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Journal 5
MORE CLOSE CALLS TO SCARE MY MOTHER
Day 96 Old Alabam to Alpena
today:30 miles cumulative:1,910

The walk into town has many hills. Why did I come into these mountains? Camouflage is the clothing of choice at this gas station in Marble. Church has just let out across the street and I am listening to the old men and women around me talk about who’s boy just finished welding school, and the CIA and how they "ain’t givin’out their Social Security number to no one." This store sells "bottles of Whup ass," and "wooden tire thumpers." I sit by a window, outside an old man with a cowboy hat and a long sleeved blue shirt with pearl buttons, is watching Cosmo, he does not see the curb, he falls. Don’t worry he is ok, but he did cut his arm a bit. It is bleeding through his shirt.

Remaining Few Motorcycle Club. Fide Et Fortitude. "Skid" and "Grandpa" give me their cards, roll on brother, roll on. Soda Pop and fried chicken. Watching the sun come around and the temperature rising. We will not be able to walk far in this sun. 5 miles at a time, then we will hide in the shade and I will take a nap. It hurts sometimes, but it really is pretty simple, walk, rest, walk, eat, walk, sleep. Floyd Sorrels pulls up in a motor home with a map of the states that he has been to on the side. All of North America but Saskatchewan, and the North West Territories. He has a question mark on the NW Territories, says he may never get there. I tell him he should go today, then there won’t be a question mark anymore.

Go to your question mark. Go today.

People tell me ways to avoid traffic, but all their routes have huge hills. Jo Ann is a loud woman with big glasses, tinted red at the top. She is smoking. She wants to tell me about Madison County’s dirty politicians and how they rig the elections with absentee ballots. "Don’t listen to her, she’s a Nazi," the owner of the store says. Jo Ann denies being a Nazi but she does admit to having the biggest mouth in the county. "Happy Trails Sweetie." Time to rock and roll, I’ll hide from the sun again 7 miles down the road at another store.

Damnit its hot. The greens are beautiful. This has been a very wet spring. Semis loaded with chickens go by. They smell bad and they drive 20 mph faster than any other car on the road. I can’t see the forests through the trees, and I mean that literally. I am trapped between two walls of trees, where are the meadows, where did my wide open go?

A short break at Hillbilly Heaven but when the sun sets it is time for walking. The owner helps me fix the arm of the comet with duct tape and a piece of 1 x 2. More duct tape on the cart. More duct tape on Cosmo’s feet. There are a few meadows at sunset and red skies, too red like I am tripping, trees silhouetted stand in a row. And I do love the sound of these wet places, chorus of frogs birds in the trees fish flesh and foul.

"Whatever is begotten born and dies,
lost in the music, all neglect,
monuments of unageing intellect." -Yeats

Walls of trees. Kamikaze chicken trucks at 90 miles an hour. Too many close calls to tell you, too many close calls to scare my mother when she reads this. Whatever dies. Hills as bad as anything in the Rockies, because you go up but you never gain any, you just go up and down and up and down again and again and you almost get hit by trucks and you go up again, and you take the cart from your dog because she is too tired. In the dark in the headlights I am thinking of ways to make this trip end. I am afraid of the cars, I am afraid Cosmo might not make it when it gets warmer, I am afraid of hills and headlights, chicken trucks. I like to walk at night, but not every night. I don’t want to be walking today. I have not seen a flat or a straight stretch of road longer than 100 feet in 2 days. Like a road race video game where you try to hit the guy with the dog cart. Today I am not laughing at the people in the cars, today they are laughing at me. I am not enjoying myself, I have hit a wall. I want to quit.

The air is getting cold and I can see my breath, this is good for Cosmo, I can see a spike in her energy right away. I put on my coat. The cold makes water condense on everything. I want to walk further because Branson will be a long walk tomorrow, but I have given up and my legs will not go anymore. Sit down strike. A wet field of tall grass and clover is the only place to camp, there may be something else up the road, but I can’t walk anymore. We are just out of Alpena. Wet and wanting to quit. The only redeeming quality about today is that it is over. Mamma said there’d be days like this. I am in and out of sleep, confused visions, restless, and picking ticks off of my body in the middle of the night. I turn on a light to check on Cosmo, she is beautiful when she sleeps. My pretty girl. I should write about you more, about the different expressions that I am beginning to notice. You are very subtle, you are softer now and you smile more. Do you know what we are doing? Are you happy? I know these hills are hard. Thank you for your help. I always try to thank her before we go to sleep. Back to strange visions and fitful sleep.