Children, Hiking, Travel

Home Again

After five days of all the dogs you could ever hope to pet, I am home. Yesterday I left Gettysburg and drove around the south side of Harrisburg to meet Pure Luck on PA 645. “I’ll be waiting on the ridge,” he said. As I exited Route 78, PA 645 wended its way through the country, then took a sharp turn uphill. Just as I reached the top, wondering if the car was going to make it (the Check Engine light decided to blink in and out yesterday and today–I’m planning a mechanic’s intervention on Monday), I saw one of those yellow signs on the side of the road, the sort that usually features a leaping deer, or in Maine, a moose. This one had a pair of hikers. Yes, I had reached the “Hiker Crossing.” And there was Pure Luck, who had been resting and reading for part of the afternoon.

We found a place to stay, got dinner at the Gooseberry Farms Family Restaurant in Pine Grove, did Pure Luck’s laundry and shopping, and just generally enjoyed each other’s company. This morning I dropped him back on the trail early and took off for Middletown to pick up #1 Son. His belongings were all on the grass awaiting me, and I knew as soon as I looked at the size of his refrigerator that it wouldn’t all fit in the back of my station wagon. (Oh, for the days when mothers drove those gigantic Ford Country Squire wagons! The Volvo has better fuel economy, but not so much space inside.) We ended up leaving the rug behind.

Hours later, as we crossed the bridge from New Hampshire, we rolled our windows down and celebrated returning to Maine! I have come to appreciate many things about our home while spending the week away:

First, although I was in a beautiful area of Pennsylvania, my hair and Pennsylvania water do not coexist peacefully. It feels like straw. My hair, that is.

Second, I can’t tell you how good it is to live in a state where there is no need for a non-smoking section in a restaurant, since you can’t smoke in them at all. To get to dinner last night, we had to traverse an area with air so stale I couldn’t breathe it. When we returned there at the crack of dawn hoping to get a quick breakfast and saw the non-smoking section was closed off, we went to McDonald’s instead.

Third, recycling of soda bottles is the norm here. We’ll say no more about it.

Fourth, my dog convention roommate from New Jersey told me that her county employs attendants to monitor dog parks; without someone on duty, people won’t pick up their own dog’s poo. Here, most of us see to it ourselves without being reminded.

Tonight we are eating our favorite pizza in the world (City By the Sea Pie Company) and later we will catch up on our favorite TV show, Lost. Tomorrow we’ll get to hear the Little Princess sing in her choral group’s spring concert.

It’s weird to be home and see Pure Luck’s car in the driveway and think of him far away sleeping on the ground somewhere in the woods and hills of Pennsylvania. He’s been calling in on the cellphone, but we haven’t heard from him tonight; probably no signal where he is. I’ll be posting his first week of journal entries on his blog over the next few days, and we should have pictures by Tuesday.