I got home safe and sound yesterday from my all-too-brief trip to meet Matt up north. Like I posted last Wednesday, he took off that afternoon, and until I made my way there late Friday night, I barely heard a peep from him. He called me once from his dad’s (rotary) phone, and I got one text, both asking me to bring up a fillet knife.
Work Friday night was steady at best, but since I didn’t have to be in at 7 the next morning, I was designated as the closer. Once I closed my tables, I busted my ass to get all the big closing stuff done. My closing partner OK’d me to head out early, since he could mop and close the other register himself. I sped back home to grab my bag and the dog, and got on the road immediately. This was around 9:45. Matt called, and I told him I was on my way.
It’s a pretty long ride, and it seems even more so at night. I was already tired, and once I got on my way, I forgot to turn off the GPS on my phone. I had it find the destination while cell and data signal was still easy to come by. The majority of the trip is super simple- head north on I39/I90 until just past Wausau. It’s about two hours of heading north until I had to exit and go east. In this case, two hours of draining my phone’s battery. I got to the area near the exit into country back roads where I have mostly no idea where I am, and with a sinking feeling, realized what I’d done. I pulled off at a BP, and ventured inside. I asked the clerk if she had either a universal phone charger, or one for my brand. Miraculously, she did. But even after futzing around outside, walking the pup around until he pooped, and scrubbing bugs off my windshield for a while, I barely had any juice. This awesome lady went to her car and brought me her car charger. She insisted I take it so I wouldn’t get lost. Sometimes the kindness of strangers is pretty humbling. On the way back yesterday morning, I dropped it off at the same gas station with a thank you note and a $5, asking her to have a coffee or a beer or something on me.
Once again confident that I wouldn’t lose myself entirely in the wild in the middle of the night, I got on my way, with the clerk’s caution to watch out for deer and bears. Cripes, I thought; if I hit a bear in my car, I’m as good as dead. It was already after midnight, and there was no shortage of critters (or what I suspect were drunk drivers- this is northern Wisconsin) on the road. I kept count: I almost hit 7 deer (not counting their buddies who stayed back from the road) and one porcupine (which my brain first read as an extremely large, extremely weird opossum), but luckily no bears. After what seemed like one, long, dark, piney eternity of cautious backroads driving, I was there.
Feeling like a dirtbag, I pulled into the campground as quietly as possible, hoping not to shine my headlights onto some poor tent camper’s face. I struggled to find a parking spot that wouldn’t leave the little VW stuck on an incline. Matt woke up, and we did some wee-hours vehicle shuffling. I calmed the dogs as best I could, and laid down.
To Be Continued…