Archive for May, 2010

Day 30 – Cell Phones Dead, Soul Re-Charged.

Yeah, as you can assume, I didn’t get my butt up early as expected. 😦  Since I knew breakfast was at 8:30, I figured I would come down about that time and get a chance to meet the other guests. I forgot that I had told Amanda I wouldn’t be having breakfast though. Gary (Amanda’s husband and Owner) was very gracious and whipped me up some of the fantastic Eggs Benedict in rapid fashion!

Immediately upon bringing my cart’s contents downstairs, I was greeted by Ken & Vicky Rubenacker. Vicky quickly said “You must be the walker”? Without having any coffee, my bag of witty comments was empty, and I replied “Yes”. Ken was outside soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the comforts of the chairs on the porch. It was now breakfast time and we all went to the dining room.

Ken & Vicky

Inside the dining room was the other guests, Pat and Diane from Bowling Green, KY. I sat down with Ken & Vicky and I shared information about my walk. Turns out that Ken is an Audiologist and Vicky runs the office. In addition; they are both part of a local Bluegrass group that performs in the area. I’m guessing that the family that works and sings together, stays together!?

Pat and Diane

During breakfast I didn’t get much time to talk with Pat & Diane, but we spoke for a bit before I departed. Pat is originally from Wisconsin and if I remember correctly, Dianne from Southern Illinois. They have 3 teenage children (who they home school) and had a unique chance to have a quiet getaway. Nice job Pat!

Before departing, Vicky offered to put me up if I was to pass through their hometown of Sikeston, MO. They also sweetened the pot by offering to take me to dinner (The Famous Lamberts), watch and possible play with their Bluegrass band, and get an interview with the local newspaper. How could I possible pass this opportunity up?

Ken brought his laptop down and we devised a plan on how our paths could cross. Long story short; I was going to walk 38 miles North to meet them on their way back home the next day. They would pick me up and drive me about 30 miles south of my route, where I would leave from the next day. At the end of the day, my mileage should be the same. I expect that I will try to find a couple opportunities to knock the extra miles off of my journey, to meet my original total of 3000 miles.

Off I went, walking into the wild blue yonder, excited for the beautiful National Forest I would be walking through/across. The area is called ‘The Land Between the Lakes”. On both sides are two of the largest man-made lakes in the country. Before leaving, Gary had warned me that I would have to cross a very large bridge and that there was absolutely ZERO shoulder. He was right…

Shortly before the bridge, a Chevy Tahoe pulled up and guest who it was? Gary and Amanda, the owners of the Futrell House Bed & Breakfast. Gary asked if I would like a ride across the bridge. I accepted and very glad I did. Simply put, this bridge was no place for a cart-pushing pedestrian to be walking. With the amount of traffic and limited visibility, I would have ended up in the lake I’m sure.

Amanda, Gary and their daughter Charlotte

How weird the timing was that Gary stopped by at the exact moment before the bridge? He said that they were just returning from Church, but I’m thinking it was all part of his master plan.

Now THAT’S the kind of customer service you don’t see every day!

From the B&B, it was about a 15 mile uphill climb to the center of the Land Between the Lakes. Once you cross across the bridge, their is absolutely no services. Campgrounds…but no services. Not a problem, as I wasn’t expecting them anyway. Once I got to the center, I headed North and began walking through the National Park. With trees on the right and trees on the left, the next 21 miles was rolling hills with pretty much the same view. As you can expect on a busy vacation weekend, there was LOTS of traffic! Most of it consisted of trucks pulling boats, pulling campers, and a high percentage of motorcycles.

Most of the motorcycles were Harley Davidson with the stereotypical leathers, bandanas and beards. Everytime one would drive by; I couldn’t help but think how many were Dentists (or even Audiologists) during the week and Banditos during the weekend?

My original plan was to camp about 5 miles up the road. When I got to the first sign for camping, it gave me the option of walking 5 miles to the left, or 7 miles to the right. Ugh…no Thank you! End result would have been walking an additional 10 or 14 miles on the trip. I decided to soldier forward and eventually I will find a place on the side of the road. Nope!

The further I walked, the steeper the shoulder was on each side of the road. If I was going to camp, I wouldn’t be able to take my cart to where a good spot in the trees might be. As with most days, I just figured I should keep walking and the problem will solve itself. Nope!

