Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reserve, LA: Trust your instincts

Miles since last blog: 29.2
Miles Total: 1825.2


Every fiber of my being wanted to stay in NOLA for another day, well, maybe 78% of the fibers of my being. But houseguests and fish, three days and all that, plus I think I'll be dropping back in for Mardi Gras so there is more time. I also wanted to hit the road and get moving towards the future a bit, many wonderful things and people wait for me at the end and if I don't move sometime, I'd never finish.

Still, when I got a call saying that my CS hosts from Ocean Springs and Gulfport were together on their way to a Burlesque show that one of them had actually won a spot in from an internet contest, I couldn't help but wish maybe I had stayed one more day. As for the walk, I wanted to move, really move, like 40+ mile days on end, but I already have things set p for Baton Rouge so I have to contain myself a bit, there's plenty of time for running wild once I hit the Southwest.

Immediately after the call I started looking for a place to stay for the night, it was about 8. Motel after Motel said they wouldn't donate a room for the night. Motels never do, but I still try and no hotels were around. Then the town ended and I walked to the next, and the next, and the next. I decided to find a Sheriff's office but that turned out to be fruitless since it was locked up and closed for the night. I was resolved to have something work out. I found a Sheriff's deputy and he suggested the local prison, but they said I needed a sheriff to clear it. I had been walking past restaurants all night pushing myself to find a place to sleep inside, I had gotten so used to everything working out so well all the time lately that I had gotten soft and forgotten that sometimes you just have to camp. I set out to find something to eat by heading back the way I came. Between looking for places to eat, sleep and sheriffs I zigzagged through town for what was probably several miles of back and forth leading no where.

By the time I got to each restaurant it was closing, or I was sure that I'd find something better, only to later find nothing open including the place I had snubbed previously. During one trek, instead of going around a ditch I decided to push Cherry through it and jump myself. In a ground solidity miscalculation my entire left foot was submerged into what has to be some of the foulest mud I have ever seen, the resulting backsplash covered my legs in thick mud. My immediate thought was, "two days till a shower" which was followed up by "if I get in my sleeping bag like this it will be disgusting forever."

I shrugged it all off and headed up the road. Along the way i met up with two sheriffs who had pulled someone over and assured me there was no way i could sleep anywhere they knew of, the prison had a maximum security wing and the next thing was a church miles up the road. I had a destination. On the way I passed a hospital and briefly thought of trying to get a bed there but was tired of fruitless marches and headed to the church which was a sure thing. As I set up the tent a sheriff sat across the road watching me. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, this apparently satisfied him that I was not a criminal and he headed off. After all, what kind of criminal would set up camp and eat a PB&J before breaking into a church?

Time came to brush my teeth and I relished having extra water from the day to dip my toothbrush into. I out some paste on the brush and bent over to put it away in my backpack, spilling all the water onto my backpack in the process since I hadn't put the lid on it. I immediately called myself an idiot and removed my laptop. No, sometimes things don't go right out here, sometimes I make a lot of mistakes although I hadn't had a day quite this error laden in a while. But still I was pretty satisfied with everything, I had gotten in a pretty good walk and I have two small jaunts the next days before some time in Baton Rouge. Most of the mistakes of today came from stubbornness or constantly holding out for something better because of my recent luck, but it was still a good day, wet back pack or no; muddy shoe or no; a good day on the road.

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