Sunday, July 11, 2010

Newport or Bust

Waking up around noon, it was decided that something needed to be done with the day. But – first? We'd need to figure out what tomorrow, and tomorrow's tomorrows would hold.

It's all fine and well to sit around a lovely place, that's costing us nothing, with high speed internet access (Dr. Who – caught up with! True Blood? Ready to go.) and think about what we'll be doing today – but soon the time to move on will be with us. And where do we go? The planning sheet says Boston. The fifty dollar camp sites, and the one hundred dollar motels say – you know what, forget about Boston. That would make a lovely trip in the future, wouldn't it? Close enough and beautiful enough to be it's own dedicated hop.

After far too long of internet searching, and freaking out, and price checking, and all that fun stuff our next few days were put together.

(N for night/sleep, D for day)
11N Scranton
12D Gettysburg
12N New Cumberland
13D Philadelphia
13N Absecon
14D Atlantic City
14N Newark, DE
15D Baltimore
14N Washington DC / Alexandria

What made this difficult to plan was the fact that there is no cheap way to see D.C. Our Lonely Planet has nothing about camping, and it also doesn't mention anything about how if you stay in Alexandria, how to quickly commute to DC without a car. Dear Lonely Planet – why are you so crap these days? Never again.

You know I want to take road trip – that's why you have a map with various routes highlighted for such occasions. But the average traveller who wants to take a big road trip across America can not afford the 150.00 motels you suggest. Camp sites – just saying, way at the back, there was state parks throughout the country, does not help me! Remember when you used to care about budget travellers? Sigh – those were good times.

Still – we had made a new route, bypassing all of the Boston area which was to be our next hop. Looks like we really are headed clockwise without much backtracking.

I can honestly say that I really dislike planning for travel. While on the road hostelling, I would only have to figure something out every week or so. But here, now, it's going to be a daily battle to find shelter that doesn't bust the bank. But – I won't be alone in doing it. Not having a place to stay when you're alone? that's a potentially terrifying an upsetting experience. Doing the same with a partner? Well then it's an adventure.

When the dust had finally settled, we decided enough of the day had been wasted. It was time to head out into the cloudy, rainy day, and discover what this Newport place was all about.

Known as a beach town, Newport is an hour from Providence. This makes it “vacation territory” for many of the R.I. locals. For us, it was a half day trip. Arriving in the town we drove past all the twenty dollar parking lots, and found some free street parking. Step one? Find a visitor's centre and grab a map. This took us through the historic district, home to the Gap, and a block away, Baby Gap – both historical parts of the town, I'm sure. The map we got said little in the way of what to do – just being a basic road map. The people working, however, sent us walking down a street, and then pointed out the beach two miles away.

We walked the main strip, looking down the piers where good food was said to live. I've walked some piers in my day, and saw no reason to do these. San Francisco has ruined me I think. In the way that when you see St. Paul's, you no longer need to see another church – when you've wandered SF's piers, there's little more any others can offer.

There was a pop cultural art gallery with a characterized bust of Bill Murray out front. This was enough to get me interested enough to peek inside. There were paintings, and posters, and sculptures, and t-shirts all depicting stylized versions of celebrities in their famous movie roles. The shirts were only twenty three bucks. And for something this unique, they were almost worth it.

Had I not dropped so much money lately, I might have been keen to buy one. But as it stands I wasn't in the right mind space. Maybe a few weeks from now. Maybe by the time we're in their flagship gallery in Florida. Lucky.

Then it was off to the beach. We walked half way there before we realized that our two hour parking would be up by the time we made it there and back. Two miles is a big further, doubled up, than the two K I was still thinking in.

There was a free lot by the beach, which offered convenient access to the Cliff walk, showing you the back yards of lovely homes while over looking the beach. If I were here on my own? I would have felt the urge to go do it, for something to do. As it was, I was content to pull the two folding chairs from the back of the car, set them up on the beach, and read volume two of Scott Pilgrim, while Katherine got to work on the first one.

I should have read these books long ago – as they're based very much in Toronto, and as I would have been the right age group when they came out. Also, the earlier prints may not have cut off the letters at the extreme edges of the page. But, it has taken this long. The final volume is soon to come out. Only one is released a year. On that note, I'm glad I'm only starting now – I'd hate for this random nonsensical bouncing around narrative to be interrupted by so long that I'd have to read the whole thing over for the next volume to make sense. That's what I have Eva for.

At any rate, I'll finish before the movie and game come out.

We watched the waves come in, and go out, coloured blood red. I can only guess this is from the algae or some sort of aquatic plant. Then again, maybe the sharks were busy?

With the books just finished the first drop of rain fell. Back into the car, everything went, and back home for a final night. Laundry was done, gear was packed, final internetting – internetted. And that was that. Soon it will be Good-bye Rhode Island hello Penn state.

Normally I'd be upset with transitions, leaving one home in search of a new one. But I'm not – not anymore. As terrible as I feel putting it to words, it's true – this time my “home” is travelling with me.

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