My watch is being wrist-swapped on the daily to mitigate the hard sun lines that come from living outside. It’s only taken four days to completely forget which wrist it’s on at any given time or day. So while speeding along at 20mph, I’ve got a 50/50 chance of finding out the time. I somehow always guess wrong. These self-sabotaging brain fucks eventually come around to metaphorically ride alongside the physical demands my inflamed corpse is enduring. For some reason, my University at Buffalo classes in calculus comes to mind – specifically whether there’s a value of infinity as it is approached by the ohm frequency. Mmm. Math. I must be going crazy.
Time travel way back to when I was sleeping like a champ. Last night. So. I’m sleeping like a champ. Then the rain stops, the sun comes up and I’m making coffee on the jet boil for the first time this year. Hell yeah. Uno dos tres. We rip out of the campsite with a tailwind from the ghost of Dewitt Clinton. Locks on locks on locks. History lessons later. Or just read Wikipedia please. But we’re moving along in what I’m referring to the as the matrix formation. Keanu references aside, if you understand my second calculus let it pour over in all that math nerdy goodness. Please and thank you.
Fun fact I must’ve missed: all roads lead to Rome. Who knew?! And also, I really did think Rome was built in a day, but now I’m being told I’ve been lied to – much like the lies my teacher told me about the American Indian Movement and the Black Panther Party. And also also, for some strange obnoxious reason my foreign friend keeps saying “when in Rome…”. What the fuck Daniel? I secretly start questioning if maybe he’s really French. Or Russian? Whatever that would mean. I dunno. Either way we’re taking one of the roads (out of apparently every road in existence) to Rome but it’s actually an off road path the whole stretch. So what does that really tell us about cliches? We take a well earned midday break for coffee, food and electrical outlets at a place suggested by some guy driving around with his pickup tailboard down. Later he’d pop up on the other side of town yelling at us out of his truck asking how our lunch was. Weird. Nice. But weird. Lunch was meh, btw.
The trail continues out of Rome to Utica, but beyond that we’re headed back onto Route 5 for the second time. 23 fucking straight miles of it. Shit shows ensue. Enormous metallic robots come whizzing by us; they have all sorts of space issues. An all out assault on all four of our lives from truckers and trailers and motorcycles – all taking different levels of care for our life and personal safety. Several of them don’t give me my six fucking feet and I’m ready to start a pandemic riot over it. But the extreme heat has cooled and we still have a wonderful tailwind so we suck it up and bust ass across multiple lanes and highway interchanges, finally finding refuge at a Walmart. I grab some tire levers for Damon. He fills up some water for us. Judging by all the social distance arrows on the floor, I’m fairly fucking certain that my planned revolution would have succeeded here.
A little more death dodging and we arrive into Little Falls, NY. It’s labeled as a city. It’s gorgeous. And it charms the shit out of us. We see ice cream. We stop. We get ice cream. They even have vegan ice cream for Damon. And fucking pistacho. I love pistacho ice cream. I get some all over my face and shirt, while receiving an impromptu tour of historical facts on the area from a cute redhead who’s running things at the now converted old stone mill. She’s really on top of her shit. There’s an annual garlic festival here in September: “eat, stink and be merry.” Stinking like garlic would probably be an improvement on my current smell.
After the ice cream we slowly roll a few more miles to the Herkimer House. We decide to set up camp here. It’s fantastic. Daniel pulls out a machete, so I chop wood. We light a fire to keeps the bugs out. I get my campsite mixology on and whip up some ginger honey rum cocktails, when I pass it to Daniel, I look over to see him swing and chop open his packet of gourmet Himalayan lentils with the machete. Yesterday it was linguine Alfredo or something. I annoint him the Gordon Ramsey of herkimer house. For shits and giggles, I point to the dried pistacho drips on my shirt and yell at Chad about how these ice creams stains are mine and how possession is nine tenths of the law and so he better back the fuck off. Chad – who is a high school English teacher – just stares at me blankly, my passion for a good old weird time clearly going over his head. That, or being on summer vacation means he’s tuned out my childish antics. You can decide for yourself. After some chatting and eating and a drink and almost 80 miles today, I am ready to check out of the waking world well before total darkness. I lay down and between the trees above my tent I make out the Big Dipper in the evening sky. Happy face emoji.
The ground beneath my feet
I know was made for me
There is no any one place where I belong
My spirit’s meant to be free
And soon now everyone will see
Life was made for us to be what we wanna beGil Scott-Heron, It’s Your World