The 'I am not leaving the US on my own accord' Road Trip: Day 6 (Continued from here)
Norwich, CT to East Taunton, MA (rough map)
Approximately 1.5 hours of travel
I awoke again after 2 hours of sleep and told Kristen that I was going for a walk because I couldn't sleep. She insisted that I try to fall back asleep and I laid back down. After another hour, the sun finally came to me as if I was a peasant waiting for their czar. I could finally get out of bed and made my way over to a nearby room full of random furniture.
It was not long before Kristen awoke and we joined the already awake Chad & UJ.
I complained for a bit about my night's sleep until UJ threw her bower upon my ace of clubs. She told the story where Chad greedily slept away and she heard some noise coming up the side of the building. After a short pause, she realized the subject moving into the room was a large raccoon.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, UJ decided to keep quiet in hopes the raccoon would take off. As the raccoon quickly dissipated the 15 foot distance between UJ and himself, UJ had to abort her original plan and make some noise once the curious little bugger came a little too close for comfort.
If you look at a map of Norwich, you can see that there's a circle of buildings in the middle with a few straight tunnels extending off. Each of these tunnel extensions make logical places to start a systematic execution of Norwich, so we departed back to the Mitchell building which was north of the point we entered the system.
I continued to move through the building as UJ, Chad & Kristen were quickly distracted. Mitchell has an odd shape where there's a central room, then flanking hallways and rooms off of that central room. I moved forward to the other end of the building while they artfagged away. Eventually I reached the end of Mitchell and found the above piano. I remembered seeing the same piano from Nicole Rork's website and began taking some pictures. Even though the building seemed quite small, I couldn't hear the other 3 for this short period of time.
Traveling about into another Mitchell room, I found some institutional coloured bathroom fixtures. I have no idea if this is what Kristen, Chad or UJ stopped to take pictures of, and I also don't know if they saw the piano either.
We met up and headed for the tunnels.
The next building was the Trade School Annex. While we all joked about what the heck a 'trade school annex' building is; it now is a storage place of fence poles and toilets: i.e. nothing exciting.
The building was still memorable though after I looked outside and spotted a doe about 15 feet from the window; her 3 fawn nearby. I quietly called Kristen over, "look! deer!" Kristen looked at me in a confused, bewildered fashion and said, "yeah, you don't have deer in Canada?" Her reaction confused me as I wondered if deer were so common in New England that no one took notice of their presence (ala. squirrels in Windsor or groundhogs in Toledo).
Anyway, the deer eventually moved up the Inner Loop Rd. and out of sight. I think I took 4 pictures in the Trade Annex Building, and 3 of them had mammals in them.
Update: I read that it's uncommon for a doe to have 3 fawns. While I'm about 82% sure there were 3 fawns, maybe I'm mistaken.
It was then back down the stairs, into the tunnels and into the next building - Bell.
Bell was patient housing and sits empty; although the rooms themselves and viewing windows are interesting.
Another venture into and out of the tunnels and it was onto the Woodward Building. Woodward was slightly more exciting than Bell because the setup involved a large meeting room with individual rooms tucked off at the ends. This large meeting room was more exciting because it contained copious amounts of furniture, equipment and other various items.
We spent quite a bit more time in the Woodward Building, taking pictures and laughing at the couch cushions that MTV stapled to the wall to fake a padded cell during their filming of Celebrity Paranormal with Tony Little and Gilbert Godfrey.
Don't believe everything you see on television children.
After a couple of ward buildings in a row, the cafeteria / auditorium building (cafetorium? har har har) provided a nice change of pace.
The cafeteria was quite rundown and had a thick mush of plaster and ceiling tile coating the ground. That coupled with how run down two nearby houses were, lead me to believe this building may have been closed a lot earlier than 1996 (Norwich had a habit of closing buildings on its campus and simply leaving them to rot).
Even with all of the decay, the large windows and the open area gave you a calming feeling that I'm sure would help if you had the mock duck with a side of schizophrenia.
