Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Escape From Newark
May 30: I rose around seven to the tap of Paul's knuckles on my bedroom door. I shook loose the cobwebs, packed up, and headed down to the kitchen, where Sharon had prepared some french toast with a dash of cinnamon and some crispy bacon, which I devoured like a ravenous beast, but politely of course - slobbering and belching were kept to an absolute minimum.
Paul had some fences to put up on their three hundred acre property and they had relatives coming to visit in just a few short hours so Sharon drove me back to the metropolis of Bristol. We parted company all too soon, but not before Sharon told me there had been a bad chemical spill just a couple years ago in the very spot where I would start the day's jaunt. I rubbed some of the grass on my face in hopes I would be endowed with some Incredible Hulk-like powers. Not the power to rip shirts though, I don't have a lot of extras.
By 9:30 I hit the town of Salem. Not the one with the vampires or the one with the witch trials. No, this particular Salem was settled in the late 1700s by a group escaping from the horrors of New Jersey. The impending future of burnt out factories and "Jersey Shore" were apparent even then.
Today you can visit Salem's Fort, a model village where you can see what daily life was like for a nineteenth century Mountaineer. One of the cabins on display there was once Paul's father's home during the Great Depression. The structure looks old enough to be from the early century, but in reality was built in 1933.
Salem's other claim to fame is the Jennings Richardson house. Jennings was one of the seventeen thousand men to serve in the US Senate along side Robert Byrd during the eight million years the elder statesmen spent on Capitol Hill.
Once past Salem the path deteriorated at times and I was forced to wade through grass reaching belt high. I now wear a classy rope belt most of the time as my pants don't fit me anymore.
Buckeye Creek meandered to the left, then the right, then back again, constantly reminding me how close, yet how far the next state is. I better make fun of Jim Tressel while I can.
The heat was oppressive today, my first day over ninety degrees. Tomorrow looks to be even worse.
I finished up at the park in Smithburg around two, with the next good place to stop fifteen miles away and out of reach. I visited the plaque in front of the old Smithton (the town's old name)railroad depot commemorating the twenty two lives lost in the flood of 1950.
The late afternoon was spent twiddling my thumbs and trimming my nose hair, until sundown when I got a surprise visit from Sharon. She had brought me dinner - a porterhouse steak, peppers, onions, potatoes, green beans, salad, and red velvet cake. I was also honored to meet her three sisters and we talked for a while as the light faded. Her sisters also made a contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project - the perfect end to Memorial Day weekend.
Happy Memorial Day! Please don't forget why I am on the road sweating my butt off every day - remember those who been hurt for our country, regardless of our politics we should always look after those who have been severely injured. Contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project today!
12 miles/464 total miles