90,000 Miles to Me
metal bridge with fallen leaves

8,456 Miles • Of Pens and Shoes

This is a backdated post from November 5th-10th, 2017

Leaving my cousin’s, I passed Happyland, CT. I kid you not. An entire generation will have to grow up answering the question “Where are you from?” with “I’m from Happyland.” Sounds like either an amusement park or a cult.

West of Hartford, I stopped at the Noah Webster House Museum, which appealed to the nerdy wordsmith in me. A whole museum dedicated to the guy who wrote the first American dictionary? Count me in.

It looked like a nice place, from the lobby, but admission was $8. I can’t afford to drop $6, $8, $12 at every interesting spot along the way. Wish there was something like the National Forest Pass for all museums and places of public interest. Right now, if it doesn’t fill my belly, keep me warm, or make my van go, I can’t afford it. Subtext: I need a job.

Had lunch on the bank of the Housatonic River by a beautiful old metal bridge, pictured above. I keep thinking I heard something about the Housatonic River in history class when I was a kid, like there was some famous battle fought there or something, but Wikipedia isn’t bringing up anything that rings a bell, and I didn’t see any historical markers (along the little bit of it I saw). It was very pretty, history or not.

Dinner was at the lakeside below, in Tobyhanna State Park, Pennsylvania. Windy and cold and overcast; I stayed inside. It started raining and continued raining on and off for several days.

windy overcast lake

More interesting names:

  • Town name: Enola, PA — Reminds me of the Enola Gay, the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
  • Street name: Witchcraft Lane — I wonder what happened there.
  • Street name: Flickerwood Road — Pretty imagery.

Pippi’s Pen Shoppe! I went through York, Pennsylvania, specifically to get new nibs for my dip pen (about $0.25 each, but rarely to be found outside of specialty pen shops) and resisted the temptation to buy a fancy, expensive fountain pen I can’t afford. It is a super cute little pen shop, but their opening hours are few and sporadic, and they don’t answer phone calls from out of town numbers. It’s like they don’t want business.

Because the town of York is hardly enough to support a specialty shop like that on its own. It has an adorable but tiny historic district, and I walked around it for a couple hours in the cold rain, finding a cute yarn shop and a permanent indoor farmer’s market that closed 20 minutes before I got there.

My Vibram shoes, while comfortable in most situations, are not up to dealing with (any amount of) water. I’ve been putting off getting a pair of boots, trying to hold out until I get to Mom’s house in a month—and my box of winter clothes and boots—but it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop raining and there are cold puddles in my shoes constantly now.

So I went to two thrift shops and in the second found a nice pair of flat boots that are nearly new and nearly fit—a little extra room in the toe box is okay—for $6. No more cold puddles in my shoes!

Several years ago I was taking care of a toddler and reading so much Dr. Seuss that I started talking in rhyming couplets. I made up this little poem so he would let me put on his shoes.

Shoes, shoes, just look at your shoes,
There’s two, they’re a pair, you need both to cruise.
They’re almost the same. Almost, not quite
One’s for your left foot, one for your right.
Do they fit on your hands? Do they fit on your head?
I’ll bet they fit on your feet instead.
Let’s put them on and they’ll help you around.
Now you can walk all over town!


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