While walking, Clint and Adam stopped on the side of road and offered me a cold beverage. While a beer seemed tempting, I opted for lots of water. Clint and Adam just purchased a miliary vehicle in North Carolina and were driving it back to Portland, OR. Clint was planning on using the vehicle for future camping and/or Burning Man trips. Awesome! I could have hung out with the guys for quite awhile, unfortunately, I was on a mission to make it to Grand Rivers before nightfall. We said our goodbyes and I was back in walking mode.

I couldn’t help but notice how much more energy I had after my encounter with Clint & Adam. Two genuinely nice guys who displayed such generosity to this lonely traveller. Thanks guys! My body was hydrated and soul re-charged!

Adam and Clint from Portland

About 13 miles from the town of Grand Rivers, KY. Which is at the top edge of the National Forest and the next town with services. If I maintained a pace of 4 miles an hour for the next 3.5 hours, I could make it. The feet were feeling okay, so I decided to go for it. This is exactly when the elements decided to punish me for my well laid plans. The clouds had been looming for about an hour, but it looked like it passed over me. Yeah, I win! Nope!

Strolling along, I just happen to look back. Why you might ask? I don’t normally glance back too often, but a passing vehicle had just given me a pleasant surprise. A bikini-clad woman riding in the back of a truck flashed me only moments before. Focused on walking, the visual took a few moments for my brain to register what just happened! Energized, this kid was now happier than a bird with a french-fry. Woo Hoo!

Now don’t hate the player, hate the game people! Let’s remember that this cat is human, single, and women don’t seem to be drawn to my current transient traits. I take what I can get. 🙂

Back to glancing behind me…

I look back and see that a WALL OF WATER is rapidly coming towards me. I immediately went into emergency mode and prepared for the inevitable. I had 60-seconds at most to:

  • Get my rain-gear out of the tub
  • Put Cell, GPS and Camera in water proof place
  • Cover the cart with my tarp and secure it
  • Put on Rain-Gear

Of course, when you are frantically moving, things are bound to go wrong. Never having a problem with the bungee straps, they of course decided to get stuck on my shoe laces and untie my shoe. Ugh!

Just made it, and now for the next 90-Minutes, the rain attacked from above. No matter, I was covered and I didn’t have time to dilly-dally. I did however walk into the forest a few times when it was really beating down.

Why is it that people seem to smile at you more when you are walking in the rain? I’m sure I made for good entertainment!

Before and after the storm, I saw my fair share of Deer jumping into the road and not noticing me. I guess I must be becoming one with nature…or something like that.

The sun was setting and I still had 6 miles to walk. I don’t know how in the heck I walked the last of the 38 miles. I know I was getting very stressed about it getting dark out. A Park Ranger stopped and asked if I need anything. I asked if I would make it to town before Dark. “Oh sure” he said. With no means to verify, I must trust.

He was wrong.

I’m sure I was pushing 5 miles an hour with the cart. At times I was even running to beat the clock. No matter, the last 3 miles of the day was spent walking in the dark. If I didn’t have my trusty blinking head-lamp, I wouldn’t have continued. Blinking away, all traffic paid attention, passed slowly and provided a wide berth. I didn’t think I would ever get to the town.

Once I got to a solitary store (which was closed), I sat down, took off my rain-gear, and did a little Google search. Frigging Google said I had another 4 miles. AAAGGHH! I was so close to being one of those marathon runners that colapse just before the finish line. I started walking and entered the Business Loop through town. I could see a variety of businesses and people activity. I was delusional at this time. A car passed me and the people shouted “You dropped your baby”. Without skipping a beat, I stopped and looked behind me. I’m an idiot…

Seeing a grocery store, I figured I would get something cold to drink. Nope! The lights turned off and they closed as soon as I began moving towards it. What am I to do? As I’m contimplating my next step, I look up at the business to my left. It’s the Grand River Inn. Again, taking me a moment to register. HALLALUJAH!!

They had a room, I checked-in, then proceeded to collapse! After I found out about travelling 38 miles, it was gratifying. I matched my previous distance record, and in about 3 hours less time. I think I will keep the distance records to a minimum the rest of the way.

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Day 29 – It's not the miles walked, but the paths crossed.

You would have never known how hard it rained last night. At 8am the sun was already burning up the sky and it was in the low 80’s. Agh…another good day for a heat stroke!

