« back to articles

Jill’s Diary #2: Road Trip to Audubon, PA

The next tale of a GPS unit and her BookCrosser
by KateKintail
January 5, 2009
Starting destination: Northern Virginia (with a short stop scheduled in Maryland)

Final Destination: Audubon, Pennsylvania

Hello again. I am a GPS unit and my name is Jill. Admittedly, that’s not a particularly creative name but I’m stuck with it and I'm nonetheless glad to be of service to KateKintail in her various BookCrossing-related road trips.

This road trip was another planned, joint meetup between BC in DC and another BookCrossing group; in this case, it was the ABXC group in Audubon, Pennsylvania. I first helped KateKintail get from Virginia to a Metro station in Maryland where she released a copy of Wild Oats on a bus stop bench while waiting for crrcookie.

I was soon mounted to the top of the windshield of crrcookie’s van and I calculated a suitable route, which would take just a little over three hours. From what I understand, BC in DCer Nat4Lee drove up on his own in order to spend the morning taking in Valley Forge and other historical sites in the area; his adventures naturally included stopping by a local bookstore to buy an armload of books.

It was smooth sailing -- or driving, rather -- for quite some time. But then the BookCrossers suddenly veered off the route. “Recalculating,” I said in my slightly-frustrated, slightly-exasperated tone. I told them how to get back onto the highway, but they did not obey. Instead, they flat-out ignored me and began following the first brown signs by the road they came upon. At each intersection, I instructed them to “make a U-turn,” but they wound up at Iron Hill Museum, a small place that was practically hidden off a side road. Apparently, KateKintail had never wild released in Delaware before and since we were passing briefly through the state anyway, she seized the opportunity. I wanted to glare at her to tell her that I could have happily found her a suitable location had she just informed me of her actions beforehand. But, being a machine, I can’t actually glare. KateKintail and crrcookie left a book each at the museum or on the nearby trail. The books were both picked up, though so far only KateKintail’s release of The Catcher in the Rye has been journaled. Max the Mighty wasn't on the trail where it had been left, though, so we hope it's found a home with someone.

I was much happier when they resumed following my instructions. Even toll roads, tunnels, half-closed bridges, traffic, and road construction did not dampen my spirits, though all that did make us half an hour late to the meetup. Once again, upon arrival, I was detached and stuffed into KateKintail’s bag. Reminder to all: don’t leave your pets, children, or trusty GPS units in the car on a hot July day! Along with us came several bags of books as well as melydia’s Meetup Bookbox which was making its inaugural stop at this joint group meetup.

In attendance were: PrettyPoodle, H20melons, JudyJoy, SherriSue76, ivypoison, Nat4Lee, crrcookie, and KateKintail. It was a pleasure to put faces to screennames and get to know each other. It turned out that three of the ABXC members were attending a meetup for the very first time, so it was wonderful to have new members to share our enthusiasm for BookCrossing with.

KateKintail was especially excited to meet PrettyPoodle in person since the very first book she ever found in the wild was The Executioner #37, one PrettyPoodle wild released back in 2005. I wasn’t with KateKintail to help her hunt back then, but it sounds as though she did all right that time without me. She caught the book at a local mall, read it, and then released it when she was passing through Arizona on vacation.

The tables of the Panera were soon covered with stacks of books, which were soon circulated (clockwise) among BookCrossers to be sure every book had a chance to find a new reader or someone who was eager to wild release it. A few copies of various Stephen King books were distributed to the groups with the intention of participating in the September 21st Stephen King Release Challenge. Members of ABXC also gave out gift bags of books to those of us who had driven up to visit (they didn’t offer me one, but KateKintail is sharing hers with me), consisting of some random books and some themed books as well as plastic bags that a certain poodle had kindly donated from her supply.

BCers in their natural environment: journaling & registering books!

KateKintail and crrcookie toyed briefly with the idea of a short side trip up to New Jersey on the way home to be able to add that state to their wild release lists. But we were in such good company that we left at the meetup a bit later than planned. New Jersey would have to wait.

“Turn right on S Trooper Rd,” I told them once we were back on the road. Both women laughed at my pronunciation, which I will confess does perhaps sound too much like “Ssstrooper.” And then there was the apparently equally amusing “Take exit 52 to MD-295 toward BWI Airport” since I didn’t realize BWI was an abbreviation and not the name “Buh-wii”. However, I’m glad I could provide them with a source of amusement as well as accurate directions.

Darkness and a horrible thunderstorm eclipsed us on the way home. I had no trouble navigating, but driving was more difficult. So they pulled off the highway at an exit and asked me to find them the closest fast food restaurants. I did so right away, sending them down this road and that one towards restaurants they didn’t end up stopping at. Honestly, how was I to know that the places I found for them were part of a food court inside a closed mall? There were a few places to eat on the outskirts of the mall, they discovered. It was too wet, dark, and late to go wild releasing, though.

When we got back to Maryland, I was transferred back into KateKintail’s car along with a large bag of newly-acquired books. My directions competed for attention with Lost Laysen and Lucasfilm’s Alien Chronicles: The Golden One which KateKintail was earreading on audiobook all the way back home. Now I sit, eagerly awaiting the next BC in DC meetup road trip to the BookThing in Baltimore, Maryland.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.