I spent the night in Barrington, Rhode Island, in the backyard of my childhood friend's house.
I headed off to Pennsylvania the next morning, on what turned out to be a day filled with irritation, frustration, and some very definite thoughts of throwing in the towel. One of the things I am struggling with is the long list of expectations I set for myself, most of it subconsciously, as it turns out, before I left Maine. Directions, maps...all of that is a giant pain in my behind right now. Maybe it's that I'm still in the Northeast where everything is jammed together and Google Maps has such a hard time keeping up with the turns that it actually stutters through directions, all the while screaming 'make a U-turn, make a U-turn!'
Sometimes you just have to cross the Tappan Zee Bridge three times in one day in order to let some of your built-in junk go. Some of this is part of my post-work brain still adjusting to remembering things without normal routines in place. In this case, it was that I was supposed to be headed west for a bit, and then not being able to navigate my way out of going back over the bridge in the world's largest U-turn ever after I headed east instead. In the middle of all of this nonsense I learned that my phone cannot simultaneously provide directions and play a podcast or it will simply shut down in overheated protest.
I have this very definite feeling that I should not need Google Maps, that I'm wasting money on data charges, that I should be able to read and use a map easily no matter where I am. This is not reasonable, at least not right now, and not in the congested area in which I'm currently traveling. It's stressful enough to have Google Maps giving me rapid fire turn-by-turn instructions, never mind referring to my own scribbled directions. The US atlas I have is great, but it's just not detailed enough to provide what I need right now.
I had this crazy moment as I was crossing the bridge in the right direction the second time when I felt so incredibly inept and that everyone around me just knew it. Primal fear, much? I am very good at being in control, at compartmentalizing, of knowing here I'm going and what I'm going to do. This whole trip is one long exercise in balancing that out. Welcome all, to the beginning of my unraveling!
After a lot of swearing and U-turning, I made it to Ringing Rocks Family Campground (Devon checked me in and was super nice!), located in Upper Black Eddy, PA near Ringing Rocks County Park, a place that made it onto my bucket list pretty early in the planning process for the trip.
I had 17 tent campsites to myself, which was pretty much exactly what I needed. I pulled my car apart again and repacked/reshuffled, then made myself a snack, poured a glass of wine, and sat down to peruse the atlas for a bit. It was 90 degrees and muggy, but the bugs were pretty much too exhausted to bother me, so it was nice. I think I just sat there for 2 hours, staring off into the trees and thinking about nothing in particular.
It was very peaceful until the weekend warriors started showing up. The gentleman in the camper behind my site spent 20 minutes leaf blowing. In the woods. I have no idea, don't ask.
I'm not all that fun when I'm hot and tired. I was good for 3 rounds of solitaire, but then the cards were too slidy and I got bored and cranky and altogether sick of myself. I went to bed at 7:00.
It started to rain during the night, so I popped up to get the rain fly on around 3:15. Once it quit in the morning I made myself the best cup of coffee ever and had some granola. Everything was a little damp, but I felt better after a ton of sleep and a hot shower.
After leaving the campground I headed to the park. It was very overcast and I had a big travel day planned, so I didn't spend much time there, but it felt right to start off a day of driving with a walk in the woods (note to self: new routine). I didn't have anything like a hammer with me to bang on the rocks and actually hear the ringing, but here's an awesome YouTube video of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star that was made there.
Unfortunately, there's a lot of graffiti in the park, but this one was pretty okay with me. A good reminder, right when I needed it.