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John and Gary Get Me Back On The Road Again

BarHarbor043I have been gate guarding in the oil fields of Texas for nigh onto 2 years now. While not completely off the “Road” as I travel from gate to gate south of San Antonio, it is a life of many months spent in one place, usually though not always far out in the boonies away from civilization, guarding one gate 24/7, umbilical cords to a support trailer providing the necessities of life (water, electricity, refuse removal), with an occasional monthly wild ride into a town for fresh supplies for my earth ship. Entertainment is found in the beauty of nature, sunsets so red and bold as to require nightly pictures, and the occasional visits of curious animals, both wild and domestic. Of course, there is also the standard TV provided by a well-tuned satellite dish, radio stations blaring out both Country and Western when not in Spanish, and books. Lots of books.

Last night, I poked my Bluetooth headset into my right ear, threw a camper on the back of my old truck, fired it up, and headed back out on the road with a large dog of French persuasion named Charley whose command of the English language was limited to “pfft”. I drove many miles out of my way to avoid the traffic congestion of New York City, crossed through Connecticut and Vermont, enjoyed the White Mountains of New Hampshire, till at last I was back in Bangor, Maine. After a night of peaceful sleep without the constant hum of a generator in my ears or the buzz of alarms telling me another tanker truck was coming through, I spent some time in the local and profuse antique stores gawking at the many items stored in basements, attics, and barns for years as they were replaced by newer models or thrown away with chips and dents by ancestors now long dead. I was amazed by the prices even a previously 10 cent plate now fetched or attempted to fetch.

After a leisurely uninterrupted lunch and a short walk with Charley to meet and greet the nearest Maine bush, we hit the road again to find Deer Isle for the night. The lady inn owner was expecting us. As usual and despite the numerous maps onboard, I managed to get lost and pass my turnoff. I had been warned not to ask directions from locals who delighted in providing wrong directions to tourists while silently laughing there heads off inside. I tried asking a rather taciturn local officer of the law for help which led to nothing more than a nod of the head in the direction which I had come. I set off again following the nod until I found the turn I had missed and managed to navigate to the old but stately inn in the woods. The owner was a very nice woman, alone and of senior age, who greeted us with typical New England cordiality. She provided a place for us to rest and all the info needed to enjoy our stay. She introduced Charley to her cat who thoroughly detested both dogs and humans and would have been quite glad to see the whole of Maine decimated of beings save for herself and the lady. Thankfully, Charley has no interest whatsoever in cats either for speaking to or chasing. We got some dinner, introduced a tree to the unique essence that is Charley, and went blissfully off to sleep again to relieve our tired bodies and ponder our current adventure.

The next morning, I woke up alone. Charley was nowhere to be seen. He had not woken me up as usual with a “pfft” in my face. The inn and lovely woods of the island were gone. Alarms were shrieking. I could hear a generator humming in the background. Looking outside, the land was now patches of dirt and cactus. A tanker was passing by, too fast as usual. A large wide gate stared at me as if to say, “Get back to work!”. I was home again if you can call it home.  The new adventure was over, for now. I look forward to hitting the road again this evening and continuing my explorations. I secretly grin at the thought of traveling the back roads of America with a dog named Charley when I once again poke my Bluetooth headset in my right ear to let Gary Sinise and his wonderful voice read John Steinbeck’s book, “Travels With Charley”, to me again from my Kindle Fire. I read it myself as a child so many years ago and it was the catalyst in my life that led me to becoming a full-time RVer and wanderer of the country, of the planet. Till tonight…

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