Day 32 – The Long and Winding Roads
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus
We didn’t want to risk disturbing anyone or waking Nora, the newborn, so we snuck off silently in the morning. As we were leaving Barnesville, we stopped at a convenience store where we ran into Paula, so we were able to say goodbye and thank her again for letting us camp in her yard.
The weather was warm and the roads were starting to flatten out, so we walked at a good pace.
We stopped to take a picture of a red-winged black bird by a pond when Al pulled up and asked us what we were doing with concern and sternness in his voice, rather than curiosity. We answered that we were walking across the country and stopped to take a picture. Al’s face relaxed and he explained that he thought we were with the oil companies. It turns out there is quite the oil and natural gas boom in the area, and in many cases the oil companies aren’t playing nice with the landowners.
Just down the road, we entered Quaker City. We met a man doing yard work who offered to let us shower. We weren’t too dirty, so we didn’t take him up on his offer, but appreciated it nonetheless. Just a few houses down, we met a man named Tom who has a relative that lives in our hometown of Terre Haute. A few blocks away, we stopped in a hardware store to ask if we could use their bathroom. They let us and we discovered that this hardware store was more of an everything store. We picked up some fudge, soda, and potato chips and chatted with Janice and Leota, sisters who worked at the store. Less than a mile outside of Quaker City, we ran into Tammy (we think, if you’re reading this and we have your name wrong, let us know), a beekeeper, who was related to Tom and thus to the same guy from Terre Haute. Quaker City proved to be a small town in a small world full of friendly people.
Later in the day, when we arrived in Lore City, we got off of our planned route because Jeff had told us of a pedestrian path that ran from Lore City to Cambridge. The path was over six miles, so we were able to walk side-by-side and talk for two hours; always a welcome change from having to yell occasional things back and forth while walking single-file along the road.
As we approached Cambridge, we could hear thunder off in the distance and saw dark clouds starting to roll in. We picked up our pace and arrived in Cambridge just before the storm hit. We took cover in a Burger King, where we met Ron.
Ron has completed 9 marathons, including the Boston marathon, and participated in a run across Ohio. He loved the idea of our walk, and in the spirit of the Boston marathon, and defiance against those who try to harm us as a nation, he charitably gave us some cash to help us along the way! We thought the storm had passed, so we set out to walk a few more miles intending to get a little beyond Cambridge. Ten minutes later, the rest of the storm hit. We got soaked and had to take cover under an overhang at the nearest building we could find. After the storm let up again, we trudged a few more miles through the rain before ending our day. In the end we walked 28 miles. That’s a new daily record for us.