Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 33. South Bend

Day 33. 7th July

We headed out of the bus station, laughing as Nate told us of the horrors of a night of repeated waking, with each waking presenting a different posterior just inches from his face.


We walked a few miles to find the freeway. We tried one place,

then another in our sleep deprived state, hoping for the best traffic flow & prospects. Just as we were changing on ramps, City Council pulled up, lights flashing, to see if we were lost or delusional. We told them what we were about & they gave us a couple of pens & their packed lunch. (I’m not sure I’ve ever taken someone’s packed lunch off them before, but I have to say, it’s a hobbie I’m considering taking up. Chris, his mum or his mrs packs a mighty fine lunch. And I’m sure they’re not alone.)

They pointed us in the right direction & off we headed once again, in search of the ultimate on-ramp.

Walking on the freeway isn’t recommended, but apparently in Illinois it’s ok, so long as you don’t ‘dilly dally’.

We found a toll booth. Perfect. Vehicles are forced to stop & are far more likely to be inclined to share their moving space with itinerant unordained monks… But we found that not the be the case.

The police however, did stop by. They were nice & told us what we were doing was illegal, however, if we moved to the other side of the toll booth, it would be legal. We thanked them for the tip & moved as directed. Into the rain.

We took time out of our busy schedule to hide from the rain & have lunch. With us hiding, the rain got bored & moved on.

Scraping up the dregs of our tenacity, we tried some more. But not even the CB radio could raise a response, let along a ride.

Sensing our loneliness, the friendly local law enforcement stopped by again.

Paul, the eternal schemer & method searcher convinced the officer to take us to the gas station down the road.

The idea was good…

I had visions of the years to come, confined to an old folks home, watching the days go by with nothing to do, & vowed to be kind to my children & to set up a retirement fund.

Finally I reached breaking point, sent Nate to get some cardboard, wrote up a sign offering a free toll for a ride – figuring every American wants something for free & proactive incentive goes a long way – walked the mile or so back to toll booth & set up with fresh smiles & enthusiasm.

After another hour it faded.

A few hours later, Paul, again plotting best methods, decided people were too focussed on the toll & not on us, so rather than dance or get naked, he moved a few meters down & prayed hard.

Within minutes, we were picked up by Will. He’d gone to work, discovered he was 4 hours early & was heading home again. He took us back to his moms to freak her out. It worked, but moments later she & her husband Randy were giving us excellent homemade taco pizza & iced tea. We used their shower, hopped through their back tree to see Michigan,

(County law is no fences around the yards) then got a grand tour of Notre Dame. (Our all inclusive tour also covered the investigation of a local monastery, but it was abandoned.)

With the fire flies glowing around Notre Dame’s grounds it was almost a mystical experience.

I tried to catch some to show Paul how they make your hand glow up, but for some reason the ones at Notre Dame wouldn’t glow when caught.
Randy told me that they glow to attract a mate & obviously these bugs, once in my hand, were completely satisfied.
He had strong beliefs in God, but was another on our journey who didn’t identify with traditional denominations. He & his family went to a non-denominational church.

At our request, he dropped us at an inviting looking forest to camp, then proceeded to gift us with water bottles, poptarts & $40.

Thank you so much! Your family surely saved us from certifiable levels of insanity & stench. We truly appreciate your kindness, acts of service & demonstration of your beliefs.

Bloody legends.

We set up in the forest & dove into the tent as quickly as possible to escape the mosquitos. It was about 150 degrees, with 800 percent humidity inside.

Sleep wasn’t imminent.

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