Day #5 (June 28th):

That whole night I laid in bed wondering if I would ever see Katelyn again. It’s really easy to get lost in our lives and forget about people when you don’t live in the same city or the same state. I felt like I really bonded with her while I was in Pittsburgh. I knew I was going to miss her a lot. Probably more than she’ll even realize. I told her to make sure to wake me up so I could get a hug before she left. After that I slept until ten and then got ready. I had to be out of the hotel by eleven.

Now I know the majority of you are going to ask, or were wondering, and the answer is no. I did not sleep with her. We had two beds and there was no sex. Now if she wanted to I totally would have been down for it. Katelyn is a total babe. She has the looks, the body, and the confidence in herself. I just think that she only looks at me as a friend. I can’t blame her. I did the same thing to her while we were in college. It’s only fair I get the same treatment now. She’s also a great friend and I wouldn’t want to ruin that for a weird one night encounter while I was passing through.

The problem for my travel day was that I only had a three-hour drive but I couldn’t get to Hagerstown until after 4 PM when Fred would be home. I had to kill a few hours. I went to the bookstore company that I work for in Pittsburgh just to look around and see how different things were from the store I worked in. It was a lot smaller and a lot quieter it felt like. After that I just decided to hit the road and see if I could come across any weird places. Fred told me about the ultimate dive bar and grill called Bill’s. It was out in the middle of nowhere in the hills. He gave me the address and told me that if the radio and phone goes out it’s not a big deal. You’re probably almost there. I had to laugh at that.

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Bill’s really did take me off onto some strange roads up in the mountains. I’m talking up and down roads followed by tight turns around the corners of the mountains. For the majority of people it probably would have been very stressful and scary. For me it was really fun and entertaining. I always am up for a challenge. The crappy part about it was that the one day of the week that Bill’s was closed happened to be this day. So after my entire long journey to find this spot I didn’t get a meal and I didn’t get to check out his place. It did help me kill some time though. An hour later I was at Fred’s house around 4 PM.

Bill's Place

Bill's Place

I met Fred while I was on a coaching baseball tour three years ago. We have stayed in touch ever since. I knew he had his own house with his longtime girlfriend and now fiancée. He gave me a tour of the place and even had a guest room all set up for me to sleep in. I told him that since I didn’t get to eat at Bill’s I was hungry so we headed to his local bar called the Broad Axe. He had been going there for years. Hagerstown is the town that he grew up in. I liked the place. It was totally a bar that I would enjoy. It was nice but small. There was an indoor and outdoor area to hang out. Fred wouldn’t let me pay for anything so he bought me a beer, a shot, and my food. We hung out for a little bit there. Since it was a town that Fred grew up in he knew pretty much knew everyone we ran into and he’s a very social guy.

When we headed back to his place we decided to figure out what we were going to do for the next day while trying out some of the newer Flying Dog beers that he had. Fred works for the Flying Dog brewery. We put together a vague plan that we would check out the long board shop of his neighbor in Baltimore and then run over to Camden Park and see if we could get some photos of the ballpark. After that we would drive to Washington D.C. to see the Nationals Park and see them play against the Mets. After a few beers his fiancée came home. She had a horrible day. She had two flat tires in the same day! She also said that she didn’t have any meetings in the morning so if we wanted to drink or get high tonight was the night to do it. I had never smoked weed before but I was down to try it. I had told Fred ahead of time before I even left for the trip. I view Fred as a confidant and like an older brother. I knew he would help me out and look out for me. I also knew he wouldn’t make fun of me for not knowing what I was doing. The majority of friends and peers I know I always feel like the older brother in the situation and know that I have to look out for the group usually. It was nice to not have to worry about it.

Hours later we’ve smoked way too much and drank way too much. I had a buzz going but my chest also hurt. I’m not sure what time we ended up calling it a night but I had an amazing sleep. I think the next day I woke up around nine. We had a general plan to leave by ten but of course we didn’t leave until 11. We stopped by the Flying Dogs Brewery and Fred gave me a quick tour of where he worked and what they did there. It was really cool. I had never been to a brewery before. I also wanted to get some souvenirs from the shop but Fred paid for that as well. We then grabbed a quick lunch at a place nearby. He got himself a sandwich and I got a huge baked potato.

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Wall Art at Flying Dogs Brewery

We got into Baltimore and headed over to the Bustin Boards facility. Bustin Boards make all different kind of skateboards with custom art work. They run out of a big building where multiple companies work out of. We had to find the right place to park and figure out where to enter. We ran into Jef, who was from Hagerstown, and he gave us the grand tour. Apparently we missed seeing Ray Lewis by a half hour. Damnit! If only we had left on time. Oh well. I got to see all the different types of boards that they had made, I got to see them make a design for one of the decks, and I also got to keep one of the decks from the reject pile. All in all it was way more interesting than I expected it to be and I probably got the coolest souvenir from the entire trip.

