Day 58 – Slowing Things Down

I pack up my belongings and I head for the coast
It might not be a lot but I feel like I’m making the most
The days get longer and the nights smell green
I guess it’s not surprising but it’s spring and I should leave
I like songs about drifters – books about the same
They both seem to make me feel a little less insane – Modest Mouse

Troy and Lindsey put together a hearty breakfast for us, then Troy helped us load up our gear in his van before driving us back to where we ended our walk yesterday.  Just prior to leaving, we said goodbye to Lindsey, Aubrey, and Benton.  Benton sent us off with another “goodbyeloveyou,” which warmed us up on an unusually cold May morning.

With John-Michael still showing signs of fatigue, and both our feet showing signs of wear, we walked at a slow and methodical pace.  We stopped frequently to rest and enjoy the cold and windy, yet supremely beautiful day.

An endless road

The American Heartland

A place to bury that crazy relative nobody ever talks about

Passing through Redmon, IL, we were stopped by Kim, who was just getting home from church when she saw us.  She told us she had seen us the day before in Paris and that this time she couldn’t ignore her curiosity.  While talking, we let her know that we planned to get to Oakland by the end of the day.  She told us her nephew was the Fire Chief and Mayor in Oakland, and that if we needed to, we could contact him for a place to stay.  We told her we likely already had a place to camp, but that if it didn’t work out, we would gladly follow her suggestion.

Kim

Because of our slowed pace, a full day of walking resulted in only 13 miles of progress.  When we arrived in Oakland, we stopped at the convenience store to rest, use the facilities, and try to get a hold of Annette, a friend of Marie’s who said she would let us camp in her yard. While there, we struck up a conversation with several of the locals.  They were excited about our walk and wanted to help in any way they could.  Bill and Dot gave us five bucks and said we could camp in Bill’s father’s yard if we needed to.  They also told us about a park that allowed camping that was nearby.  Another lady walked up, wished us luck and gave us another $5, then left immediately.  Unfortunately, we never got her name.  In the short time we were there, several people passed in and out, all of them friendly, all of them knew each other, and all seemed very proud of their small town.  It was endearing and comforting to be in such a welcoming place.  Then again, the same could be said of nearly all of the places we’ve passed through during our walk.  Such is the beauty of our nation and kindness of its people.

We finally connected with Annette and she told us how to get to her house.  On the way, we stopped at a local park to enjoy the fresh air and a snack.  Tara took a drink from the town lion water fountain.  It’s been around for at least 50 years, and was recently restored.

The Oakley Lion. Tara thinks every town should have one of these.

Annette greeted us with her sweet smile and gave us a tour of her sizable yard, telling us to pick whatever spot suited us best.