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|All journal entries are in reverse order, with the latest entry at the top. Clicking the "Location" link will take you to a map where you can see details of the area from which Wesley posted the entry. Thanks for all of your support!|
Week 1: March 24th through March 30th
|WEEK 8||May 12th through May 18th|
Journal Entry from Wesley
This morning, I rode with Jim into Cape and said goodbye. Which means that I'm in Mizzoura and should be in Missouri very soon. 4 states down! I should note that he ran an Army Surplus booth at the Flea Market, he had some very big surgery scars, and his dentures were even missing a tooth (I guess he wanted to "keep it real" Oh, and he called me Sugar Booger). Next, I met a guy working at the gas station and was asking some directions. He said that he'd give me a ride to Jackson when he got off work in 20 minutes. It was the same amount of walking as my other route but a little more populated. Sounded like a good idea seeing as though it was raining. He ended up driving me to a gas station in Fruitland (la la la). From here I walk to Old Appleton. Tomorrow, I'm guessing I'll be headed to Bananaville. Maybe after that will be Orangeson (which should be named Kumquat). Speaking of fruit, yesterday, I looked like PacMan. My yellow hat, munching on white dots (Tums) and eating fruit! It was great. I even heard PacMan music somewhere in the distance when I was at the Flea Market.
Well, I made it to Old Appleton and almost missed the only store of any kind. I talked for a while with a kid that was jumping off the bridge into the creek (Well, it was right before he jumped. Otherwise, it would have been a really little bit of talking). Looked like fun, I was thinking of joining him. I was too into walking at the moment. Oh well.
Then, suddenly, and without warning, I was in Uniontown! Which means nothing. It doesn't even mean anything as far as Civil War stance because the name changed after the war. Speaking of Civil War, I forgot to mention that I saw the Mound City National Cemetery. Lots of Civil War fighters buried there. I found out a lot of history and got some good conversation from a lady running a beautiful antiques store. It was actually open at 5 on a Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, this is the first Sunday that I haven't been able to get to a church. Things are really spread out here and my timing was off, I guess.
Anyways, while I was at the store, a woman and her daughter came in and we all talked for a while. I asked about places to camp. Karen (the customer) was from Perryville (too bad it wasn't Pearyville then the joke would never die) and she offered to take me to the KOA there. I figured, what the heck. They said that it didn't cost much. When I got there and saw there was a pool and mini-golf course, I knew they were wrong. Karen and I had some great conversation about being able to trust God. The office was closed when I got here so I went ahead and found a place in the teepee by the lake. It was a really funny place. A teepee with carpet. But, it did keep the bugs out.
I'm feeling not-so-hot. My
stomach doesn't hurt as much but I have a negative appetite. I've only
eaten snacks since breakfast. I couldn't bring myself to eat anything
else. Whoah, maybe I'm getting sick of cold soup. No way! I can't imagine.
Journal Entry from Wesley
I made good time after that and stopped at the Mississippi overlook along the Historic River Road. I've been carrying a skipping stone with me since Savannah that I was planning on skipping when I got to the Mississippi. So, I did.
A couple miles before the bridge to Cape Girardeau, I stopped at a Flea Market and bought an ice cream sandwich. A man there told me that pedestrians weren't allowed on the bridge and offered me a ride when he closed shop. After talking a few minutes, he decided he wanted me to stay at his house and have dinner and he'd start me off in Cape G. in the morning. This guy, Jim, was a real character, a self-proclaimed hillbilly. He sure was. He lives in a run-down house that was built in 1856 way out in the sticks. He joined the Navy when he was 17 and still has the mouth of a sailor. He cussed like it was going out of style (I hope it does). Just a dirty old hillbilly. But, he was nice too. He told me all sorts of weird stories about the area. Not the sweet country stories about raising all your own food. Most of them had to do with sex. Made me glad I'm not a hillbilly.
So, I got a good night's
sleep. I wonder what it would have been like if I'd met up with Lin in
Cape. I called him from Jim's place but he wasn't home. Out at Little
League, I guess. So, another new experience. This guy was a trip. I didn't
always feel comfortable around him but it was certainly interesting. Oh,
as we were driving to his house, we passed where I had slept for the past
two nights (some back-tracking) and he told me that the woods were full
of mountain lions. One had been killed pretty much right where I camped
on Thursday night. Neato.
