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Teacher & Snacktime

A Wonderful Day....Part 1

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On Saturday, Snacktime and I got up well before the crack of dawn and headed to Hanover, NH to meet up with Coach Lou, Army Ant, OzJacko, Invisible Man and Rolling Rs. After a 3hr drive, with a respectable amount of fog and rain in the mountains northwest of Concord, we arrived at 7:30am to find the Silly Walkers hanging out on the balcony of the Lebanon Days Inn, waving us in and out of the rain. Greetings and handshakes were exchanged, photos were taken, and Snacktime's bags were handed out and received with glee. It was great to finally meet some of the WB folks whose journals we’ve followed and posted with for the past 6 months.

It was decided that discussions and decisions about the day’s plans should happen over breakfast in the lobby. Snacktime went off with Coach, Army and IM, and I stayed back with Oz and Rs while they finished getting their gear in order. When they were ready, we also headed for the lobby dining area. I saw no sign of Snacktime at Coach’s table and was informed he was off making himself a waffle. He joined us shortly afterward, waffle and juice in hand, sat down and made very short work of his meal. When he asked if it was ok to go make another waffle, I felt a little twinge of guilt as we weren’t guests of the hotel and here he was availing himself freely of their “free continental breakfast”. But as no one else seemed to care, I gave the young man the go-ahead and was rewarded with the happy face (ethics don’t stand a chance against that smile). When he returned, he “tucked in” again while we all chatted and got to know each other.

Conversation was easy. We laughed and teased Army for buying his 8th pair of shoes and living up to his most recent nickname of Imelda. Oz talked about his and IM’s adventures, his family, and his home in Perth, Australia. Rs talked about hiking in the Alps and his home in Bavaria. Coach laughed and chatted with Hikerboy57 on his phone about all of the above. If I had known these guys for years rather than minutes I could not have felt more comfortable in their company. Snacktime was at ease and full of waffles….I sat back and fully enjoyed our newfound friends and my pilfered coffee.

When the day’s itinerary was decided upon, we got up and headed to rooms for gear and cars for packing up. The plan was to drive to Hanover and drop off Army, IM and R’s, bring Coach’s car to the end-point of his 2 day hike, then take Coach and Oz to a midpoint between Hanover and that night’s shelter, where they would all meet up for the night. Also at this spot Snacktime and I would set up our trail magic station.

We were off….pursuing our goals and plans as speedily as possible….perhaps a bit too speedily as it turned out. With Coach in the lead, we headed north up Rt 120 for Hanover. Coach was “motivated”, and I quickly fell behind. In a foolish moment of complete lack of concern for the rules of the road, I accelerated to catch up, oblivious to the Lebanon PD patrol car up ahead. I looked down at the speedometer (heretofore laughingly referred to as the “oh craaaaap meter” by Snacktime) as I rushed passed and saw I was going 68mph…….in a 40 zone. OF COURSE the blue lights started blazing.

The officer was relatively sympathetic to my “chasing down the lead car” plight (I say relatively as she didn’t let me go, but did reduce the fine), and with a promise to let Coach know he'd been clocked at 51 and that he should slow down also, I was given my ticket and allowed to mentally kick myself repeatedly and go on my merry, slower, law-abiding way. Snacktime was told that there was no reason to inform “Poppie” of this little event when we got home. Oz in the backseat found this remark hilarious, and he and I chatted about traffic violations and penalties in Australia while we drove on in search of our cohorts.

We ran into Coach & Co just ahead over the crest of a hill. (Though I was unable to see them, I suspected they were not too far ahead by the tremors in the road which I imagined were vibrations caused by their laughing at my plight.) As we approached, Coach pulled out and began to lead again….and of course took off like a bat out of….Lebanon. I followed at a subdued pace and trusted him to not lose me. He didn’t, and we arrived at the Hanover Inn for the drop off.

On getting out of the car, I did my civic duty and informed Coach of the policewoman’s reprimand. Of course they were all lined up and laughing, and Coach said he knew he was speeding and expected to be pulled over, and it was a good thing I was going even faster! More laughing….and I joined in, because it was just too ridiculous a turn of events to spend time worrying over, and it felt like we were all in it together.

Little did I know until a few minutes later how true that feeling would prove to be. As we started to say our goodbyes, and our “it was so great meeting you-s”, they started putting cash in my outstretched hand (for shaking, not collecting) and telling me that there was no way their trail angel was going to have to pay a ticket. I was flustered and flabbergasted, a little embarrassed and guilty, but mostly touched that these guys were saving me from my own stupidity. As I stared down at my hand and their generosity, I didn’t see which of them quipped “But we’re not paying the whole thing, because you WERE speeding, and should be PUNISHED”, breaking the tension and bringing out the laughter yet again.

Handshakes turned to hugs, and we said “see you later” and not goodbye to our new friends and wished them a good hike.

Updated 08-07-2013 at 21:07 by Teacher & Snacktime

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