We awoke to no rain and temps in the low 60’s, a nice night for sleeping. The campground looked different in the light and turned out to be well thought out. Our asphalt pad holding puddles and the ground next to us was saturated but no bugs this morning. The bathhouse was new and modern and I took advantage of the hot, coinless, showers eventually dragging a new razor blade across my face. Nothing like the glide of a new razor blade, a lot better than the pull of an old one. The decision to change blades is always a hard one for me as in the back of my mind I always wonder if I am throwing away one more good shave. It’s kind of like when you buy a car or choosing a route around the country, you wonder if there is a better alternative. We packed up after my load of laundry was folded and put away, the camper is too small for a mess. Everything has its place and every place has its things. For a moment, the thought of leaving without paying crept into my mind because after all who knew I was even here. But my luck is more Charlie Brown than Dominick Torreto so if anyone would be pulled over for skipping payment it would be me. Besides, how many silver teardrops with “travelswithmabel.com” on the back are there on the road anyway? We stopped at the Ranger Station and I saw the camp was built by the CCC during the Great Depression. The whole idea of the CCC fascinates me and I would like to learn more, maybe a book is in order after I publish TWM. At least research on the subject in place of sitting my butt in the chair and watching TV, usually The Office (See Below).
The course was plotted for Scranton, the setting for my favorite tv show, The Office. Now I know the show is shot in California but something draws me to this city, enough that I planned on visiting it before I left. I must say it was a little disappointing, but further thought puts the blame on me. I didn’t know what to expect so i had high expectations, ones that were not realistic. I think in the back of my mind I expected Michael Scott to be waiting by the sign, a wave and a smile for Mabel and me and only us as we passed through. But that wasn’t the case and I found only one landmark from the show, the Penn Paper Company building, located near a food kitchen. But then again, my planning wasn’t the best and as I am finding out, Sprint’s service is spotty around these parts. We found parking and walked around the city, disappointed in not finding the Steam Town Mall or the “Welcome to Scranton" sign. An old internet post from around five years ago had the sign peacefully resting at the Mall, but it’s location a mystery to us. The city had a weird vibe to me, like everyone on the streets were waiting for something to happen because they didn’t have anything to do. A purposefully walking pedestrian was the exception, a loitering individual the norm, and did I say it was hot? We saw what we needed to see, trekked back to our two parking spots, the meter just expiring, and then plotted our assault on Maryland.
I had planned a double visit with an old friend from the neighborhood, Todd Hines, and an old friend from PHS class of 1985, Tom Jacobs. It was perfect because both live in Silver Spring. My jaunt through New England placed me in Maryland when Tom was in Sag Harbor, go figure, more Charlie Brown luck. Todd was at home and it was going to be great to see a familiar face from the Mount Misery neighborhood. Yes, we, like a bunch of other kids grew up in Mount Misery Estates and never thought anything about it…. until I left. Thinking back, it was a great place to be a kid. The homes were surrounded by woods, acres and acres for exploring, building forts, first kisses and the like. The streets connected us with easy bicycle access for late night hide and seek games. Dead ends provided whiffle ball or kick ball fields with certain mailboxes as automatic home runs. It was nothing to hear you or your friends called home for dinner by a shout from the front steps.
The trip would take us South on HWY 81 through Harrisburg, no dawdling on this leg of the trip, we had already seen Pennsylvania, the goal was to make time. Hwy 83 brought us into Maryland and then we would travel on a combination of HWY 695 and HWY 95 with my trust in the GPS. I will sum up the experience as follows: lots of lanes, lots of traffic, & lots of trucks. But with some luck and the GPS being on target, we found ourselves at Todd’s front door around 7:00.
He looked the same as he did in High School which can be taken in two ways. Either the recipient of the compliment in the past looked old or in the present looks young, I will go with looking young. I met Todd’s wife Emily, a great conversationalist, and one daughter as she went out the door to a concert. Oh, to be young again! They fed me even though they had already eaten and their dogs let Mable romp around in the back yard. She enjoyed the lack of a tether and took advantage of the freedom of a fenced yard. We caught up and since a few years separate us we could talk about different social circles. It was nice to hear how/what different people were doing. The conversation was easy, reminiscing was for a purpose, not to romanticize the old days. It’s funny how kids and work now monopolize conversations and there is commonality regardless of the occupation or the age of the child. We had dessert, always a good thing and crawled into the camper calling it a night.
One day, before I turn 60, I will have a beer with Tom & Erin!
Thankful today for old friends that you can talk intelligently with.