Entry from Wesley|
Location: Olive Branch , IL
Today was my first full day in the Midwest. Hopefully, it's not an indication of the rest of the region. Nothing really bad happened, it was a kinda "nyeh" day. I was thinking that I'd maybe been too comfortable lately but I take that back. I didn't walk very far today before I got to Olive Branch. I walked more yesterday than I had planned. But, I slept quite well last night.
I took a nap at the Horseshoe Lake under the park's picnic pavilion (yay, alliteration!). I slept in the remnants of a birthday party while it stormed, so, I didn't get too wet. It stayed cloudy and windy as I finished the walk. I spent about 3 hours walking back and forth across town trying to "network" and find some sort of shelter from the impending storm. I met quite a few people though nobody really had any helpful advice or offers. I scoped out a couple shelters but none of them worked out. I finally gave up and headed back to a motel about a mile and a half back. I stopped by the gas station and met a guy named Lin who was taking his son and a bunch of kids to their little league games. He's from Cape Girardeau and he gave me his number. If I can get in touch with him when I get there, he offered me a meal and a place to stay. That was the highlight of the day.
This motel is the pits. I can't believe how much I paid for this. They even gave me an $8 discount. The weird part was that when I got here, the motel was closed. I've never seen a closed motel. So, I hung out on the patio furniture out front until the owners got back from dinner. This room has a full-sized refrigerator but no phone! No phone? Yeah. A whole new way of roughing it. But, the storm came. The power even went out for a bit.
I just read what I
wrote and, man, listen to me. I sound so negative. Yeah, I've hit another
rough spot. Big deal. The thing that makes it worse is that I feel sick.
I have a headache, stomach ache and I'm really tired. I'm thinking it's
that I didn't get enough to eat yesterday. Hopefully, I'll feel better
after some breakfast. I have a full day's walk ahead. I'm having trouble
not getting anxious to be in St. Louis.
Journal Entry from Wesley
I hung out in my room until just before check-out. Tennessee stopped by earlier in the morning 'cus he lost his hat. We couldn't find it. I know how he feels. I decided against singing the yellow hat song for him.
I crossed the state line early. 3 states down! I'm officially in the Midwest. I'm curious about how the trip will be different now. I'll miss the south. Most of the walk today has been surrounded by water. All of the woods are flooded again. I crossed parts of the Ohio River for a long time and was accompanied by huge groups of swallows circling around the bridges. While crossing the main bridge, a semi truck edged into my little white- line margin. Let me tell you. Having even one out of 18 wheels within my measly 15 inches is not cool when there's a 40 foot drop to churning waters. I have a feeling my pack wouldn't float very well. So, I was happy when my prayers were answered (of course) and a guy stopped and offered a ride across the bridge. We listened to Black Sabbath in the truck.
People have been warning me about Cairo. I got what they were saying. There are "No Loitering" signs absolutely everywhere (or "no lottering" as one hand-painted sign directed), generally a good indicator of hooligans. There weren't many places to stop and I was kind of afraid that I might accidentally be lottering because I don't know what it is. So, I ate at the Dairy Hut and kept going. Outside of town just a ways, a man came out of his house and asked where I was headed. So, I met Tony, today's new friend. He's a construction worker taking part of the day off. He invited me in and gave me water and orange pop (he called it pop because he's from New York). We hung out for a bit and then he kept giving me food to take with me. I had to turn down a lot because I couldn't carry it all. Then, he walked with me for about 2 miles. He was totally tripped-out by me walking. He couldn't get over it. We got to the last gas station, he offered to buy me anything I needed (which was nothing). I got his address and an invitation to visit and stay any time, we shook hands, hugged and I kept walking. Ooh, that sounded a bit melodramatic.
It's really hard taking my time. I don't really like it. I can't just set up my tent wherever in broad daylight. This evening, I finally found a little gravel road going up a hill and a flat spot of grass out of site of the highway. Everything alomg side the road is still water, so I wasn't sure what I was gonna do. I'm headed to Olive Branch tomorrow which I will take as a sign that the rain will end and and the flood is over. The Weather Channel disagrees but I don't really trust them too much anymore. Welcome to the Land of Lincoln and as I'm discovering right now, the land of biting flies.