The Decks Drying Out

The Decks Drying Out

We then headed a few blocks away to Camden Yards where the Orioles play. We only expected to get some photos of the outside of the ballpark but the gate was open… so I walked right in. I walked in and over towards the bleachers before we ran into security. Fred then asked very politely if it was okay if we took some photos. The lady said it was okay as long as we didn’t go sit in the bleachers and stayed in that area. We already were inside the ballpark and it was more than we both expected.

Camden

Camden

After our stop at Camden, Fred drove me around Fell’s Point area. I got to see all the shops and restaurants of the area. It’s right by the water so I got to see a lot of crab and seafood places. I also got to see some of the cool boats. We then hit the road and headed towards Washington D.C. The D.C. area has always been known for really bad traffic. We did a great job getting into the area, but then we missed our exit because we were chatting and not really paying attention. Without really even trying we managed to drive right by a few of the major monuments. I’m not a history guy so I don’t want to pretend that I know the names of them. I just know that when we drove by them I was like hey I remember that. We also drove by some lesser known buildings like the library of congress. They aren’t tall buildings by any means but they’re still shiny and impressive looking.

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Only a few blocks away from where we got lost was the Nationals Park. We gave ourselves plenty of time to get there and ended up showing up two hours before game time. We found a parking garage really easy but it was $30 to park. That’s super high to me. We had some beers in a cooler so we each drank a beer and then got out to walk towards the stadium. We entered a place called “the Bullpen” which is essentially a place outside of the ballpark full of food trunks, drink stands, and a stage for live music. I got a burrito because I was hungry. Fred got himself a beer and we relaxed for a while until it was closer to game time. I told him I wanted to walk around the park and get some photos so I needed plenty of time before the game started. I ended up finishing my photos and everything about the time the game started.

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The game itself was pretty entertaining. Fred and I both predicted/hoped for a no-hitter by Scherzer. The night before the game had multiple rain delays and the Mets started a lineup full of scrubs as it was the last game of the series before they headed out of town. We weren’t far off. I think he only gave up three hits over seven innings. Murphy bested his old team by hitting two home runs. The traffic leaving the stadium wasn’t fun but we managed. After being on the road for a while we got close to Fred’s town and decided to take a back road to get away from the highway. I ended up seeing four deer and we both saw a falling star on the way home. Fred made sure to tell me to make a wish. The problem was I didn’t know what to wish for. I wasn’t sure what I really wanted. I was happy being on the road and traveling around.

Day 6 (June 30th):  

By this part of the trip there wasn’t really anything else to look forward to. I had two days to essentially drive 12-13 hours back to St. Louis. I had to turn in my rental car by the end of July 1st. Originally I had planned to vaguely drive towards Louisville, Kentucky and just do some site seeing. I didn’t really know anyone there and I knew I still had a $115 electric bill that needed to be paid so I just decided to hit the road and make my way home. I figured that if I got bored or saw something of interest I would stop and take a look. I took a slightly different route back west compared to the one I went heading east. I didn’t run into a toll road which was a plus. I did run into a few traffic jams but nothing that was too long or too annoying. I drove six hours before I started to get bored and get hungry. I ended up seeing a sign right about this time and found out I was really close to where Jacob was at. I sent him a text to see if he was off and he gave me a call. I was an exit away from his town and only about three miles away from his house. I figured what the hell. This is as good a stop as any. I pulled off and got some gas and then headed towards Jacob’s house. No one was home yet so I pulled into the drive and put my feet in his pool while I waited. It was only a few minutes that went by before Jacob was home. We then headed out to eat at the same Mexican restaurant the one I went to only a few days earlier.

Toes In Pool

We ran by the grocery store after we ate. Jacob wanted to pick up a few things for breakfast. Originally I wasn’t going to buy anything but I picked up a few snacks and drinks as well. I also knew I ran out of body wash so I picked up one in case I showered the next morning. I knew I was going to have to leave really early in the morning. I highly suggest to never purchase sparkling flavored energy water. I don’t care if it says a flavor there is no flavor. They all taste like carbonated water. There was a Redbox outside so we waited for a few people to decide while we hung outside. After they left I told Jacob about a song that I kept hearing on XM radio that I really liked. It was called “Talk Too Much” by Coin. We picked out movie and then I played the song while he checked out. I’m not much of a dancer ever but I felt like dancing a little bit while I waited. When you’re in a town where nobody knows you and you’ll likely never see them again what does it matter? Jacob already knows my flavor of weird and doesn’t care. Also side note my dancing behind the wheel has really improved after hours of driving and jamming out.

We hung out and watched the movie. He wanted to play a game with his friend online so I did some writing before we both ended up going to bed. He had to leave by 8 AM in the morning and his mom had to leave by 9 AM in the morning so I knew I had to be up and packed between then. I wrote until one in the morning so I decided that I would skip the morning shower and take the extra thirty minutes of sleep.