In May of 2016, at 18 years old and still a senior in high school, my brother and I set out on our first major overland trip – a trip I had coined as the “New England Loop.” A trip that would, as Steinbeck put it, absolutely take me. In 4 days I covered over 700 miles of New England, starting in Massachusetts, heading north into Vermont, right up to the border of our friendly northern neighbors in Canada, east into the White Mountains of New Hampshire, into southern Maine, and finally back to Massachusetts.
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It was finally time.
After two years we were going camping again! It had been such a long wait and my hopes were high and great were the expectations...
The term, "Jack of all trades, and a master of none" needs very little interpretation. I think of a middle-aged man in worn out work boots, holey jeans, and a cheap stained t-shirt with a pack of Marlboro Reds protruding slightly from his pocket. A beat up old tool bag with well used, but sharp and precise tools in his grip... Hes a man that can get it done. You remember what a bargain his labor prices are, as you turn the other cheek to his short comments and surly disposition. Finding a solution quickly and getting straight to work, you try to force from your mind that he didn't pull a permit like the expensive Journeyman you spoke to, would have.
How we evaded the weather still eludes us, but I guess it was well deserved after our Utah trip a few years back. We hit pavement days before the bottom dropped out of the sky and our home was an island amidst all the flooding. Matter of fact, we were snoozing in Mojave when the first drops began to fall at home, and they never quite caught up with us.
The dull ringing of the air raid siren woke me, I reached for the sound but only found my pistol on the nightstand. My groggy eyes blurred the dim rectangle screen of my iPhone. I pressed the vague outline of “snooze” and sighed deeply.
We woke on day 7 to yet another cold rainy morning in Grant Village. It had been in the low twenties overnight, so donning the clothes that sat haphazardly in the corner of the roof top tent over night was exciting, but not on quite the same level as say; a winning lotto ticket. I quickly went to work on getting the stove and percolator ready... Not because it was cold, but because above all else, coffee comes first. While Nicole prepared breakfast, I began folding up the RTT. It was sopping wet, and can be a challenge even in dry conditions to get under the cover with a double wide 0 degree bag inside. My fingers were frozen, and when the zipper got stuck while I precariously balanced on top of a wet tire and rock slider, my sense of humor faded into a steady stream of audible profanity.
Its 4:00 am the day before Christmas Eve. This might sound early, but for a snow plow driver it's more like sleeping in for 3 hours. As I quickly donned some snow boots and my Carhartt coat to head out into the cold, I could tell my wife was more bummed than usual about the alarm clock having gone off because this time she actually had to get up. Two months of planning had led up to this moment, and it was time to book our adventure on the White Rim Road.