ROAD TRIP DAY ONE: DELAYS, DUI, AND THE UNIVERSE BEFORE US

So Stuart and I have returned from our road trip!

DAY ONE: DELAYS, DUI, AND THE UNIVERSE BEFORE US

Stuart’s car was in the shop for a few days before the trip, but he had been told that he would have it by the end of the day. We had been hoping that this meant noon-ish, but even two p.m. would have been acceptable. So when Stuart called the shop to see when he might pick it up, he was pretty surprised to hear that they hadn’t started to work on it yet and it probably wouldn’t be done that day. On the phone with me, Stuart said that the work could be done by the next day- did we want to leave then? I ranted a lot and finally said I’d rather leave on our planned day, because I’d given up covering a shift at work that night, and I didn’t want to sit at home knowing that I could be working. Stuart’s dad graciously offered his car for the trip and Stuart was at my place by seven. We were off.

Our first stop was Clarence Fahnestock State Park, where we were camping that night. But we hit some bumps along the way. The first was almost ending up in New York City. We missed an exit and, as anyone who has driven on a highway knows, that doomed us. All of the exits after the one we were meant to take led to New York, and there was no way out of it: we were going into the city.

This did not make either of us happy. Driving in cities is terrible, we were in a borrowed car, it was dark, and there was no place to pull over. The city, which I had just been admiring as a place of dreams, loomed in front of us, more threatening than dreamy. Finally, after taking an exit that looked promising, we found our way. Unfortunately, our near-foray into New York (as well as our stop for dinner) added nearly an hour to our journey, and we were very tired. This apparently showed in Stuart’s driving, because as we made our way down the highway, a cop car suddenly pulled out behind us and began to chase us, lights whirling. Neither of us had ever been pulled over before, and there are few words to describe the fear I felt in my heart. The worst part was, we had no idea what we had done. Stuart had just set the cruise control on the car, so we hadn’t been speeding and, well… what else could we be being pulled over for?

DUI, as it turns out. I guess in his tiredness, Stuart hadn’t been staying exactly between the lines, enough to convince the cop that there might have been some bottle-hitting before road-hitting. However, as soon as he and Stuart started talking, I think it was pretty apparent that the only thing leaking from our pores was terror, and he let us go without any trouble. As soon as we started driving again, I began to laugh, because what else was there to do?
Because of all of this, we didn’t pull into the park until nearly midnight. We found an empty camping site and, by the glow of the car headlights, set up the tent. It was a pretty impressive job considering that there were lots of small pieces, and we used rocks as makeshift hammers.

We laid down to sleep, but then Stuart suggested that we stargaze. We had noticed the vibrancy of the stars as we set up the tent, but without the car headlights and the little light around us in general, the sight was just amazing. I’ve never actually seen the Milky Way in the sky in person, but I saw it that night, and it was incredible. I’ve never seen a sky so ablaze with stars and it left me in awe. I thought I couldn’t be more impressed until I saw something bright streak across the sky. “Was that what I thought it was?” I asked Stuart. It was, and it wasn’t the only shooting star we saw that night. I used to think that I’d seen shooting stars before that night, but now that I have, I think those were the first; they’re pretty unmistakable. Finally, when our necks hurt too much to keep gazing upwards, we retired to our sleeping bags. The tent lasted us the night without any trouble, it didn’t rain, and we got a good night’s sleep. A successful night, I think.

Tomorrow, tales of Wednesday!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Jul 28, 2012 @ 10:03:46

    New York police (at least the state police) seem to have it out for Etowners. You heard that we got pulled over because sooooomeone was speeding on the group trip to RIT, right? (Though he *did* deserve it, he was going like 15 over).

    Reply

  2. Stuart
    Jul 29, 2012 @ 09:50:24

    Fabulous! But you forgot the part where I left my wallet on the hood of the car while zipping the car keys into my sleeping bag in paranoia.

    Reply

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