Sunday morning I woke up and went into the Holiday Inn for breakfast. Free breakfast is going to be my new thing. Afterwards we drove over to Sunset Park. A park along the Ohio River. We walked the trail and read for a bit. Then drove to a wilderness area in the center of Evansville. Again sat and read for a bit. I don't really know how to pass the time otherwise.
Around one I went to the Econolodge. I had enough points for a free night stay. I was desperate for a shower and to do some laundry. I checked in and dropped off Brown and my things when I realized I didn't have my trekking poles. I left them in Chicago. The world still turns, I told myself.
I then drove to a car wash and vacuumed out the car. You're not supposed to have dogs in the rental car. The black interior was covered in white hairs. Five dollars in quarters later I had it looking pretty good. I headed to the Evansville Regional Airport and dropped off the car. As I was leaving lightening and rain clouds were closing in. So I decided to take a taxi the six miles (two hour walk) back to the hotel. Maybe I'm used to DC where taxis are a plenty but this ride cost me $15 for six miles. I could go from my apartment in NW DC to the airport across the Potomac for that much.
Anyway back at the hotel I showered and did my laundry. Cooked dinner and ate half a watermelon while watching Game of Thrones. I fell asleep after Last Week Tonight.
Monday morning I woke up around seven and hit up the lobby for free breakfast. I binged obviously. The coffee was horrible though. Thick, muddy dark coffee. It was undrinkable. So I went back to my room for a nap instead. I put the do not disturb sign on the door. However, that didn't stop housekeeping from knocking on the door at nine. Sometimes you can't win, and the world still turns.
So I turned on Morning Joe and ate the other half of my watermelon while listening to everyone fuss over pfc. Bergdahl. I checked out at eleven. I walked across town to the post office and picked up my resupply boxes. Sent home Brown's backpack and my old hip belt. I recently replaced it with a smaller size. From there I headed down to the river to join the Pigeon Creek Greenway Trail. I headed out of town passing a rail yard. Just as I past it the rain started. Suddenly I was pelted by heavy rain. I had no time to get my phone into its waterproof case. I feared the worse for it. After I passed a few houses a man yelled from his porch that I could rest in his barn until the rain stops. I headed into the barn soaked. I tried drying my phone on an old t-shirt I saw sitting on the ground. It still works! The man brought me some gatorade, pigs in a blanket and water for Brown. He asked if I was headed to the Rainbow gathering. I told him about my walk and he shared his experience traveling/working across the country when he was younger.
Finally the rain stopped and he gave me $10 as I was leaving. I didn't get a mile before the rain started again. I ducked under a church awning. It's awful being so wet and having no way to dry off. When the rain let up, I continued walking. I made it to Burdett Park where I had planned on making camp. I found a nice little spot nestled in the woods and set up. I began to read while waiting for the rain to stop to make dinner. I ended up falling asleep with my book.
Tuesday morning I woke up and made mac and cheese for breakfast. I charged up my phone and headed out of the park on their trail. I was heading to Mt. Vernon. The day was pretty humid, cloudy but no rain. Mostly following farm roads.
Just outside of town the clouds got darker. The clouds were dark and low and you could see them swirling. I thought I was walking towards a tornado. Fortunately a nice man gave me a lift the last two miles into town. He dropped me off a Dairy Queen. I sat outside under the umbrella of a picnic table, enjoying my lemon lime arctic freeze when the rain started. Light at first then heavy with intense winds. The umbrella at the table next to me lifted up and the shaft came flying at me. It missed my chest by only a few inches. I needed to find shelter quick. I ran over to the CVS next door and sat on the side of the building opposite the wind. It blocked me from most of the rain.
I don't think it was a tornado. However, in my experience as a Floridian it was definitely comparable to a hurricane with a shorter duration. After the storm passed I headed down to Riverbend Park. I was trying to wait until the park cleared out to set up but apparently this where everyone hangs out. Around 10:30 I headed behind a hill, close to the river and out of site and set up.
Wednesday morning I woke up and headed out of town. Today I was headed to New Haven. The way out of town takes you on farm roads until you must hop onto the highway, as it is the only way across the Wabash River. I walked the shoulder of the highway for awhile. I passed so many dead turtles.
Right before the bridge over the river a man pulled up along side me. He said "do you know there is no shoulder on the bridge ahead?" I didn't know, my guidebook didn't mention it. He offered me a ride across. As we approached the bridge I saw what he meant. I would be walking across a long bridge in the road with huge trucks and fast moving cars. There's only one lane in each direction. Not safe.
