Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day Two-Hundred-Forty, Yeehaw

I didn't accomplish much today.  It was a failure of imagination.  Many failures are.  I came up with a plan and stuck to it loyally.  Long after it turned out to be stupid.  Many of my plans are.

The idea was to hike up to Yeehaw Junction and install myself at a truckstop.  I'd have a shower and then maybe breakfast.  I'd get some washing done. And get back on the road by noon or so and put in some token miles.  Fifteen, maybe twenty of them, depending on how well I felt.  As it was I walked a dozen, and did very little else.

There was no truckstop at Yeehaw Junction.  It's a few more miles up the road.  And out of my way.  I had no reason to stick around as long as I did.  But I was there until two, sipping soda and watching the cars roll by.

And the bikes.  In a lot of ways it was like being in Montana again.  A crossroads in the middle of nowhere, defined by one ancient saloon.  The Desert Inn started life as a whorehouse in 1880 or so.  Now it is a restaurant and bar.  They will give you breakfast cheap.  And lunch, it turns out.  In the interim I was at the gas station.  Out front at a filthy picnic table, winning friends and making people nervous.

Had I come a week later I'd have been just in time for the bluegrass festival.  You know I'm nutty for banjo music, but it just wasn't to be.  I was befriended by Cricket, who works inside.  I chatted with the Bob the Sheriff.  Who did not let his professional curiosity prevent him from being kind.

"Be careful when you get to Miami."  I get that one a lot.  It seems that once I get there I'll have every chance of being killed.  Surely the dangers are exaggerated.  No, not at all, said Bob.

I spent all morning studying my map without reaching any good conclusions.  I invite you all once again to call up Google Earth.  Have a look at Dade County.  And tell me how I can get through there without being in the thick of things.  If I go wide left into the Everglades there is no way I can keep fed.  Though there is every chance I'll be eaten by gators.

"It's the snakes you've got to watch out for."


Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes.  So are most chimpanzees.  So it's not as if I'm alone in this.  I am in good company.  It's well for you, safe in your armchair.  I'm the one knee-deep in vipers.  Or sociopathic gangsters or ravening hogs.  The gators remain a concern.  And the skeeters are chewing on me.  It's not easy being James.

And therein you see my heroism, unlikely though it may be.  It's not hard to Walk Across America, but it is hard for me.  I'm unathletic.  Lazy, you might say.  Beset by girlish fears.  But I'm still out here, aren't I?  Far better men would have quit.

So Miami, hell.  I'll figure it out.  In the end I always do.  And if I'm eaten or constricted or stabbed the joke will be on you.  I'll die as a kind of parable.  I'll remind people not to try.  Look what happened to James, you'll all say.  We'd better just stay home.

Miami.  What a mess.  And I really could have done with a shower.  I'm working on one hell of a stink.  I'm not a fastdious person.  But I do like to bathe regularly; I'm just silly that way.  And I'm running low on socks.  And I'm fast running out of shorts.

Okeechobee is twenty miles off.  I may have messed up some there.  Unless I really haul ass tomorrow I'll be too late to get laundry done.  Maybe I'll get lucky and have a rotten day.  Maybe I'll stop short of town.  But I also have got to get fed.  I did buy a sandwich for tommorow.

It was delicious.

Find me now on the edge of Highway 441.  You could see my tent if you tried.  But I'm on the far side of a deep canal.  I like to think of it as my moat.  The night is warm.  The stars are beautiful and I'm protected by crocodiles.

I SAW another one of those feral hogs, again thoroughly dead.  You should see the teeth on them critters.  I hope I don't meet a live one.

I SAW TOO my first armadiller.  I have seen thousands of them.  Literal thousands, but this one was alive.  He was smaller than most.  About the size of a football and of about the same shape.  Rather a cute little feller.  He ran in little hops like a lamb.  I like armadillers.

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