What’s an over-the-road driving, Orthodox trucking, son of a gun like me supposed to do when they’re forced to take a reset after their drive clock runs out of hours? Grab a rental car and drive around of course!
I arrived into Cumberland Rhode Island early on Tuesday morning and after I delivered my load of dog food, I quickly realized I didn’t have enough hours to do anything afterwards. I headed to the nearest rest stop and waited until it was late enough to contact my drive manager on the west coast and explain the situation. He told me take a reset and here’s a load that picks up on Thursday. Okay then. Now what am I going to do? I know I have family in Rhode Island and Connecticut, maybe I should contact them? I contacted my cousin (once removed) on Facebook and said hey I’m in the area if you want to hang out? That worked out quite well in my favor. Within a few short hours we were in the car together and she was giving me the Rhode Island tour!
We went through Pawtucket, Providence, Middletown and Newport. I got to see so many of the sites of Rhode Island in just a few hours. Got to see the mansions built by The Rockefellers and the Vanderbilt in the early nineteen hundreds and I got to see the Atlantic Ocean finally! She also took me to their local Greek Orthodox Church which was really nice to see. I always love seeing new Orthodox churches and was hoping Tuesday night to attend service somewhere, it was the Nativity of the theotokos after all. Apparently this Orthodox Church actually had a tunnel underground that led from the church to the Meeting hall. Rhode Island does get lot of snow after all.
It was really wonderful seeing my cousin and catching up. I don’t think I’ve seen her or her husband for at least 20 years. Wednesday morning I ordered an Uber and then picked up a rental car. I was getting ready for my big solo adventure. First stop, Saint Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Woonsocket Rhode Island. I wouldn’t be able to go inside but I could at least stop by the church and admire its architecture and say a prayer outside of it. Then it was off to Brookline Massachusetts to go to the campus of Hellenic College, Holy Cross. But wait! As I was leaving st. Michael’s, the priest who I had emailed the day before finally got back to me apologizing for not reaching out sooner, but said if I was still in the area I was welcome to come by and to venerate the icons.
I jumped on that opportunity like a flea onto a dog. In a very short time Father Vasily Lickwar and I were able to figure out where to go and I was able to make it to the church and was allowed inside this beautiful old russian-built OCA Church. I venerated the icons and I venerated several relics that they had within the icons. I asked Father Vasily who the relics were for. I found out that one was for St. Vladimir the last martyr of the Russian Revolution. One was for Saint Elizabeth, sister of the Tsar, one was a relic of st. Herman of Alaska. And finally one was a relic of the founder of the church.! St Alexander hotovitzky was a Russian hieromonk who founded this little church back in the early nineteen hundreds. Upon returning to Russia, he was murdered with 75 other Orthodox priest by the Communists. Lord have mercy. so much history! I was filled with the grace of God and was so thankful for this opportunity to venerate these special saints.
After receiving a blessing from Father Vasily, I got back into the car and headed for Brookline Massachusetts. Two of my cousins had gone to the Hellenic College, Holy Cross and for my own personal reasons I wanted to check out the school for myself. Of course the school is closed because of coronavirus, but I was still able to drive up, walk around a little bit and pay my respects outside the chapel.
After visiting in front of the chapel it was time to head north. I had never been to New Hampshire or Maine and I wanted pictures of me in front of the welcome signs. I have a Facebook album on my own personal Facebook page of me standing in front of every single u.s. state welcome sign. It’s not a complete album yet, I’m still missing between 6-8 pictures. However I am really close to having a complete and it is a fun work in progress. So after making a wrong turn, I ended up driving through downtown Boston, a quick correction later and I was on my way to New Hampshire and Maine.
Going into Maine, I was trying to avoid the toll roads, so I ended up in the seaside village of Hampton New Hampshire. Talk about a cute little beach town! After that I kept winding my way north through these little towns, again trying to avoid toll roads, but I finally ended up on Cape Elizabeth in Portland Maine. After parking the car and walking a little bit. I finally made it to the Portland Head Lighthouse. What a sight to behold! I took several photos and one or two selfies and then decided it was time to actually find the beach. I wanted to feel the Atlantic Ocean. Actually step out and get my feet wet. I told my wife that I would bring them home a little jar of sand and ocean from the Atlantic, that way I can tell the kids look I brought you back the Atlantic Ocean! So I scooped up a little bit of beach sand and a little bit of water in a glass container that I had already and hopped back into the car to make my return journey back to Rhode Island. I stopped along the way at a grocery store and picked up some necessary items for the truck that way I can keep going on the keto diet. I also got a $20 bill so that I can pay the tolls going down because I was tired and I wanted to go the fast way this time.
I got back to the truck around 9:45 p.m. unloaded all the groceries and everything that I had in the car with me and then drove the car back to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car facility in Woonsocket. After dropping the keys in the lock box and waiting for my late night Uber ride, I was back at the truck around 11 p.m, utterly exhausted as all get out. It was a good day, a really fun day with a lot of things that I had never done before. It was also long and tiring.
Now it’s Thursday, I’m back in the truck. I’m already loaded and heading to Indianapolis. My fun is over but the memories remain. I love being a professional tourist.
I can’t tell you how thankful I am to God for the opportunities that I was given, not only being able to visit the different churches and then being able to venerate the icons and relics but to also do things and see things that I’ve never done or seen before. Below are a couple different pictures from the from my northeast adventure with their corresponding captions.
Thanks for reading my friends I hope you all have a great rest of your week and an awesome weekend and I will see you next time.
– Orthodox Trucker