The Road Part II (feat. Virginia) – Roadtrip: The ¡Gramango! Edition #5

Chapter 3
The Road Part II (feat. Virginia)

Mango

A couple days ago when the Fisher family and I were exploring resale barns and warehouses and the like, I mentioned that I saw gas station signs. One of these read Sinclair, and had a dinosaur on it. Dinosaurs are a favorite of my old college friend Mike who lives in Virginia, you may remember him if you read Running: How to Torture Yourself and Enjoy It. I haven’t talked to the man in a phat minute, but when I saw the sign I thought he would get a kick out of it, so I sent him a picture and we started texting back and forth. I mentioned I would be passing through Virginia and it would be awesome if I could stop for an overnight visit. With no hesitation he said yes, and that’s where I’m currently headed: a coastal city-town called Norfolk, Virginia. It’s more than a few hours out of my way, and all things considered this detour will probably pile an extra threeish hours on top of my already ridiculous drive, but to see an old friend? It’s unquestionably worth it. Besides, this means I only have to drive seven hours today instead of the full twelve. I’m all for it.

On the drive down here I was just a bumbling bundle of energy; I managed to fill up nearly three files on my phone’s notes app with random thoughts, I was rapping along to my music like I wrote the lyrics myself, at first I even attempted (albeit for about ten minutes) to keep track of what roads I took so I could accurately depict the journey in the book. Now, though, I have significantly less energy.

I suppose it’s because I know what to expect. The drive will be a gauntlet and nothing I can do will make it go by in an instant. Each passing hour will be more grueling than the next. What I’m really thinking about now is how to ration this food out so I’m not fighting hunger pangs the entire car trip. I have it all planned out: every forty-five minutes, I will eat something. A half a sandwich here, a granola bar there. Some celery after a while. A bottle of water, sure, I can eat the plastic. That counts as food. I have this rationing thing down pat!

Or so I thought; an hour and a half in (after I’ve burned through all my food), I realize my confidence may have been more seated in the mental realm than in the physical. Oh well, the important thing is that my body has fuel; it’s not like I will starve to death during the next five hours. It’s a quarter after twelve at this point, at around one or two I’ll stop and get some food at a Taco Bell if I can find one, probably fill up Bessy’s gas tank. Everything is going to be just fine, just have to stay on the bright side.

So like I said, on the drive down here I recorded a ton of notes to add to the book, but in putting the words to processor I chose to omit some of it, mostly for the sake of avoiding the truth of my mid-drive lunacy. One such note was an observation of the gross amount of garbage cluttering the sides of the highways. Driving down here, the grassy highway dividers were littered with more garbage than the pavement dividers were, but coming back up, the trend seems to be the opposite; the natural grassy dividers, as rare as they are, are fairly absent of garbage, while the artificial dividers are like landfills waiting to happen. I mention this because I just passed a couple of humans in jumpsuits cleaning up the litter. I’m sure they’re prisoners of some sort, and they’re likely being forced to do it, but it’s still a good thing they’re doing. I certainly appreciate them and their efforts.

Back home I’ll occasionally go out and fill a plastic bag or two with plastic garbage I pick up off the plastic road, although I’m vastly more likely to clean up the woods simply because I’m out hiking far more often than I’m out walking on the roads. It’s kind of fun, in a way, to clean up garbage; it’s assuredly a good deed, as in something you’ll feel good about yourself for doing, and even though you aren’t likely to receive any thanks, you know you’re brightening someone’s day. When I’m out and I see a mound of garbage piled up aside the road, my energy depresses a little bit. I do not know why intelligent human beings chuck their garbage out the window; maybe they aren’t aware that the garbage will continue to exist after it disappears from their field of view. Maybe they’re aware of it and they just choose not to think about it. Or, maybe they just plain don’t care. Regardless of why the garbage is chucked, though, if I go by that same spot a week later and the garbage isn’t there anymore, I take notice. It gives me a little boost, a little dose of faith in humanity, if you will. It makes me feel good to know other humans are taking care of the planet; we are the managers here, after all. Hu[man]agers.

