Thursday, July 28, 2011
So You're Saying There's a Chance?
July 26: The second city beckons. Around forty miles still remain until I am in reach of a Chicago area Metra station. I began my march unsure of whether to try to attempt to make up the difference in two days or three. My pace was good at first and after less than two hours I had reached State Line Road, the end of Indiana if I could only stay on the left side of the thoroughfare.
My eyes got a much-earned respite from the corn and soy extravaganza when I reached the Kankakee River flood plain. The terrain there was reminiscent of the C&O Canal, although there has never to my knowledge ever been a canal there. The Kankakee snaked back and forth in spine-jarring ess curves to my left. Over to the right was a swampy area similar to the wetlands much of the old C&O canal has devolved into over the years.
The bridge which crosses the river has been closed to car traffic and is used now only as a pedestrian path and fishing pier. The water sits only a couple of feet below the span, a reminder that its potential destruction is only one heavy rainstorm away.
Upon passage of the flood plain, the old standby of farmland returned and I spent the remainder of the trek on State Line Road, where I am doomed to spend nineteen consecutive miles, putting one foot in front of the other. As the day wore on I grew fatigued and I was forced to stop more and more often. I was without a definite place to stay and had to pace myself, not knowing just how far away my home for the night was exactly. A water source was also lacking.
My savior came in the form of Eric Goetz, a master builder who had been appointed by the neighbors to check me out and make sure I was kosher. I don't know if I would have gained a rabbi's stamp, but Eric seemed to approve of my mission nonetheless. He filled my bottles and offered to pick me up where I finished up that night and take me back to his home for dinner and a good night's sleep.
The knowledge that I now had a place to stay re-energized me and I made quick time for the next two and a half hours until my appointed pickup time at five thirty. When all was said and done I had knocked out sixteen of the nineteen miles on State Line. Including the five miles spent heading out of Lake Village toward the border, I had completed twenty one on the day. Chicago is now well within range.
Back at Eric's home in Indiana (alas, I had to cross back over the line) I met his wife Frances. They are proud parents of eight children, all now adults (the youngest is twenty two), and fourteen grandchildren, with another on the way. Together the couple runs a construction company and operate a large farm, quite a hefty undertaking. Their willingness to look after me is only the more astounding when put in this light.
Frances also introduced me to a new culinary delight, a Hoosier sensation known as the pork burger. Using a ground version of an animal that squeals rather than moos may sound revolutionary, but trust me, the concoction works. I shall bring the good news of this revelation back to the brethren in South Carolina.
After the meal we went back to Eric and Frances' deck and relaxed amidst the cool night air. We talked and listened to the soothing cooing of the morning dove. While in Indiana the dove became my own personal Bob Marley, letting me know that every little thing is gonna be alright.
21 miles/1033 total miles
Thanks to all my new friends in Indiana:
Dawn and Sarah Crone
Frank and P.T. in Sweetser
Tammy, Justin, Ethan, Rachel and Bethany Perry
Gus and Alyssa Nyberg
Eric and Frances Goetz
Macy Elevator, Donna and Brenda
Tom at Hoosier Hideaway
Jill and Bob
Megan, Brent, Paul, and Mel
Guy who handed me a beer while I was walking
The Unknown Hoosier (or whose name I have forgotten in the sun)