Saturday, April 05, 2008


I checked out of the motel yesterday morning and went straight to the crappy on-ramp where I'd had no luck two days earlier, but my luck quickly changed. Within an hour, I was riding to Atlanta with a girl named Rachel Head. She was cool. Our conversation held steady for the entire ride until she dropped me off near the Atlanta airport. Within a few hours I had another ride, to a Pilot station on the northwest side of Atlanta, with a guy named Gary Cox. This truck stop was very small, so after a few hours I decided to walk 7 miles to what someone told me was a bigger Pilot station. The walk kinda sucked because it was raining most of the time, then the Pilot turned out to be Petro, which tends to have tight "tramp security." When I arrived, at about 2:30 AM, security was quick to approach me, but I said I just needed to sit for a while and dry off. He said it was OK. Right away a driver
started talking to me, and now we're about an hour west of St. Louis, heading to Portland.

Metter Part 7

Long story short: The cop was a total prickwad asshole. He treated me like I was wasting his time, telling me I could walk to the motel down the road. The problem was that I was cold to the bone and all my stuff was soaked, adding a lot of weight and making it difficult to compress things. --> That fuckface ought to be fired. If I hadn't been genuinely concerned about my safety, I wouldn't have called 911. --> Maybe half an hour after the dickhead cop left, I found some energy within myself, probably because I was so pissed off about the way he treated me. So I packed up my stuff and walked to the EconoLodge, with my feet sloshing in my water-filled boots. And for the first time in my Aimless career, six hours after the misery began, I paid for lodging. It was the right thing to do, though, because checking in at 10:00 bought me 25 hours to get some rest and dry all my stuff, including
my tent (which now has three small rips in the floor). That was Thursday.

Metter Part 6

After putting all my stuff under the overpass, I returned to my tent to remove the stakes. (I lost one stake in the water, which was 6-8 inches deep at this point.) I moved the tent, still pitched, to the overpass with the rest of my stuff, then I scattered my stuff all over the guardrail and the ground in an attempt to allow things to drip "dry" before removing my emergency blanket from its package. Wrapping the emergency blanket around myself, I lied down and waited, hoping someone (like a cop) would stop and help me get somewhere warm and dry. No one stopped. --> I don't remember much from the next couple hours, but I do remember hoping sunrise would make things a little better. It didn't, and I was now cold and desperate enough to call 911. But having dropped my phone in the water, I wasn't sure it would ever work again. Fortunately it did work, so I asked the 911 operator to send
someone to help me. Fifteen or twenty minutes later, a Metter Police officer showed up...

Metter Part 5

With most of my stuff near the on-ramp's asphalt surface, I looked around for some kind of shelter. If my stuff had been dry and packed, I could've carried it to a nearby gas station or something, but it was neither dry nor packed. Consequently, my only option was to relocate everything under the overpass and hope for a safe, dry spot. So in two or three trips I moved everything about 300 feet to a spot below the overpass, each time walking past my tent, which was 50 or 100 feet from the overpass. --> With a wide shoulder and a guardrail, the space under the overpass was safe, but it wasn't dry. The shoulder itself was mostly dry, but there was a constant stream of water draining from the overpass behind the guardrail, making my life slightly less miserable than it had been moments earlier. (If you haven't figured this out already, I couldn't occupy the dry interstate shoulder because
that would have been dangerous and stupid.) It was also windy below the overpass, which didn't help...