Some people get the idea that every trip I take is perfect and trouble free. That simply is not true. My last trip was an example of when good trips go bad.
My dog June and I were headed for Massachusetts with a Scamp. The trip was going very well - at least the first thirteen-hundred miles were. That’s when the car started to overheat. Not good. I waited on the shoulder of the highway for the engine to cool down, added coolant and limped along until we reached Moosic, Pennsylvania, where I found a mechanics shop.
Bobby, the mechanic, explained, “You’re blowing antifreeze out the tailpipes, that’s what’s causing the white smoke.” he said.” That is not what I wanted to hear. He went on “It could be a head gasket, a cracked head or block, or a variety of other problems.” This was not getting better. Then he dropped the bomb. “You’re going to need a new engine.” I left the car with him and rented a U-Haul to get the trailer the rest of the way to Mansfield, Massachusetts. At least that part of the trip went smoothly.
Mandy, and her parents, Joe and Lynda, were excited for me to arrive with her new Scamp. Joe and June quickly became good friends; they eventually disappeared off together. We spent a couple hours together, going over everything on the trailer. It was cold outside and we were working in the dark. Afterwards, they invited me in for coffee. We shared some nice conversation. I thanked them for their hospitality, then I said, “I need to go find a motel, which is not always easy to do when traveling with a dog, so I better get going.”
Lynda had some good suggestions for motels, then handed me a bag. “We wanted to give you a little gift for bringing the Scamp.” she said. Inside the bag was a box of pastries from White’s Bakery. “There’s a lobster tail in there and a couple of Boston eclairs.” They sure sounded delicious, but it was pushing ten p.m. and I didn’t want to eat that late. Mandy said, “I got you something too. It’s a bottle of juice we make at work.” Made of fruits, vegetables and other healthy things, it was a bright orangish color. Very pretty! I thanked them again, gathered my treat and we said our farewells. I opened the truck door, “Come on Bugs, let’s go.” June said goodbye to Joe, then ran to me and jumped up into the cab.
The juice looked really good and it was healthy, so I went ahead and drank that while we headed out to find a room. The motel we booked was nice, clean, very reasonably priced and they allowed pets with no additional fee. June and I both liked that. I was actually surprised how low the price was, it was a great value especially in Massachusetts where motels seem to be high priced.
After a good night’s rest, I took June for a walk in the cool morning air. I fed her breakfast, then headed down to the lobby to get a bite to eat for myself. Not finding the breakfast area, I inquired at the front desk. “I’m sorry,” the clerk said, “we don’t serve a breakfast.” Looking forward to breakfast, I was disappointed, but they did have coffee, so I grabbed a cup of decaf and returned my room.
Inside, I gave June a rub on the head and told her, “They don’t serve breakfast here, but the great rate was a good trade off. And, you being able to stay free was worth far more than a cheap waffle and some bagged scrambled eggs.” June said she appreciated that, then offered, “We could share what’s in that bag from White’s Bakery.”
“Hey! I forgot about that.” I said as I broke loose with a big smile! Digging into the bag, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, opening presents. “Wow!” I said, my mouth watering over the goodies inside the box. June stared at me, waiting for her share of the treasure. “You already had breakfast and you don’t get people food anyway!” I said, taking a bite of an eclair while the filling oozed out the sides. June licked her lips and watched with envy, hoping I would change my mind...or at least drop some on the floor.
The lobster tail is a crispy pastry horn, shaped like a...well...lobster tail. It was filled with a delicious Bavarian cream. The Boston eclairs were also delicious. All three were gone in no time at all. Wiping my mouth with a napkin, I said to June, “Where else but in New England can you eat lobster tails for breakfast and it’s okay?” We shared a good laugh over that - well, I did anyway. June grumbled that I should have split the pastries with her since she was the one who remembered them being there.
We checked out of the motel and loaded our bags into the U-Haul. The Scamp trailer was delivered, now we had to figure out how we were getting home.
Flying was not an option as June is too big to ride in a seat and I won’t make her ride in an airline cargo area. We could rent a car one way, which is very expensive, or buy something. We started looking at some used car options to possibly replace the broken down car, or something I could drive home then sell again when I got there.
The rest of the trip was filled with several more automotive frustrations and set-backs before we finally figured out our way home.
So, as I said, not all of my trips are trouble free. But I did get to visit an old friend who lives in Salem, Massachusetts, and spend some time with my daughter and her husband in Harrisburg, PA.
As far as all the other troubles, I would say having a lobster tail and Boston eclairs for breakfast pretty much makes up for all of that.
Tom can be reached for comment at Facebook.com/Tom.palen.98
a broadcaster, pilot, writer, and our Guest Columnist!