July 5: The miles have started to add up to pain. I easily finished the first part of today's journey on the Cardinal Greenway, but where the bike path ended, my troubles started.
Due to reasons I have been unable to ascertain thus far, the Greenway ends temporarily in Gaston and picks up once more fifteen miles later in Jonesboro. So too came the end of shade and an introduction to the brutal boredom of an Indiana country road. My energy level further dipped after a couple of miles - I could see straight ahead on in to eternity and there were no trees and no sign of Matthews, my destination for the evening.
As usual, just when I am at my lowest, something totally unexpected happened. A lone woman pulled over and handed me three Gatorade freezer pops. The treats cooled me down and revitalized my flagging spirits. In a matter of moments I could see the blinking red light indicating Matthews was ahead in the distance. I was still two miles away with these freaking Indiana roads, of course, but seeing the finish line put a glide back in my stride.
Once in Matthews my plan was simple - find the Methodists. At Epworth Church I did just that, bumbling into the middle of a meeting. Pastor Jan came outside to talk with me and after hearing about my walk, suggested I take shelter within the church for the night.
Congregation member Carol, whose husband Ken is a survivor of brain cancer caused by the Agent Orange he was doused with in Vietnam, was gung ho about my mission and brought over the largest air mattress I have ever seen. With two days to go until my long awaited break things are looking up again. I'm slowly understanding the appeal of roller coasters.
14 miles/961 total miles