Chapter Three – Navigating by Moon, Stars and GPS
Two hours after I stopped for dinner I was into Massachusetts driving along the familiar Massachusetts Turnpike. Traffic wasn’t heavy to begin with because it was past midnight and it dropped off even more after Albany when I went toward the Turnpike and not the New York State Capitol. The sky was beginning to clear and I’d catch glimpses of stars in the sky as I drove. For the first time in any of my Massachusetts trips, I headed up 495 north off 90 and this new route northward renewed my excitement and curiosity enough to increase my alertness.
I drove by Worcester, which I didn’t realize was pronounced “Wooster” until my GPS said it and I thought “what?” When it clicked that was how it was meant to be said, I was pleased that I wasn’t actually lost somehow. There was a surprising amount of traffic around Worcester and looking at the lighted not-quite-skyscraper buildings, I realized it resembled Rochester, New York (the closest “city” near where I lived) but that it was much larger and more spread out. I was pleased that I’d seen another new city and could now put a visual with a name on a map.
Jazzmin was alternating between taking short naps and sitting up staring out the windows. I could tell she didn’t understand why we were still in the car when it was dark out and we were usually in bed sleeping at that time. I tried to explain to her where we were going and why and that no matter what happened when we arrived, we’d still have fun. I was trying to convince her more than me obviously, because she doesn’t truly understand many human words. I failed at convincing either of us.
When I started seeing town names with “bury” at the end I knew I was getting closer and my GPS agreed. I drove by several towns whose names were familiar to me only because some of the accounts I followed on Twitter were from businesses in those areas. Again, it was nice to put a mental image with a name on a map even if it was too dark to see anything anymore. With an hour left in my drive, I could finally see the half-moon before me and I smiled because I knew my father was still with me guiding me. I wouldn’t understand why the signs had been pointing me to Amesbury until my adventure ended but I will always believe I read them right.
Upon finally arriving in Amesbury, I discovered it wasn’t anything like I’d expected. I’d been looking at pictures of the town online and businesses in the area but when I drove in at 2am and experienced the roundabout in the center of town, I was somewhat disappointed by my surroundings. The center of the town was hillier than I expected but not big tall hills like where I lived. The hills were smaller and steeper and the streets were tricky to maneuver. Downtown looked quaint enough but it was dark and I was tired and ended up turning up and backtracking several times trying to figure out where I could park and take Jazz out to answer nature.
I wonder how many people noticed my Explorer with the NY plates driving lost around Amesbury. Probably not many because most sensible people were in bed by then and all the bars had closed. I found an apartment complex with a parking lot and stopped just long enough to walk Jazz before she tinkled in my car.
There was supposedly a chain hotel somewhere in the area. When I pulled it up on GPS and on the internet of my phone, I realized it was out of my rather limited price range. Too tired to drive much further, I decided to see if there were any parks around where I could perhaps park my car and sleep for the night. My GPS search came up with a park about 5 minutes from where I was so I hit “Get Directions” and happily followed them out of the main town with its perplexing roundabouts.
I was a bit dismayed when I found the park and discovered the parking for it was just a large pull off area beside the road, but I knew it would have to do. I didn’t like having my car with its NY plates so obvious from a main road but it seemed like my only option.