Tuesday – Day #7:
As I left Washington this morning I was craving some strong coffee and a chance to catch up on some reading. I found a cozy old diner on the road leaving town. Doghouse Diner is one of those lucky gems you find every now and again. It’s places like these where you can truly mix with the locals and get absorbed into their conversations. After my unsettling night at the motel, I cradled my coffee and waited until I was fully functional before hitting the road again. I took a wrong turn and ended up driving though an industrial part of town in a long-winded attempt at looping back around. Hitting a railroad crossing a little too hard caused me to chip a tooth which left a small hole in my back molar. It was something I knew would happen eventually but I was hoping to at least make it to my next dental appointment in a few weeks. Thank you Washington, I would have had to have that drilled out anyway.
I continued on 70 and took in the changing landscape yet again. Green and mountainous. It may have been even more beautiful but the roads cut through the mountains instead of going over or around them like earlier on my trip. After stopping for gas and continuing on my journey, the cookie cutter tunnels were so similar that I pulled off the road to make sure I wasn’t doubling back by mistake. I was going to stop at Harrisburg for lunch but decided to forge ahead to Lancaster so I could visit Amish Country. Driving from Lancaster (beautiful town btw) to Strasburg, I then got on route 896 and drove south-east into the center of the Amish countryside.
Unlike earlier when I was simply viewing the scenery, now I was in it. With the windows rolled down, everything I passed through poured into the car. The farms, livestock, cornfields and trees. I spotted several people on buggies and religion was as prominent as it was down south. I had packed a sandwich incase I couldn’t find a place to eat but somehow managed to find a small restaurant that sold slices of pizza. I ate it outside taking in my surroundings. A cop car pulled up beside me and waited in trying to catch speeders coming around a sharp turn in the road. There are many sharp turns in almost all the roads but I’m sure being close to pizza had something to with this particular location.
As I was attempting to find the road that would take me to towards south New Jersey where I would then travel north, my cell phone died. Now I was really lost. I had taken a scenic route through some back roads and lost track of my bearings. I pulled over to the side of the road, left the car running hoping to charge my phone and waited. I was totally alone, it was silent except for some birds and a few large towering trees moving in the breeze. I looked back from where I came from, a small village where kids came out to look at the car. Not that they had never seen a car before, Amish country is not really like that, probably just curious as I had really slipped off the beaten path. Except for the carved up fields and single electrical pylon in the distance there was no trace of people whatsoever. I had one of those moments again, they’re so rare these days. Growing up near farms as a kid it was something I would do from time to time, to go and get safely lost. I always knew how to return but there was a thrill of being totally isolated, at least for an amount of time I could control. I forgot how much our senses are constantly overloaded while living in New York. Near absolute silence can be a little unsettling. My phone eventually charged, google maps lit up its screen and I found a route to the highway.
The drive north was the least interesting part of the whole trip until I hit Brooklyn via the Verrazano. Soon after I was pulling into a lucky spot outside my apartment and my Nashville road trip was over. It was good to be home. I’m glad I chose to turn the Nashville gigs into a road trip, I’ve returned with a far better appreciation of a good night’s sleep and country music. There is a directness, fun-loving quality and warmth with people I’ve encountered in the south that reminds me a little of home. Not just from this trip but from the one to New Orleans also. From here on out I’ll be looking for any excuse to return
I’ve been offered some out-of-state gigs for Supersmall, maybe this is something I could do again. Anyway, it’s great to be back home. The end!