Last night’s post about my first and most unplanned trip to Amesbury, Massachusetts was more popular than I expected. I decided to redo that post a little bit as that was the first chapter in that particular adventure story. I’d also left off the last paragraph somehow so I fixed that too. Without further ado, here’s Chapter Two!
New England Adventures: Whirlwind Tour of North Shore, MA
Chapter Two – Jules and Jazz
Within an hour of driving east toward Massachusetts the sun had set, which was a good thing because it had been blinding me in my rear view mirrors. I usually just move my mirrors in so I can’t see the bright sun reflecting in them. That technique works fine in the country where I never have to pass anyone but I quickly decided it was unwise on the thruway when looking in my mirrors proved useless for proper lane navigation. My Explorer had enough blind spots; I didn’t think it was necessary to add more.
Jazzmin’s excitement rarely waned as I drove. She would occasionally lay down looking a bit dejected that we hadn’t stopped for food yet and she’d rest her head on the center console twitching her worried eyebrows at me. I’d then pet her and tell her what a good girl she was and she’d perk back up and resume sniffing the vents and sliming the windows.
Driving along with my loyal companion, I concluded yet again that adopting Jazzmin was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. She’d helped keep the loneliness at bay during my many nights at home without my daughters. At two year’s old, she was still very much a puppy but someone had taken the time to train her and she had the sweetest personality. All I had to do was get out her favorite tuggie toy and she’d start tearing through the living room excitedly, even if she hadn’t bothered to take the toy from my hand.
A friend who had met Jazz said she was just a canine version of me. A youthful little ball of energy that tugged rebelliously on the leash, barked randomly, fretted about things she couldn’t change and chased the road as if it was going to disappear. That’s how I eloquently sum the both of us up anyway.
When I made our first stop to answer nature and get food there were of course other dogs at the rest area and Jazz was very eager to get out and play. Controlling Jazz is still a work in progress for me though so I kept her far away from the other dogs when I took her out. She sniffed the grass, acquainting herself with the scent of thousands of dogs at once and eventually did her business, much to my relief. With Jazz all squared away, I put her back in the car and put the windows down as far as possible without it being possible for her to squeeze her bulk out. It was full dark and cool so I knew she’d be okay for the few minutes it took me to go inside.
This was not my first time entering a rest stop alone on a road trip but it still made me a bit uneasy. People notice a pretty young woman in a rest stop alone and those of the male persuasion don’t always do so in a very friendly-appearing way. As it was late evening, there were few people at the rest stop so I quickly used the facilities and bought our nuggets, fries and a tall iced coffee something or other to help keep me awake. Eyes ahead and very sure of myself, I returned to my car and Jazz at a brisk pace, keys in hand.
Once inside the car I quickly locked the doors and settled my large iced coffee in the center cup holder. Picking up my phone, I checked the weather app and saw that it had cleared in Amesbury. I was once again faced with a choice. I was three hours out with five more to go. I could turn back around and drive three hours to home and my comfortable bed or I could keep heading east and face the prospect of spending the night sleeping in my car. Concluding once more that returning home wouldn’t get me the answers I thought I needed I decided to keep going.
Putting my phone back down in the console, I shooed Jazz away for the hundredth time as she tried to climb in my lap for the bag I had sitting there. She had been up my nose the moment she saw the bag of food and smelled what was inside. I told her to sit her butt down in her seat so I could back out and that we’d eat on the way. I’m pretty sure all she heard was “blah blah blah eat” because after I fastened my seatbelt, started the car, shifted it into reverse and pressed the gas she lost her balance momentarily and almost went tumbling to the floor in front of the seat.
Moments later, I was driving on the thruway again at a steady clip on the cruise control. I reached into the bag and handed Jazz a fry and she gingerly took it from my fingers before practically swallowing it whole. I then started taking bites of chicken nuggets and handing her the remains and we shared like that until the food was gone. I’d only purchased the food because it was fast and cheap and as I hated McDonald’s, Jazz ate the majority of the stuff. She gave an appreciative burp before lying down in the passenger seat and she was soon curled into as tight a ball as she could manage and contentedly asleep. I envied her restful state and began sucking down my coffee hoping it would be enough to keep me going for the five remaining hours of the drive.