He told me he lives in New Haven. I told him that's where I was headed and he offered me a lift all the way into town. The town has a church, a post office and an American Legion, population under 500. He dropped me off at the boat ramp. There was plenty of room there to set up. I put my tent up and headed to the American Legion. I got some fried mushrooms and jalapeño poppers to go. As I walked back to the boat ramp it began to rain. I made it to the tent just as it began to pour. Lightening struck all around me. Loud cracks of lightening followed by heavy roars of thunder. At one point the rain was so heavy the ground wasn't absorbing it fast enough and it began to pool around my tent. Usually ideal in a lightening storm to be under a tree in a pool of water. It didn't stop raining all night.
Thursday morning I woke up and began to head out of town. As I passed the post office I met Mr Edmunds. I nice old man. He invited me up to his house for some coffee. We headed up the hill and invited me into his home. He and his wife are only a few boxes away from being on Hoarders. Mostly new items in packages still. Many items from HSN. Mostly things you don't need. Mostly just things. I wanted to ask but didn't want to be rude. We talked about his days in the Navy on a submarine instead.
I finally said goodbye and headed out of town. On my way out of town a dog began following me. It kept trying to hump Brown. I tried telling it to go home and get. I pushed him off Brown but he was relentless. He needed to be nudered for sure. He would not listen to me at all but also wouldn't get aggressive when I slapped him or pushed him off Brown. He kept following us and a few miles later he bit an electric fence and yelped pretty fierce. It was only then that he fell in line and behaved himself. So after that I didn't mind him following us. Six miles out of town, I figured there was no way for this dog to find his way home and I might be stuck with him. Then a car drove by and the man called the dog to him by name. I said he had been following me and he apologized. I was glad because it was right before I got to a main road and I had no way to control this dog.
I followed the New Haven Shawneetown Road into Shawneetown. The coal miner fair is in town. I headed to the only store in town, the gas station. I bought a gallon of water and sat outside charging my phone. Since it's the only store and the fair was across the street, people watching was rather entertaining. As it started to get dark, I headed to the other side of town to the park and made camp.
Friday morning I woke up and packed my things. I charged my phone while writing a weeks worth of blog posts. Sorry not sorry. I stopped at the post office to grab my resupply package. Thanks Judy for the Off Clip On! I then stopped at the gas station for some stove fuel and headed out of town. About two or three miles out a man stopped and asked if I needed a lift. He said he could take me as far as route one. This would put me four miles from where I intended to camp. Obviously I took the ride.
Walking into Shawnee National Forest was great. The scenery was instantly different from the flat farm lands I've been on. Large trees and rolling hills, I was happy to for it. I reached Rim Rock where I intended to camp. However, I soon found out that there is no camping at this site, just picnicking and hiking. My options were to walk back a mile to Pounds Hollow where there's a lake and campground or walk forward four miles to High Knob. I sat and read for a bit while thinking about it. While sitting there a woman came off the trail and began grilling. She came over to me and offered me some food. She was headed home the next day and had to cook everything she had so she had plenty extra. I told her about my walk and thanked her for the burger and hot dogs. After Brown and I scarfed them down we decided to hike four miles forward. After we got down the road a bit the woman caught up to us and said she had something else for me. She gave me $40! It was very kind, she filled my belly and my wallet. This plus my ride earlier, plus being off the farm roads. I was happy and all smiles while I hiked forward.
I reached the trail head for the River to River trail. A 130 mile trail that I'll take to St. Louis. No mosquitoes on the trail but man were the gnats aggressive. Considering all the rain recently the trail wasn't too muddy, until I got about two miles in. The last mile was torn up from horses. I lost my shoe several times and sunk into mud beyond my ankle. It's pretty gross because there's horse poop every where. I reached the top of High Knob and enjoyed the view for a bit. Then hiked a little further to the horse campground. The owner loves ADT hikers and let me camp and shower for free and gave me a soda. She wants to ride her horse across the country on the ADT one day.
I cooked up some mac and cheese with broccoli, leeks, tomatoes and fake chicken. Then went to take a shower. I'm glad I got to wash the mud off of me but Brown still smells. Hoping it doesn't rain tomorrow, it's National Trails Day.
Thank you readers and those who I've met this week.