By the time we returned to the auditorium (remember we were there at sunset on day 5), we had already been in 4 buildings today and this was our 5th. Chad, UJ and Kristen took some pictures for a short time before resting in the southern balcony.
Not me though. There's a reason I eat the Special K for breakfast and more for dinner - and it's not my high blood pressure. My prime conditioning and pure drive led me to leave them behind as I departed into the hallway and found a ladder so I could get onto some ramshackle box seats next to the stage.
With how many people visit and photograph this theater, I was really trying to just get something different out of her.
I believe I achieved that, but who am I kidding? It was hot and I quickly joined the rest of the gaggle and washed down some strawberry pop tarts with a tall, cool
Once I finished my pop tarts, I was content to relax in those seats; but Kristen wasn't going to let that happen. She got us moving onto our next target - the admin building.
As you walk the tunnel between the cafetorium building and the admin, the admin begins to rise into some stairs and into the opulent, grand staircase which would welcome all visitors to Norwich State Hospital.
She's beautiful, aint she?
Kristen and UJ were off somewhere while Chad and I were trying to deal with the confined space and harsh light of the admin stairs. Chad's wide angle gave him the upper hand but my determination evened the battle.
Wondering where UJ and Kristen went off to, I came into a room and found them fighting with a trapped bird, trying to get him out from between two window panes. Chad immediately took to helping as I stood supervising. UJ was trying to encourage the bird towards a hole with a stick, as she moved...
UJ eventually had enough and just grabbed the poor bird.
After an impromptu photoshoot, she let the bird go out the hole, where it looped and almost landed in the same predicament before flying off.
Away from the lobby, the admin is a collection of offices and small rooms. Since this was our 6th building of the day, we were starting to be less thorough and more fickle with what we stopped to take pictures of.
Therefore, outside of the bird saga, we swept through the admin quickly. Kristen told us that she had a nugget of intel that a nearby building, not connected by tunnels, had an open door. Once she mentioned that these buildings housed violent wards, Chad's eyes grew like foam grow dinosaurs after a bucket of water.
We found the door out the back of the admin that led towards Awl. It was all a crapshoot as to when security would drive by, so we opened the door and UJ & I rushed towards the area Kristen led us to. I turned around and saw Chad strutting down the pathway.
"What the hell?" I asked.
Chad replied, "oh. I was already out here shooting exteriors."
Chad never ceases to amaze me.
We found the door open slightly and muscled it enough to allow us to percolate inside.
Once inside we all split into different directions and I took to the enclosed balcony. I heard a rustling and hit the deck again - almost. As my eyes glanced I spotted a deer and stopped myself from hitting the ground or running.
These damn deer had now scared me at Essex and Norwich. I'm not used to this because if there were deer in the grasslands of Detroit, people would be eating better.
I relaxed as I watched the deer rush out of the overgrown courtyard, cutting across the road and into another overgrown courtyard. The possibility of security driving by at this very moment and slamming on the brakes to miss the deer put a smile on my face.
I made a tricky climb up to the attic floor for a view of the stunning admin building. The door we came out of is on the right side of this picture.
I forget the exact specifications, but taking this picture involved me doing the pseudo splits with one leg forward and one back - therefore you get a panorama with black space because I was simply trying to avoid falling 10 feet or so.
We went back outside, back into the admin and back into the tunnels. The tunnel which leads from the admin to the chapel is different from all of the rest and Kristen became scared with the narrow space and darkness. While she didn't understand me being scared of security in the middle of the night, I didn't understand her fear of this tunnel. Then again, if we were all the same in this world, it'd be awfully boring.
I led the way through this terrifying tunnel which thankfully didn't have any orbz or homeless people.
It frustrated me that I braved that treacherous tunnel because it ended in a boring, modern chapel that was modified with drywall for the MTV show. All that AND we had to be quiet because of the proximity to the road and security.
We quickly braved that tunnel again and headed for something more interesting.
Our longest walk of the day involved leaving the chapel, past the admin and past the cafetorium building. This walk was shorter than anyone we completed at Kings Park (day 4) and really showed how tight and close the campus here in Connecticut is.