I stopped by a local cafe to have some eggs this morning. My experience thus far is that this is a good place to meet people and get a feel for the culture. For some reason, getting passed on the side of the road doesn’t paint a full picture? After listening to some of the locals, I had to get an answer to

the burning question of “What is the difference between Amish and Mennonites”?

To keep it simple, the man (Jackie Reese) told me that the Mennonite could drive tractors. Agh Ha! I did see a lot of them driving tractors and pulling wagons full of the entire family around town. All very friendly and waved when I waved at them. As I said yesterday, it was identical to the movie ‘KingPin’. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet some of them, ask a lot of questions and even participate in a barn raising or something.

Okay…the barn raising might have been a little much.

After speaking with my logistics and navigational team (read: Mom), I knew that I needed to figure out if I was going to maintain course North, or veer into another direction on another fine Kentucky highway. This would require additional information from the one source who could solve this problem..Brian Neeley. Brian and I were High School buddies and I hadn’t seen him in about 17 years. The last time I saw him he was living in Kansas City (MO), but I wasn’t sure what town now. All I knew is that I wanted to map a new route and visit him along the journey.

I got in touch with Brian while hanging out in downtown Hopkinsville. I still hadn’t found anyplace with ‘free’ internet, so I was having to rely on my cell phone and google mobile to figure things out. Brian just happened to be in Vegas for the weekend with his wife Kathy(sp?). Brian said that he now lives in Cole Camp, which is about 100 miles SE of Kansas City. Nowhere even close to the route I was traveling, but hey, what’s a couple hundred extra miles between friends?

I can tell you what it is. It had better be a couple of days of drinking a few beers and relaxing at the Neeley compound. Oh…I had better get a ride in his race car too! No pressure Neeley…

With my tiny Google display, and before my battery was drained again, I figured out the tentative route to Brian’s home. A complete change in direction and again retracing my steps across town. I have seen enough of Hopkinsville over the last 24 hours. I was thinking about staying another day in Hopkinsville. My mind was easily changed when I discovered the room-rates for those motels with Internet. It appears that internet is quite the up-grade feature here. It’s also the beginning of the busy Memorial Day weekend and everybody is booked.

I decided to make some Westward progress and get to the nearest town of Cadiz, KY. In advance, I was able to secure a nights stop at the Futrell Bed & Breakfast. I had never stayed at a B&B before, so thought this would make for an interesting experience. Cadiz was only a short 18 miles away. I would make this my new starting point for my newly planned leg of the journey.

The B&B didn’t disappoint! A beautiful old home that really gave you a feeling of history and nostalgia as you entered. Amanda (owner) was quick to welcome me in and give me the tour and instructions. Very simple, but what I was most interested in was becoming ‘One’ with bed and resting the dogs. I mentioned that I needed to do laundry. When she mentioned that the laundromat was about a mile into town. I think she could see the sinking feeling set-in. Anything more the a 1/10 of a mile seems like a day’s walk when I’m trying to rest the feet. Amanda volunteered to wash my clothes using her washer & dryer. “Yes” I said! 🙂

I did make sure to put all the clothes in my radiation proof container. All she needed to do was dump the clothes in the washer without direct contact. About 2-hours later she appeared with clean clothes (and bag). My portable Geiger Counter didn’t record any noticeable radiation…so I assumed she was okay.

The rest of the evening I hunkered into the room, updated the blog, and prepared for the next leg of the trip tomorrow. I was excited about walking to the West and getting to see more of Missouri and Kentucky. I’m proud of the miles of I walk so far, but eager to cross even more paths.

The plan, as of tonight, is to get up early and get a walking…

Day 29 – It’s not the miles walked, but the paths crossed.

You would have never known how hard it rained last night. At 8am the sun was already burning up the sky and it was in the low 80’s. Agh…another good day for a heat stroke!

I stopped by a local cafe to have some eggs this morning. My experience thus far is that this is a good place to meet people and get a feel for the culture. For some reason, getting passed on the side of the road doesn’t paint a full picture? After listening to some of the locals, I had to get an answer to

the burning question of “What is the difference between Amish and Mennonites”?

To keep it simple, the man (Jackie Reese) told me that the Mennonite could drive tractors. Agh Ha! I did see a lot of them driving tractors and pulling wagons full of the entire family around town. All very friendly and waved when I waved at them. As I said yesterday, it was identical to the movie ‘KingPin’. I wish I would have had the opportunity to meet some of them, ask a lot of questions and even participate in a barn raising or something.

