Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day One-Hundred-Forty-Four, Jeff City

It stormed all night, lightning and thunder. I was up until two or so. When I did fall asleep I slept until nine, just like the good old days. It has become my habit to wake with the sun. The sun did not rise today.

Oh, it was up there somewhere, I guess. You couldn't prove it by me. The sky stayed grey; it sprinkled some, but it never really rained. It was cold and gloomy and sad, but I maintained my good cheer. Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about Positive Thought.

I had a good spot, up on a cliff, overlooking the freeway. I could see them but they couldn't see me. I might have stayed there all day. But I did pack up and I did walk, twelve miles to Jefferson City.

Damn, it was hairy. These roads were not made with your good pedestrian in mind. There are on ramps and off ramps and interchanges for me to find my way through. It was all very mathematical, and demanded some strategy. I coped, you understand, but I found it all very taxing. My intellect is better suited to poetry and random, abstract thought.

There was a fine bridge across the Missouri. Two, as a matter of fact. Side by side with a bicycle path running along one side. Of course no one had thought to tell me about it. I crossed it on the shoulder. With cars and trucks muddying up my elbows and people staring at me.

"What's with that idiot?" they seemed to say. "Why don't he use the bike path?"

Next time I Walk Across America I will. Now I'm just glad to be alive. And unmolested by law enforcement, and not committed against my will. Fortune Favors the Bold, they say. You get bonus points if you're dumb.

So I've crossed the Wide Missouri once more, here as wide as it's ever been. And lined on both sides with autumn leaves with barge traffic in the middle. I quite like to see things moving on barges. It seems almost old-fashioned. It is nice to think that it is still a good way to get your goods to market.

Only upon seeing the capitol dome was I reminded that Jefferson City is the capital of Missouri. I guess I am meant to know these things. I am sure I did once. It is home to forty-odd thouand people, spread across high bluffs. It seems like an old city but it didn't exist when Lewis & Clark paddled by.

I was rather chilly by the time I got there. I had started to shiver some. I parked myself in a coffee shop and stayed there for three hours. Better it had been a laundromat, but laundromats don't serve quiche. I got barely the hint of a charge on my computer while I puzzled over my maps.

I do not know where I am going from here. The roads to the south are a mess. It is causing me a great deal of unease. I have never much cared for stress. Some people thrive on it, I know, but most of them are jerks.

It did not get any warmer while I was indoors. It took some courage to go on. I overheard people complain of the cold and thought how they don't understand. I am the cold. I live it. It seems to pour right out of my heart. Enjoy what little warmth there is or I'm going to make it snow.

Walking did not get easier as I worked my way out of the city. Traffic was heavy. There was no shoulder. I was walking on spongy grass. Which would have made a soft spot for my tent but was tiring to walk through. A sidewalk would have warmed my heart if not my brittle toes.

I stopped again at a McDonald's, not to eat but to recharge. I am still running on the faintest spark. If I disappear do know why. But suspect the worst; your groundless worries flatter me all to hell. We're all going to die sooner or later. I want to believe I'll be mourned.

I didn't make it but a few more miles. It was a seventeen-mile day. Plus a few more hiking to and fro. I'll try to do better tomorrow. But I still haven't the faintest idea where I'm going, nor do I know how to get there. I wish to heck the sun would come out. It makes things brighter somehow.

Find me again on the side of the highway, not too very far east of town. I have a bad feeling about the place but that may be the general gloom. I passed a WalMart a couple miles back. I may have to go there tomorrow. And see if they can sell me shoes. Mine have gone and exploded.

It will drop into the thirties tonight. It will be colder still tomorrow. And even colder the day after that. Then it is meant to be warm. We'll see, we'll see. I do miss the sun. I wish I knew where I was going. Goodnight.
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