Hi all! Today, the big red Simply Smiles bus left its cozy home of Fairfield, CT for its maiden voyage to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota. I write to you from the Super 8 Motel in Clearfield, PA, about 340 miles from Fairfield.
It's been an awesome day. After a 9 am departure (okay, 9:15), we hit the road with Bryan finally putting to use that CDL he worked so hard for. The weather was beautiful, the tunes were rockin' (we had a great 90's mix tape going for most of the trip, with some Bruce Springsteen thrown in for good measure), and the bus was truckin'.
As far as the bus's loyal crew is concerned, there are 5 humans and 2 dogs: Bryan, Gaby, myself (Haley Brown), Josh Dufresne, and Christiana Whitcomb - joined by the unfailingly energetic Chip and Josh's dog, Maddie. It's a great group of people and we've had a lot of laughs already. We stopped for a quick stretch at a lake in Pennsylvania (a lake that's name is now escaping me) and the dogs went wild, swimming and playing fetch. Those of us dumb enough to accompany the dogs on the dock were soaked almost immediately; Gaby watched from a rock and laughed at our poor judgement.
After we set up camp at the motel, Bryan, Christiana, Chip, and I decided to go for a run and had our courage truly tested when we had an almost near-death experience with some wildlife. We were all running and Chip, as it were, made a sudden dart to the left directly into my running path. I quickly hopped out of the way, only to have my foot land not three inches from the belly of a woodchuck. Startled, we both stared at each other and decided the best course of action to get away. Running away was the best option for both parties, but unfortunately we ran in the same directly. Woody (that's his name) made a break for it right into my sneaker and I almost died of a heart attack.
We stopped in for grub at the Dutch Pantry, an awesome space sporting hand-woven baskets and antique tools for decoration and mason jars for drinking. There were shelves of jams and jellies for sale and the whole place smelled like cinnamon. Truly a unique spot that one can only find on the road.
Tomorrow, we hope to make it to Indiana. That's as far west as I've been!
Make sure to watch our Twitter page at @simplysmilesinc for real-time updates on the progress of the #bigredbus. You never know what tomorrow will bring.