Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 34. Escaping South Bend

Day 34. 8th July

We woke this morning to pouring rain. It always sounds more impressive when beating down on thin stretched nylon just inches from your face, but to be fair, I think even on a tiled roof, this rain would have created a little disturbance.

We waited for it to ease, then got up, packed like the Gestapo were on our trail & made our way straight to Dennies, to seek shelter & sustenance, just as the puckering of the clouds was beginning to quiver.

Thanks to Randy’s generosity, we were able to begin today with eggy nourishment & meet a few of the local heros.

Our waiter Jodie, quite the local hero, cautioned us about hitch hiking, telling us of his own desires to travel Europe. However before he got a chance to go, saw the movie ‘Hitch hiker’ & has since changed his plans. Horror movies. God bless them. What are they good for, other than maintaining a complacent society, ever wishing for more, but too scared to step out & attain it.

I have a small ritual of collecting post cards from the towns we visit. The gas station didn’t sell them, but suggested Notre Dame book store would.

We set up at the roadside, and then I set off running, my robe flowing behind me.

Just meters down the humid road, a car pulled up & a priest asked me what I was running from. I told him the police & he told me to climb in & he’d take me where I was headed. Along the way, as I stunk out his car, I told this charitable man of the cloth what we were about. He doesn’t get on the net, but sent me & Jesus on our way with his blessing.

Again I was stunned by the campus of Notre Dame. (I wish I'd taken my camera on the run.) Struggling to find my way back meant that I got to see a lot of it. Forests, lakes, fields, golf courses & a myriad of new buildings, built like they’ve been around forever.

Finally, after getting caught up helping a truck driver who'd lost his load reload, I found the highway again, my compulsory morning run totalling a good few miles. The boys told me they’d had to forfeit a ride waiting for me, but I think that’s bollix.

We stood in the same spot for hours more & no one else pulled over.
I shouldn’t say no one. The local police came by.

Not too much later, Paul & I headed out to get a bite from the gas station. Paul stepped in to Perkins & told Ashley there what we were doing & she gave us free cake to go with our loaf of bread.

I know I’m no oil painting, but the fact that when we got back, Nate had had two rides pull over made me question the dissuasion of my presence.
It wasn’t until Paul went to put trash in the can & the next ride pulled up that my fears were allayed.

Tony, an older gentleman, loved history. As far as I could hear, his great great grandfather was born in Indiana & he knew all there was to know about it. It was a shame we had used up any exploring time being stuck.

Once again we were standing at a toll booth.

And once again the Police stopped in to check on our progress.

Twice.

Nate & Paul wondered if perhaps the Mayor was preparing a cab to take us to the next town, stating we could do what ever we were doing elsewhere, but we’d over stayed our welcome in their town. But the police in Indiana, while extremely thorough, were kind enough & were just giving us warning, that should we move past the toll booth, they would be forced to take us into custody.

We were grateful the first officer of South Bend wasn’t so easily forced.

After another few hours of smiles, waves, avoided looks & scowls, we decided to pack it in for the night & try again early in the morning.

Steve at Steak & Shake gave us a free meal when he heard what we were doing

& the Knights Inn motel next door looked inviting too.

Priti bargained with us on price, while the beautiful & tender hearted Melinda, after trying to get us a room free, convinced her to give us a discount room, on the proviso we clean it.

The shower, shave & wine that followed were shear bliss. J

(When Anna saw me, she referred to me as her little Holocausts survivor. I didn't realise just how thin I'd got until I saw this picture. Anyone need a diet? This is a fun & scenic way to do it.)

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