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101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


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1998-08-19 - 20:22:34

The End

American Road Trip: The End

THE REST OF THE TRIP, THURSDAY, AUGUST 13 TO WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, PEMBROKE, MASS., AND WHITEFIELD, ME. — “COULD ANYTHING BE FINER?” — No. — “COULD WE EVER FEEL PHINER?” Following the traveling Phish phans across New York. Utica rest stopand hippies in VW campers — all from Georgia, Florida, Ohio, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, more. Long beards, dredlocks, handmade shirts and dresses — as if Woodstock were happening again — tomorrow. Walking barefoot — into the buildings too — so to feel the Earth, man. Brushing teeth and washing feet in restroom sinks. Just chill, dude.

Just like Steinbeck passed over writing about Chicago because his wife came out and it was a break from the trip, I have very little to say about visiting Bryan in Massachusetts and Barb, John, Kate, Chris, Mom, Dad and Jess in Maine. The trip really ended when I got to Bryan’s. Maine was a vacation from my vacation, from all that went on in South Bend with the Tribune and my thoughts about Michelle. I even left Maine a day early to get home before everyone and to finish the drive myself. Maine was familiar to me, too, a place I’ve visited since before I can remember. There were really no adventures in the context of the whole trip to add. We did things we usually do in Maine — made great dinners, ate out, shopped, swam in the river and at the lake, drove to Camden and Damarriscotta. In Massachusetts, I saw Bryan’s office and we had dinner in the North End and a few drinks in the Oldest Pub in America. On Saturday, before I left, we saw There’s Something About Mary and it was hilarious. But there isn’t much else to say about the visiting in those two places.

Michelle kissed me last night — well, in a dream. I sit there, on the floor, my back leaning on a couch or something and her head in my lap. My hand gently caresses her skin — cheeks, neck, stomach, like drunken pancake night. She turns to me, smiles, and pulls my head down to hers and kisses me — first simple, then deep and intense — All her doing, in the dream, which is, of course, mine.

I left Maine on the 19th to get home a day before the folks, partly to finish the trip by myself, unescorted, and unaided in the drive. After 9,654 miles, I was home. A few weeks later, and the car still isn’t completely unpacked. It’s hardly been driven, too, because it sits at the top of the driveway with three other cars blocking its way. Rarely are all four of us out at the same time, necessitating the use of the ‘Vo.

Driving home, I noticed Maine’s helpfulness along the road. They’ve placed signs reminding motorists of certain courtesies and helpful hints for driving — REDUCE SPEED IN RAIN AND FOG; LOOK BEFORE CHANGING LANES; IS YOUR SEAT BELT FASTENED? — and more, just to be sure the drivers know what’s up. Surely won’t find that in Ohio or Massachusetts.

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