Home > hitchhiking, travel > Up North part 3 – First Night

Up North part 3 – First Night

Being thankful nothing came of the State Trooper drive by and my big old knife, then in my right front pocket quickly tucked inside my tent, deep in the pack, I was not unthankful when it started getting close to 5:00 and near dark this time of year. I had actually made some good mileage that day and was comfortably full of real experience. I started walking west as I had seen a sign saying State Park and there were several small locally owned motels that looked cheap. My first stop was a private campground, RV park sort of thing, but they wanted $17. I’d sleep in a ditch before paying that to lay on the cold ground.

Past the campground up a ways I came to The Acorn Motel and Yard Barn, this looked like my kind of place. I spotted an elderly white woman cleaning a room, propped my pack against the wall and asked her if she had any vacancies. She said, “Oh, I didn’t hear a car.”

“I’m walking”, I said. She gave a start but didn’t ask more and took cash for the room, $38. She also told me the bar across the street and up a ways had good food, “nothing fancy, burgers and stuff.” I used the phone in my room to leave Amee a message I was safe for the night and what my number was. I then called and talked to Brenda. When I hitchhike I like to talk to someone each night and let them know where I’m at and where I’m likely heading. Make it easier to track me down if I ever pull up dead in a ditch somewhere.

I was glad I called Brenda because she was bumming and had been leaving me messages all day not knowing I was going on this trip. It seems the Monroe City Attorney was giving my sister shit about paying for the damages on Mom’s, God rest her soul, car after a cop car had smashed into it. I commiserated some and then walked over to the bar for a couple of glasses of Bud draft, a patty melt (this meat stuff was starting to taste pretty good), and French fries with gravy.

I reflected back on the day mostly walking and waiting but then suddenly punctuated with this intense human interaction of meeting, sharing, bonding, and parting, over and over again. During the waits sometimes I read at slow exits. It passes the time, shows your literate, self contained, content to wait as much as needing a ride. It allows one to look up from the page and try to meet the gaze of the driver and perhaps a smile, a smile of invitation.

I’d been reading the Circle of Stones, one of the Clan of the Cave Bear novels. In it it spoke of thanking the Goddess for the game that sacrificed its life so that the eater may live. I bowed my head in thanks of the anonymous cow, from the feedlot to the slaughterhouse, so that I may march and secure shelter and survive the cold to live another day.

What I like about hitchhiking, and backpacking, and camping is it shifts you to The Now as only a struggle for the means of survival can. It is good to think of these things as not assured, what will I drink and eat and where will I lay my weary head? What steps will I take to survive the elements? It puts a lot of emotional modernity into perspective.

I returned to the hotel and watched some TV, channel flipping: Anthrax, Spock erasing Kirk’s sad memories, anthrax, Buffy bumming over a dying vampire lover, Angel perhaps, anthrax, the weather, anthrax, the increased popularity of the band Anthrax’s web page, anthrax.

Amee called, which I took as a good sign. She enjoyed the play she had gone to after work and Lucee was one pissed off cat for both of us being gone all day. I told the cat I was going for a week or two, depending on the weather and entertainment value of the UP, but you know cats, they just don’t listen. Cats Just Are, in spite of planes crashing into buildings, marriages ending, the survival imperative, they Just Are. As I am. I too have a warm spot to curl up in, a good day behind me and an adventure in the morn.

Categories: hitchhiking, travel
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