I met Linda and Dennis on a Golden Retriever forum where we had exchanged advice and pleasantries. Barley reminded them of a beloved golden they had lost some time before, and when I asked for information about dog-friendly campgrounds in north-central Pennsylvania, they offered use of their camp a short distance north of scenic Route 6. I was looking for a safe place to pitch our tent, but they wouldn’t hear of it; the camp was mine for the night. I tried to protest, but the thought of a hot shower and a roof over my head in case of rain was just too good an offer to pass. And so it was to that camp we were headed on our home stretch.
We arrived late in the afternoon, having finished an easy crossing of Ohio and Pennsylvania on forested back roads. I unlocked the gate, pulled through, and locked it back in place behind us. Up a curved gravel driveway to a shaded camp with – Barley whined in anticipation – a large pond! No sooner had I let him out than he caught and ate a mouse. I was toying with the idea of sleeping in the carport instead of invading their privacy when a car pulled up to the camp. Inside were the grinning faces of my hosts, a couple I would soon feel I had known for years. Barley bonded to them instantly.
And that is one of the unexpected blessings of the long distance traveler. You meet the most wonderful people on the road, people who share kindness small and large, people you expect to stay in touch with for the rest of your life.