Entry from Wesley|
Location: Wickliffe, KY
I found a way to take my time. I'm stopping in Wickliffe and Cairo. Two short days. It was a nice day. Cloudy, but I stayed ahead of the rain. But, whoah, if it takes a long time walking by a dead skunk, it takes forever to walk by a paper factory. I could still smell it when I got in for the night here in Wickliffe. Reminds me of Savannah. Ah. I'm staying in the Wickliffe Motel and I had dinner at Chris's Diner. Yeah, it was really spelled like that. Ha!
After dinner, I met a guy named Dennis. Everyboy calls him Tennessee. He's 52 and been traveling for most of his life. He's a real hobo and right now he's headed to see his mom. We hung out for a while and he came back to my room and we watched a movie. We talked for most of it and hung outside while he smoked. Lots of stories. He has a good memory but he's getting a little slow. It takes him a while to say things. He always called me brother and homeboy. That was funny. We had a good time and he took off for the night around 9. We discussed places nearby where he could sleep out of the rain so he should be okay. It was cool to hang out with someone in an unfamiliar town.
I'll be in Illinois
tomorrow. I've been thinking about the trip ending lately. I should knock
it off or I'll get wussied out too soon. I have about as far to go as
I have behind so I don't need to be winding down at all.
Entry from Wesley|
Location: Bardwell, KY
This morning I had the biggest breakfast I've had in a long time: cereal, eggs, toast, bacon, banana, strawberries, orange juice and tea. And I had to turn down plenty that was offered. They wanted me to have something that'd stay with me. If I had eaten any more, I wouldn't have been able to move and I would have had to stay with them.
I have another one of those really evenly spaced days. Walk 7 miles to one town, have lunch, walk 7 miles to the next town, settle down. It's still beautiful weather and I'm moving fast. I'm trying to take it slow so I don't get to St. Louis too soon. I want to see Allyson when she gets there but right now, I'm really winning the race.
I know I've mentioned the honeysuckles before but today they're just everywhere. They smell so strongly that I can taste them in the air. Then a big truck comes by and I can taste them too. Yuck.
Some might still be wondering what all I learned from my time in the trucker world. Well, I actually learned that my earlier suspicions were right. I've always hypothesized as to the contents of the trucks. A good number of them actually do carry recon teams with sweet vehicles that talk and shoot lasers. I know, you'd never suspect. And those tanker trucks, they're actually driven by robots and they're all programmed to go to some good guy base but they always end up getting in a slow-motion accident with some Soviets in a gnarly sports car. It's really a strange world we live in.
Ah, I remembered something else I was going to mention about the Brocks. Alma is famous. She's the 7th or 8th generation granddaughter of Davey Crockett. The best part is that she has his same nose! That's cool. George's claim to historic stardom is that his grandfather was the last surviving veteran of the Spanish-American War. I'm so glad that I got to spend so much time with the Brocks. We all had fun. They said that some people are very easy to be nice to and I was certainly one of them.(that was for the sake of my journal, not to be boastful)
I'm in Bardwell now and I didn't do a good enough job taking my time. It's still kinda early. I guess it's good. It's gonna rain tonight and I need to find a place to sleep. I can see a back stairwell at the Church of Christ across the street. Maybe I could sleep down there. Hopefully, it doesn't rain enough to drown me. I guess that'd be fitting of a COC building.
There are a couple options
for food around here so things look just fine.
Entry from Wesley
I carried the daypack on a stick over my shoulder for quite a while. I was thinking about just wrapping my things in my handkerchief but then I'd look too much like a cartoon or a hobo clown. I've always suspected that there are people that might hunt cartoons or clowns for sport. I'm sure they're somewhere.
Like I said, it was a beautiful day. I saw honeysuckle bushes with more flowers visible than leaves. What a smell.
I spent quite a while singing the hokey-pokey. I've had it stuck in my head for a couple days. However, it raises a difficult cultural conundrum. It claims to be what "it's all about" but I was taught that it's actually "all about the Benjamins". I'm content to leave that one unsolved.
I made it across Clinton in
good time and took a nap at our meeting place until George got there.
I'm really liking this place. I think I might move in. Western Kentucky
is a really friendly place so far. Anyways, I had another great dinner
and George and I had conversation on all subjects for a couple hours.
It's gonna be difficult to leave.
Week 1: March 24th through March 30th
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