After the cafetorium building, there was a garage and also a maintenance shop that we checked out. As you probably know, I really like taking obscure pictures, but since I had already been in Norwich for nearly 18 hours and taken nearly 300 pictures, my little Canon battery was starting to die.
Therefore, when we reached the power plant, I took just a few pictures as I knew there would be much more to come. The fact that we had now seen a large number of asylum power plants and the day's oppressive heat also played a role. We attempted to sit down again in the power plant, but Kristen kept us motivated against our fatigue and the cruel temps.
Next, we hit the Staubling building and saw some neat beds with personalized name tags on each. Since I didn't know how to take close up pictures at this point, I'll spare you my blurry attempt at taking a picture of one of the nametags.
Slugging on, we came to a fork in the tunnels and Kristen stated that all there was to the right was the Laundry building. Chad thought there may be some Norwich swag left, so off we went towards the Laundry building.
As we moved through the tunnel, we started to hear the rain. We came into the large laundry room and rushed towards the windows, first questioning if the precipitation was actually rain because of its size, but then putting out our hands greedily towards the falling rain like the non-Brits in Children of Men. We stuck our heads and hands outside and basked in the relief from the salty, dirty coat which caked our skin.
Sitting down to relax with rain soaked hair, we felt much better. UJ questioned Kristen as to how much Norwich was left while Chad & I took to the basement in search of anything with Norwich State Hospital on it.
After completing maybe the toughest climb of the whole location, we came up empty handed and returned to find UJ & Kristen ready to move on.
The rain had already stopped.
Back to the tunnels, back to the fork and we thought onto the White building. Mysteriously, we popped out into a building and we found ourselves at Earle with the White building nowhere to be found.
We returned to the tunnels and found nothing where White should have been. Confused, we returned to Earle and went through the building.
The day was really starting to wear on us. Chad & UJ didn't have any food left and very little water. Even I was running low on supplies and I was sure I had brought more than enough food. With all of this, we were still motivated by Earle because of how cool it was. More than simply an empty building, Earle had quite a bit of furniture and also had quite a bit of interior vegetation - including the above room which may have been my favourite of the entire Norwich complex.
Referencing Kristen's map, we saw that we were at a 4 corners intersection at Earle. The plan was to continue straight, but there was one tunnel that branched off to the Occupational Therapy building. Once Chad & I heard the name, we insisted that it must be cool & that we wouldn't have Kristen tell us it wasn't. Despite her adamant proclamations that the OT building sucked, we moved to check it out.
Kristen was right. The OT building sucked, but it did give me a certain rush. Inside was some sort of training area for airport border guards with pet warning posters, an xray scanner and various pieces of luggage. It wasn't exactly like the border that fucks with me constantly, but it was close and I had this strange feeling of sneaky happiness.
I can now understand how some people get such jollies out of busting up closed police stations or schools. I never really hated police or teachers, but if I found an actual closed border patrol? I get an evil grin just thinking about the possibility.
Unfortunately the proximity to security tempered my enthusiasm to released all the pent up anger that border guards have instilled in me.
Away from the border guard training area, OT was boring as advertised. We hit the tunnels again, turned right at Earle and we were onto the Gallup building. With my camera dying, I didn't take a single picture of the boring, modern building; but I did wonder why Kristen didn't take us to this building to sleep as it was perfectly clean and looked like it could have been closed a mere week ago.
From there, we moved past the sealed Seymour and onto the Lodge building. This is where we found the above theater and I took my last shot before my camera finally decided it was bedtime. The power button did nothing and I was stuck with my error of overexposing the small theater.
We sat in the seats for a bit as the only building left was Kettle. Kristen's scouting report deemed Kettle boring, empty and modern. This information along with our hunger, thirst, lack of battery power and fatigued muscles led us to passing on the Kettle - actually if I remember correctly, everyone was passive about whether to hit Kettle or not and I chimed in with the definitive no.
Instead we worked our phones to find the location of the bowling alley. Once we got a hold of someone and figured out where the bowling alley was; we were off. My first bowling alley without a camera? Nice.