That was reference to Running, the hu[man]agers bit. So sayith the book’s author, “If you haven’t, you should totally read Running: How To Torture Yourself And Enjoy It, even if you’re not into the whole running thing. At face value, yes, it’s a running book, but what it’s really about is how to upgrade yourself, how to evolve so you can overcome any hurdle that pops into your life, even those hurdles that seem impossibly tall, even those that drive fear into your heart every time you think about leaping over them.”

Fear is a funny thing: a powerful motivator on one hand, and on the other, a wall marked impenetrable.

At first, I was so terrified to release Running. The first chapter, called Running From My Problems, is the story of my life up to the publishing of [the first edition of] the book and how running helped me overcome certain challenges in my life I wouldn’t have overcome otherwise. I know that doesn’t sound too bad at face, but my life up to the point when the book was published involved a lot of, shall we say, less than stellar situations. In other words, in telling my story, I wrote about things that might make a general hypothetical reader feel uncomfortable, such as mental illness, a neurodegenerative disease and the conspiracy theories which surround it, a severe head injury, and to wrap it all up, a healthy dose of shamanic mumbo jumbo.

After that first chapter, though, it’s all uphill. I wrote about why running is good for the mind, body, and soul, I generated a training regimen to get the hypothetical reader started, I give tips and tricks for training and competing, some examples of workout ideas, I even interviewed a couple handfuls of runners to get their perspective on the sport. It’s all great. That first chapter is dark, though, so dark that I feared, upon reading it, one would throw my book down and not give the rest of it a chance. So dark that I feared, upon reading it, one might decide to never read anything I write again. It almost stopped me from publishing it.

But then again, of course the wall version of the feeling of fear is marked impenetrable, that’s exactly what fear wants you to think! There’s nothing to fear but fear itself, take it from me – I’ve danced with the devil beneath the pale moonlight more than once and at the end of the day, it’s not even death that humans are afraid of. It’s the feeling of fear. Crazy! Fear is a feeling, and the best way to eliminate a feeling is to dive into it, to face it with your teeth showing and either drive it off or strike it down altogether. So, I published the book, and not a lot of humans read it, and here I am writing another book not many humans will read. You know what? I’m happy doing it. Some might say I’m wasting my time, but to them I say, “Time is an illusion, bucko.”

Besides, it’s not like I’m really wasting my time. I could be, I don’t know, a prisoner sitting in one of the two inmate-transfer buses I just drove past. Now that would be a waste of my time!

At this point, I believe I’m about three hours in. Maybe I’m still in North Carolina, maybe I’ve crossed into Virginia. It’s not for me to know anymore; everything is just atoms anyway, I’m essentially a hamster running on a treadmill with a repeating background scrolling past me. Well, technically the background isn’t repeating, but… oh, you know what I mean. My back is aching to shreds, I’m bored, and the rap isn’t helping me anymore. I’m about to pass an undercover police officer who’s parked on the center divider now, he’s facing the other side of the highway.

Knowing there’s no way he can possibly hear me, I cockily say aloud, “Come on, motherfucker. Cross over the grass, come get me. I know you want to give my long-haired ass a ticket. Let’s get some.” Hah, what a punk that cop is. I really got one over on him just now.

Then, the funniest thing happens. He does exactly that. He pulls onto the road, onto my side of the road, throws his red and blues on, and ramps up his speed. I shrink down to the size of a grain of rice-shaped pasta. My heart skips beats. Although my hands are shaking and I have that weird staticky anxiety attack feeling coursing through my nervous system, I keep calm and maintain a respectable speed. I’m going like twenty over the speed limit, but like, so is everybody else. I’m just keeping up with the flow of traffic, that’s all.

