Catching Up With Friends

I have an extremely pleasant stay at Folklore Brewing and Meadery. After writing my last post, my desert friend Misty told me how wonderful this place and the people who run it are. Not only has she been here, but her boyfriend is also good friends with the owners! It’s a small world, after all.

Jeffrey, my former co-worker, came over when he finished work, so I got to meet him in person for the first time. We were hired at the same time, for the same job, and got laid off at the same time this past January. We’re both car writers with many mutual friends and acquaintances across that world, so we had lots to talk about, including how things are going at my former employer. We closed the place down (it was only 9:00 pm — we’re not party animals), and I had a quiet night’s sleep.

The following morning I woke up, worked, let Lister sample the local grass cuisine, and set a course for Auburn. It was only a two-hour drive and a little bit of a detour off my direct route, but it was well worth it to visit Genie again. She showed me around the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, and we’ve camped together in Quartzsite a few times. Now she’s in the process of selling her van and moving to Australia. She’s staying with friends in Auburn while she does this, so it was worth a detour to visit her before moving across the world.

I’d planned to stop for lunch at a boat ramp, but just before it, I passed a beautiful rest area. The boat ramp was fine but nothing special, and there was really nowhere for Lister to roam. So I backtracked to the rest area and found the perfect spot to heat up some lunch. Lister seemed to enjoy this grassy area under a tree, and since it was a short driving day I had no problem spending a bit of time hanging out. There was also an RV dump station there, so I took advantage of that, too.

From there it was a short drive to Auburn. I’d planned to stay at a Chateau Walmart in town, but Genie and her friends invited me to park on their lawn for the night, a much more pleasant experience. We went out for Chinese food, then sat around the fire pit chatting into the night.

It was strange to have a campfire with Genie someplace green. It was a common occurrence in Quartzsite, where you can pretty much throw a pile of random rocks together anywhere, call it a fire pit, and light one up. Instead, we had a nicely manicured yard and a well-made fire pit. It was just a bit different. They invited me to bring Lister to join us, and he hung out with us all night until we went inside. Normally I put him in at sunset because of coyotes, but here the wildlife wasn’t going to try to eat him. Unlike the last time I tried this, two years ago at Allyson’s place in New Hampshire, Lister didn’t even try to escape his harness.

The local cats tried to make friends, but Lister wasn’t quite having it.

My new phone’s wallpaper is a view from space showing exactly where I am, which I thought would be fun to watch as I travel. I’ve come quite a way from Lakeland, Florida, and have finally escaped the 90º temperatures down there. Yesterday was overcast, with temperatures in the low 80s and occasional rain. I put my automatic windshield wipers to use for the first time. It was weird, having a luxury like that. I’ve definitely entered a more temperate zone for this time of year. I’m not rushing to leave it and get back to New England just yet, though. Overnight temperatures there are still dipping into the 40s and even the 30s during the next week. I don’t have a heater installed in this van yet, so until I do, that’s too cold for me.

I’ve also entered rolling hills instead of the flat land of Florida. As I’d hoped, the van is handling them just fine, even with the trailer. The transmission changes gears frequently, but with ten gears to choose from, it might as well pick the best one for the job. That’s how this van can get by with a V6 engine instead of the much larger V8 my old one had. So far, it has no problem maintaining leisurely highway speeds, even on the hills.


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