Friday, August 5, 2011
A Bridge Too Annoying
What an easy day, just a seven mile stroll from Marseilles (not France)to Ottawa (not Canada). I'm still on the canal path so the ground is nice and flat. The pack is light and airy since I can slackpack. I'll be returning to my cousin Heather's place tonight so leaving most of my stuff there was a no-brainer.
Skipping down the trail gaily and texting friends, I was glad to have a relaxing day for once. I learned that the last remaining toll house on the I&M is located in Ottawa. There seems to be only one of everything left, one mule barn, one grain elevator, one toll house, one canal...I'm thinking Noah did a pretty half-assed job of things around here. I wonder daily why he couldn't have just forgotten to bring the two gnats and the two mosquitoes. Seriously though, maybe Noah was a stickler for getting things right. I can just hear him saying, "Where is that (blaspheme deleted, you can probably guess which one, there probably only was one back in those days) other unicorn.
So I'm walking along minding my own business, thinking these thoughts when all of a sudden I reached a sign saying the bridge over the Fox River Aqueduct is under repair and off limits to trail walkers and riders until Saturday. There is a tube claiming to have maps detailing a suggested detour. The tube was empty of course. And I was supposed to meet a reporter and photographer from the local paper on the other side of the Aqueduct in fifteen minutes.
I headed over to the bridge and asked the workers how to get to another bridge. Through a wad of chewing tobacco one man slurred something about going north. The last road I passed travels to the south or to the east. I called my cousin Al on the phone and he said to go north as well. The newspapermen phone asking where I am and they suggest the same cardinal direction.
The way north is blocked by thick vegetation - does anyone actually know where I am? Maybe I will have to play Tarzan to find this confounded bridge. Finally I decided to go east until I can find a road going north. I moved a mile in that direction (which to me was backwards and I hate that direction most of all, I work too hard trying to get forward) and finally came upon such a road.
At this moment the newspapermen and Al found me and we got the whole thing straightened out. I was able to hop on Highway 6 and cross the cursed Fox (pictured menacingly above). On the other side I met up again with Al at Fox Aqueduct Park, a former residential district which became parkland when FEMA told the stupid people that it was kind of a bad idea to build on a flood plain and they should stop because the government wasn't going to bail them out anymore when they inevitably found themselves under several feet of water once again.
The short day's jaunt finally terminated, we adjourned to Al's home and chilled. A weekly paper in Ottawa also sent a delightful young chap to ask me some questions about the trip*. I don't know why people want to talk to me, I'm just a garden variety loon, nothing very special. I'm glad to play along, however, because when you spend hours by yourself any chance at an adult conversation is appealing. Anything is better than writing yet another song about the blasted fly circling your head. Believe me.
*The title of the resulting article used the word drifter to describe me. I object to being classified in such a way and would like all further journalists to use the word hobo instead. Thanks!
7 miles/Magna Carta total miles