I try to relax, I do, but my mind is racing at one thousand miles-per-minute imagining scenarios of me being pulled over and what it might entail. Maybe the police officer will be in a good mood and I’ll get a warning. Maybe she’ll pretend he smells drugs and force me out of the car. Maybe he’s not a real cop, just a serial killer, and she’ll force me to take a ride in his cruiser with her. Or… maybe he knows Mother and she’ll tell Her about the incident before I get the chance!  I’m literally sweating as I speak all this into my phone’s Notes app. I feel slightly light-headed and I have a general sense of malaise.

Little do I know, I’m not actually on the officer’s radar. He pulls over an SUV driving three or five cars behind me. All that worrying for nothing. I think I’m a little overtired.

After another hourish of driving, I pull into a Papa John’s that happens to be in the same plaza as a gas station. At first, I worry that the pumps might eject tomato sauce instead of gasoline, but I quickly realize how silly that would be and get over it. I fill the tank, pay with my card, and waddle inside the Papa John’s to ask the woman at the counter if they have a bathroom. Unfortunately, the sheer bulbosity of my bladder makes my voice come out at a very high pitch and she gives me a weird look for it, then points me in the right direction.

For every tank filled one must be emptied; all things now rest in equilibrium. I still haven’t eaten the Taco Bell but I’m not worried, I’m sure I’ll get my chance. I make to order a slice for the road but the worker’s spirit seems to have disintegrated from this reality, she’s nowhere to be found. I take that as a sign from the Universe to pass on the highway pizza and get back on the road.

Then, the Papa John’s explodes, bursting into a gigantic ball of black smoke and red fire, incinerating employees, patrons, seagulls, and everything else in a seventy-foot radius of the pizza ovens in the rough center of the building.

Just kidding, the next two hours of driving are extreme in their uneventfulness. I’m on one road that goes up and down a hill over and over for easily a hundred miles – with a speed limit of only forty-five miles per hour, it drags on like the opossum in the novel Ravens I read a month or two ago. Good book.

Anyway, two hours of unchanging scenery pass and I finally pull into the wrap-around parking lot of Mike’s apartment building. I find a parking spot that only slightly blocks a driveway and call Mike on my phone. The unit number he gave me is three digits long and all the numbers around me are four digits long. For all I know, I’m on the entirely wrong side of Virginia. Fortunately I don’t know shiitake from a mushroom and moments later, Mike comes walking around the corner. He greets me with three words: “What’s up, Jesus!”

Other humans occasionally remind me that I resemble Jesus. It does wonders for my budding god complex.

A cackling laughter grabs my attention from my laptop screen. I assume it came from G-Mah but she’s still dead asleep, face pressed flat against her tiled kitchen table, the grouted grooves imprinting a raised grid on her face. Mango, on the other paw, is sitting on Gram’s head now, claws dug in, ready for more.

We walk back to Mike’s apartment and even though years have passed, it’s like I just saw the dude yesterday. He takes me inside, introduces me to his girlfriend Brenna and his two cats Cali and Kiki, and shows me around the apartment. It isn’t massive, as he told me before we got inside, but it’s a nice spot, leagues larger than the front room of that multi-store boutique in Hendersonville.

“This place is great, man!” I tell him as we all plop down on the couch. “You guys have your own space, it’s way better than my dusty attic room in Mother’s house. This is an absolute win.”

After a few minutes of instigating the cats with a laser, the three of us make a run to Walmart to grab some essentials: potatoes (both sweet and bland), moving boxes (because they’ll soon be moving into a much bigger apartment), some alcohol for Mike and Bree, and, of course, the new Spiderman movie on BluRay that just happened to have released today. I’ve been dying to see the new Spiderman, too. The timing is impeccable.

I’m not sure how I notice, but Mango rolls her eyes at me as I’m reading. I look up just in time to watch her hover back into the air, pulling with her the locks of grandMother’s hair she has tangled in her claws. She turns to the cabinets, the ones above the SodaStream, and opens them, grabbing a bag of green stuff with her teeth before shutting the cabinet with her tail.

