“The Wayward Traveler Chronicles” will be a series of journal entries recording my trip across the country from Maine to California.
This day was the weirdest one for me yet. I wasn’t just “visiting” my friends and family, this time I was moving west. I’d been to Portland, seen friends both old and new, then went to Boston to spend some leisurely time with even more, and then saw my family in Connecticut, but this was the first day I had no more visits. It was do or die.
I thought about this notion in the shower this morning. I woke up to see the kids off for once (instead of sleeping well past their departure times). I set my alarm for six, and wouldn’t you know it? I woke up!
Everyone else except for Kevin was sleeping. I thought that odd, and sat in my room for a few minutes watching Louis C.K. on Conan. Then, I got up, ready to give Kylie shit for not waking on time, then she rushed upstairs in a panic. She woke up Madison (who goes to school earlier), meaning Madison only had fifteen minutes to get ready for the bus.
Meanwhile, I felt like a jerk because I could have woke Madison up right at six… I wasn’t thinking.
Then after she left on her bus, Kam got up and began to get ready… by playing Goat Simulator on his tablet. But first he checked his Youtube views–
I FORGOT SOMETHING on yesterday’s post! I helped Kam create his own Youtube channel! We uploaded the three videos you saw yesterday, and then this morning I uploaded the best video of his RC Car jumping into leaves:
Kam finally got in the shower and as he was in there exclaimed: “Dude! Ow! That’s the worst time I’ve ever gotten soap in my eyes!” We cackled outside because he actually says the darnedest things, and he said it loudly enough that we could hear him from across the house.
Kylie meanwhile assembled Kam’s stuff for the day, but as she was making his lunch, she freaked out due to a toy spider in his bag. I saw her jump, then she screamed, lobbing it at Kam, who in turn screamed. We nearly pissed our pants laughing it was so funny.
Connor was being his adorable self (as per usual), and I wanted to take some more photos. I swear this kid poses for the camera. When he sees the phone out, he smiles, then does a different pose every few seconds. The following shots were all in forty seconds, and I didn’t even include half a dozen more that I left out:
The air was somber as I left the house. This family is some of my favorite people, and I won’t see them for who knows how long. These goodbyes were the hardest part of it all.
As I left Connecticut, I felt a sense of comfort knowing that this is the right move for me and my career. I’d say that there is a 10% amount of apprehension, and it sometimes makes it way out into an external form. It’s quite rare; even for the more common internal personification. For the most part, I’m happy in my decision.
But as I left Connecticut, I also entered into something exciting: A NEW STATE! This is the first time I entered a new state since 2004! Holy shit!
This state is beautiful. I’ve been around trees and hills all day, but there is something about Pennsylvania’s serene, rolling hills that makes me feel at peace. A bonus effect is that most of the tress still house their fall foliage.
It was getting to be lunch time and I was planning on stopping soon to pee anyway, so I began looking for a FOOD stop to visit at each exit. My decision was made for me as I saw a sign for Scranton. Immediately, the theme song of The Office played on a loop in my head, as if the Fonz himself hit the jukebox so hard, it was doomed to be stuck on repeat.
I first stopped to go to the bathroom, so I checked out a Valero. No dice. They didn’t have a public bathroom, and you know how it is once you decide you’re going to go, YOU NEED TO GO!
I got a coffee anyway and checked the air in my tires. Right before I got off they felt like I might have gotten a flat or something, but it turned out it was the cement consistency of the freeway pass right before the exit. Whew.
Then I drove around Scranton both looking for landmarks from the opening credits of The Office, and for a place to eat. I checked Yelp. Nothing came to mind, and I didn’t want to hit a national chain if I could help it. Although, I hadn’t had Krispy Kreme yet… But then again, fuck that; I didn’t want donuts. Pfff.
So I turned the GPS off and just drove around. I found some cool stuff on my own.
It dawned on me… I HAD to have a Philly Style Cheesesteak! The Cheesesteak is something I always try at every place I first visit as an indicator of their quality. It’s a good ruler for the measurement of their offerings.
I was in the mecca State of the Philly Cheesesteak. And this place looked like they knew what they were doing, so I went in and ordered the classic: Steak, Wit (not Wit Out) Onions, and Cheese Wiz. Yup, classic Philly. I thought it would taste weird but… Damn!
After I got back on the road, I did notice an odd trend while in the Keystone State… If I had to guess what the State was known for, I’d say mountains and foliage, eighteen wheelers, and dead deer. Yeah. I have NEVER seen so many tractor-trailer trucks and dead deers in all of my life, and I lived in MAINE for thirty-one years!
Seriously, I’ve counted almost a dozen dead deer, and over a hundred and fifty trucks. Funnily enough, I noticed that the deer epidemic as I passed under the overpass of the road White Deer Way. Yeah, and they’re all DEAD!