Okay…the barn raising might have been a little much.

After speaking with my logistics and navigational team (read: Mom), I knew that I needed to figure out if I was going to maintain course North, or veer into another direction on another fine Kentucky highway. This would require additional information from the one source who could solve this problem..Brian Neeley. Brian and I were High School buddies and I hadn’t seen him in about 17 years. The last time I saw him he was living in Kansas City (MO), but I wasn’t sure what town now. All I knew is that I wanted to map a new route and visit him along the journey.

I got in touch with Brian while hanging out in downtown Hopkinsville. I still hadn’t found anyplace with ‘free’ internet, so I was having to rely on my cell phone and google mobile to figure things out. Brian just happened to be in Vegas for the weekend with his wife Kathy(sp?). Brian said that he now lives in Cole Camp, which is about 100 miles SE of Kansas City. Nowhere even close to the route I was traveling, but hey, what’s a couple hundred extra miles between friends?

I can tell you what it is. It had better be a couple of days of drinking a few beers and relaxing at the Neeley compound. Oh…I had better get a ride in his race car too! No pressure Neeley…

With my tiny Google display, and before my battery was drained again, I figured out the tentative route to Brian’s home. A complete change in direction and again retracing my steps across town. I have seen enough of Hopkinsville over the last 24 hours. I was thinking about staying another day in Hopkinsville. My mind was easily changed when I discovered the room-rates for those motels with Internet. It appears that internet is quite the up-grade feature here. It’s also the beginning of the busy Memorial Day weekend and everybody is booked.

I decided to make some Westward progress and get to the nearest town of Cadiz, KY. In advance, I was able to secure a nights stop at the Futrell Bed & Breakfast. I had never stayed at a B&B before, so thought this would make for an interesting experience. Cadiz was only a short 18 miles away. I would make this my new starting point for my newly planned leg of the journey.

The B&B didn’t disappoint! A beautiful old home that really gave you a feeling of history and nostalgia as you entered. Amanda (owner) was quick to welcome me in and give me the tour and instructions. Very simple, but what I was most interested in was becoming ‘One’ with bed and resting the dogs. I mentioned that I needed to do laundry. When she mentioned that the laundromat was about a mile into town. I think she could see the sinking feeling set-in. Anything more the a 1/10 of a mile seems like a day’s walk when I’m trying to rest the feet. Amanda volunteered to wash my clothes using her washer & dryer. “Yes” I said! 🙂

I did make sure to put all the clothes in my radiation proof container. All she needed to do was dump the clothes in the washer without direct contact. About 2-hours later she appeared with clean clothes (and bag). My portable Geiger Counter didn’t record any noticeable radiation…so I assumed she was okay.

The rest of the evening I hunkered into the room, updated the blog, and prepared for the next leg of the trip tomorrow. I was excited about walking to the West and getting to see more of Missouri and Kentucky. I’m proud of the miles of I walk so far, but eager to cross even more paths.

The plan, as of tonight, is to get up early and get a walking…

Day 28 – The best water comes from a garden hose.

As I promised the farm foreman (Donald Frazier), I was on the road minutes before the sun made itself visible this morning. About 1/4 of mile down the road I looked back, and there he was pulling into the farm to begin his day. He and his team worked until it was pitch-black last night and they were starting their day before sunrise. Hard working men I tell ya!

Not a cloud in the sky and already quite warm outside, I knew it was going to be hot again today. I know to appreciate the time and the scenery.  Today provided plenty of early scenery this morning.  A couple of beavers walked across the road not far in front of me this morning. They didn’t appear to notice me as they took their time waddling across the road. About 20 minutes later, a deer jumped out into the road and proceeded to just walk down the road in front of me for about a 1/2 mile. It finally noticed me as i approached with 20 yards. When it did, it jumped about six feet in the air and ran off into the woods.

The country from Northern Tennessee to Kentucky has quickly turned  into large production farms. With that has come a wide variety of large and small tractors driving down the road. Proactively I can usually see them coming a mile or more in advance. This morning, I saw a silhouette I hadn’t seen before. It appeared to be an extremely old tractor. It was moving slow and lots of car were passing it coming towards me. As it got closer, I finally noticed that the old tractor, was actually a horse-drawn buggy being driven by a man of either Mennonite or Amish faith. I was so excited at this point! I have never been exposed to this culture except in the movie ‘KingPin’ or the commercials for portable electric fireplaces.

