My New Blog!

If you’ve landed here and want to stay a while, by all means, read on! I hope you enjoy! If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to lately with publishing my road trip memoir and momming, check out: Shell Expanding.

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Turn the Heat up to 80 and Stick on Antiques Roadshow, Sarah’s Not Sleeping in the Car Tonight

When I arrived at the Harborcreek travel center last night, I looked around. The car was still running and warm enough I could’ve shed my coat, while outside, the temperature was hovering around 40 and the lot-scape was saturated with cold drizzle. Beside the travel center was the Rodeway Inn. I looked at that too. Long and hard. And a dangerous thought set it: “Sleep in the hotel, Sarah.” But I had been on the road just two days! This was how bad-ass I was? How would I ever last on the AT? I put up my jacket hood and opened the door. Forty degrees. Rain. Aww, screw it. I went inside and asked how much the room cost. With my AAA discount and taxes, it came to $50.97. Good for a hotel, bad for my budget.

Unfortunately, I am dedicated to my whims. I am a heat junkie who needs an adjustable thermostat. I went to room 115, with the hideously patterned polyester comforter and five TV channels, telling myself I would do this only once.

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National Talk Like a Trucker Day: 10-4

My Citizens’ Band radio is not much more than an ornament for my Saab. It’s a RadioShack brand 40-channel mini mobile with four whole watts of power. I’ve got a twenty-one inch magnetic-mount antenna that lets me hear, with Mickey D’s drive thru clarity, the wisdom nuggets from the semi driver over yonder. (“Over yonder” is the sad, little, unamplified hearing range of my CB.)

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Finally, Nighttime Head Gear

Flannel ninja mask I bought at Walmart near Brockport, New York

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Fultron: A City with a Future

Riding my bike around Fulton, New York and seeing the mix of dead factories and cheerful plaques touting the city’s golden past, I’m reminded of Blaine, Missouri in Waiting for Guffman. Instead of a “Stool boom,” Fulton has the debatably less sing-able “Cloth-related supplies boom!” or “Paper, Cutlery, Plastic Packaging, Bikes, Arms, and Chocolate economic prosperity happy times!” It was a great city. The people will tell you. During the Great Depression in the 1930s, Fulton was a healthy, industrial muscle. Factories hummed along the swift, north-flowing Oswego River. American Woolen Mills, a textile firm on the west bank, supplied uniforms to the US Army in World War I and II.  The New York Times reported in 2003 that Fulton raised $2,700 in 1899 to buy land to lure the three Swiss entrepreneur’s, Peter, Kohler , and  Cailler, to construct the first chocolate-manufacturing facility in the U.S. there. The Swiss came, they constructed, and then merged with Nestlé in the late-20s. Fulton was big-time – it became the birthplace of Nestlé’s Quik and the home of the Crunch Bar. But in May 2003, Nestlé closed the factory, and 467 people lost their jobs.

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GPS: Garbage at being a Pioneer, Sarah

Last week, my friend, John, asked if I wanted to borrow his GPS. “No,” I said. “Where’s the fun in that?” Besides, my passenger seat was already aglow with an aisle’s worth of electronics from RadioShack. I have a CB radio, an inverter for my laptop and phone, my phone, laptop, camera, and iPod. To disguise it, I cover the snake nest of cords with a sweater and a map book. The sweater is patterned, so the two-toned blues and over-use of buttons distracts from the lumpiness and confuses a voyeur, much like stripes on a zebra in the grasslands of Africa. The cheetah often wonders, “Is that dinner or a fabulous bib sweater?”

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First Night: Pilot Travel Center Parking Lot in Liverpool, New York (the other Liverpool)

After waking at two a.m. to drunken shouts of “I’m gonna kill you!” and peeking out of my glowworm sleeping bag to see a guy wielding a squeegee from the gas pump dunk bucket, I immediately reduced my hopes of having a productive next day.

Washer fluid still stains the squeegee battlefield.

Maybe I slept four or five hours, but it felt like I had never slept in my life. At three, four, and five a.m. I tried to convince myself that no one dies from hypothermia at fifty degrees Fahrenheit [ten degrees Celsius (even worse)]. Specifically, hypothermia of the face. I pulled my pillows, clothes, and Ensure drinks near to my head to provide a barrier from the air in my car and capture the heat of my exhalation. I refused to turn on my car and be the idiot who dies from carbon monoxide poisoning, so I cinched my face hole and fantasized about the flannel ninja mask I would buy in the morning.

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