This morning I woke up, made coffee, and said goodbye to Buffy. It was time for me to move on, back to the land of internet reception. Unfortunately the campground office didn’t open until 10, and I had to get working, so I went to the nearby town of Canaseraga, intending to use the library WiFi. I couldn’t get into it, but I had a solid Verizon signal, so I went to a local park and worked all morning. This also let Lister have a good romp outside — so much that he came back inside the van and went to sleep.
When I got to a good stopping place with work I took the drive back to the campground, turned in my key card, and got my deposit for it back. (This is why it was worth doing.) I went back to the park again for a while, finished up work, then set a course to a Walmart in Mansfield, PA. Here I would resupply, as well as spend the night.
At first it was another lovely drive through central New York, and another perfect day for a drive. As I cruised along, I remembered I had an online therapy appointment at 4:00 pm. My ETA to Walmart was around 3:00, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
That was when I started to hit construction. I kept getting stuck at one long red light after another, and watched my time buffer slip away. When Google sent me down a 55 mph road that was torn down to dirt and I couldn’t go more than 20 on, I knew I was doomed.
I turned my attention to finding a place to stop along the way to make my appointment. This required a safe place to park, and some kind of data signal. This combination proved difficult to find. The dirt road of New York turned back to pavement in Pennsylvania, but the limit was 35, and for good reason as it was narrow and twisty. It was a fun drive, but I was stressing out about making my appointment.
I turned onto US 6. This amused me, because I’ve driven the same US 6 all they way out to its eastern terminus in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the tip of Cape Cod (or, as we Massholes call it, simply “The Cape”). I saw a sign for Wellsboro in 7 miles. I knew this town, even though I’ve never been there, as the hub of the Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally, another race in the same series as the New England Forest Rally. Time was beyond short, and I knew there would be civilization there, so I ignored Google and stayed on US 6. I pulled into a gas station and found full scale signal strength on both of my hotspots. I just barely made my appointment on time.
Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned here. I got stressed out. My anxiety was through the roof. But I figured out how to make it work. It’s what you do when you travel, or in life in general. At least, that’s what my therapist says. I think she’s onto something.
From there I continued at a much more relaxed pace. On my way through Wellsboro, I spontaneously pulled into a dumpy looking beer store. Their selection was amazing. I left with more Yuengling Black & Tan than I know what to do with, because it was cheap, and it seemed appropriate for Pennsylvania. It’s also a flavor I had trouble finding in New England. From there, it was an easy drive to Walmart.
I found a nice corner out of the way and let Lister explore a bit. It’s what he likes to do when we get to a new place. I treated myself to a Subway dinner right in the store, then picked up a bunch of odds and ends. After retreating to my van, a couple of young women came over, wanting to meet Lister and check out my van. I gave them the 2 cent tour (it’s not big enough to charge a nickel) and we chatted a bit. I gave them “spam cards,” the business cards I made up with all my social media info on them for situations just like this. If you’ve found your way here, hello! It was great to meet you and fun to chat.
I’m in the back corner of the parking lot, yet I can still get into Walmart’s free WiFi. This is great after several days of marginal internet at best. After writing this I’m going to kick back and watch some videos. I’ve already watched one cop cruise right by without batting an eyelash, so I’m not concerned about staying here overnight. In fact, I feel even safer knowing that they’re keeping an eye on the place. I might linger a bit in the morning and get some work done on the WiFi before moving onto my next stop.
The Great Journey of Life continues.