Once I got out of Pennsylvania, I entered The Buckeye State, Ohio.
The road was a long and lonely one. I began to call several friends and family. First, I tried my brother, but his phone was off, then my sister, who had already begun another busy day of errands. Then I called my Dad, then my cousin Jason. And eventually my Mom and my garden pals, Jack and Linda.
But I also ended up requesting to call a fellow filmmaker who was flying out to LA to attend the American Film Market, where films are sold for distribution. I had some questions for him, and since he was five or six steps ahead of me in the career path, I thought it was a good idea to call him. The catch was, I had never formally met him since learning of his existence.
The call was amazing. Remember how I said I had a small percentage of doubt earlier? Without prompt, he said, “if you have any doubt whether or not you’re doing the right thing, forget it, you’re doing exactly what you need to do.”
That was reassuring, and I learned a ton of information. We’re going to try and catch up once I get out to LA.
Just when I thought all was going great, I got stuck in my first bit of real traffic. This was great training and a foreshadow of what I would experience in LA, but it still sucked. There were three lanes of highway, the further right was completely empty. Now, that’s always a bad sign; if you take that, you usually end up trying to get back into the other lane. Good thing I didn’t! It turned out that the three lanes were being funneled into one.
On the further left.
I stopped again, just outside of Columbus, looking for something to eat. I was getting awfully tired and I didn’t want to feel like this while driving (especially since the traffic took a lot out of me). So I stopped on this street full of restaurant chains. They had everything: McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, hell, even a White Castle. But I ended up with Panera Bread, and this delirious video of shadow puppets.:
I ate, and as I got back on the road, right next to the McDonald’s, tucked away in a gas station, there it was! I had researched where they would be and found Ohio was loaded with them!
Hells yeah. I already missed their coffee. People either love it or hate it, but I hate Dunkin Donuts, and am cool with Starbucks, but Timmy Ho’s is where it’s at.
I bought a coffee and headed back out on the road towards my destination: Dayton. The soda at Panera hit me hard, and soon, I wasn’t only tired, but shaking. I needed to get off the highway now. I scanned the exits off of the four-lane highway, looking for a good cluster of hotels. I skipped a lot of good potential offerings. I was in the capital city of Columbus, and as I exited, I finally picked one. Dayton was over an hour away, and I couldn’t make that.
I ended up just outside of West Columbus in a town called Hilliard. Here, there were three hotels right next to each other. A motel, A Quality Inn, and the Marriott. I used Yelp!, and checked out their ratings. Quality was my first choice, but reviews said at the price they charged, it was worth the ten dollars more to go to Marriott. So I booked a room right in the app, using my AAA membership to save (I can finally use this for hotels!).
The funny thing was the room with two Queens was ten dollars cheaper than the room with one king. So hey, I have a bed to put my stuff on!
I checked in and noticed they had a bar… Yes. I quickly dumped my stuff in the room, grabbed my computer, and began writing this, beer in hand. The Chicago Cubs/ Cleveland Indians Game 7 of the World Series was happening, so there were a lot of drunken cheers and jeers, but that didn’t stop me. I was able to knock most of this out.
I went back in my room, watched the newest episode of The Flash, and crashed. The bed was sooooo comfy.
I awoke to my alarm, checking my planned distance today. This will be interesting, I may not make it as far as I hoped, but we will see! Here’s to today!
Here is the UPDATED list of States I’ve visited thus far: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio. [EIGHT]
More to come this next day!
Crazy to think that I’m a third of the way across the country and only now I’m staying in a hotel! I had this planned, people! Here are the hotel stats:
The amenities of the Marriott are clearly going to be top notch, but I was alarmed at the Wi-Fi. It had a session of less than an hour. Seriously, the free version felt as though it expired within sixty minutes. Now, it’s “easy” to sign back in, but it’s also a pain in the ass for that little of time. I have a blog to write, Marriott! Edit: It eventually remained constant.
They also had a pool and a 24hr gym (which I was really happy about). Plus, since I signed up for the rewards program, I got a free Starbucks coffee. Not too shabby. Speaking of…
The coffee in-room was the Barista Bold brand. I would tell you how it tasted, but I didn’t drink it because I had purchased that Tim Horton’s cup from earlier.
–The Shower Experience–
Water temperature was great. I always appreciate the bowed shower rods that prevent the curtain from rubbing on your body. The towels were soft, and the shower head was perfect with a nice wide spray.
Money Spent for Gas: $34 ($90.30 Total)
Miles Traveled Today: 652.3 miles (1,035.1 Miles total)
Data Used: 116 MB (881 MB total this month)
Stay tuned as I continue my tale of travel across the United States!