Some journeys don’t have beginnings. Just like some friendships don’t have a start. You simply slip into them slowly, warily, over time. This journey was like that. Those in FA know other players, some for years, but almost none have met any other in person. Simply ghost voices over teamspeak, reliable, perennial voices that seem to show up month after month year after year. Well, I chose to change that.
I pondered a trip and then one day, I boarded a train. And the adventure began.
At first, I traveled from Austin to Chicago by train, about 28 hours. There were dozens of stops, lots to see. I was able to snap a shot of the mighty Mississippi.
St Louis was easy to spot, the arch was there, and the train passed right by it.
In Chicago, I was met by |FA|Bin who I promptly hugged and he showed me around Chicago and dragged me along to an attorney shindig party that got rained out. So we spent hours talking about the meta aspects of UrT, the players, the demographic of players, and bicycles. Oh so much talk of bicycles, it made me sad I didn’t bring my folding Downtube. We inward bounded about our identities with bicycles, and how his injury may affect his.
By 8pm, I had Bin singing silly ditties with me on the streets of Chicago. The man has a good soul and a competitive spirit, but a career as a singer…not so much.
Then I got on my train at 9pm and departed again. The masses were herded into coach and I smiled as I was pointed forward to my private sleeping car with the other rail nobility.
I spent hours watching the land form and land cover change from short trees to tall giants, and the building methods go from cinder block to red brick. It was a step back in time to see all the old brick factories with their glorious brick architectural features on the top edges.
The next day I got up, had my train french toast in the dining car and then prepared for the end of my train journey. It had been over 50 hours by train and the time had flown by. Now it was the time to shift into the camping part of the trip.
My train was an hour and a half late. But that was expected. Finally when I arrived |FA|Funder picked me up in Syracuse holding a sign “Grandma” which cracked him up to no end. I gave him a warm hug and we were off north to meet with our esteemed high pinger |FA|Rassilon 3 hours north near the Canadian border. We almost crossed into Canada at the 1,000 islands bridge but avoided the socialist bastards and u-turned then took Hwy 13. As expected, the beginning conversation was a touch awkward as the entire context of the relation you have with your fellow FA is game related, but it warmed up within the hour.
As we closed in on Rassilon’s position we called to get final directions- “Left on I think main street, then left again on I think main street, then left at the next street” Which, as you would expect, is a set of directions that should make anyone nervous. Funder and I exchanged glances and quickly pulled out our trusty Tomtom, plugged in the final addy and good ol Tomtom got us there.
Rass’s other half was putting us up for the night. A fellow Whovian and sci fi nut, she was a wonderful host and good company. We crashed the night then headed off the next day to the mountains.
We pitched camp quickly in a coming gale and prepared for rain. While waiting for the rain to hit, we built a fire and I went about carving wooden spoons.
I like a bit of woodworking and it was a challenge to carve a spoon with a dull wood splitting hatchet, a scandic brush axe, and a leatherman.
When the rain hit, we all retreated under my Kelty tarp I put over my sleeping hammock.
The next day we did a stiff hike saw some good views.
We also spotted interesting mushrooms, a bolete, some Russalas, and some unknowns.
The temps dropped into the upper 30s at night, but we were covered, as our firewood supply was huge.
Monday came, and we had to break camp, reflect on how we spent 3 days unplugged, but talked about video games the whole weekend, and ponder the changing face of our social worlds with the internet challenging norms.