It didn't really matter though because it was fun to bowl regardless. I set up the pins and Kristen took to knocking them down. I was actually setting them up for myself, but I guess Kristen does what she wants. The pins and ball noisily smashed together and we left the bowling alley after one more throw.
We hit the Brigham building on the way back as we had missed it before. It was nothing special and I was more salty about not having a camera for the bowling alley.
After Brigham, we made the long trek back to our exit location. We sat in a building with a good view of the road and waited for security to drive by before making our leave.
Our departure actually involved us sitting, sitting and sitting some more. Chad tends to be a little more brazen then me, so I knew this was a losing battle of trying to get him to continue to wait. I attempted to push our waiting just a few more minutes, knowing that security was due. Eventually Chad told me that we'd leave in 5 minutes and I hoped that security drove by before this time.
Security never came and we simply made a break for it. Rushing through the tall grasses and shrubs, across the road and into the forest - the security was nowhere to be found. We made it safely back to the car and decided to GPS us Subway dinner.
Next to the Subway was a Chinese place and I knew that Subway wouldn't be able to satisfy my terrific hunger from nearly 24 hours of asylum. Chad & UJ were on the same wavelength and we made our way into the Chinese place as Kristen stuck with Subway.
It was a terrible decision on her part as the Chinese was the best I've ever had. I don't know how some random chinese place in Norwich, Connecticut is so good; but it is. If you're ever anywhere near central Connecticut, go here.
We reminisced about the 23 buildings we just hit and enjoyed the General Tao's, fried rice and egg rolls. It was only 5 or 6 o'clock, so after seeing on a map that the Rhode Island highpoint was a mere 10 minutes out of the way, I proposed that we stopped there and was surprised that Chad & UJ were completely for it. It was day 6 of this road trip and I was learning that Chad & UJ are more like me in that they want to see random, obscure ish and aren't afraid of driving out of the way a little bit.
A short highway drive, followed by a short drive on a county road and we were at the highpoint of Rhode Island - Jerimoth Hill!
In actuality, summiting Rhode Island's highest point means parking on the road, walking about 100 metres into the bush and gaining about 10 feet in elevation. It is ranked 1 on the difficulty scale for good reason.
This was my 3rd state highpoint and asking which was harder between Rhode Island and Indiana is like asking who's harder between The Fondeler and Steve - they're both soft than Alize with a chaser.
Another thing that I forgot to mention was that finding myself in Rhode Island, I had now been to 31 states.
Look at that too - I'm doing things in each state! Take that Warriner and your accusations that I just drive through states and rack them up.
The only one you're getting me on there is West Virginia. Every other state I've did things in.
It was back into our vehicles and off to the campground near Kristen's house in East Taunton, Massachusetts (about 45 minutes south of Boston). The campground was full, but the guy found a campsite for us because we were out of state and in a pickle. Points for Massachusetts.
After setting up our campsite and taking our showers, I cracked a new 40 which I had never seen before - unfortunately it was really light and hit about as hard as Sergei Federov. Pretty much Miller Lite in a 40 bottle.
Then there was one last highlight of the night as we began to hear "Oh, ah, oh, ah, ah, ah, oh my god, ah, ah!!!"
What the hell? The problem was that we heard that noise FROM A GUY. For the next 40 minutes we heard this guy enjoying the sex a hell of a lot more than the female - who we heard THREE very brief times in the 40 minutes.
This wasn't right next to us either, this site had to be a good 6 or 7 campsites over and we were all baffled at how no one could have yelled at this guy yet. We couldn't care less, but you best believe if I had a kid, the guy would be getting a stern STFU after about 5 seconds of his ridiculous moaning.
The moaning eventually stopped and the 40 ran dry. Chad & UJ retired to their tent and I retired to mine.
I fell asleep quickly, more so a result of being exhausted than that weak ass 40.
Northern NJ to Long Island
Kings Park, NY
Long Island to Norwich, CT
Taunton, MA to Northern NJ