July 20: Authors over the centuries have made symbolic comparisons between physical journeys and spiritual journeys. I'll not try foolishly to compete with the observations of the more brilliant ones, but I will say there is clearly a higher force at work here. I may have even found religion or rather, founded one. With all respect to the Methodists, who have helped me in many ways these last months, these last days of repressive sun have led me into the arms of another. I now practice windism and dedicate all my free time to worshiping and glorifying the virtues of a cool breeze. I imagine you were expecting some sort of deep thought. Sorry, you have the wrong channel.
The heat was indeed unbearable today so I started early, around seven, to try to make some ground early. By noon I had covered ten miles and reached the tiny town of "Macy"'s" Thanksgiving Day Parade. I had previously passed Things to do in "Denver" when you're Dead, Mr. "Deedsville", and "Birmingham" and eggs, a series of towns named by Chris Berman.
In Macy I was greeted by Donna and Brenda at the Macy Elevator grain and feed store. They had seen the article in the Tribune that morning and recognized me as the only idiot who would be walking the Nickel Plate in the midst of day when the pavement was more suitable for cooking eggs over easy than walking. I was invited in and plied with water, chips, and chocolate. We talked for a bit while I rested and got revitalized.
The break was just what I needed and my new friends mentioned that the trail would be shadier on the way to Rochester. They turned out to be only partially correct. Yes, there were tall trees up and down the right side of the path. Unfortunately, I was headed in a northerly direction and my good buddy the sun was on my left side.
There was no where to hide from the rays for the most part. I rested where I could, underneath benches and behind the slats of a wooden fence. The last miles to Rochester took all afternoon and I only finished the Nickel Plate just before seven, leaving a team of sweat bees behind, fully sated on the rivulets running from my body.
The sun having gone lower and town in sight, I rushed through the last two miles and arrived in the hotel district of Rochester, which boasts a whopping two such businesses of a reputable nature. Neither of these had a room thanks to a Kroger convention. Not coincidentally I think, this company rejected my first ever job application. I'm not bitter because the Piggly Wiggly hired me and Kroger went out of business in the Southeast. Eat your instant karma Kroger!
Jill at the Comfort Inn was not to be stopped by the grocer's evil machinations and managed to deliver me up a patch of grass behind the hotel for my tent. She also arranged a ride from Bob, a regular resident there, to a truck stop where I showered in one of their coffins. I kept slipping on the soap, but I didn't even have enough space to fall down.
The backyard ended up being a terrible option. A drunken group out by the pool kept me awake along with a couple of deer rutting in the woods just behind my tent. Around midnight I still had not slept when Jill approached and announced a room was now available and she had discounted the rate for me. Even so, I hated to splurge on the cost with my depleted funds, but tomorrow is scheduled as a triple digit day and I had to get some sleep - and pray for wind.
17 miles/1029 total miles