“Mango?” I ask with hesitation because I am speaking out loud to a floating cat. “What uh, whatcha got there?”

Mango floats over and drops her bag in front of me; thankfully she thought to seal it up so the contents don’t confetti about. I open the bag and take a sniff. It definitely doesn’t smell like the stuff the dude was selling in Hendersonville… but I feel like I know the smell. I sniff again… oh, shit, it’s a bag of catnip! I used to give this stuff to Milkshake, he adored it!

“Word!” I exclaim literally a half second before I find a pack of rolling papers buried among the leaves, the same brand Uncle Skylar uses to roll his left-handed cigarettes with. Before I can comment on the rolling papers, Mango grabs up the bag in her teeth and vanishes; her body and the bag’o’nip literally fade into the air and she’s gone like she was never here.

“Huh,” I say to myself.

The Walmart we go to is a Walmart on steroids. One could fit two or three Jersey Walmarts into this one, I don’t even mean that hyperbolically, and they sell alcohol here! I feel like a stranger in a foreign land.

The place is packed. Maybe it’s because I’m exhausted from the drive, but I keep finding myself standing in the way of other shoppers who are trying to get their groceries for the week. At one point, while Mike and Brenna are waterboarding a Walmart employee because he refused to disclose the location of the Spiderman BluRays, a guy who smells like a particularly happy skunk all dressed up in a black business suit with a purple tie grabs me beneath the shoulders, lifts me straight into the air, and places me down on the opposite side of him. As he’s taking something off the shelf I was apparently blocking him from, you know what he says to me? He says, “Christ, kid; you probably get in your own way.”

I’m almost offended, to be honest, but then I see he’s wearing a fedora that matches his suit and I choose to focus on that rather than on the fact he was able to lift me three feet in the air without showing any signs of strain. Mike and Brenna come back a few minutes later, Spiderman in hand, and Mike asks me why I look disheveled. I tell him a suited man who was just standing here a second ago told me I get in my own way. This garners a crooked look and not much else.

Eventually we fight our way out of Walmart and load up the car. I’m just about to suggest we get Taco Bell, but before I even get the chance, Mike announces he’ll be cooking a full steak dinner tonight. All cravings for locos tacos promptly vanish from my system. I didn’t even know Mike could cook, this should be interesting.

I hear a coughing coming from the porch. I look up, assuming grandMother went out for a smoke, but she’s still here at the table with me, knocked out and hardly breathing at all. I get up to stretch out my back and legs. Once I’m feeling limber, I tiptoe over to the bathroom and knock thrice. Through the crack under the door I can see that the lights are off, and I don’t immediately smell anything that burns the hairs out of my nose, but I decide not to disturb Uncle Bill anyway. Dude’s in there fighting a war most will never know anything about.

Stepping on the air above the floor so I don’t wake G-Mah up, I peek out into the screen porch and see Mango, sat upright like a human in grandMother’s spare wheelchair she keeps outside, with a catnip cigarette impaled on her single extended claw. She knows I’m here, I see her ears twitch when I say her name five times in a row, but the cat refuses to turn around and acknowledge my presence in her porch.

As I sit back down at the kitchen table, the glass of liquor stares at me so hard a framed picture hung next to the bathroom door falls off the wall. Despite this paragraph, I try not to notice.

Mike and Brenna start on dinner right when we get back. I offer to help but there’s not much I can do, so I find the red laser pointer and play with the cats while my hosts work their magic. The sounds of meat sizzling and popping dominate the atmosphere, I’m satiated by the aroma alone. As Mike smothers our steaks with pink sea salt and black pepper, I ask Brenna how she and Mike met. She tells me an adorable story of how they became friends early on in their Navy careers, then best friends, then suddenly they were living together. It’s been wonderful ever since. I’m very happy for them, they make a cute couple.

