Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Do Hawaiians Love Spam?

June 2: My last full day in West Virginia was a bit of a grind. The I-pod is malfunctioning and I'm almost done with my book, so entertainment options were limited. I sung the theme to "Gilligan's Island" with my echo as a backup singer while passing under Eaton Tunnel, but that was a one-off thing.
Finding water was the biggest challenge of the day. I expected to refill early in the morning at Petroleum, but the campsite had none and the microscopic town was deserted. This half of the North Bend Rail Trail is sparsely populated, so my next chance didn't come until Walker eight miles away. By then my bottles were almost depleted and I went into the Post Office hoping to meet a kind soul.
I was in luck. Inside I met Dave, who gladly filled me up and started a conversation. We chatted for over an hour about life philosophy and baseball. He had played high school ball with former Cub Steve Swisher and his son had started along side Steve's boy Nick, who is now with the New York Yankees.
I left Dave around one and dined on some hiker haute cuisine: Slim Jims, M&Ms, and raisins. I cleaned my face with a moist towelette and tipped the valet, then proceeded west.
Around mile six the Kanawaha River appeared on my left. The region where West Virginia now lies has gone under some other aliases throughout history. A border dispute between the colonies of Pennsylvania and Virginia almost ended with the creation of a 14th colony: Westsylvania. Had Westsylvania come into being "Blacula 2" would have been a much more believable movie.
Eighty years later the mountaineers were up in arms about their state's (Virginia) secession from the Union. They broke away and rejoined the Union. There was one question: what to call themselves. Kanawha was strongly considered. The origin of the word is up for debate - most think "white stone," although in the Catawba language it means "big brother." A small minority believe "spam is composed of what now exactly?" to be the correct answer.
As we know, Kanawha lost the Homecoming King crown of history and the state became known as West Virginia, the last to join the United States east of the Mississippi River.
I settled down for the evening next to the Kanawha at a private campground thanks to Bill, who let me stay on his property there. Bill also let me use his shower, so I am dolled up and ready to insert myself back into urban life tomorrow.
With eighteen miles down the drain I reached 530 in total. There are only three miles left on the NBRT and an equal distance in and around Parkersburg between me and Ohio.

18 miles/530 total miles


Anonymous said...

Almost in Ohio? Wow!

Love, dad

Andrea said...

I love the Gilligan's Island song. LOL!! We're here supporting you Alastair. We all can't wait to see you and congratulate you in person! You're an inspiration :)