On Friday night, Ben and I rolled into Annapolis around one-thirty in the morning after traveling fourteen hours from New Hampshire. Despite being mired in New York City traffic, we were able to keep the psych high thanks to some crazy music supplied by Ben’s iPod. We quickly located our hotel (The Annapolis Doubletree Inn), checked in, and parked the trailer before finding our rooms and retiring on fluffy beds and clean linens. In the morning, I was able to flip to Sportcenter on the flat screen television as I brewed coffee on the room’s coffee maker.
Saturday night was another late evening, however, this time traffic was not the culprit; rather, it was celebrating the first successful event of the road trip. We started our evening off at Gordon Biersh’s for dinner and drinks with the higher ups. After dinner, the more responsible members of the group dropped off, leaving Ben and I in the hands of some of the mid-Atlantic’s “looser cannons.”
Our first stop was a bar on the water, followed by another bar in Annapolis’s downtown where I consumed an interesting series of shots I had never encountered before. Shot one consisted of an oyster in cocktail sauce, and shot two consisted of a shot of beer. I am not sure of the intention of these shots other than to see exactly how inebriated a person actually is. I must have been fairly under the influence because I casually put away both shots, no questions asked.
We followed up the night of drinking with a late night stop at the Double T diner (at least I think it was the Double T, but honestly everything was a little hazy at that point). I devoured an omelet and as much water as I could stomach before Jocelyn (the Annapolis Assistant Store Manager) kindly offered her couch for Ben and I to crash on. While the accommodations were not quite as plush as the Doubletree, by three o’clock in the morning they were looking very luxurious. Jocelyn’s couch was exceedingly comfortable and slumber came quickly to me. Ben, however, found sleep a little harder to come by as Jocelyn’s cat took an acute interest in his beard.
It seemed not much longer after my eyes had closed the alarm began to sound, signaling the next leg of our journey as we headed to Lums Pond, in Bear Delaware. The event at Lums Pond went fantastically, despite my fears that the previous night’s actions would come back to haunt me. Ben even rallied for the afternoon bike ride. Reflecting back on it, I would probably say that Ben survived the ride more than enjoyed it, but he got out there nonetheless.
That evening found me reuniting Ben with his wife and children in the parking lot of the Collegeville, Pennsylvania store. I was excited to see the Collegeville store, as it is one of our newer stores and I had been told it was outfitted with a shower for employees. I really wanted to see that shower since it had been three days and two boat demos since I had seen my last. Sadly, by the time we arrived at Collegeville the store was closed and I was forced to peer in at the store (and the shower that I knew existed in there) from outside the front doors.
With Ben gone, I needed to make plans for the evening. I had hoped to drop Ben off and then depart for home, but I had to wait until Monday for approval before I could leave. Not knowing the area, and being exhausted from a weekend full of activity, I looked at the refuge offered by the pickup’s cap-enclosed bed and rolled my sleeping pad out and laid my sleeping bag on top of it. As I laid in the Collegeville parking lot hoping neither police nor curious strangers would awaken me from sleep, I pondered the quick progression of the weekend. From the luxuries and convenience of the hotel, to the homey and personal feeling of Jocelyn’s couch, to the solitude and semi-vagrancy of sleeping in the truck. It was amazing to see the transition from modern comfort fade so quickly and I will be surprised to see where Ashley and I are and what we think is luxurious after two months.
*A quick after thought…on Monday morning, I was able to sample the shower within the Collegeville store. It was everything I had hoped for and then some.