In which Nutty and Fruity Moose begin their wild September adventure!
Today’s adventures consist mainly of non-adventurous driving, and are actually only a half-day’s worth to boot, since we did not leave Jessup until nearly 7:00pm. We didn’t cross into Maine until sometime after midnight, which means that September 7 is considered the true starting point of the Maine portion of our trip. But the journey is always part of the fun (at least on the way out), so I have spared a few moments and some space to write about it.
I had worked all morning, so as to avoid taking an extra vacation day and to wrap up any loose ends that might remain. The morning passed easily enough, followed by an interminable afternoon. At 4:30pm, I recall feeling the same as I’d felt in high school when the last buzzer of the day rang at 3:20 for dismissal. I shot out of that confined space, navigated through the swarming traffic onto the Interstate, and was home by 5:00. With just a few items left to pack, I was ready in just over an hour, and Rich pulled in the driveway just before 7:00pm, not a moment too soon.
Rich packed all my various bags and sacks and loose items expertly and swiftly into various corners and crannies of his Outback. (He could probably pack a moose inside a refrigerator box, as long as he could get it to tilt its head down just so!)
Speaking of moose — and there is to be an awful lot of moose-speak on the adventure to follow — mooses of the sweet chocolate variety provided us with a quick snack before leaving. As a quick surprise the day before I had baked two small pans of brownies, filled one with walnuts and the other with dried cherries, and used my moose cookie cutter to cut moose-shapes out of the middle of each pan. Rich was as amused as I thought he’d be, and seeing his smile started my journey on the perfect note. We took a few bites each of our mooses, detaching antlers from heads and saving the rumps in a plastic bag for later, before embarking.
The drive was unadventurous, as we always hope our drives will be. Traffic was relatively light, even in the trouble spots. Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT, the traditional third-of-the-way refuel spot, was unchanged from the previous two years. We enjoyed our potato pancakes with applesauce and sour cream (had to get a second order of those!), a bagel with veggie cream cheese for me, and brisket (“tasty, but a little too fatty”) for Rich. A couple from Tucson sat at the table next to us, and we kept commenting on how they should take us back with them. (I don’t think they heard, or else they were just ignoring our pleas.) As we ate, we talked about a program Rich had heard about the animals at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, and we discussed our previous southwest adventure with a touch of sorrow that it’s already so many months behind us. But a new adventure awaited, which we also discussed with great eagerness and anticipation. We were back on the highway again, headed north, by 11:30pm. Midnight passed while we were somewhere in Massachusetts.