Thursday, August 25, 2011
August 24: In the morning Ken took me out to a local diner and treated me to a massive bacon burrito. There were other things inside but they paled against the greatness of the bacon.
Afterward we went to Radio Shack in search of a new phone charger. No such luck though we did see a praying mantis big enough to have co-starred with Godzilla in a 1950s movie monster flick.
Our final stop (or so I thought) was the Muscatine newspaper office, where the lovely Cynthia interrogated me about the hike. I learned about a group of horsemen riding to support the Wounded Warrior Project who had passed through town recently. What a bunch of lazy bums. Just kidding. Maybe. Okay, I'm jealous.
Ken dropped me at 2nd and Mulberry and I turned north, waving a wistful goodbye to the Mississippi. I had gone only a couple of miles before Ken returned. He had found a Sprint store and we had another go at obtaining a charger. Success! I have been so blessed to meet people like Ken and Lois who go the extra mile to help me - they refuse to give up even when I am ready to do so.
There was a downside to all these errands. I still had seventeen miles to West Liberty, where I planned to stay the night. I made quick time, enjoying the scenery around the sandbar-encrusted Cedar River.
Water ran short as the day was hot, but a timely Diet Coke delivery helped my liquid last until the next source. I hadn't consumed the wretched stuff in twenty years. I was glad to discover the product no longer induces vomiting.
West Liberty reared its ugly head around six thirty in the evening. Starving, I made my way to Shanghai restaurant and remedied the problem with a little Kung Pao chicken.
Shelter was next on the agenda, so I headed on over to the United Methodist Church to see about staying on their property. I was able to speak to the pastor and got some sad news. They had allowed another hiker to stay there some years back and the neighbors freaked out and called the police, who then, in the pastor's words, "harassed" the man.
The other churches in town had little or no yard, so I decided to push on towards a KOA campground, which I thought was only a couple of miles away, near I-80. My memory of the turn-by-turn mileage turned out to be a bit off and by eight thirty the sun had disappeared and I was still walking. About nine I began to see the lights of the interstate. Of course, in a place so dark this meant I wasn't even close. Finally I reached I-80 about a quarter til ten. There was no KOA to be seen, but an Econo Lodge did appear. I was in a take-what-I-can-get sort of mood, so I checked in and ended the day's journey.
I finished a marathonesque distance of 25 miles in a personal best - only eleven hours on the trail. Tie forty five pounds to those skinny Kenyans and see if they can top that!
25 miles/1383 total miles