I must admit; the guy driving the buggy was a dead-ringer for the Amish father in ‘KingPin’.

Wanting to take a picture of the horse and man while they were approaching, I stopped and stumbled to get my camera. Almost ready, I started thinking that the flash would scare the horse!

<I’m worried about a horse, but not a monster semi-truck passing me only 18 inches from me every day? Weird…>

 I also started thinking that since the Amish didn’t accept technology, was there a problem with taking a picture? Are they the religion that thinks I will steal their soul with a camera. Crap! Too late, now the horse has passed. I guess I will just sneak a picture of the guy and horse.

I’m pretty sure you can’t steal a soul by taking a picture of their back…right?

The plan today was to walk about 23 miles to the town of Hopkinsville. Not to be confused with the other ‘Villes’ such as Madisonville, Clarksville, Abbeville or Louisville. First stop today was the town of Trenton, KY. Small little town with a lonely stop light, one police officer and an old fire-truck. As with many of the area towns, it had a single general store. I stopped in the store to grab some grub and noticed that it had a kitchen in the back. Sitting at a table was the local Police Chief. I decided to have breakfast the with the locals and just soak up the experience.

As I ordered breakfast, I exchanged salutations with the officer. He was very friendly, but not overly inquisitive. I believe this is a trait I have noticed with people in Kentucky. 10 minutes after receiving my breakfast, the rest of the open seats filled up with 8 local farmers all arriving to have coffee and chew the fat. They all sat next to the officer and told jokes and laughed for the rest of the time I was there.

By the time I left the store, it was officially HOT outside. Walking down the road, the heat was steadily sapping the energy out of me each step I took. Before the next town, several tractors passed me being driven by Mennonites with the same stereotypical well trimmed beard. Awesome!  I arrived at the next town of Pembroke and my feet were ready to quit for the day. I rested about 45 minutes and just massaged my feet. The next 10 miles took about 4 hours to get to my destination of Hopkinsville.  Drinking water rapidly, I was consuming about a quart a mile. The heat not only drains you of moisture, it also kills your will and spirit.

Tomatoes will always fix that though!!

At the 18 mile mark, I passed a fruit and vegetable stand. A woman came walking out and wanted to give me a couple fresh tomatoes. In addition she offered water, which I of course quickly said “YES” to. She walked back as if she was going to grab some water bottles out of a fridge. Nope, she was just turning on the garden hose out front. I filled up my water bottles and was INSTANTLY re-charged! Before leaving, I was able to get her (Jeanine Dew) picture as a reminder of her kindness. She obliged…

The Tomato Angel, Jeanine Dew

  The sore feet and drained spirit were rejuvenated and I made it to town…barely.

I made it to the motel and I quickly realized why it was the least expensive motel in town. I will always be sure to pre-qualify my motel choices with whether it has laundry, internet, clean towels, working lights and a door that closes all the way. I was half way tempted to setup my tent inside of the room instead of sleeping on the beds.

After a shower, it was time to relax, kick-back and enjoy some local TV programming.

Ugh…no.

I barely made it to the motel in front of the storms that quickly covered the town. Once I kicked back on the bed to relax, I enjoyed about 20 minues of electricity in my temporary abode. After that, the thunder and lighning kicked in and knocked out the power until past bedtime. Sure glad I had my trusty head-lamp flashlight with me. 🙂

Day 27 – The Tenn-Tucky Time Machine

I am completely soaking up the moment.

While I may not remember this date, I will always remember the events of this day and where I spent the evening. As I write this; I’m gazing outside of my tent watching two of the largest John Deer tractors work the land only 40-yards from me. In addition; I’m strategically placed next to a large tin barn and the sun is painting a brilliant sunset. Did I mention that I was in the middle of Kentucky and 20 miles from the nearest hint of civilization? To me; an absolutely awe-inspiring moment! I don’t believe I could have a stronger connection to the land, its people, and our country, than I do right now.

Ranch Foreman, Donald Frazier giving permission to camp.

I never heard back from the Police/Sherrif  last night, so my assumption was that they convinced the property owner that it was okay for me to squat for the night. As I had promised, I was up, packed and on the road shortly before sunrise. approximately one mile down the road, there was a busy intersection with several modern places to eat/purchase food. With not much time to spare, I chose the newly built gas station with adjoining Dunkin’ Donuts and Wendy’s. Yes, I was indeed roughing it this morning!

