Saturday morning I woke up and made some coffee. I packed up and left the trailer around ten. I headed out of town and it became clear I was in for another day of road walking. All I see are massive fields. Farm after farm. We take short breaks under the few trees that line the road. Brown jumps in the ditches and cools off where he can.
I was headed to Tippecanoe State Park. When I finally got there I was happy to be on a trail, in a forest for the first time since I crossed into Indiana. Bittersweet though. This SP is teeming with mosquitoes. Not just a few, but swarms. I reached the park office and explain my walk. I know it's Memorial Day Weekend but ask if there are any campsites available. The ranger told me that by law they're required to keep a few unmarked sites available in case of thru hikers or bikers.
I get to my campsite and set up and end up jumping in the tent. The mosquitoes are too much to contend with. I nap for an hour or two. I woke up to cook dinner but wished I had gone hungry. I was slapping myself like crazy trying to fight them off. After I was done cooking, I sat in my tent eating, trying to count the mosquitoes hanging out on the outside of my tent. I stopped counting at sixty.
I felt trapped in my tent. Eventually the park rangers drove by spraying something from their truck. Probably deet, probably dangerous to breathe. It did nothing to stop the swarm.
Sunday morning I woke up and dreaded having to leave the tent. While packing up I was barraged. I packed up as fast as possible and headed out of there. I was followed for two miles through the park to the main road. Getting bit up the entire way.
A couple miles up the road I stopped at a gas station/deli and got a sandwich. Just up the road I hopped on the Erie-Monterrey rail trail to the town of North Judson. Pretty much similar to the rail trails I've been on through Indiana. Farms on either side of the trail. Not enough trees or shade to break the baking sun.
When I reached North Judson, I was hot and out of water. I hit up the grocery store and purchased a gallon of water, a watermelon and lemon sherbet. I devoured the sherbet immediately. Then walked to the park. I figured I would camp in the park and sat on the bench reading my book until dark. I pitched my tent, crawled inside and went to bed.
Monday morning I woke up to police outside my tent. I told them about my walk and fortunately they were understanding. They told me there was going to be a Memorial Day Parade here in a few hours and I needed to be gone soon. I packed up then sliced open my watermelon and ate the whole thing for breakfast. It was amazing.
As people began to gather for the parade, I picked up my bag and headed out of town. If you guessed that I would be walking on farm roads past huge sprawling corn fields, then you guessed right. I'm desperate for a change in scenery. I passed a house with a family outside unhitching their camper from their truck. The dad asked me where I was headed and I began the story of my travels. He offered me a soda and pointed me in the direction of Kouts. I was headed there to camp. I told him I was probably going to camp at the library since there would be shelter from the evenings thunderstorms.
When I reached Koutz, I sat down at the bench outside the library, pulled out my book and read. Twenty minutes later the man I had met a few miles back pulled up and gave me another soda and a gatorade. I thanked him for his kindness. The lightening, thunder and rain came around eight thirty. It continues as I write this.
Oddly enough people have come up to the library to return things. The most recent at ten. I feel awkward, I look pretty dirty from sweating the past few days. Haven't showered since Wednesday. Huddled under an awning, I probably look homeless. I began to wonder if people in these small towns have seen homeless people before? If there are even homeless people around here? Towns with no more than two thousand residents.
I just realized I'm in a new time zone. Thank you readers. Thank you Mr. Miller for the sodas.