Wow, okay, so now I'm in Wanena, Minnesota. It's been a month and a day since I've updated. SO WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE THAT FATEFUL DAY ONE MONTH AGO! Well lots of shit has happened since that fateful day a month ago. So I'll start where I left off in the last post, and try to get all the way up to the present. Sadly, I've lost my camera's USB connector and so I won't be able to add pictures until a later date. Also, I can't really take a whole lot of pictures since the card is full, as it has been since the Rainbow Gathering. But I really do have some great pictures of mysterious mountain critters and beautiful landscapes and so on. Also of cops. Because they're very prolific.
So I had passed the intersection of Lamer Road and Old Highway 81, and was making my way toward Salina, expecting to be there in a few hours. I went into a Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen is the only semi-ubiquitous fast-food I can stand, really), and started walking again. About an hour after this, the clouds had cleared and the sun was now beginning to beat down. Kansas is pretty hot. Well I look over my shoulder because I hear a car coming, and of course it's a police car - Highway Patrol! - and so I stop and just stand there looking around waiting for the cop to get out. Eventually he does - leaving his non-uniformed passenger sitting contently in the ... passenger's seat - and asks me all the usual questions.
"So what are you doing out here?"
"Well I'm walking."
"Where are you goin' to?"
"I'm going to this, uh, hippie convention .. thing."
"Oh.. you have any pot on you?"
"Haha, no -"
"Mind if I search your bag?"
"Go for it."
So he does. He opens up the inside and goes through my clothes and books, and then opens up a side-compartment, the one with the plastic baggies and zip-ties. He just holds up the bags and looks at me, and raises a brow: "What are these for?"
"Huh? Oh, those? Just for whatever." Then it occured to me that that looked really bad, so I laughed and said so. Well then he opens up the front compartment, where I'm keeping my combat knife, and pulls it out really slowly, grimmacing and staring at me.
"Now, I understand your situation, so I'm not gonna' say anything..."
It only occured to me later how absurd it was that he was more concerned about the possibility of my having pot than the actuality of my having a 7" Ka-Bar.
SO! moving on. He let me go and wished me luck and I plodded along in the heat. Another hour or so and I was nearly out of water. I decided to sit in the shade of a tree on the side of the road to rest, and also apparently to kill ticks. A while later I started to thumb for a ride. Another 45 minutes of this and I was really pretty pissed off. Salina was a ten minute drive away, and these people were knowingly passing a person coming from a direction in which there was nothing for miles and miles. So people would drive by me and smile and wave like I was the fucking mailman, and I'd cuss them as they sped away blithely. Bitter and defeated, I plopped down in the light and heat (the tree was ways a way and not very visible from the road), and threw my thumb up. A truck drove by and, not slowing down much, the window was rolled down and the driver half-handed/half-launched a water bottle at me. So that was nice and pleasant, being pelted with requisite minerals by very slightly sympathetic truck-drivers. But I had water and I waved a thanks and chugged and decided to start walking again. Eventually a yellow pick-up pulled up along-side and gave me a lift in to town, transforming another 2 hours of walking in the afternoon sun into a quick 4-minute conversation. Rick, the empathetic former hitch-hiker.
I was dropped off at the Nextel store - I needed to charge my phone - and thanked him for the ride. I walked inside, saw a huge throng of frustrated Salinans standing around like cattle, and left. I muttered "I fucking hate this city" because of what a bad day I'd been having, despite the fact that I'd only actually been in the city for 2-3 minutes, and I heard someone laugh bitterly, probably out of agreement. I crossed the street and plugged in my phone to the outlet on the side of the gas station and, after inquiring about the where-abouts of the library, headed off there. I walked happily for an hour as it started to get dark and, finding the library (I had to ask an interesting slew of people for directions, including gangster brick-layers and yuppies walking their poodles), I then wandered through downtown until I found a linear park on the outskirts. Found a little observation-deck-type-thing overlooking a "restored to its' former beauty by the City of Salina Parks Department" cesspool/stream that separated the park from an industrial train station. Sleep.
The next morning I chatted with a local home-bum who had slept beneath me on the underside of the deck, and then wandered first to Burger King to have unsatisfying "French Toast" sticks with a tablespoon or so of "maple" corn syrup and thence to the library, where I had updated again. I spent the entirety of that day reading, excepting an hour I took to find a local grocery store where I got grapes and a loaf of bread and some Gatorade and probably other things that I can't remember. That night I went back to the place I'd slept before, since I slept so well there. Walking to where I was going to sleep, I noticed a ladder going straight up to the roof of the nearby community theater building. The door to the enclosed but open-air area surround the ladder was unlocked. Gasp! I opened, and then noticed a lady walking toward me.
"Oh, you betcha!" And then I promptly walked to where I was going to sleep. Also at the pet store on the main road going through downtown Salina there's this iguana that I hung out with for like 20 minutes. Because I'm awesome. That night I found out the home-bum was on parole. He stole a few dollars worth of stuff from a store, but had to go to jail for years and pay some absurd fine when he was caught. He was on parole.
Next day I went to the library a third time, made another update, charged my electronic shit, and then walked to the Interstate. Zohboy! Well I sit down next to this other hitch-hiker, a 40 something guy who calls himself Kevin, and we piss and moan about the heat which really wasn't that bad. About 45 minutes later, a busted-up little black car comes around the off-ramp, stops at a corner - girls yelling at us, but we can't understand - and then they disappear in the building complex adjacent to the freeway. We thought for a second they'd left, but then they came back around and pulled up next to us and Emma, this weird but pretty brunette comes running out yelling and hugs Kevin. Hullo hullo, zomg, how have you been? And blabla, and I accept it all, because of course this randomly happens, and we pile in the car and make our way, listening to old not-really-that-good-music. So we're driving down the freeway, and suddenly we get off in the middle of nowhere - "A lake! It says there's a lake!" Kevin leans over and says he likes the one on the left - Emma, my age, driving. I cringed and ignored him. We pile out of the car and everyone goes for a swim while I sit there and enjoy the day.
Gotta go, more later.