Pittsburg to Stewartstown Day 2 cont.
Ten miles may not seem like a lot.
But walk them on a hot road,
With overloaded, poorly fitting packs,
And joints that were compromised to begin with,
And I guarantee that you will agree 10 miles can be forever.
But when you have made reservations in the only hotel in town, you really don’t have any choice but to continue walking.
After our 15 mile first day, we had to complete a 16.5 mile second day.
Or we weren’t going to be sleeping in beds that night.
Because we didn’t have internet or cell service along the way, Griffin and I amused ourselves with good-old-fashioned talk. We talked about the scenery; we talked about his starting a semester at school and my teaching one. Did he transfer the money for payments yet? Was my syllabus ready?
We booted up a waterproof speaker that I had packed at the last moment (it didn’t weigh that much right?) We sang to Black Eyed Peas – Tonight’s gonna be a good night.
When we had finally exhausted topics to talk about and we were still several miles outside of town, the silence was only interjected when there was something significant to say with answers that required the least amount of energy in return.
“Do you see that river over there?”
“That’s Vermont on the other side.”
Along with the hot air rising from the road, a bad temper started to roll off our bodies.
“When did this stop being fun?” asked Griffin when we turned another bend and saw nothing but more road ahead.
Our journey was never supposed to be “not fun.” It was supposed to be a challenge. Ultimately it was to show that we could do something that we didn’t think we were capable of. The cheer leader mom in me desperately looked for something to distract Griffin’s sour mood.
Don’t be upset that your mother is abandoning you at preschool, here look at this shiny toy!
“I read a story last night,” I began. “It’s from that Alfred Hitchcock magazine.” I told Griffin how I used to read it from cover to cover when I was a kid. It’s got great stories that always end in a twist – kind of like the Twilight zone.
“Do you want to hear it?”
Griffin agreed and I began to tell him the story of a woman who was married to a philandering rich boss This was his second marriage (to his second office secretary.) When the young woman had gotten married she signed a pre-nup stipulating that if there was a divorce, she wouldn’t get a lot of money.
The conniving pool boy unaware of this sets his sights on her hoping to hit the jackpot. She falls madly in love with him and he feigns his love in return. When he realizes that she won’t get a lot of divorce money, they decide to “kidnap her” and ask for a ransom from the rich husband from which they could start a new life together.
Turns out the rich husband has set his eyes on his third secretary (dog that he is.) He privately contacts the “kidnapper” and counters his offer with even more money if he just kills the wife thus taking care of any divorce settlement. The story ends with the pool boy driving the woman out to a secluded beach in order to show her a “beautiful scene.”
“Huh, that’s a pretty good one,” Griffin said as he adjusted his pack on his shoulders again.
By the time I had finished the story we had been magically transported to within half a mile of our hotel (such is the power of a good story.) Griffin had downloaded a Google map and it was directing us along a side road and over the bridge to where our hotel would be located. Even though we were currently in New Hampshire, the hotel (the only close one to this town) was located in Vermont. With incredible relief, we spied the bridge ahead that would take us across the state border.
We were going to make it.
But nothing looked right. We had stayed at this very same hotel the night before our walk began when Marc drove us up and I didn’t see the restaurant that was down the street, or the grocery store. Or even the sign of the hotel from the bridge– in fact all I could see was houses and a park.
Griffin also saw that something was not right. He stopped, checked his map, and that’s when we found out that we had taken a wrong turn. We had walked 16.5 miles and we were in Vermont, but we were still over 2.5 miles from our hotel.
The sun was starting to go down. Our feet and bodies were at the breaking point. Foul disappointment rolled off us in waves. We both felt like crying.
Griffin walked over to park, threw his pack on the ground and, through gritted teeth, told me he was done. He wasn’t taking another step.
He. Was. Done.
I looked around and across the street I saw some people talking in a garage. “Okay, okay, okay,” I told him. “You stay here and I’ll figure out something.”
(Here’s some information on why we took this trip.)
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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