Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Around the World in Fifty States
September 6: I learn something new every single day out here on the road and Tuesday was no exception. Iowa cops are really, really bored.
The morning started just fine in Marshalltown, where Connie cooked me eggs and toast for the protein boost I needed to fire my rockets out of Albion. I burned through the miles thanks to the good night's rest in an actual bed and the aforementioned breakfast. I fell into a zone, my mind turned off and my feet just went of their own accord. All of a sudden I awoke, the time was four and the Melbourne water tower was staring me straight in the face.
One of the great thrills over the last five months has been the opportunity to see so many cosmopolitan places: Cairo, Marseilles, and now Melbourne. All without even having to get on a plane. What a country!
I visited the library, updated the blog, and went over to Meier Park next door in hopes of spending the night there. Best laid plans as they say and after only an hour the popo came a knocking. People of Iowa: please come to speak to me before calling Officer Barbrady, I am not a pedophile, a murderer, or even, horror of all horrors, an Avon sales lady.
I found I could not stay at the shelter there, but following a brainstorming session the officer was able to think of a place in town where I could put up the tent. He described the location and left me to search it out alone.
I migrated to the area he had suggested, but wasn't sure exactly which spot he had marked out as kosher. As I wandered and pondered I was approached by a lone walker. Her name was Sidney and she claimed to have recognized me from a TV report on my walk. I haven't done any TV interviews that I am aware of, but she is the third person to make such a statement so perhaps I've grown senile. We might be on our way to explaining why I forget really important things like my phone charger.
Sidney showed me where the policeman had probably meant, then told me if I preferred I could just stay behind her house. I preferred and was led to her property where a couch swing in the back transformed into a bed.
My first night outside in a bed would come later. Before sleep I had a lengthy talk with Sidney, who is a youth counselor currently finishing up her doctorate degree in psychology. Like many of those who have taken pity on me she has traveled extensively, living in exotic locales such as South Korea, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Mount Airy, North Carolina. Her return to Melbourne was brought about by the death of her father and the need to care for her infirm mother. I have a feeling one day Sidney will return to her globe-trotting ways. Who knows, maybe we will meet again in Paris (Texas).
17 miles/1564 total miles