Day 49 – The Luckiest People in the World

I have stepped out upon this platform that I may see you and that you may see me, and in the arrangement I have the best of the bargain. – Abraham Lincoln

Amy, (Skip’s wife, Brad and Debbie’s daughter, Drew’s mom, our friend) joined us for breakfast, despite having just flown in overnight from the west coast.  She took a plane, but considering she’s a superwoman, she could have just as easily used her cape and superpowers.

Debbie, Amy, Skip, and Drew

Brad and Debbie had a continental breakfast spread for us, where they snuck in a generous donation, and we may or may not have also had some of the leftover Oreo ice cream dessert from the night before.

We said our goodbyes as everyone headed off to either work or walk.

Drew looks better in his hat than John-Michael does.

We saw a mileage sign for our home town, Terre Haute.  It was fun to see, but was also a reminder that we were a few days away.

Terre Haute. One hour by car. Three days on foot.

On our way toward Stilesville, IN, we received a text from Jessica indicating she had the afternoon off and would like to join us for more walking.  We were delighted and made arrangements to meet her in Stilesville.  We beat her there, so we sat down to eat lunch and rest.  During the downtime, we met Judy, who talked to us briefly from her car and then wished us well on our journey.

Jessica arrived and we returned to the road.  She brought her good luck with her again, as heading out of Stilesville, the shoulder of the road doubled in size.

After a short time, Judy returned and brought us a bag of candy bars and gum, cash, as well as energizing hugs.

Judy

An apple orchard in bloom.

Jessica took a turn pushing Walden, so John-Michael was cart free for a bit.  He was momentarily walking backwards while talking to Jessica and Tara when Jessica said calmly, “Uh, there’s a white truck pulling over that might hit you.”  It turned out to not be a threat, but rather another instance of generosity.  The truck was a bread truck, and the driver was Ida, who wanted to know about our walk and offered us some treats from the back.  We selected whole wheat bread pockets and donuts.

Ida

I’m not sure Ida had even pulled away before we were munching on the donuts.

Donut time!

We needed a bathroom break, and as there were no bushes in sight, we stopped at a fishing bait and stained glass store that was randomly located among farmland to ask if we could use their facilities.  Shirley, the owner, not only obliged, but also gave us each a soda and let us rest while talking with her.  Her neighbor, Earl, pulled up on his tractor to see what the carts were all about.

Shirley and Earl

Shirley and her husband, Fred, originally opened the place as a stained glass store.  They loved to fish, so they started raising their own bait to save money.  Apparently, worms and crickets “breed like rabbits”, so before they knew it, they had a surplus of bait and decided to start selling it at their store.  Shirley offered to let us stay in her camper, but it was still early and we already had a place to stay, so we regretfully declined.  John-Michael lamented that he was missing a chance to get a tour of the bait farm.

Earl shared a story about hosting a man with no legs who crossed the country several years ago using his arms!  He would go about 9 miles a day.  The trip took three years.  You can read more about him here.  There are clearly people out there far stronger and more resilient than us.

During the stop, Casey, Jessica’s sister-in-law, swung by to pick her up and take her back to her car.

Jessica (enjoying her complimentary soda, courtesy of Shirley), and Casey.

We headed back out and hadn’t gone too far when a car pulled up and out jumped Pete, one of John-Michael’s former co-workers, who was headed to Ohio.

Pete

We talked to Pete for a bit, he gave us several words of encouragement, then before leaving he generously gave us a donation and told us to stay safe.

We went a few more miles, completing 24 for the day.  Despite Tara’s struggles with blistering, we ended the day feeling like the luckiest people in the world.