|We left beautiful Vermont behind on Saturday as we started to our long journey home. For the next two days we would be on the road for six hours each day as we moved through Massachusetts to Connecticut for the night and then through New York and New Jersey before settling in at Hershey, PA for a few nights. It took until we drove into Massachusetts before we finally realized just what it was about Vermont that we had found so appealing. Vermont has no real commercial development, annoying billboards, or big city centers with Home Depots, Kohls, and Lowes. Sure, Vermont would have the occasional strip center, grocery store chain and it even had a Wal Mart. But the Wal Mart was set so far off the main street with absolutely no signage that you had to be “in the know” to even find the darn thing. There was just nowhere that we went in all of Vermont (and we had pretty much been up and down the entire state) where commercialism smacked you in the face the way it does in pretty much every other state in the Union. It is the state that progress and commercialism has left behind. Which is actually pretty darn nice!
Gas prices, which had started dropping while we were in Vermont, finally went below $3.00/gallon as we drove to lower taxing states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania – yay!!! We were ecstatic to fill up and spend less than $70. Well, if there was one silver lining to this Wall Street collapse it was the fact that we can pretty much count on $3.00/gallon gas or less as we make our drive across country during the next few weeks.
During our stop-over in Connecticut we were fortunate to be able to meet one of Mark’s old clients and his wife for dinner near our campground. They were wonderfully interested in all that we had been doing for the past year (claiming that we were their heroes for having the courage to just quit our jobs and take off for a year) and I think we pretty much talked about ourselves and our trip for two hours straight. Mark thoughtfully changed the subject and asked about their oldest child who had just gone to college this year about midway through dinner. Otherwise I think we would have talked their ears off and it would all have been about us. We don’t want to become those dinner guests or friends who only talk about ourselves - that would be bad (and we’d probably never get a second invitation!)
Dinner was over just in time for us to get home and watch the Gators maul the LSU Tigers (#4 team in the nation at the time) 51-21 in what was probably the best game I have seen the Gators play on both sides of the ball in years. We looked like a team that might be playing for another national championship. Now the question is, can we keep it up for the remainder of the season? That’s what makes college football so much fun – every week counts!