Sunday, February 8, 2009

Lake Charles, LA: We're not in Philly anymore Cherry

MIles since last blog: 14.5
Miles Total: 1992.4


For the last several days things have been different. Part of it is that I am sick, which makes me tired and makes me sore and walking becomes significantly less fun than normal. While I usually walk almost without break for the entire day, the last few days I've stopped several times during the course of the day. That's not the difference I was thinking of though.

No, this is something . . . Texas-y, hmmmm . . . Texesque (ooh yes, I like that better). The bayous of the deep south have given a begrudging way to big open flat plains of crop and fenced in cattle and horses. Yesterday morning I even saw a young boy in a flannel shirt and cowboy hat climbing into a giant tractor to get to work on the family farm, his cows were acting weird as they followed me down the fence. They would line up about 15 yards from the fence and then charge towards me, then swoop back 15 yards while catching up to me so that the could do their mock charge again.

It's hot too, in February. It's 77 degrees and humid so that when the wind stops blowing the sweat starts running. Everything feels very much like I remember Texas except for the occasional swamp hold over. And it comes to my attention that, in this sense, I am in a new region, the West or at least it's beginnings, and it seems food only travels one region. What I mean by this is that I had a Philly Cheesesteak yesterday, sort of; it had mustard and mayo, both of which I find abhorrent, and tomatoes and lettuce, I didn't see any onions or peppers.

The bright point of yesterday was not the few people who recognized me from my TV interview, but instead four camo-laden kids who took time out of their busy schedule (when I passed them they were sitting on the edge of the railroad track synchronizing rock throws, via countdowns, at a pile of plastic bottles in a culvert) to ask me for autographs. I thought this was very funny, they hadn't seen me on TV, but apparently walking across the country is a form of celebrity to a kid.

"How do you walk across the country?" One kid asked after his friends had ran off with an autographed business card.

"It's just like walking," I said. "Only you just don't stop."

In other kid fun from the back roads of Southwestern Louisiana I took this video, and yes, that thing was once a wheelbarrow.


Seriously, it looked fun and I secretly cursed my adult body which would no doubt keep this game from working and from having me invited to play.

On any other day, my favorite time is the hour of dusk if I am walking. I rarely am. I frequently walk at night, but dusk is the most dangerous hour to walk, so I usually have dinner then. On nights when I am walking though, it is also the most beautiful hour of the day. Since I am heading west now, the sunsets in my sight each night. The leafless trees of winter reach up into the sky in dark silhouettes like black fire grasping at the sky for the color it has lost. The sky itself is a long rainbow, red at the horizon changing quickly until it is a dark blue overhead. Ever building takes on an epic monolithic feeling and I feel lucky to be out there with nothing over my head so that I can take it in in all its splendor. It's just not the same as looking out a window or driving in a car.

So that was yesterday, simple, I slept in a field and was feasted upon by mosquitos in the morning while I tore down camp. Now I am couch surfing and trying to think about the future, not too much, not too little, but just right baby bear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Skip, sorry you're not feeling well. What is your route through Texas looking like. I'm in Las Cruces, NM and I'm heading to Dallas but not through El Paso. I'm trying to stay up on Route 180/62. Let me know so we might be able to meet up. It would be a shame to pass each other. Also I could give some names of people to stay with here and in the Phoenix/Tempe area.