From Columbus, Ohio, we had an epic amount of territory to cover to get to our final few events. We’d spread the 10+ hour journey to Albany, New York over two days, throwing in a visit to Erie to say hi to my grandma and dad, along with more than a few uncles and other relations. While in Erie, we made a visit to Uncle Danny’s bar, On Deck, for old time’s sake. Old times’ sake? Dad took the opportunity to promote my book to anyone who would listen. But we still had a couple of hours of driving to cover and had to press on– a Connecticut NPR interview the following morning would step into the schedule a bit. So Benjamin and I spent some time journeying through lower New York State in the darkness, stopping for the night in Cuba.
In the morning we got to see what kind of scenery we’d been missing in the dark, hills and mountains in full fall bloom, their fiery splendor expanded by the reflective lakes and streams. We arrived in Albany in the afternoon, just in time to get ready for the rehearsal dinner for my cousin’s wedding. I welcomed the opportunity not just to see my mom and other relatives for the first time in two and a half months, but to score some delicious free food and celebrate Steph and Jeff’s upcoming nuptials. (Yes, she dared to bring another Jeff into the family.)
The following day brought the wedding itself– and Jane! She drove all the way out to Albany by herself just for this happy occasion. I mean the wedding, not seeing me. She had to head back early Sunday morning to catch a visit from her sister, but I’ll be seeing her again very shortly, this time for good.
Sunday, as I prepared to drive to our event no. 34, at the Book House in Albany, Callie had a little problem. Well, all right, a rather large problem: she refused to start. I’d made an internal contract with her long ago, that if she absolutely had to break down someplace, let it be Albany or later, back among family. She’d taken us nearly eight thousand miles on the tour, but she was tired, and multiple attempts and tricks yielded no success starting the car. So we had to catch a ride from my relatives and hope that the problem could be resolved Monday morning.
Over at the Book House, we attracted a dedicated crowd, including one TEALer who drove four hours for the event– as far as Jane had driven for the wedding! Also in attendance was the Collins family, including young Henry, to whom the book is dedicated. That’s him curled up sleeping in the front:
This morning I woke early to arrange for Callie to be towed to a nearby auto repair place. It turned out that the solution to what ailed her was to have her towed to an auto repair place. As soon as we tried the engine at our destination, Callie started up, something apparently having been jostled back into compliance by the winching of the car onto the tower flatbed. The guy at the repair place only really had one piece of advice, and that was to not turn the car off again.
I filled her up with gas and air, and then Callie remained on for the next few hours, as I collected Benjamin and met up with my mom to caravan back to Manchester, New Hampshire. And now my car rests outside, and I hope she will able to convey us the final miles on our journey. At least we’re back in my home state, and this second odyssey is almost at its close.