I had a whole post typed up covering Tuesday. It was spectacular – it had drama, pathos, comedy – real edge of your seat stuff. I thought I’d posted it. I meant to post it. Apparently I didn’t post it. Then I overwrote the file. I am not going to ask our IT department to pull back a personal file that I overwrote because I got flustered by being asked to clean up the worst formatted Word doc that I have ever laid eyes upon. So all of that award-winning prose has gone the way of all good things, and instead you’re getting this.
The alarm went off earlyish on Tuesday, but not as early as it could have. I just didn’t feel like killing myself to hit the road at the crack of dawn. I’ve had too many crack of dawn mornings recently. Normally, when we do a full Pennsic we pull out on the afternoon of Saturday as soon as the common area is broken down and set to go. I think of it as "paying our rent." We really try not to leave while stuff is still up, although I’m not sure how that will work with a child in tow for the future. I guess we’ll wing it and see. Then we drive as far as the Knights Inn in Wilkes-Barre, which is just about the right distance. We get off the highway feeling like "maybe we should just drive the rest of the way tonight" and crash like someone cut the legs out from under us. Then Sunday morning it’s a hop, skip, and a jump back to Connecticut and by the evening we’re mostly unpacked and the laundry is well underway.
One of the things that the Best Western in Grove City has going for it is the breakfast. They have a very nice breakfast, complete with waffles. I’m a fan of waffles. We grabbed Charlotte, a bear, a bag of Cheerios, and her travel seat, and headed for the food. It’s a fairly typical arrangement – to one side of the lobby is a section with tables and chairs, to the other side are the counters with the buffet, and across from the desk are a couple of couches. Not surprisingly for a full hotel, when we got there all of the seats were taken. I stood and assessed the situation for a few minutes, and then took Charlotte and her seat and sat on the couch to wait for a table to free up. Seemed reasonable. A minute or two later another couple with a kid about 36" tall old came in and did the same scan I had just done, including looking at me waiting with Charlotte. At that point a couple of women at one of the tables said to them, "oh here - we’re just finishing." At which point they sat down.
For all of about fifteen seconds I was livid. I mean – really? I would like to think that if things were reversed that I would have said "I believe you were waiting first?" But that’s how mom raised me. Other people, apparently not so much. I wasn’t going to starve to death or anything, but it was rude. I think. Or possibly I’m just wound to tightly about things like that. So we settled in to wait a little longer and I amused myself by glaring at the offending parties. They didn’t notice, but it kept me entertained. After a moment one of the staff members came over and told me that if we didn’t want to wait we were welcome to sit at one of the tables in the pool area (I had assumed that was a "no food" area.) We thanked her, and as we were getting ready to move in there, a table cleared. We have a winner! Bob was a sweetheart and let me have the chair in the shade. We kept Charlotte entertained with Cheerios and Pooh (the stuffed animal, not the song. Come to think of it, that would have been an effective way to clear the place out…) and had an unrushed breakfast.
After that, I left Bob in the room to feed Charlotte her breakfast, and I went out to load things back into the Jeep and secure the internal load a little better. I hadn’t wanted to wake Charlotte the night before, so I hadn’t taken the time to put on the internal straps. Normally I pack so tightly that nothing shifts, but with a void in the load where the car seat sits I didn’t want to risk a panic stop sending something tumbling onto the baby. Once she was fed and our stuff was stowed, we hit the road again.
The first leg was almost exactly two hours, and then it was time for a diaper stop. It was also time for a driver change, because the exhaustion had finally caught up with me and I was dozing off behind the wheel. That’s never good. After that I spent the next two hours alternating napping and entertaining the driver, although he apparently wasn’t as tired as I was. At the second diaper stop the rest area had a nice picnic area under the trees, so we broke out the booster seat and gave Charlotte lunch. That is to say, Bob gave her lunch. I sacked out on the grass on a straw mat. Clever of me to pack that where I could get to it, wasn’t it?
Not much else to report about the rest of the trip. There was the obligatory stop in Nescopeck at the Pilot station for gas, a sandwich, and a pit stop, and an off-cycle stop at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center just before we left the state. I will not stop at the rest areas on I-84 in New York if I can possibly help it. They’re old, and dirty, and smelly, and creepy. The ones on the Thruway are lovely. The ones on I-84 are straight out of an old episode of "The Equalizer." Or they were. I haven’t stopped at one since the trip where the creepy guy was hanging out right in the ladies’ room door, and the ladies’ room smelled like people were peeing on the floor.
I’d rather stop on the side of the road behind a bush.
I pretty much slept through the last leg of the trip. Occasionally I’d open my eyes, identify a landmark, and doze back off. According to the Garmin we hit 85mph at some point, but I’m not sure when that was. We arrived home at about 7:30, unloaded the baby, unloaded the car, and just kind of fell apart. Laundry got done over the following couple of days (still needs to be put away,) and probably ninety percent of the gear has been stowed. We still need to hose off and dry the tent for storage, but it’ll be fine until we get to it.
And the morning and the evening were the fifth day.