The main reason for choosing the location was it having wireless internet. I found a good spot next to a power-source and posted my blog and added a little juice to the cell phones. Next thing I know, a couple of hours were already shot out of the day. Oh well, I’ll try to rack up some early miles tomorrow.

The weather could have not started off nicer this morning. Actually, nicer is all relative isn’t it. To YOU, it would have been an awesome day! To ME, it was a boiling sauna that beat me up for most of the day. The heat withstanding, it was a gorgeous day for walking! Within minutes of exiting the little town (I-24 Interchange) Pleasant View, I was walking the back-roads for the rest of the day.

It’s amazing how walking through the country can create an illusion of traveling in a time-machine. At 7am I’m trying to decide between Wendy’s or Taco Bell. At 9am I’m walking through back roads and land that hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. Winding, tree-covered roads with fields of Corn, Wheat and Tobacco as far as the eye can see. Barns (and some houses) with the help of new supporting beams, still making up the landscape of the land.

On top of the miles of old and beautiful farmland, the path traveled today was genuinely filled with history. As with a few days ago, I’m walking the same route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears. I have also come across several historical markers dating some of the buildings back to the late 1700’s. Some of the stories talked about the many homesteaders who founded the area. The stories also referenced the line of people before them that weren’t so lucky.

Homesteader arrives one day, Indian kills them the next.(Wash, Rinse, Repeat several times before things settle down.)

After leaving the modern convenience of Wendy’s, there wasn’t another store for about 18 miles. At mile 17.5 I was pooped and finally decided to take a break. After an hour nap, I started walking to only find a General Store around the corner. Well, guess I had better take another break! Upon entry I had only intended to pick up a couple of snacks. Post entry I noticed that the Latino owners had a full Mexican Cocina in the back! There isn’t a chance in heck that I was going to pass up some of the local Carne Asada!

Yip, it was fantastic! For another hour I enjoyed my food, Ice Tea, Cool Air, and even the latest news on CNN about the latest efforts to put out the BP Oil Leak.

After leaving the weather started to appear like it was going to Rain Rain Rain!  Walking across the open fields for miles with only a farm-house now-and-then, I would have been a drowned rat.

6 miles later I enter the town of Guthrie, KY. Again, I felt like I had gone back in time at least 50 years. The town actually reminded me of Mayberry.

Guthrie War Memorial

If you don’t know what Mayberry is, you need to ask your parents.

There was one store that I believe carried everything you could possibly want or order from a catalog. It even came with the guy behind the manual cash register waving and watching me walk down the street. As I passed through town, a young girl road next to me the entire chatting up a storm about everything. There was a small mechanic shop with gas pump outside. I believe about 8 mechanics all walked outside to find out what all the fuss (read: me) was about. Awesome!

Since there was no motel, this cat knew that he needed to keep walking until close to sunset. While exiting the town, and about 2 miles down the road, there was a couple modern convenience stores. Next to them was a big building and a whole lot of commotion going on. People pulling up in nice clothes (tie or dress) and filling up the parking lot outside.

What was the commotion you might ask?

It was Bingo night of course! I saw people arriving from all directions as I walked slowly down the road. I’m going to miss the time machine…

Day 26 – When it rains, it pours…in Pleasant View

As expected, the sun was alive and kicking early this morning. After a day of rest at the lovely Holiday Inn Express (The worlds largest), I was a little slow getting around. It didn’t help that I forgot to charge my cell phones, so I needed to wait an additional hour to get enough juice.

Speaking (actually writing) of juice, the Holiday Inn Express had the best breakfast of any  motel I have stayed on the trip so far! Several flavors of Juice, Coffee, Milk (chocolate and white), Ice Water, Biscuits & Gravy, Eggs, Bacon, Cinnamon Roles, 4 Cereals and actual Customer Service. Trust me, after some of the dive-o-ramas on the trip…I felt spoiled!

Old Nashville Train Station directly across street from motel.

Let’s talk (write) about the spoiled thing. It makes you soft! Stop it! What am I writing? The next chance I get to stay at a Motel, I’m sure I will jump at it! There is something to be said about camping out at night on the trip. Of course you could say things about bad weather, uncomfortable sleeping, no showers and limited menu. But I will save that whining for another time… Camping on this trip gives you a feeling of satisfaction that you are completely self-sufficient. Kind of like Lewis and Clark when they made discovered the West.