Before I know it, we’re all sitting on what might be the comfiest couch in the world and I have a plate topped with a steak, a fried egg, strips on strips of bacon, a buttery flakey biscuit, and another steak sitting in front of me. Mike throws on Spiderman and we get to work inhaling our food. Now I’m not normally an egg guy, as you know, but I’ll be goddamned if the steak, egg, and bacon slamwich I throw together on that biscuit isn’t the greatest thing I have ever eaten. No offense to the Fisher family, to Mother, to myself, to anybody who’s food I’ve eaten lately; this is the best tasting meal I’ve had in months. My boy can cook!

The Spiderman movie is fantastic, and afterwards, Mike and I stay up way too late shooting the shit and watching graphic animated shorts about robots who love and die on Netflix, just like old times. Around eleven o’clock, Mike mentions he has to wake at 0500 hours for work and that we should probably get to bed because when they leave, I have to dip out too. Very well; it was a short visit but a good one, I’ll definitely have to come back again soon. I spend both the remaining hour of night and a few hours of pre-sun morning on the couch drifting in and out of unconsciousness while the cats take turns walking across my body. I guess this is revenge for the laser pointer, so be it. Do your worst, felines. I raised a Milkshake.

The next morning is a groggy one, but I push on regardless. We say our goodbyes and go our separate ways. I’m actually amazed at how functional these two are at this most ungodly of morning hours, I can hardly muster the strength to fully open my left eye! My friends have about a forty-five-minute drive to work and I have about seven hours until I’m home. Best to get moving, droopy eyelid or not.

Oh, and lastly, “Thank you both for your service.”

The first leg of my drive is shrouded in early morning darkness. I ride alone over the expansive Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Flickering streetlights are the only barrier between myself and a swath of inky abyss. Then, I meet up with Bessy and we drive through the tunnels. For the most part, I don’t see any other vehicles until daybreak. I bet the view of the ocean from the bridge would have been spectacular too, if only I could have seen it. Oh well, I care about nothing except not being in this car right now.

The next five hours of my drive are truly grueling. I don’t eat a thing, I don’t drink a thing, I don’t even record any thoughts on my phone. I just do my best to zone out as much as possible, and to my own surprise, I am successful. I only come out of it when my gas light turns on; as I begin to look around for a gas station, lo and behold, I find a Citgo. What’s right across the street from that Citgo? A Rite Aid. And what, pray tell, is a single parking lot over from that Rite Aid?!? A Taco Bell. My time has come!!

I excitedly pull into the Citgo and fill Bessy up with an exhausted smile on my face. I can almost feel the crunch of the taco shells, taste the cheesy finger powder on the locos tacos. I’m here, I’m standing at the door reading the instructions on how to open it. All I have to do is pull.

I damn near leap across the street in my car and park in the Rite Aid parking lot to use the bathroom before I venture into Taco Bell. I love their food, but I’m not gonna sit here and pretend Taco Bell bathrooms are a happy, lovely place. This is satire, but come on.

After walking out of the Rite Aid feeling a couple pounds lighter, I come to a startling realization: there is a chain-link fence between the parking lot that I’m currently in and the parking lot the Taco Bell reigns supreme over.

‘That’s all right!’  I neurotically scream to myself inside my head. ‘I can just hop the fence! No biggie!’

So I do just that, I waltz myself over and vault the fence in broad daylight, I circumnavigate the drive-through area, and I find the front door. It is at this point when death herself looks me in the eye and snickers. The dust from her rotten teeth soils the very air I breathe. The Taco Bell doesn’t open for another hour and a half.

I am overcome with despair, tossed into a dead world of dashed hopes and dreams, crushed into nightmare powder to be snorted by Mephisto and his demonic little cohorts.

