Rather than fly out and back, my friend Jason and I decided to drive it, turning the concert into a perfect excuse for a 9-day scenic exploration of New England. I knew it would be an epic and column-worthy trip, so I brought a travel diary with me as a public service to any of you who might one day have to make good on a 20-year-old vow to drive halfway across the country on a whim.
(By the way, as it turns out, most of my friends bailed on our sacred vow because they have kids and lives and stuff. Lamers. And more to point, no sooner had we secured tickets when Ride suddenly announced a full U.S. tour in the fall which will bring them a heck of a lot closer than NYC. Ah well, a vow's a vow.)
Friday, 9 a.m.: Armed to the teeth with caffeine, Claritin, and way more luggage than 2 people should need for a simple roadtrip, Jason and I depart the Quad Cities. To celebrate the occasion, I have made a wicked playlist full of all the music we listened to in college.
Friday, noon: Come on, Indiana. Is it not enough that we're forced to drive through your terminally boring state? But no, you're actually going to CHARGE us for the honor? Sadly, this is the first of MANY a toll road we would encounter.
Friday, 2 p.m.: It turns out the music we listened to in college is kinda grating these days. We kill my playlist and opt for satellite radio the rest of the trip.
Friday, 3 p.m.: My apologies, Indiana. I take it all back. You are a super exciting state compared to the great expanse of central Ohio.
Friday, 10 p.m.: We make camp for the evening at an inn with a red roof in suburban Cleveland. As I lay me down to sleep, I'm reminded of the last epic roadtrip I took with friends. That first morning, I woke up fully rested to find my friends sleeping in cars and bathtubs to escape my snoring. I was hoping I'd magically overcome the affliction, but one look at Jason in the morning said otherwise. "Did I snore?" I asked. "No," he replied, and for a moment I felt relieved. "It sounded more like you spent the night fornicating with a flatulence machine." Yikes. It is decided separate hotel rooms will be the way to go for the remainder of the trip. It's a small price to pay for not having my best friend hate me.
Saturday, 11 a.m.: We have found the Alleghany National Forest. Or, as I like to call it, East Dubuque. Don't get me wrong, they're pretty and all. But anyone who's been north of the Quad Cities knows what a tree-covered hill looks like.
Saturday, 3 p.m.: Bradford, Pennsylvania brings us our first random find: the home and museum of Zippo lighters. Celebrating a fire ignition device in the middle of one of our nation's grandest forests doesn't seem like the sort of thing Smokey the Bear would approve of, but we roll with it.
Saturday, 5 p.m.: When we heard Ithaca had a beautiful waterfall worth checking out, we didn't expect to find it smack in the middle of the Cornell University campus, and I certainly didn't think I'd have to cross a stomach-turning suspension bridge in order to see it. If I had to walk across this thing on the daily just to get to class, I'm pretty sure I'd end up with a minor in Contemporary Vomiting.
Where do we go from here? And I believe last week I promised something about animatronic donkeys? More on that... next week.