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Wandering USA: The End

The Shenandoah National Park was just as I expected: crowded. Needless to say, I did not get any quiet time. Children were running around everywhere, screaming, playing.. which is all fine and dandy, but I wanted to chill. I wasn’t happy. After I got a fire going things quieted down though and I got to enjoy my campfire time for a while.

At 6am that Saturday morning, I woke up ready to go on a sunrise hike… only to find that the tail end of a thunderstorm was lingering. There was no way I could hike an unknown trail in that or even the muddy aftermath of that. So I slept another hour and woke up to the sun streaming brightly in through the windows.

I enjoyed walking along the trail for about a half-mile, and then I looked down and saw tons (TONS) of slimy yellowish-brown slug-looking things. I was afraid to look closer, but I did anyway. Leeches. Everywhere. Leeches. I looked behind me – leeches. When did I enter into the leech kingdom?

I walked faster, but it never seemed to end. Finally I got to a more open area where the trail split and there was a clearing in the leech patch. I only had another mile and a half until I go to the waterfall so I kept going. There were less leeches on my way back, but they were still everywhere.

I took quite a few awesome photos of this NP, but I haven’t even looked at them yet. I’ll post them next week or so.

The next day I left from the Shenandoah National Park to go into Washington, DC. DC was more of a work/school trip than anything. I mainly took care of my life while I was there, but I did get to do two days of complete tourism.

Last year when I was in DC, I took some of the best National Monument shots ever, so I wasn’t exactly in photography mode this time around. All previous photosets are on my website, locatable through the archive probably.

I made some new friends while I was there too. On the metro, I found a group staying at the same place as me who was going to the Spy Museum, so I asked to tag along. I wanted to explore, but exploring alone isn’t always appealing. It was great, they were really fun awesome people. The Spy Museum itself is a little silly, though still fun to see once.

Washington, DC is truly a wonderful city. If you haven’t been, go. Watch Congress in action in person, it’s totally worth the long wait and irritating security. Visit the national mall, see all the monuments, go to Bullfeathers and have a burger while trying to spot a member of Congress, visit the Dubliner and meet someone at the bar who works for DoD or Homeland Security! Just go, it’s exciting and you never know who you’ll run into. I love Washington, DC.

I stayed there for about a week before I headed north. My next destination was Attleboro, MA to visit some friends. I wanted to bypass NYC so that I could make it to New England by the fourth of July, so I bypassed NYC… I was not so lucky as to bypass the tolls. DO NOT EVER drive an RV through the NYC area. You will pay more in tolls than you would have paid in gas to go around.

I digress. I broke down before I even made it to New York. I was driving along in the middle of New Jersey, when my engine decided to start acting up again. She wouldn’t go above 45 mph, a dangerous speed for the Jersey Turnpike, so I pulled off the road and let the engine sit for an hour.

This hour would cost me the very small window of opportunity I had to avoid traffic. By the time I got to Connecticut, there was traffic all the way from the Jersey Shore to Boston going north. It was a nightmare. I didn’t make it to Massachusetts until the next afternoon.

It is here that I have been residing ever since the weekend of the 4th. I took Murphy to AAMCO the morning after and discovered that the weird, sluggish engine trouble I’d been having, the trouble I said I really really hoped wasn’t my transmission, was definitely my transmission. AAMCO wanted $3-$4K to take apart the tranny, diagnose and repair. This was it, this was the end.

I told the owner of the AAMCO, I just couldn’t afford it and he handed me my keys back. With despair in my voice, I handed him my card and told him he could read about my travels online, but he unfortunately already knew the end to the story. He stared at me for a second. Stared at the card for longer. Then he looked at me again.

“I’ll fix it for free,” he said.

Shock enveloped me. “No. Really?”

“Yeah, let me have your keys.”

“Really?” I said again. I couldn’t believe it.

“Yes,” he smiled.

I ran out of there so fast, afraid he would change his mind. But he didn’t.

It’s amazing to me how kind people are. On this whole journey, I’ve met more kind-hearted and giving people than I ever did sitting around in California. If I hadn’t run into such luck, I’d have had to stop traveling when I broke down in Mississippi/Memphis.

Unfortunately, free transmission work will only help me get stable in a stationary capacity for now. This week I became an official Rhode Islander. For the past few months, I’ve been living in (and out of) my RV making myself temporary homes all over the country. I crossed the lines of over 20 states and broke down in at least 5 of them… By no means does this mean I’m giving up. I just decided it was time for a break, a new place, time to write and there’s a lot to do in the north east that I just didn’t want to miss out on… besides, I ran out of money. So this is not the end, but it is to be continued…

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I'm a 24 year old writer and full-time wanderer. My dog, Legedu (Leg-a-doo), and I just finished a trip in my 23 year old motorhome wandering through half of the vast USA. Armed with an annual national park pass, a camera and my pen, I'm determined to see everything this country has to offer. Next Spring I will set out once more to travel through the rest of the states.As a Master's Graduate at the School of International Service at American University, I'm fascinated by culture and societal conflict. This is the story of my ultimate global cultural immersion. I'll get to know the culture of my own country intimately and then set out to meet the rest of the world.

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