Day 18: 18 Miles
After deciding to move on instead of working the weekend at the fair, I went back to Anytime Fitness and got a good night's sleep. God, I live those mats. Then I stopped by at Daphne's for a good breakfast before hitting the road. The goal for the day is Williamsville, which according to Google maps is about 18 Miles. Since I got the new shoes in Normal, my pace has improved. It's probably a combination of both the new shoes and the fact that the blisters have healed, but I've gone from barely two miles per hour and dragging, to between 2.5 to 3 miles per hour and feeling good. I finally took out the little note pad I got from the Township of Lyons on day 2, and started making little notes. When you have long stretches with nothing to do but walk and think, those ideas get lost in the sea of thoughts. One such idea was to promote my book, "Life: It's a Trip" which is available on Kindle Books. The idea occurred to me on a regular basis but I would forget about it when I got online. I finally took action today because it was on my notepad. As I approached Broadwell, I saw two cyclists turn a corner and stop in the shade under a tree. Hunter is a college student who was interning in Springfield Missouri for the summer and was contemplating cycling back to Wheaton College on the outskirts of Chicago. As he did his research and sought out advice, family friend and mentor Jim decided he wants to join in on the fun. So he flew in from Fresno California to Springfield, stopped at the local Walmart and bought a $129 bike and off they went. I had gone maybe half a mile when I saw two cyclists, and they pulled aside as they me coming. Minh and Jack are from Korea and are bicycling from California to Chicago. They are in their mid 20's. When they fouud out how old I am, Jack said, "People THINK that we're crazy for doing this, but you, sir, are actually crazy." We laughed, took pictures, exchanged information and we were on our respective ways. By the time I got to Elkhart, I had walked a tad over 12 miles in about five hours, and that included the two breaks at the two encounters. Not bad, but I needed to sit down and get some rest. Elkhart is a tiny community of 450 people with two main roads and a couple of side streets. I didn't know if I'll find a place to sit and relax, but I got lucky. There was a gift shop / restaurant on the other main road. Cream of tomato soup made with fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomato sauce was different and delicious. Peanut Butter Pie served as protein and decadence. With a satisfied tummy and relaxed feet, I was back on the road for the final third of the journey in slightly over an hour. The road between Elkhart and Williamsville us getting an upgrade and was closed to through traffic, and there was hardly any local traffic. I checked in at the Love's truck stop outside Williamsville around 4:30 pm, and had logged in 18.01 miles for the day. If I take out the breaks, I covered that distance in roughly seven hours. A man leaving the truck stop held the door open for me and the followed me back in. He had seen me walking earlier and was curious as to what I was doing. He handed me a five dollars bill as he left. The first order of business was a long hot shower. The open-24-hours McDonald's would serve as the make-believe office and bedroom for the next twelve hours and would be a means of kindness from strangers in form of $25. #SurprisedAndDelighted #MisterWeirdo #WalkingRoute66 My special thanks to the two people who bought my book.