The Trip to New York Hope

(Strange things are happening to my font and typeface size here. I’ll try to work with it.)

I just returned from a road trip from far Northwest Missouri to Oriskany, New York (near Utica) and back. My husband and I, five youngsters (college age), and two fellow faculty members, piled into a 15-person university van and drove cross-country to arrive at New York Hope, a disaster training exercise. (I have written earlier about my responsibilities for the exercise, making people look like disaster victims.)

Photo by u0412u0430u043bu044cu0434u0435u043cu0430u0440 on

And it was a trip. Highlights of the trip included:

  • The buddy show in the front seat. The retired Brigadier General and the younger modern historian bond over a couple thousand miles in close quarters. Hilarity ensues.
  • The first night’s stopover. We arrive at a church camp after some twenty miles of gravel in the middle of the dark to this rustic modern-in-the-80’s main office, the place where one registers. Only nobody is there. After 20 minutes, someone comes in to inform us we were not on the register. As we had registered (or so we thought), much tense discussion ensued. We produce an email trail that proves that we had started the process but that it had not been completed. The camp gives in and assigns us to the Retreat House.
  • Ah, yes. The Retreat House. A fine example of a shingled 1920s home renovated in the 1970s and painfully neglected since then. The place smelled of disuse and wood rot. I was not expecting ornate, and in fact have spent enough time in church camps that I expected primitive. I did not expect a miasma of trapped wood rot. Bonus: The odd accumulation of kitchen appliances which included an avocado range next to an old commercial oven.
  • Moulage duty. Four of our role-players were high schooler/middle schoolers who were an absolute riot to work with. We got to give them various bruises, bumps, lacerations, broken bones, and gunshot wounds. The adults were fun, too, but we bonded with the younger ones over cat pictures and stories.
  • Stewarts’ ice cream. We wanted dessert, and I introduced the crowd to Stewarts’, a New York gas station chain with ice cream. I’ve never seen people as mad about ice cream as New Yorkers. I won bonus points for that suggestion.
  • The flat tire pulling into Cleveland. Luckily, it was a slow flat, so we didn’t get stranded in the middle of the interstate. We ate lunch, got the tire fixed, and went on our merry way back to the Retreat House.
  • Arriving back home, finally. Blissfully, incredibly. Only to get a message from one of our younger passengers that he had a positive COVID test. Yay. So far I’m negative.

What did you do over your summer vacation?


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