Here’s the thing: we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Okay, we knew we were getting ourselves into the Pennsylvania countryside, and it wasn’t like there was a dark ominous cloud in the shape of a skull, or a tactical nuclear weapon, or a Trump hair implant menacing the horizon. But still, this was new territory for all of us.
Chris put the route together on his computer, and dude is pretty good at it—he’s helped us with routes before. Remember Australia? Well we didn’t die down under, even though just about every bit of flora and fauna down under wants to snuff out your light. How much of our survival is directly related to Chris’ route is hard to say, but as we fueled up on Sticky Bunz, I thought about it and decided to attribute a healthy portion of our Australian survival to Chris and his planning because every self-help guru will tell you that the only way to succeed–read survive–is by manifesting the reality you want to experience in the world. I thought about the dangerous creatures that we might run into over the next couple of days, and it was looking like we were going to be in pretty good shape. Sure, there’s the legend of the Nittany Lion, but I’m fairly confident that those über felines were wiped out when Sam Colt and Bob Winchester came to town. We wouldn’t be worrying about Lions or Tigers. Snakes? Maybe. Ticks? Point taken, but having just come from the tick retreat that is the state of Vermont without any outward signs of Lyme’s, the crew was starting to feel like maybe we were putting too much into this Lyme’s panic. So what are we left with, maybe a few pissed off truck drivers and an overzealous guard dog or two? We can handle that. Get that hacky out and let’s get an around the world going, everything is going to be just fine.
Turns out one of the dangers of designing routes via computer is the chance that the map details are not entirely accurate. A road that exists on the map could have washed out, disappeared, or fallen into private hands. How much of a problem this presents depends on the character of the group. Are you cunning/stupid enough to scramble across the remains of a steep mudslide? Will you blindly bushwhack your way down a path that has long since given up? How do you feel about trespassing? How do you feel about trespassing in a region where gun ownership is highly encouraged and there is a particular distaste for unwelcome guests? What about if by committing an act of trespassing you’re able to cut ten, twelve, or more miles off your route? What if not trespassing means there’s no way you can hit up the MiniMart for Cokes, Snickers, and chips? Do you risk it?
Before you answer, I need to make something absolutely clear: Yonder Journal and our staff by no means encourage trespassing—ever. That’d be grossly irresponsible, negligent, and dimwitted. However in the name of full disclosure I will tell you that if faced with the “entirely hypothetical” situation outlined above, we’d probably end up with Cokes, Snickers, and chips. What I am trying to say is that we did end up with Cokes, Snickers, and chips. And we learned that Nittany Lions be damned, the real danger here is a hidden homeowner with a cannon who cannot abide intruders. Not that we had any run ins, but we didn’t have any run-ins with Brown Snakes in Australia either, and that doesn’t mean we weren’t constantly on edge thinking about them. My point is often times the most dangerous fauna you’re going to encounter out there is your fellow man. So before taking any cunning/stupid action, consider for a minute how badly you need that Coke. And then, of course, forge ahead.