It was a lovely, if early, evening at the Old Factory Brewing Company in Cairo, New York. I tried a flight of beers, then had a No Worries Brown Ale with dinner, a rather appropriate name. They parked me in front of a backhoe for the night, which Lister enjoyed exploring. They also had outdoor live music, which I could hear just as well from the van as I could sitting at a table. Live music in my home — how cool is that?
Cairo is a sleepy little town, and the sidewalks rolled up at 9:00 pm. Literally, that’s when the place closed, on a Friday night no less. But that made for a quiet night’s sleep.
The next day I awoke to absolutely perfect weather for a road trip. It was sunny and warm but not hot. My plan was to put some miles behind me. Yes, I’d left New England and crossed into New York, but only just barely. Without work keeping me tethered to the computer, I wanted to enjoy a day of driving and exploring, something I haven’t done since I got back to New England two months before.
I plotted a course to McCarthy Ranch and Campsite in Angelica, New York. Here I would meet Buffy, who runs the Gypsy Spirits of New England Facebook group and is loosely coordinating the Route 66 trip. Google said it would be a 5.5 hour drive, which meant more like 6 or 7, because I’m slow and also stop on the way. Of course, this was the “no highways, no tolls” route. If I wanted to make time, I could always take the interstate. But that misses the point of this adventure.
I had a lovely drive across upstate New York. Everything was a vibrant shade of green. Back in western Massachusetts I saw the first signs of leaves changing color for fall, but that was not the case here. The rolling hills were beautiful, and the 55 mph speed limits outside of town centers let me make good progress — at least, as long as the hills let me maintain that speed.
By pure luck, my route took me right through the center of Watkins Glen. This name will be familiar to any racing fans, as there’s a famous race track in town, one of the only road courses on the NASCAR circuit. (That’s where they make this unusual maneuver known as a “right turn.”) Before there was a track, they simply raced through the center of town. Ah, the early days of racing, where you could get away with bloody murder, and I’m not exaggerating.
Eventually I arrived at the campground. After a little confusion at check-in, I made my way to Buffy’s campsite, and simply parked there with her. She even found a power splitter that let both of us plug in, which is great because I’m parked in complete shade and won’t get any solar charging. In a strange twist of fate we’d both planned on hot dogs for dinner, so we mixed and matched components and dined together. She’s one of those “morning people,” so she called it an early night after hanging out a bit. She planned to get some work done in the morning, while I intended to go explore the local roads, mostly dirt, on the bike. We’d hang out in the afternoon.
I retreated to the van. There’s no WiFi, no T-Mobile signal, and one to two bars of Verizon with my hotspot’s external antenna. As people went to bed, I managed to eke out just enough internet to watch videos on the low resolution setting before curling up with Lister and going to sleep myself.