2010 NYC Devival Trip
Photos by StangDoe -- October 11-15, 2010

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5_ROAD_TRIP_BACK:   [1]  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK was, for us, a mixture of wildly good and bad luck. Fate chose to prevent it raining until we had walked the many blocks from the subway to the iVan; the instant we got to the car, the skies opened up. After only a few map-misreadings by me as navigator, Wei was able to skillfully drive us through the inky black night across the various toll-n-troll bridges and back into America. We made it to the Exmortis mansion by Monday night.

We spent that night photographing every tiny detail of the FEDCOMS facility -- all the art, all the family photos, all the kitch, the dirty socks on the floor, everything.

The next morning found us making our first attempt to leave the Poconos area. Our plan was to be home in Cleveland by Wednesday night. As fate would have it, on Wednesday night we were STILL practically in Sinphaltimus's neighborhood. Because of our undisciplined and slackadaisical approach to travel, it took us 3 days just to get onto the main highway, I-80.

At first it was small delays and detours. The storm we'd driven through leaving NYC had destroyed a bridge that might have afforded us an escape from Exmortisland, but after some pleasant and spaced-out wandering we ended up at PROMISED LAND STATE PARK in Pennsylvania -- a remarkably clean, technologically advanced, uncrowded state park. It was the first night of our trip that had clear weather, no rain, so we decided to camp there.

It was, however, BITTER COLD. And all the fire wood was wet.

Wei, with her witchy ways, taught me how to start a fire with wet wood using a jar of HAND SANITIZER. It's mostly alcohol, gelled. Like Napalm. The hour I spent blowing on that fire in that campground was one of the happiest times of this whole trip, for me. It was so... so PURE! I felt like one of my beloved cave men.

We cooked hot dogs, watched two Twilight Zones on the laptop, and slept in the van on a big air mattress. That was an interesting experiment. But too much reshuffling of gear and swag-boxes was required. The iVan is going to need a sturdy cartop carrier before we try that again.

For the next 3 days we lollygagged in various state parks and motel rooms. We explored the Promised Land further, especially a place called Conservation Island, on which we spotted no animals at all, but lots of interesting rot, fungus and molds.  And trees. Then we went to Milford and took 209 slowly south through the ultra-quaint Poconos towns, wet cliffs, and waterfalls. My lust for ruins grew and grew.

Raymondskill Falls is touted as the "Niagara Falls" of Pennsylvania. It's not very Niagric, really, but the trails and overlooks are very enjoyable if there are none of The Others around. We were amazed at one point to see a Daredevil GILF who clambered dangerously far down the waterfall cliff.

Dingman's Falls was another stop. This area features an unusual raised boardwalk instead of a trail, making it easy for baby carriages, oldsters and the handicapped. Because we were there when it was getting cold and dark, there were fewer Others around, and the place was a bit Twilight-Zone-y.

The next day, in exploring the Privacy Trails of Hickory Run State Park by car, we actually did take a wrong turn and found ourselves in the real Twilight Zone. We were lost in the wilderness, on a dirt road in increasingly heavy rain, with a dead cell phone -- not a pleasant predicament, although we managed to get back on track and escape the Pennsylvania Chainsaw Massacre we were envisioning.

God but the fall colors were beautiful, though.

Back on the highway we continued to marvel at wet leaky cliff faces, inviting barn ruins, and goofy business names: Full Belly Deli, Chat N Chew Cafe, Yuppy Puppies, Ugly Mug Restaurant, etc. We again attempted to head home on I-80, but driving rain caused us to stay on back roads for yet another long stretch. At the quaint, but badly-named Dallas, PA, we took 118 west until the weather again drove us to shelter in a Super 8. Finally, after a short stop for privacy at the S.B. Elliot State Park, and in the first clear weather in days, we got onto I-80 and charged all the way to Ohio.

We stopped in Youngstown to visit a friend of the Doe family in a nursing home, and in Rabbitton to check up on the Queen Mum's vacant Summer Palace (the groudskeepers had been dutiful), but we made it home in time to meet our friend Rev. iDRMRSR and his son for our weekly restaurant date.

There was one weird detail about the last two days of our trip. A little yellow maple leaf with a mutated, looping stem had somehow managed to attach itself to our van antenna. The stem-loop somehow never came loose, and the leaf rode up and down that antenna as our speed changed. As we sped up, it would slide up to the little knob at the top of the antenna, whipping wildly in the wind and hanging on even when we were going 80 mph into the wind. As we slowed down, the leaf gradually slid down the pole until, when we stopped, it would fall to the base of the antenna.

THAT DAMN LEAF IS STILL THERE. The mystery is not so much how the leaf's stem can hang on through all that buffeting, but how the hell it got on there in the first place.

Oh, oh -- did I mention that we saw a bear by the roadside, emerging from somebody's cornfield? Well we did. A real live black bear. An unauthorized live carnivore, roaming outside State jurisdiction. To me that was a hopeful sign.

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