Actually, not even close. I’m pretty sure they had to fend off Indians, hunt their own food and put up walking with crappy shoes. I meant like Lewis and Clark, if they had bottled water, stores every 30 miles, a laptop, tent and a good MP3 player.

When the feet start barking (usually after 20 miles) is usually when I know that the motels make me lazy. Early in the trip thoughts were centered around taking a break and/or start finding a good place to camp. After the clean/comfy bed last night, my inner voice just kept saying “Hey, you should really look up Google directions on your phone. Maybe there is a cheap motel near by”? I of course caved, and started doing the road-side Google two-step.

  • Good News was that there was a motel only 10.3 miles away. My feet could handle that!
  • Bad News was that it was 10.3 miles in the opposite direction. Damn!

Having no choice but to accept my fate, I began looking for a place to camp. Sunset was about 2 hours away, but nothing really seemed to jump at me. As in the past, if a homeowner was available to ask, I would have. Not tonight, the homes just didn’t seem that available. With the clock ticking down, I chose a well hidden place, off the main-road and behind a commercial building.

I put down my tarp and relaxed awhile. Making sure that nobody drove by and kicked me out before dark. With the sun almost down, I quickly put up my tent, changed out my sweaty clothes and prepared to enter the cave for the night. Looks like another good choice to camp with no snags…Nope!

As soon as I was ready, a truck pulled up over by the dumpster and threw some stuff away. The guy never said anything, so I figured he probably wasn’t supposed to be there either. Nope, wrong again! Guess who pulled up next? Not one, not two, not three, but four law enforcement officers to say “Hello”!

It was at this time that I thought of a couple of things:

  1. Why in the heck did I choose to grow my hair out for this trip. For over the last year, my head was almost completely shaved. Before that and for 15 years, never longer than 1/2 an inch long. Rising from my tent, I pretty much looked like a long-hair transient. Great…
  2. About half way into my day, I realized that my Drivers License decided to stay another night at the motel. I of course laughed it off and thought to myself “Shouldn’t be a problem”. I of course was completely wrong and knew that was the first thing the office would ask for.

I popped up and asked how their evening were going. Since I was now delaying their dinner plans for the evening, I know it wasn’t going exactly well. Sgt. Wheeler proceeded to ask me for ID. CRAP! I’m pretty sure that every hippy criminal that he meets gracefully dodges the ID question by saying he lost it also. He proceeded to take my information and call it in to dispatch. Awaiting confirmation I was legit; I piped up and said; “Ugh, I have a website”? With modern technology at their fingertips, Deputy Miller was able to look up the website from his car and confirm…that I was a day behind on writing my blog. 🙂

After checking my gear and confirming my story, the officers couldn’t have been any more gracious!

(I’m not just saying that because I know they will be reading this either)

I chatted with Deputy Miller and Deputy Herb while Sgt. Wheeler confirmed I could stay on the property. There was still a chance that I would have to move off the property. Deputy Miller said for me not to worry; if there was any problem, he had a place for me to stay. At that moment, I felt very lucky to have met these men. The level of professionalism, humor, and even hospitality extended to me was amazing!

THANK YOU GENTLEMEN FOR YOUR EXCELLENT SERVICE TO YOUR COMMUNITY!!!

Hospitable as they could be, you could see it in their eyes; THEY WERE HUNGRY! Before leaving I was able to get Sgt. Wheelers picture for the blog. I was tempted to ask if I could get a picture hand-cuffed in the back of the car…but refrained. Although I will probably never meet these men again, the memory will always remind me of the Great State of Tennessee!

Sgt. Wheeler showing off his fancy cruiser.

I’m actually writing the blog from my tent this evening. A bit hard to stay focused with the out-of-key harmony from the ten million frogs next to me. I do think the Bull Frogs barking every once in a while is cool though.

The sound of thunder not too far off in the distance is NOT a welcome sound. Something tells me that I am going to be rained on BIG TIME tonight!

I did have a nice fella pull up next to me today and offer me a ride. As mentioned in previous blog postings, I often wish that I could accept the rides. While this guys kindness was evident, the fact that his passenger door was held on by bungee straps might have been a bit of a concern. No matter, I thanked him for his kindness and walked on.

Day 25 – Rest Day

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