The first part of the trip—to New Hampshire—I took just for me, while the second part of the trip—to Maine—was taken with the kids in mind. Which did I enjoy more? Hard to say, although spending three days with Corb one-on-one was totally wonderful and stress-free, while part deux had more of an element of danger: would the kids like Corb? Would Corb like the kids? What would happen if it rained all three days? Would everyone still be alive at the end of the journey?
CHAPTER ONE: Concerning Dog Tails, Shakespeare in the Bad, Turkish Twists, a Tip from Heloise, and New Hampster's obsession with Cock.
We started our trip on Thursday night. I worked until 8:30 that night, trying to tie up a number of loose ends, and then drove to his house, and we loaded his bags into the car and drove over to his grandmother’s place to pick up some additional items. We then drove back to my place to finish up some packing on my end (I had been so busy that I really hadn’t spent much time taking care of stuff that week). We were hoping to get an early start the next day.
Well, scratch that early start. I left Corb watching the Simpsons in order to bring the kids to camp and say my good-byes. Ashley begged me to bring Prince with them, and I agreed (and it was actually cute, watching the kids at Tiger’s camp swarm around him, asking questions, and telling me all about their dogs). I then returned to the apartment to introduce Corb to Prince—the easiest of the instructions that week, I figured. Corb thought he was nice, but still liked his dog better. There's no accounting for taste.
We then dropped Prince off at my house, and drove to Corb’s, so he could have his car towed away to a salvage yard (he had been driving home from work on Monday and blew two tires, which forced him off the road). That took longer than we expected, but I did get to meet his sister-in-law. According to Corb, she liked me. Go figure.
Then, on the road. True fags, we held hands all the way down and bided our time by playing Mama Mia and Madonna (who, by the way, turns 46 next month. Let’s all celebrate by wearing a pointy gold bra to work, shall we?)
We made it to Merrimack, NH at around five that night. Merrimack’s about five minutes from Nashua, and that night, we ventured on the town. We took in a simply incomprehensible open-air performance of Shakespeare’s works abridged that didn’t feel very abridged, and was made sheer torture by the volume of blood-sucking mosquitos that descended upon our bodies in droves. We left well before the end of the “grand finale” performance of The Merry Wives of Windsor that didn’t seem particularly merry to me (side note to potential directors: it’s never a good idea to start a piece of Shakespeare by declaring “I just thought of this idea at two this morning.”)
After a short walk through the woods, we ended our day at a jazz bar in Nashua called Michael Timothy’s that served great thin-dough pizza, and both of us fell in love with our hostess, a sweet girl that told us about her teddy bear named Edward. After supper, we headed back to get some sleep, although we seriously considered asking our hostess to drive off on a road trip with us.
The next day, we slept in late, and finally headed off to America’s Stonehenge at ten-thirty in the morning. America’s Stonehenge was a nice day trip to begin our excursions with, an appetizer, if you will, because it got our blood pumping, but didn't take very long to complete. In fact, we were done by three and decided to head toward the Lost River. We were too late to take that in, but did stop off on the way home to walk barefoot down a stony creek.
The next day we traveled to Canoby Lake. We started off fairly early and ended up spending nine hours there. One thing I discovered: my stomach’s not as great about spinny rides as it used to be. Plus, I do tend to flinch on rides that go up in the air way high, since I can still recall the details surrounding my rib injury. Still, I basically decided to say “fuck it,” and ended up going on every ride in the park except one. My favourite ride has always been the roller coasters, although I did really like one ride that zoomed up into the air and then bounced you up and down for about two minutes. My least favourite was undoubtedly a nasty little gravity-defying monstrosity called the Turkish Twist.
I think that Canoby Lake was my favourite day of the entire trip. I love amusement parks, and this had been the first one I had gone to in years where I could basically do anything I pleased, without having to be a parent at all. It was a great feeling. That night, Corb cooked me a steak dinner and glued his fingers together with Super-Glue (I am not making this up. Here’s a Tip from Heloise: if you ever glue your fingers together, try soaking them in nail polish remover).
The next day, we headed off toward Maine, very much on the late side, and had a truly breathtaking trip along Route 112 on the Cankamangas Highway. The mountains, the streams, the rock formations, the greenery…all, simply beautiful. Corn discovered that he has a talent for reading maps, and I couldn't have asked for a better navigator. Having spent the past twenty years of my life getting lost for everything, this was a great change of pace.
There were so many little shared jokes that we had during this period. I remember, when I was younger, cracking up over stupid jokes with my friends, and writing the catch phrases down in my journal, and then going back years later and not remembering what the hell was so funny about them. I’m sure that the same is true here, but there were so many we had, including homo milk, a nasty spin-off of the Golden Girls called the Oral Girls, and our decision that for some reason New Hampshire is obsessed with cock, since it has so many mountains named after cock, including Mount Hitchcock, Mount Babcock, and our own personal favourite, Mount Cockcock (“When you just gotta have that extra level of cock.”)
As we drove through the Cankamangas, I knew that a greater adventure lay ahead of us: four days with the kids. I must admit, I was apprehensive, wondering how things would turn out.