Day 20: 9.17.23 Excitement
After eating a delicious and filling breakfast bowl prepared by Dennis, Renee and D. dropped me off ready to start my grueling 55 mile walk over the next 2 days – and knowing there was no hotel in the area.
My first rest stop, of course, would be a McDonald’s. Just into the lobby, the first person I saw, working on some of graphic project, she asked about me. She wanted to know more about the walk, and then an older gentleman nearby, overheard us talking, and before you know it, there were questions coming from everywhere, from about 6-8 people, and donations of bills were being stuck in my fingers, to buy coffee, etc. One woman said you must be courageous, and I added, and a dose of craziness and masochism. They all laughed.
After I left, ecstatic I was able to generate some enthusiasm for the cause, I was walking down the road for about 2 miles when I ran into a family of 6 on my side of the highway at a picnic table at their house. I said hello and then approached them. The grandfather introduced me to the family, and said he saw me at McDonald’s, but said we didn’t interact, but he said I heard you talking to the others. He asked me, how old do you think I am, and before I could answer, he told me 83. I told him he didn’t look over 70.
He said he wanted to give me his opinion. He said he thought what I was doing was great, and wanted to emphasize that change happens between individuals, like conversations we’re having now, not by governments.
About noon, it was about to rain, so just in the nick of time, I was able to duck into an ice cream shop as I entered into a rare town to get out of the fairly heavy rain for 20 minutes.
After miles and miles of corn, heavy highway traffic, and small shoulders, I was able to rack up the miles with minimal breaks and abundant food still remaining from Dr. Amy and Bistro 501.
Concerned about only my only night remaining without a place to stay, no hotels on the route, no Uber in rural areas, I remember the young man from the ice cream store told me about the Monticello hotels. So I made an executive decision to get a hotel off the route, walk there, and walk towards San Pierre, and for the 8 or so remaining miles, get a ride from the couple I will be staying with on Monday afternoon to their place. You have to be creative out here and maintain the integrity of the walk!
The last 8 miles off the highway were incredibly beautiful. It cool, cloudy, the scenery was mellow, there were just a few cars, and I could walk down the middle of the road.
Tired after my longest day of 29.5 miles, 62,000 + steps, I couldn’t believe when I got to the lodge, that Dr Amy had already paid for it. She had asked in the afternoon if I had a hotel to stay. I said I did. She asked which one. I thought she was just making sure i really did have a place, so I jokingly sent my confirmation to her, having no idea she was trying to pay for it. Thank you Amy and Indiana Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
Am I being treated in Indiana like royalty or what? Thank you, thank you, thank you!