Four States in One Day

It’s becoming a good routine. I wake up at my overnight stop, then drive to a nearby park for the morning. I make coffee and work, while Lister gets to go outside and play for a few hours. He’s usually happy to hit the road by the time I’m ready.

Today I made a quick side trip across the street to Petco. Ever since Lister escaped one morning in Arizona through a window I’d accidentally left open (Yellow Wolf thought she recognized his distinct meow and woke me up to retrieve him), I’ve been meaning to get a tag with his name and my phone number made. When I saw the Petco on the map, I remembered that many of them have machines that will custom engrave a tag on the spot. This one did, and I even found a tag that matches his harness, which has become famous at this point.

After the park, we hit the road. While it was a relatively short drive, just over two hours, my route would take me through four different states. I was already in northern Virginia. I’d pass through narrow slices of West Virginia and Maryland before reaching Pennsylvania.

Today’s roads were a better match for what I like to drive — not Interstate, but not claustrophobic back roads that are too small for my van and trailer, either. Instead, it was mostly state highways with an occasional shortcut down a decent sized side road.

I didn’t research what was along this route that might interest me, however. I crossed the Potomac River and dropped straight into Sharpsburg, Maryland. This is where the Battle of Antietam took place, the bloodiest battle in the Civil War. I made it a point to explore around Gettysburg two years ago because I’m a big history nerd. It wasn’t until I was halfway through town that I realized the significance of where I was. But I had no idea where to go, or where I could even pull over to find out, or I would’ve played history tourist there like I did in Gettysburg. With such a long van and trailer combination, I can’t stop just anywhere like you can in a car, or even a van by itself. I simply don’t fit in some places, and couldn’t find anywhere that I’d fit on my way through Sharpsburg.

I did drive right past General McClellan’s headquarters, as well as the Antietam River itself, but I didn’t get to dive into the history of the place. That’ll teach me to look ahead when I’m passing through unfamiliar territory, and see if something I recognize and want to visit is there. Because it was a short driving day, I had plenty of time to stop and explore, and unlike my previous Gettysburg visit, the temperature was perfect. I have to clarify that statement, because my route took me straight through Gettysburg as well. I didn’t stop, though, because I’ve seen it before.

My destination was a Harvest Host stay at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. This may sound familiar to long time readers — I stayed here two years ago, soon after the breakup with Trisha. This is my first repeat Harvest Host stop I’ve ever done. It was along my route, conveniently located, and a place I know is pleasant. I was able to enjoy the experience far more this time, having been in a post-breakup fog of depression before. I enjoyed a couple of beers, and some almost genuine poutine. My Canadian ex got me hooked on the real thing. They got the fries right. It was a little light on the cheese curds. They were already melted when it got to me, so I don’t know if they squeaked properly or not. The gravy, while tasty, was not real poutine gravy. Still, for an American place, it was a pretty good attempt at it, and still quite tasty.

While bouncing over the lousy roads of West Virginia, my internet router had fallen off the wall and bounced around a bit. This is where I had nowhere to pull over for more than 20 miles. Since then, none of my devices could stay connected to it for more than a few seconds at a time. That’s not even enough time to log into the admin screens to troubleshoot the problem further. I was bummed that I might have to replace it, now out of warranty after my original router got replaced within warranty. But I dropped an email to tech support, asking if they had any suggestions short of that.

As a matter of fact, they did. They sent me instructions to a quasi-undocumented hard reset procedure, involving turning the router off and on at specific time intervals. I followed the procedure, and from that point on, my router has worked perfectly. I didn’t even lose any of my configuration settings. So hooray to WiFiRanger for once again standing behind their product. I’d understand if I’d had to buy a replacement, since it’s out of warranty. Instead, they helped me breathe new life into the one I had. I guess when it fell off the wall, it took a whack to the head and was temporarily confused, just like what would happen to any of us. All is well now.

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