Day 2 – Will and Hope(well)

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”  — Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul

The morning began with continental breakfast, which is one of Tara’s favorite simple-pleasures in life.  As we were checking out of the hotel, the lady working at the desk asked about our carts.  We told her what we were up to, and she offered us a gift we will never turn down: a few bottles of water.  Since our feet and legs were hurting, we planned on taking it easy and only walking around 12 miles.  We wanted to get out of the metropolis and into rural areas, and then call it a day.

Passing through Franklin Park, we discovered that their fire department shares our sentiment. All of your comments, emails, and words of encouragement really help us.

Thanks for all of the support!

We stopped at a gas station in the early afternoon for a break and to buy some snacks. Apparently this gas station has some issues with its bathroom door, and punctuation.

It’s blurry, but at the bottom, someone wrote “Or punctuation!”

We did finally make it out into the countryside, and stopped to enjoy our gas station cuisine.

Another Nutter Butter adventure

Priced like gasoline. Why not? Coffee IS like gas for many folks.

After walking a few more miles through some hilly terrain, we came upon the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.

A Blue Heron at the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.

We were wondering if camping was allowed at the park, and seeing a parking lot with several cars and people, we headed over to ask if anyone knew about camping at the park.  That’s when we met William and his son Zachariah. William actually approached us first because he was interested in our carts. We talked for a bit and found out that camping at the park was not an option.  Will offered to let us camp at his house, but he lived 3 miles off of our route.  He then said we could stay in the yard of his brother’s family, who live on the road we were walking on.  However, there was one problem.  It was over seven miles away.  Since it was already late afternoon and we had already walked 10 miles, we told William we would try to get there, but we were doubtful that we could make it before dark.  Zachariah gave us each a snack-pack of cookies, and we were on our way.

Tara with Zachariah and William

At around 5:30, we knew that we only had about an hour of daylight left.  We hadn’t made much progress, so we decided to try knocking on a few doors to see if we could set up for the night.  After three unanswered doors, and two refusals, we were starting to lose hope.  That’s when a van pulled up and we met Mary Beth, William’s sister-in-law.  Her bright smile and excitement about meeting us was infectious.  We were still more than four miles from her house, but after meeting her, we got our second wind and started walking with a purpose and with the deer cheering us on.

We arrived in Hopewell, New Jersey just after 7:00.  That’s where we met Charlie, who was walking his dog.  He looked at us skeptically, and then said, “Um, I think you guys are staying in my back yard tonight.”  Charlie, Mary Beth’s son, walked us the rest of the way to his house. He had already set up a fire for us by our campsite.

A welcoming and warming fire

Mary Beth and her three wonderful children, Lauren, Evie, and of course Charlie, welcomed us in like family.  We were invited in and shared a tasty dinner with them.  Then William stopped by and gave us some bags of granola that his wife, Priscilla, made.  This stuff was seriously delicious.  Check out their granola at wizeharvest.com.

A gift from William and his family.

Granola! Fuel for walkers.

Finally, Paul, William’s brother, arrived home after a long day on the road, and was as welcoming and kind as the rest of his family.  We were so grateful that we were able to spend an evening with such wonderful people.

From left to right: Charlie, Evie, Lauren, Mary Beth, Paul, William. Not pictured is Cody, their ferocious watch dog.