Miles since last blog: 76 (and counting)
I hope you didn't miss me too much. It's okay, I'm back now and I'll try not to leave you again.
Well, yesterday was supposed to be a 50+ mile day. I started later than I intended after hitting my alarm for 2 hours straight. I finally pried myself out of the last bed I'll see for a bit and snuck out the house careful not to wake anyone since it was only a little after 7am.
Shortly down the road I noticed I had a flat tire, good thing I was late, I may not have noticed in the dark. After running back up to the house, snagging a bike pump, pumping up the tire, running the pump back and returning to Cherry, the flat had returned as well. Bad news, not the way you want to start a LONG day. I took Cherry apart, grabbed exactly what I needed for the road and headed out on the road leaving Cherry to be fixed by Free when a bike shop opened. It felt weird at first not pushing something, I wasn't even sure that I could do it all day because the muscles you use a re a little different, but in the few hours before Cherry returned to me (via VW Golf) it turned out I could. I set an early pace just short of 4 mph.
Despite pushing Cherry, sometimes downhill in the wind as I discovered she would stop due to the wind if I let her go, through hilly country, I kept up my pace at 3.8 mph. This kept me in a good mood, that and knowing that when Free finished in Chapel Hill he would bring lunch before he passed me in route to our final destination for the night.
Some days are long enough to be good and bad. I was able to hold my pace until after 7:30 pm getting over 44 miles in by then, but still no Free, which meant no food save a Snickers and 3 energy bars. The expectation that food would be there soon had kept me going, but after a call (my phone and GPS hadn't nearly worked all day until then) confirming we had no idea where each other were and that no food was coming, I crashed, completely. It didn't help that I was on a 4 lane highway in the dark with no shoulder, thus forcing me to push Cherry through the rough. I could barely go, it has shocked me how much this walk has ended up being a mental challenge and almost not at all physical. A phone call had destroyed me.
Eventually we found each other and ate, by then it was after 10 pm without a meal. To top things off, my internet had been shut down due to billing errors and could not be turned on at night. I had no idea how far I had made it and could only guess. We camped on the lawn of a local Baptist Church.
I woke up a few hours later and forced myself to get ready. We packed up the tent and gear, hed lunch and went to find free wireless internet which we got at a local hotel. I found out I had only gone 47.1 miles which put a few extra miles on the next days, 66+ for 2 days left. The point of going so far was to make the last 2 days easier, but now I was staring down the barrel of two 33+ days after a long day. No internet and continually spotty functionality of my phone and pressure of distance and time put me in a bad mood. I lamented aloud as to why I was doing this, it was especially difficult after having such a nice time and meeting great people in Chapel Hill, I liked it there.
Nevertheless, the road beckoned and I heeded it's call. Going was slow, monotonous but continuous. I was due to stay on the same road for the next 50 miles or so. I wanted to call Bizarro Skip (http://walkamerica2008.blogspot.com/) and tell him I needed an extra day.
Free called me at about 2 pm, he told me that that was exactly what Bizarro had just told him. Just like that everything was better. I actually felt like trying to make it by Thursday night now that it wasn't an obligation. As I said, so much of this is mental. I felt better and though I still was walking a relaxed pace, I no longer felt like I wanted to stop.
Right now we're in a Fast Food place and i am about to head back out on the road. I'm going to try for a few more hours, one of the things driving me is the chance to break my own 2-day distance record of 82.5 miles which I set just a little while back in Virginia. Yes, I am crazy, but it gives me more freedom and ease tomorrow to decide what I want to do.
Two days until I meet Bizarro. I'd better keep on truckin'