Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Chapter five: FireFly

We left Burlington Vermont Wednesday morning at about 10am heading to Dover Delaware. As far as google maps was concerned it was going to be an 8 hour drive. Seeing that we were doing this as cheap as possible we "avoided tolls" anywhere we went. This took us through Connecticut which is known for its traffic. We also had to drive through the Bronx in New York and were held up but not only traffic, but groups of dirt bikes and quads doing wheelies in the streets, which was awesome. Eight hours turned into fourteen and it was midnight by the time we hit Delaware. The rain was pretty bad and we figured the festival would be a muddy mess. We only brought one pair of shoes so we stopped at Walmart to by water shoes, cause were adults and we don't walk around bare foot in the mud where a bunch of college age kids are drinking and throwing up. From there we went to a casino to sleep in the car. Casino parking lots are well lit and have 24 hour security, a good place for free sleeping, no hotels for these broke travelers. By this time it was around 2am and we had to be up at 5:30 to get in line and get our camping spot. Luckily we were one of the first people in line and got a great camping spot up close to the music venue. At around 7:30am we were setting up camp and met some really cool kids from New York and Virginia that we made friends with instantly. After a short nap we wasted no time to get to partying before heading into the Venue.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Chapter four: Burlington Bound.

Liz's younger sister Bridget was staying in a dorm room in Burlington Vermont for the summer. With our newly acquired freedom we decided now was a good time to visit. We left West Virginia at 6:30am and headed to Vermont. The drive itself was amazing, we drove through parts of Pennsylvania that i had never been. Driving through New York, however, was definitely the high light  of this journey. We drove through parts of the Adirondack park, the land scape was incredible. We even spotted a baby moose along the way. Growing up in Pittsburgh, the city of bridges, i never would have anticipated running into a ferry. We decided to drive around Lake Champlain instead to save money and avoid a search of our car. After fourteen hours of driving we finally pulled in to Burlington Vermont. By this time we only had enough energy left for drinks and some visitation with Bridget and her roommates. The next day we were pleased to see the clouds and rain clear up and were amazed with Vermont's beauty. We took a hike to one of the many overlooks in the area and were nothing short of impressed. That night we decided to hit the town. Church street was bursting with people and art. Unfortunately we had just missed Bernie Sanders as he walked the streets snap chatting and taking pics with people as he so often does. We did, however, get a dandy little pic of us in front of his office. The next afternoon we decided to go rock climbing at one of the local gyms. There we met some locals who invited us to lunch. The bar offered dollar drafts until the keg was kicked and then dollar pizza until it was all gone. From there we went to each bar that offered dollar beers for an hour or so making our way to the end of church street. By this time the sounds of live music had drawn us in. The bar tender heard that we were traveling and bought us gravy fries, a true delicacy to anyone that had been eating canned soup out of a car. That night the streets came to life with other travelers and buskers. Music was to be found on every corner, even on a week night. We met an interesting couple that was also living out of their car and traveling. The last day in Burlington we hung out down by lake champlain and watched the sunset. I absolutely loved this place and hope to revisit soon.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Chapter three: Camping in West Virginia.

We love camping, and are always down to camp, but we also wanted to test run our gear before leaving society behind and being on our own. The question we were asked the most was, how the hell could you afford to travel for three months?? Well, its simply, free camping. All over the country there are these "free campsites". They operate on a "first come" basis but we had no trouble accessing them. Even on the fourth of July weekend there were plenty of open spots. I feel that most people don't trust things that are, "too good to be true". So basically we planned on camping everywhere we traveled too and had to ensure that our set up was no only quick but effective in all weather situations. Of course we didn't realize that we wouldn't see rain once we left the east coast.

Chapter two: Embarkment.

We had moved into a trailer park for six months for the sake of having cheaper rent. With our lease ending in May of 2016 we decided now was the time. We quit our jobs and pretty much threw away anything that wouldn't fit into the Subaru Forester. Yes, i bought a forester to live in for a few months. Leaving Greensburg Pennsylvania we headed to West Virginia to visit with Liz's mom before setting off on our own. Boots, our beagle border collie, was just as excited to get out on the road as we were. It actually felt really good to get rid of all of our "stuff". I feel like collecting things is something working people do to justify going to work everyday. Its easy to tell yourself, "this is what i work for". Whether its a big house, or a fancy truck you can't take it with you when you die. It may temporarily fill the void in your life, but it won't last forever. The memories that i will make on this trip will, however, stay with me for life. With the weight of material objects off my shoulders, and the car loaded with all the necessary supplies, we headed to West Virginia.

Chapter One: Funding my adventure.

I had recently purchased my own tri-axle dump truck with the intentions of becoming an owner operator. It was a great way to make money and work for myself, however, my resources dried up very quickly. The man that my mother had married was an owner operator himself and was showing me the ropes. Before i was up and running their marriage fell through, as did my plans. I no longer had a place to keep my truck, or a truck for that matter seeing that it was in his business's name. In the heat of the moment i called a quarry that just so happened to need a driver. I bluffed my experience and was hired on the spot. I had never actually drove a loaded dump truck before. Monday morning, sometime in June of 2016 at 5:30am, i found my self sitting in a loaded truck weighing 73,280 lbs on the scale. I also had found why the position was so available as i creeped to the 14% grade and wound down the hair pin turns. "Jake Brakes" gurgling in the morning silence as if to greet the new work day. I would do this every weekday morning for over three months. Leaving my house at 4:30am and getting home, if i was lucky, at 7:30pm. The money was good, but the commute and long hours were killing me. Physically i can handle almost any work, but this was killing my creative spirit. I quickly found a job with a construction company that was closer to home, about a half hour commute. The hours weren't much better but i had to do what i had to do. I need the money to get out of debt from my little business venture and also to fund my up coming adventure. My new boss Nick was no easy going man, however. The driver before me had quit due to chest pains and heart problems brought on by the stress of this job. My responsibilities were to drive and operate a roll off truck. Picking up, delivering, and emptying loaded dumpsters at demolition site. I would also load the tri-axle dump truck with dirt and deliver it to the job sites after the houses were gone to fill in the old foundations. This was some of the hardest work i have ever done physically and mentally. Every morning during the Pennsylvania winter i would be at the shop at 6:00am getting the trucks to thaw and start. Filling tires with air, checking fluids, and fixing whatever needed to be fixed to pass any potential DOT stops during the day. The "Department Of Transportation" are the police that monitor commercial trucks with very, very strict guidelines. As with any construction or truck driving job i was lucky to be home for dinner at 7:00pm. I would do this for a little over ten months. I learned a lot from this working experience. I also earned enough to be debt free, well, debt free enough to travel. I was fed up with just working to live and decided to leave. I was, Leaving Society Behind.