Hauling myself back over the fence and sulking to my car, I take one last look at the glorious Taco Bell before starting Bessy up and getting back on the road. Only threeish hours left until I’m home, there won’t be any more rest stops. No more detours. My next stop is Mother’s house, my home. It looks like I won’t be getting my Taco Bell after all…

The old back and neck pain rear their grotesque, snaggle-toofed grins almost immediately. A couple miles later, my stomach begins to sing the song of its ancestors. My CD player keeps skipping on my favorite song off Wrekonize’s The War Within. I’m about ready to pull my Galil out and make Bessy feel it, bonus points if you caught that reference. (It’s a song on the album, my favorite song to be exact. (The one I mentioned just now, the one that kept skipping. (Without this background info the reference sounds like sexual innuendo, so I felt the need to put this in here. (This is more of a reflection of my mental state when I was driving than anything, I don’t actually think the hypothetical readers of this book are going to assume I’m having sex with my car, that would be inane. (This is a book, not reality TV. (How many monkeys does it take to close a parenthesis?))))))

On top of all that nonsense, I am about to cross the Delaware Bridge, which of course means I’m going to have to pay another toll. It really drives me insane to be forced to pay the government to drive on certain specific roads and bridges, roads and bridges one must drive on to get to where one’s going. It’s quite obvious to me that the government is a corporate ass-licker out only to pay its members, its in-crowd if you will, and not a benevolent ruling body who loves its subjects. I mean really, any and all interaction with the government, with any governing body, should be an individual choice! It should be voluntary. You think the government is doing a good job? Great, pay them taxes, make the choice to donate your money to them. You think the government is doing a terrible job? Great, don’t give them a dime, let everyone else pay their salaries. You’ll probably have to do whatever they’re trying to accomplish by yourself, but chances are you’ll do a better job than they will. Especially when it comes to fixing roads – in New Jersey, the public roads are actual trash. Littered with literal litter and dotted by potholes big enough to swallow up a station wagon, if you’re not careful, you will literally break your car trying to pick your kids up from school. The workers the government hires to fix the roads usually aren’t even affected by them either, they just give the job to the lowest bid–

WE INTERRUPT THIS RANT TO BRING
YOU A BOOST TO YOUR FAITH IN

HUMANITY

“Huuunnh??” G-Mah rumbles as she picks her sleepy head up from the table. The right side of her face is slicked in drool and grout lines, and her seltzer bottle, dead empty, is knocked over in front of her. Mango, still smoking catnip out on the porch, hears her human wake up and comes right in, doesn’t even close the door behind her.

“Well good afternoon, madame!” I trumpet, trying to be funny or polite or something, I don’t even know.

“What?” Gram says, looking at me as if she doesn’t know who I am. “Oh, right, you’re visiting me today, honeybun. And you were reading… RIGHT! Is the book done? Was that Roadtrip?”

I chuckle. “Almost, Gram. You fell asleep for a little while, but you didn’t miss much. We’re almost to the end of the last chap–”

“Wooo-hooooo!” G-Mah bellows, clapping her hands together and doing a lil’ jig in her wheelchair. She goes to turn herself around, then spots the bottle of liquor on the table and stops herself. Then, “I’ll drink to that! Great job hun, I loved it. It was very good. Are you ready to drink with Grandma yet?”

“You didn’t let me finish, Gram!”

I turn the laptop around and show her how much is left of this chapter, then I show her the Postface. The smile fades from her eyes as she pours straight liquor into her seltzer bottle, filling it to the lip. She then caps it shut, peels off the label, uncaps, and then resumes drinking, which I think is kind of interesting.

“Are you ready to keep goin’, Gram?” I attempt.

grandMother, instead of answering, continues to drink. Mango moseys back out to the porch to roll up another left-pawed niparette.

The guy ahead of me paid my toll, and the toll for the next four cars behind me. He just… he gave the toll collector a large bill, said Pay the rest of these peasants’ fees, and went on with his life. I’m so absolutely overcome with joy, with love for my fellow human, that I don’t even remember what I was writing about before. Happy day! I don’t know who that guy was, but whoever you are, if you happen to read this book… thank you. Sincerely. God bless you. I’m not going to pay it forward in any recognizable way, but god bless you.

