My first car guest was Benny, a friend of 20 years who flew over from Epsom England in Surrey, where I lived for five years in the eighties. He thankfully managed to pack everything in a small duffel bag which was important criteria for traveling with me since there was not much room for anything “new” after I finished loading.
Hamilton was filled with the typical things one needs on an across country trip: two cases of wine, beer, three computers, a printer, fax machine, Felice Kincannon’s aerobed, two pillows, a sleeping bag, one tent, a water mattress, a lantern with aged red glass from some run down antique store in Vermont, a bicycle pump, maps from every state in the country despite the fact that I planned to only stop in northern towns and cities, guidebooks, gortex jackets and umbrellas, a tarp, hiking boots and fleece jackets, mineral water, Tony Robbins greens and CDs, a crate filled with every mineral and vitamin you can think of, four cameras, a camcorder I was unlikely to ever use, a tripod, almonds from Ken, soymilk from Andrea, a box of CDs from every genre (although no doubt, we would listen to 60s and 70s kitch tunes most of the time) a pair of old fashioned binoculars from the 1930s, a 25 year old Teddy bear named Teddy (Teddiford Jr. on some days) and TONS of Renee’s clothes.
My adorable mechanic from Belmont strongly encouraged me to lighten the load or take serious note of every bump and hill from Boston to the Rockies if I didn’t want to incur thousands of dollars of damage – just the thing you need to hear a day before a four week road trip. Hamilton had to be strong and powerful for the adventures yet to come.
With Teddy perched in between us, we pulled into Hotel Pierre in Barre, Vermont. If you have ever been to Barre, you’ll realize that the stop was unplanned. Visuals include a desolate Exxon gas station, a Burger King and a colorful discussion I couldn’t understand a word of in an antique store with two owners without teeth. They were marveling at the hundreds – yes hundreds of bikers that passed through there a few days before. It’s hard to drive north, whether inland or along the Route 1 coast and not get lost in an old junk or antique shop. Listening to the stories linked to the pieces are half the fun.
I didn’t buy anything despite my temptation to load the car up with blue glass and an old washboard. Clearly this would have been more a symbolic connection with the soon to be old and the denial of moving on.