearl Street. The music wasn’t so satisfying, but there were some cute items to eyeball at the vendor tables, oh, and beer!
After indulging in a couple brews at “The Hollow Bar and Kitchen,” we walked it off, checked out some of the shops, and decided to return to the car to plan our next move.
Before heading across the state line into Vermont, we made a pit stop in the town of Troy, NY, “Home of Uncle Sam.” There was a fundraising event held by the police department taking over the streets to help support a local who was fighting cancer.
After strolling around the event, watching Trevor have a juggling battle with a teenager, and wandering through the tiny shops nearby, we headed to the local Walmart to get ice and beer-to-go for the cooler, then made our way to Vermont via US-7. Right before we crossed the border, we stopped at the quirky “Big Moose Deli and Country Store” in Hoosick Falls, NY.
It was my first visit to Vermont, although I’d return 2 years later by foot along the Appalachian Trail, and I was stoked to indulge in all of the breweries! However, I would have to be patient and wait a day.
We took US-7 to Route 9 into Bennington, VT and into the Green Mountain National Forest. We were hungry, but settled for snacks since we were currently on a vegetarian kick and they didn’t have much else to eat at the few shops we stumbled upon. Our eyes were peeled since we were hoping to see a moose on our way to Forest Road 74. No moose, but we were successful in finding a nice camp spot along the forest road. Trevor took the car and returned to the store for a bundle of firewood, telling the shop owner that he was successful in finding the forest road camping, much to the man’s dismay. I suspect that they want to keep it a secret, locals-only hangout. Well, the jig is up!
First we got our tent set up, and then I battled with my “She-Wee” which I just couldn’t get down with, now or never, as Trevor attempted to start a fire in the light drizzle that was starting to fall from the sky. We gave up on the fire and decided to hang out in the Suburu and listen to the radio while drinking a few beers.
The beer drinking was short lived. Although it was only 8:30 pm, we were both running on fumes. Trevor ran out in the rain, which had progressed from a drizzle to a downpour, to investigate the tent. The inside was not keeping dry. We would later find out that the year we bought that ‘MSR Hubba Hubba’ tent, it had a faulty rainfly and we were able to get a free replacement. In the meantime, we attempted to sleep in the Subaru. It was a restless first night of sleep through the storm, as the tent that we had so eagerly rushed back home to retrieve earlier that morning slowly became a kiddie pool overnight.
Jump Ahead to Part 2: Ninja Smurfs, Helium & Hepatitis