Thunder is rolling overhead. It has been raining all day. But I did not let it hurt my feelings. I may do some sulking tomorrow. Because it's still raining and I'm camped in mud. It is bound to get muddier still. That is if I am not swept out to sea or eaten by rogue iguanas.
I did see an iguana yesterday. No one's going to Baker Act me. It was real; they exist. They're an invasive species. Like rock pythons and zebra mussels. One managed to slip his leash. And then another. Now they're breeding like bunnies. They're taking over the place.
Because they've got "no natural predators." Who preys on them elsewhere, I wonder. They don't look very good to eat. Chupacabras, I guess.
I woke up unmolested by lizards. I was convinced I had overslept. But it wasn't too very much after seven; not early but early enough. I packed fairly quickly and hit the trail. I was missing one bottle of water. I'll be damned if I know what I did with it. I hope I didn't litter.
I had seven or eight mile hike to town. On a bike path again. It fades in and out. It crosses the highway. It will one day reach Key West. But there are still sections missing. They are working on it. This bit was very well travelled. By cyclists and dog walkers. I met a friend from last night. And her chubby dog. She was, however, looking very fit.
We parted at Marathon, Florida. I was not impressed. It is much like the rest of the Keys. But dirtier; it smelled like latex. Which put me in the mind of contraception, not an unnecessary art. But it rather ruined my appetite. I went to Burger King.
Which killed my appetite altogether. I ate anyway. A boy's got to keep fed. The counter staff was surly. The place was fairly unclean. But I plugged in and lingered there for as long as I could stand the place.
Two or three hours. I overcome. I needed the electricity. Besides, it was raining outside. A wet James will do you no good. It makes him cranky. He starts to chafe. His pack straps don't cinch up right. His socks go squishy. His calluses swell. His hat begins to droop.
But it went on raining so I shipped out. I'm from the Pacific Northwest. I was born in a drizzle. No rain can stop me. I'm defined by my pruny toes. And I had a bridge to cross. I did not want to get stuck out there in the dark.
And I had to buy a radio. My discount shop model has died. A fellow I met said they were going to talk about me. I'd like to hear what they say. I've never been talked about on the radio before, or only in general terms. On AM radio. They get it wrong. Liberals do not hate America.
It's my favorite country. It has changed some. Want to feel like an idiot? Try buying a radio. They look at you like you're from Mars. Ask for a transistor radio. "Over there by the butter churns."
I finally found one for twenty-four bucks. You can get a video camera for that. But it is awfully nice, ten times better than the last one I had. It was nice to have music. This was a day that really needed a soundtrack.
I stopped before the bridge and ate again. I wasn't hungry just yet. But it would be twenty hours until my next meal. A boy's got to keep up his strength. So I ate a hamburger and I'm glad I did. That's when it started raining hard.
Monsoon style. I've seen it before, but not in this hemisphere. If I had been three miles across the Seven Mile Bridge, life would have really sucked. So I waited it out. And made friends. With Don and Victoria.
Canadians. He's a chemical genius. She was blonde and fun. He's eighty-six. He made his fortune in plastics. He used to be a fisherman. She used to drive a Corvette and have a cat named 007.
At four or so they threw us out. The rain had slowed some by then. But it was still awfully wet. I thought of stopping for the night. Instead I climbed up on my bridge.
The Seven Mile Bridge. I'm sure you've seen it in films. They blew it up in True Lies. It goes far out over the sea. The old bridge runs to one side. But it's missing sections. Blame James Cameron. I was walking with traffic.
I was hoping for a slightly better shoulder. It was about five feet wide. I stuck to the middle. Not too near the railing, not too near oncoming cars. And walked as fast as I possibly could. I really do not like bridges. There's nowhere to go if someone swerves at me, other than into the sea.
Where I'd sink like a stone. At the very least I would get my computer wet. Or break my neck in the fall. Greg Louganis I'm not. He never dove with a pack.
It weren't a huge drop for most of the way. There is a good hump in the middle. If you'll excuse that expression. That bit was scary. There was a view from up there. Of the open sea, still impossibly blue despite the overcast weather. With great roiling clouds and flying fish, or at least fish that jump very well.
I wasn't as scared as I might have been. No one swerved into my lane. I think most drivers try to keep towards the center. It is a long way down. And the music helped. And in all honesty, my mind was on other things. I really really had to pee. I knew that was going to happen.
I could have peed right there on the bridge. I could have waited til no one was coming. In my lane. They'd still be rolling up behind. And then when I got to Key West they'd all be, "Hey! You're the guy we saw peeing on the Seven Mile Bridge!"
I pinched it off. Muscle contol. Rather trying, though. It took me a good ninety minutes to cross. That's walking as fast as I can.
But I survived. I always do. Find me now on Bahia Honda Key. Camped I guess illegally. The whole island is a state park. But it's where I was when it got dark. I'll pick up after myself. They'll never know I was ever here, whether I'm swallowed by mud or not.
APPARENTLY they're having another one of them Super Bowls today. I hope the good guys win.
GREG LOUGANIS has a dog named Captain Woof. And five Olympic medals.
BAHIA HONDA is said to be one of the most beautiful places on earth. It looks a lot like Seattle.
THOSE RHODODENDRONY-looking shrubs are I guess mangroves. I was pretty sure that they were.
I MET DOZENS of hoboes on the road today, evicted from Key West.