One more to go.
Let’s see, where did we leave you guys… Midnight in Winchester, surrounded by bed popcorn, right?
We had another late morning today, although a good percentage of that was spent waiting on the DoorDasher to bring us the breakfast we ordered from CVS.
Yes, we Dashed breakfast from CVS. It was a weird morning.
Turns out the selection in Winchester is rather limited. And you’d think, for as nice a hotel as The George Washington is, they’d have some kind of breakfast. I mean, fruit, cereal boxes, coffee, tree bark, anything. But no. Instead we were steered to a couple nearby sit-down diners and a “new donut shop up the street a ways”…and that was it.
So we DoorDashed some morning staples for Daphne which took nearly an hour to arrive. But totally worth it in the end, as she got down hard on some Cheerios and yogurt, and even tried several bites of my Frosted Flakes and seemed to like those as well.
Once we got her out of bed and dressed we were off on the longest day of the trip. And she was even better today than she’d been on the prior four days.
Nothing but smiles and giggles in the back seat, all day long. We couldn’t possibly have asked for a better traveling companion.
After a few hours, we made our first stop in Wilkes-Barre, PA. We’d originally planned on hitting the Chick-fil-A there but, man…you thought those lines were bad in Houston?
Good Lord… These people must LOVE their chicken.
A double drive-thru and there was still a line of cars that stretched around the casa del nuggets…twice.
“Oh hell no...” was our mutual reaction to such chicky madness, and we sped right by. Unfortunately this is Pennsylvania and, for the benefit of our Texan friends back home, they don’t design roads the same way up here as they do down there.
You know, with logic.
Here there are restaurants with no visible entrance to their parking lots, freeway exits that spin you in concentric circles just for funsies before allowing you to escape, and, in the case of this particular street, NO way to turn around and go back the way you came when you find a chicken house that’s too packed to peck.
So we were somehow funneled right back up onto I-81 because reasons, which forced us back to our original route to try the whole thing again. I don’t know how anyone ever existed up here without a GPS.
Anyway, after that nonsense we gave up on trying to order directly from a restaurant, since the entire process appeared to be just too complicated, and instead went straight to Coal Street Park where we’d originally intended to sit down with our lunch. Daph played for a bit in what was a decidedly mediocre playground (although most would look mediocre after yesterday’s evening at Franklin Park) while I DoorDashed sandwiches, pasta salad, and a potato salad from some place called “PrimoHoagies” that turned out to be really quite good. In fact, their pasta salad was so good Daphne ate all of the rotini out of it… Now that’s saying something.
The issue with lunch was not the food itself, but with the Penguins.
Yes, you read that right.
It seems Coal Street Park shares a parking lot with the practice arena for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton American Hockey League team, the Penguins. And this practice arena was wide open when we first arrived and happened to be searching for a bathroom to change Daphne in.
Jen went inside with Daphne first, found a couple of “NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS” signs leaning against a wall and, being the conscientious person she is, politely turned and left.
I am, most assuredly, not that kinda person.
So I strolled straight in through the automatic doors, past the empty ticket table, and searched around until I found the restroom. Once located, I headed back out to bring Jen and Daph in, but they’d already taken off for the playground instead.
I shrugged and set about ordering lunch and, when it arrived, we went back outside the practice arena to use their picnic tables.
And in the time we’d been gone they’d not only locked the front automatic doors, they’d also placed this in the window:
What’s more, right after we’d finished lunch some spindly woman in knee-high boots came out and made a lady who’d been sitting on a blanket too near their entrance get up and leave. She also glared at us as we drove out for daring to use a picnic table outside their precious facility.
And it is thus how an enemy for life is made.
And the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.
Anyway, we left Wilkes-Barre and began the second leg of the trip which consisted of a whole lot of New York tollway. I’ve no idea how much it cost us to traverse the state (they have this weird toll by text system) but, because we’re talking about New York, I imagine it might be wise to simply ditch the car and buy a new one when they come to collect.
We got into Massachusetts just about sundown, and a golden hue was cast on Jen’s first little New England stone wall of the trip…something she’d been waiting almost a year to see again in person.
We arrived at our hotel right about 8pm, tired and ready to be out of the car. Unfortunately the lobby/office at the little hotel was completely dark and locked up.
Confused, I read the little slip on the door that stated the office was closed after 5pm and that we should call if we had a problem. Or we could simply go to the pub next door and ask them for help. Despite my better judgment, I called first and got a voicemail to which I received no reply.
So I traversed an adorable little wooden bridge that led from the hotel, over a babbling stream, to the aforementioned pub…
And, I gotta tell you, once I walked through the door it was all I could do to stop myself from sitting down at the bar, ordering a pint of whatever local brew happened to be on tap, and to just be still for a while.
But, Jen and Daph were waiting, so I did indeed ask for help. They called the owner of the hotel who drove back and explained that Booking.com has been flaky with their reservations lately, and that they had originally booked us for a room tomorrow night.
She had the vacancy, though (in fact, I think we’re the only people in the hotel) and I did score a free beer out of the deal…
And now, Daphne is striding around the hotel room as if she were rehearsing for an off-Broadway production of “Stomp.”
Actually, there’s a post-script to this video. Turns out she had to poop. And she did so in that far corner over there. So that might’ve been the source of some of the agitation…
And that’s about everything that went down today.
Tomorrow should be a short trip, and one that will take place almost entirely within Vermont. Canaan is roughly 4 1/2 hours from here and the weather report says the high tomorrow there will be 70. Lovely.
We’re almost there…