I can feel the energy shift as soon as I enter Jersey. Down south, everything moves three octaves slower; the breeze blows more gently, the residents aren’t so quick to judge, everything is more peaceful. Up here, everything moves fast, I can literally feelit when I cross the state line. Maybe I’m anxious to be home. Maybe I’m stir-crazy from sitting in this car all day. Maybe I’m normal crazy and my mind is playing tricks on me… or maybe I’m tapped into some metaphysical plane and I can sense things others cannot. Who’s to say for sure?

I hit Jersey’s southernmost tollbooth, get my ticket, then cruise the turnpike up the body of the state without making one single stop. My toll is nearly fourteen dollars by the time I get off the highway. I am so ready to be out of the car that money is no longer real to me.

Slowly, the roads regain familiarity. Route 23, 287, take the next exit for Oakland, then… wait, Oakland? Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s taking me through Oakland!

Oakland is the next town over from Ringwood on the Bergen side. Along the New York border of New Jersey are three counties: Sussex, Passaic, and Bergen. Sussex is rural; lots of farms, they throw a county fair every summer, it’s very homey. Bergen County is where the wealthier Jersians live; McMansions, privilege, and exotic foreign cars as far as the eye can see. Passaic, my home, is caught somewhere in the middle. We aren’t all farmers, and some of the Passaiians have money and big houses, but there’s more than a good chance those same Passaiians hunt and eat squirrels. Do with that what you will.

The reason Oakland is sticking out to me right now is because nestled in the heart of the town is the very place I’ve been trying to go ever since I embarked on this roadtrip. Right off the side of the main street, standing proudly at the end of a small shopping center, is a KFC/Taco Bell. Both of the restaurants, if you’d be kind enough to call them that, combined into one storefront. Home is only twenty minutes away and my fuckit bucket has been empty for quite some time now. You know what that means, hypothetical reader?

I’m getting my godforsaken Taco Bell.

The line is long, but I don’t care. The wait is tenuous, but I don’t mind. All the tables inside are full, but that’s all right. I have been in my car for more than twenty-four hours over the past week, I can eat one more meal in here without keeling over.

And eat I do – usually when one eats Taco Bell the innards of the taco spill out of the shell, but not today. I eviscerate that delicious mystery meat, I destroy the Baja sugar solution, I fill my stomach so quickly that I feel it expand farther than the Grinch’s heart after he discovered the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas. I can happily report I accomplished all my missions for the roadtrip. Hallelujah.

The next twenty minutes flash by in the blink of an eye. I cruise over Skyline Drive, take County Road 511 (that is Greenwood Lake Turnpike for the motley fools who do not know) to the Monksville Dam, soak up the view of the reservoir where all fish but few catch, and finally I’m home. I unload my luggage, plop it down in my room, change into a different pair of jeans dotted with more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese, strap on a belt, and set off for the woods.

I made it home. After the most fatiguing drive of my life, I made it home. The roadtrip is complete. Yes, I need to write the book yet, but I’ll climb that mountain another day. For right now, the trees are calling to me – I have a much more physical mountain to climb.


This has been chapter 3 of the book Roadtrip: The ¡Gramango! Edition. Here is everything you need to know about it:

Roadtrip
The ¡Gramango! Edition

  • A satirical travel novella about an author reading the actual travel novella to his grandmother
  • Book stats:
    – 202 pages
    – 37,117 words
    – Spiral: The Highest One Writing | Arc: II
    – Series: W-63 | Entry: 2
    – Revision Date: June 10, 2021
  • Click here to read the book for free
  • Buy from Amazon:
    eBook: $2.50
    Paperback: $5.46
  • Buy from The Hillside Commons:
    Signed Paperback: $14.00

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

The Hillside Commons has a Facebook page, too. Here’s that.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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