Thursday, June 19, 2008

Grease Monkey.

OK, here's the first installment. It was fun to write, and hopefully will be fun to read! Enjoy...

Gorham, NH wasn’t an ordinary town stop; this was the mother of town stops in the early stages of our trail journey. While in Maine, we had been treated to tremendous hospitality, and wonderful trail angels. We also got our taste for the hostel life; a mixture of interesting hosts and guests, and a small slice of small town America. Maine offered a miraculous picture of long-distance hiking: a slow meandering approach to life, a unobstructed and deliberate goal that manifested itself differently on a day to day basis, and a both uncomplicated existence and an extremely complex aesthetic experience. However, Maine was--as my sister would say--both cool and uncool. Maine was hard. Maine made me think that I had an incurable rash between my legs in an important area. Maine gave me so many mosquito bites that at one point one foot was visibly larger than the other. Maine made me appreciate dry clothes. Maine showed me that a staircase is not always convenient. Maine drove out the meek and the weak, and nearly drove me out of my mind. Maine destroyed my ideal picture of an Appalachian journey. Maine introduced me to real knee pain, not that crap that I suffered from after track practice. But, Maine gave me something that I will never forget: pure happiness. However, while Maine was extraordinary, it lacked one important and tangible element that Gorham, NH provided us: Fast Food.
Fast Food continued to both haunt and direct our lives in the earlier portion of the Appalachian Trail. “Is there an Arby’s in Hanover? I would kill for one of those disgusting-looking roast beef monsters.” “Oh my god, where the hell is the privy? I knew Taco Bell was a terrible idea with a 4000 foot climb standing in front of us.” “I have to say, KFC was amazing, but I’d love to get at a few of those personal pans from Pizza Hut. Let’s go in 2 hours. Or right now.” Zero days were organized not by the grocery store or the local outfitters, but by the location and walking distance of the Fast Food joints as wonderfully displayed on our guide book maps. “Yay! McDonalds and Burger King are literally neighbors! I’m thinking breakfast and brunch at BK--they have that amazing quad meat sandwich--and lunch and snacks at McDonalds.” Blake always happily agreed. I always happily agreed. And, despite what many granola-crunching folks may tell you, many, MANY others came along for the feast. I’m not saying that Fast Food was my sustenance goal in each town (actually, Coca Cola was), but not only were the calories hard to pass up, the draw was immediate and overwhelming. After noodles and mashed potatoes every night (replacing maybe 50% of the calories lost), the ease and almost instant gratification of Fast Food weakened my knees. As time went by, I learned to eat more appropriately in town (however, not on the trail), but I still indulged without guilt or regret of any measurable level. So yes, I’ll take my fruit salad and roasted chicken with a side of Big Mac. And don’t forget the 64 oz Coke.


Molly Holder said...

This is so great. Thanks for the 'both cool and uncool' shoutout! I also love that your "about me" pic is you with a huge backpack and a pizza. I'm puttin' this on my google reader. keep it up, yo.

Dad said...

Thanks to M's comment, I blew up the pic and found the pizza - and Blake in the background. Great shot! How come you didn't bring in pizza for me when I visited for two days? Dad