Hiker Meet-Ups

It Seemed Like a Good Idea…

…at the time.

Just a quick trip from Maine to New Jersey, stopping in Brewster, NY, to put #1 Son on a train to Manhattan, then whisking across the Tappan Zee Bridge–

yes, let’s just stop right there.

First of all, #1 Son, who denies having anything to do with the gum in the washing machine, is going to a grown-up party, and much effort was expended to get the right outfit together. His friend told him “dressy casual,” but the invitation from her parents actually read “festive attire.” The Father of My Children contributed a good-looking herringbone jacket (loaned) and a shirt (given); they shopped for a new pair of khakis; and I helped him polish up shoes and iron things that needed it. All these items were carefully packed in a suitbag (also loaned by TFoMC).

We’re about 30 minutes south of home on the Maine Turnpike when I say, jokingly, “You have everything, right?”

He replies, looking stricken, “No, I don’t!”

“You’re kidding!”


Turn around at next exit and head for home; retrieve party clothes; change cars because the ETS light in my Volvo keeps coming on and off; pack everything in Pure Luck’s fabulous Mazda Protege; get on the road again.

We are now about an hour and ten minutes behind schedule.

Two hours into The Trip 2.0, we get a call from Pure Luck, who has already reached the meeting point we had set for later in the day. He sounds grumpy, and even moreso when he hears we are running behind.

Two more hours go by, and we make it to Brewster by the skin of our collective teeth to find the Metro North train station. I leave the boy on his way up to the platform, where a stranger is offering to show him the ticket machine. And although he is 19 years old in the eyes of the world, in my eyes he is about 4 and surely will be robbed and tossed onto the track as soon as I turn my back.

I drive away trying to focus on what lies ahead–a night with my beloved!

Almost immediately I am in horrifying traffic, because by now it’s after 3 on Friday afternoon.

Did I mention that the Mazda is a standard?

I am at the highest point on the Tappan Zee Bridge, sitting absolutely still in bumper-to-bumper mayhem, when I remember my mother’s morbid fear of bridges. I begin to develop one myself. I imagine the entire bridge collapsing into the Hudson River. This is not like me. I eventually inhale and begin to feel better.

On 287, the traffic clears up a bit. You may be able to guess that the hold-up was entirely to do with rubbernecking an accident on the other side of the road.

I get to Route 80 and take the West exit. I enter a five-lane westbound parking lot.

By now Pure Luck has hiked across a ridge, back to a town in the valley below, a charming hamlet called Blairstown. He calls to tell me how nice the people are, but he still sounds grumpy about the delay.

Did I mention that the Mazda is a standard?

I ask him if he is planning to get along with me once I arrive…

Legs sore from the stick-shift waltz, I finally get to Exit 12 and head north to Blairstown, where I find Pure Luck standing in a parking lot, wearing flip-flops and hiking socks and a the frightfully orange hat in the picture below. His beard is coming in nicely.

We set out down Route 94 in search of dinner, since he assures me that Blairstown is a yuppie haven and has nothing available except wine and cheese. We drive toward Newton, which is the largest close-by town according to the New Jersey Atlas and Gazetteer specially purchased at the DeLorme map store since the original meeting location was so obscure. We fail to find a place to stay and eat dinner in one of the ickiest Pizza Huts in the world. (I swear I am not exaggerating.)

At least I’m not driving anymore.

We drive south on 206, as advised by the waitress, get lost at the junction of 206 and 80, but eventually find our way to a Days Inn in Ledgewood, where I do hiker laundry and we both finally get into better moods.

This morning there was a long drive out to the trail through the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area, including the charming Olde Millbrook Village. We cross a ridge, then go back up the other side. At the Trail we take some pictures, and I am pleased to see a wild turkey cross the Trail!! (Pure Luck is amused at my delight in the turkey.)

We say our goodbyes.

I drive down from the ridge, then up and over it a mile away, down into Yuppie Blairstown, where I buy a cup of coffee, a cookie and a book (The Mermaid’s Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd, which is probably going to knock all my other books down the list a bit). He was right. The people are very friendly. I have a conversation with a young mother who is nervous about leaving her baby to drive to Philly for a graduation party. I recount the first time I left #1 Son long enough that a bottle would be necessary and assure her that he survived and is now in college. I don’t tell her about the gum or the party clothes.

I am still a long way from home. It’s 10:10 a.m. when I get back in the car.

Let’s just fast-forward past the car accident being rubbernecked just before the Tappan Zee bridge (once again on the other side), the near-miss on 684 when I thought I was at the exit and wasn’t yet, the Cappuchillo at Ben and Jerry’s in the Charlton Plaza which is *so* not included in my “Eat No Crap” food plan, and the rain that prevailed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

I had to pick the dogs up by 5. I retrieved the Little Princess, changed cars again and got to the kennel at 4:50. Then we had to go to a supper at church, where #2 Son was already washing the dishes. After a hearty roast beef feast we came home…
…where I started looking for a hotel room for next Friday, when we do it all again.

Did I mention that next Friday is the beginning of a three-day-weekend?