I woke up extra early as to not piss off the rangers who let me camp there. I bounced out after a deep morning meditation and a Trailmix bar. Feelin good. Through highway 67 I passed then after 3 or four miles I started to have more upper back pains and shin pains on my left leg. Then the wind started picking up early getting me real pissed. It started blowing straight my direction. And then more hills. The wind was blowing so hard I was forced to walk uphill and kick my way downhill. It got riduculous. Pain and strong headwind, it couldn't really get worse. Then as I was passing through Henderson State University an undercover state trooper in a gray Dodge Magnum pulled up next to me and told me I had to get off the road. It was 630 in the am I thought, wasn't it too early for you? Go find something useful to do. But thoughts were thoughts and my actions didn't really speak for them, so I just got off the highway. I waited for him to pass and then got back on. Less than a minute later beyond a hill I heard his sirens and saw the lights speeding away. Perfect, now I can skate, something good is keeping his ass busy. Later, as I was passing through downtown Arkadelphia, which is a busted ass filthy town I saw five cop cars including Arkadelphia police, Henderson State Police, the county sheriff and state troopers. ThenI heard one of them scream "I seeeee you, get down now!!!" They all ran towards the voice. I hung around to snap some pictures and see what was going down. I was hoping to get some police brutality on camera. 20 minutes passed, more cops came and nothing was happening except them running around like clowns. I couldn't wait around longer, it was time to keep moving. At least he now had something to keep him busy for a while. Now it was just me and the howling headwind on empty 67. Then I remembered I hadn't said a little prayer I say on the road
"In the name of God, I am in your hands. There is no God but God, there is no other power but God the Almighty, most high. Oh God prevent me from giving or encountering darkness, humiliate or be humiliated, fool or be fooled. I put my faith in you and rely on you. God give me the strength to finish my journey."
And so it was, 3 miles later the wind almost completely died down and I was cruising. Through Gum Springs and Curtis. Then I got to Gurdon at 945 where I searched for the library. I saw an old black man who was staring at me and smiled. So I decided to ask him
"How you doin sir?"
"Im fine son" with a big toothless smile
"Aaaaah, Im just lookin for the libree" in my accent
"The what?" all confused
"Im sorry I can't understand you"
"The libree, you know with books"
"Oh!, The lie-brah-ree" laughing loud "Its down this road on the left
"Thank you so much sir"
Damn was my accent that confusing?
The librarian asked about my trip and then gave me a book, "A Walk Across America" by Peter Jenkins. It turned out to be an incredible book I couldn't stop reading. It told the story of Peter Jenkins, who decided to walk across the country with his dog and a whopping 65lbs on his back over a period of two years. I was inspired. 17 more miles to Prescott. Empty roads and I was cruising at at least 10 mi/hr, down hills and blasting the music, singing as loud as I could. Nobody could hear. Freedom. I felt the breeze on me as my wheels rolled. This is what this trip is about, this feeling. After 11 miles I came across the Little Missouri and decided to dive in and cool down. The sun and humidity were brutal and my shirt was soaked. My drinking water was hot as piss in my hands and the sweat in face burned my eyes. Then more long hills. I had to get to where I was going. At 410 I finally got there, chugged a vitamin water and found a place to camp behind a mill away from everyone. No more cops pulling up on me at 10 at night and waking me up. Just 15 miles to Hot Springs tomorrow. Again Im a day ahead of schedule and found a host in Texarkana. When all seems perfect, I look at my back right wheel and find a good chunk missing. Fuck, solve it tomorrow, at least I can still roll.