I get up and drink earl gray tea and eat rice chex and read maps and use the internet until an hour after I originally meant to leave. I wake up a sleepy Nan in order to hug him and bid him farewell. Packing up my truck takes no time at all and then I'm driving, taking a wrong turn, trying to turn back around and failing, then finally driving eastward on the proper road again.
I spend about 3 hours on I-70 before I'm too sleepy to really continue driving safely, and I pull over into a rest stop and devise a way to lie down across my two front seats without crushing any of my things or any part of my body. I have a pillow, blankets, and stuffed animals to make it easier on me. It's a tight squeeze by the steering wheel (I have short legs, okay?!) but I manage just fine. I think I sleep about two hours, and when I awaken it's softly drizzling outside.
That drizzle takes its time and then becomes a full on *rain*. It gets dark really early in the afternoon, and I drive through the rain listening to my terrible audiobook and every once in a while making sarcastic remarks at it. In Columbus the crumbling roads writhe like snakes amidst its raw, smoking industry, factories and warehouses lit up by the sickly glow of streetlamps--by the fierce, ascetic glare of headlights. Traffic is thick as the rain, which sloshes across the road and reflects light just-so to confuse the placement of the markings painted there. In the distance a great orange flame rises over all, spitting and howling at the storm with long tongues of furious fire.
I pass through a small piece of Pennsylvania, lake Erie to my left, and before I reach New York the rain has become a snowstorm, sleet flying straight at my windshield like stars at warp speeds. I am on I-90 and the buildup of slush slows down the right lane to something like 40 mph--which is, according to me and the others in that lane, the safest speed to travel in such conditions. Large trucks behind us disagree and roar by in the left lane much too fast, splashing my windshield with copious amounts of water and ice, rendering me blind for a good 30 seconds after each passing. The anxiety from trying to keep on course and safe on the slick roads reaches a tipping point within me, and soon I am bursting into fearful tears each time a truck passes. I turn on 4-wheel drive, but it only helps steady me so much. There's nowhere to stop out here; and besides, the plan was to reach Waterloo tonight. As soon as I am able to get off I-90 onto route 20, away from the dangerous trucks that are making me cry, I do so. Added bonus: no tolls this way.
I'm losing no time by taking this 45 mph road instead of the interstate because either here or there the only safe speed is around 30 anyway. I crawl along and keep changing the CDs in my audiobook as they complete themselves. The book has created a very scary, awesome villain I find interesting, only to somehow forget about her until the very last climactic scene. It is not good storytelling. Feels like something a promising young middle schooler would've written: shows promise, but needs much work.
There is an accident up ahead. A bad one that blocks the entire road. Someone is standing there, makes me roll down my window, tells me to turn around. I do my best. What now? I can't go back to I-90, I can't... my wheels slip on some ice and send me sliding sideways across the road. Lucky no one was coming. I go back into the last town I'd passed, stop and check my map. I can go on east 5 past the accident, and then east 5 will join east 20 right into Waterloo. I go that way, passing through town after thickly-frosted town. It is hard to see through the reflection of my headlights on the falling snow, but soon enough it is not snowing at all.
My audiobook finishes and I take out the 13th disc. I wonder if it's even worth giving away, or if I should simply toss it later. Hmm.
I reach Geneva late at night, past midnight by at least an hour or two. I am going to look at the cabin in Waterloo early tuesday morning... I can't bring myself to pay $50 for a motel for so little sleep. I find a parking lot by a lake and park there... near to a porta-potty in case I need to pee at night. I fill up my car with as much warmth as I can before turning it off, wrapping up in two blankets across the front seat, and conking out, exhausted by the stress of driving in the snow and past an accident that very well could have been me.
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. I jolt awake. Someone is rapping at my window and shining a flashlight at me. There are two police cars, lights flashing. My heart is racing from the shock of it.
I open the passenger door. An officer waits as I sleepily paw through my purse and pockets for my driver's license. Apparently this park closes at 10, and I am trespassing. I tell him the full truth of what happened. I am young, innocent, cute, naive. When he establishes thru running my license that I am not a wanted criminal, he tells me to put on my shoes and drive away. Try sleeping in the grocery store parking lot, he says. That's your best bet. Sleep there and buy something in the morning when they open. I nod gratefully and putter through Waterloo to the Tops in Seneca Falls, cranking the heat up high to replace all the heat lost by the open door. When I reach it I lie down again and sleep fitfully till sunrise, warm enough to keep my circulation going but too cold to sleep restfully.
I get up and go into Tops for breakfast, buying a package of turkey pepperoni and a strawberry/banana smoothie and eating them in the car with the engine running for warmth. At 0800 I call the cabin owners to confirm when I can come see it. How about 9, she says, and tells me how to get there. I go early and wait for her.
It is adorable. Small, but all I need, wood floors, wood walls, wood ceiling, wood bunk beds. It heats up quickly and stays toasty warm without too much trouble. My only issue is it has no oven, but she says the last tenants used a convection oven instead. It is reasonably clean, altho' I will need to clean beyond the immediately visible surfaces later. I run through my options in my head. This location is probably the closest to work, which is a straight shot from here up 96 to Lyons. Heat, electric, internet, all included in the bill. I ask when can I move in. Right now, she says. I meet the landlord and in a flurry of questions and answers obtain phone numbers and information and lightbulbs then they're gone and I unpack half my truck, make the lower bunk, and crash to sleep.
I now live in upstate New York. Who'd've ever thought.
mon/tue, nov. 11th and 12th
Bloomington IN to Geneva, NY
Geneva to Seneca Falls to Waterloo
Bloomington IN to Geneva, NY
Geneva to Seneca Falls to Waterloo