Somebody tossed my board into the water and I was lost in the woods. After finding him, I can't remember how, he got a good ass beating and thats what I woke up to today. Damn that sleep in that bed was so good, I forgot that I was in the middle of a trip. After cleaning up, and packing I went downstairs to find Jerry and his pancakes ready to eat. Fresh, fattie pancakes made from scratch. Country fresh eggs from his daughters. A big plate of bacon. Three fantastic meals at Jerrys, man he was so good to me. He decided he would give me a ride back to to the highway I was on, where I would take the 155. On the way there he gave me some advice which I was very glad to hear.
The first was that don't think because somebody was hosting me they were doing me a favor, it was a mutual benefit since the host was living a journey through me. The second was that, after reading my blog and seeing what I had said about donations, he asked me to accept them and try to fight. I thought about what he told me the way to Gilmer and now I can respond. On the first point, Jerry is just an awesome man and him saying that he benefits from hosting me just showed me how good of a heart he really has. I can't comprehend how somebody 'benefits' from hosting me. On his second point, I have to say that when I initially try to reject somebody's offer for money I see it as a sign of humility and humbleness, two traits Im working on and that are slowly disappearing from this earth. Im not trying to be arrogant. I would love to get free money to keep me going, but one, im not going to ask for it and two will at least try to show some respect and appreciation when receiving it.
But thats just me
We said our goodbyes and so I began my day. 155 started out smooth but hilly which was fine as long as the road was smooth. Then it gradually got rougher and rougher. So much friction cruising down a hill it number my feet. And so it brings me to my next archenemy, Texas rough roads. Fuck Texas rough roads. They are almost as bead as headwind. And so the road went all the way to my first checkpoint, Avinger. I had started out on that at 630 am, I arrived at 830. 13 miles in two hours, terrible. Thats 6 miles an hour, I usually get 11 or 12 mi/hr. I didn't rest long at Avinger, I had to cover more distance before the burning hot Texas sun came out in full force. 11 miles to the next town, Cedar Springs. The road improved that section and I got there at 10. Still no time to waste. A quick refill and 17 more miles to the final destination of the day.
Things get so difficult at the last stretch. The road completely fell aprt it was like skating on a gravel driveway. The sun was kicking in, I needed a break. I took refuge in a little structure creating some shade and dide the "dead corpse posture" for the next 2o minutes. I tried to visualize. Visualize Gilmer, visualize the back pain moving up my spine through my arms and out my finger. I got attacked by ants but still kept trying, which brings me to my next point.
What is up with ants in the south?! They are aggressive little motherfucker. They are so peaceful up north. Down here, anywhere I lay I get ants trying to bite the shit out of me. And Im not talking about fire ants either. Man these ants got some issues they need to deal with
Anyway, I busted a move. After 8 miles I was beat. No water. The road was terrible and I couldn't skate. I walked, kicking my board infront of and even it didn't want to move. The road was just pebbles. Why does it have to be one or the other? Headwind or shit roads. I hoped for a ride for the next 7 miles. And Ha! A white Mazda 3 coming the opposite direction pulls around.
"What are you doing man?!" a young guy with aviators asked
"What if your wheels go? Do you have an extra pair?"
"They won't, I have extra bearing though, you skate?"
"When I was a kid, where are you from?"
"Yeah right, let me see some Rhode Island ID"
I handed it to him and he looked on with disbelief
"Where are you heading?"
"Gilmer, you heading there?"
"You wanna give me a ride?"
"You have any weapons on you?"
"Ha, nah man"
"Get in the back seat"
Phew I though. I got a ride but fuck I hate myself for cheating. I feel terrible
"My wife almost ran you over up the road, she called me and told me about this crazy guy on a skateboard in the middle of the road, then I saw you"
"Ha, Im sorry man, the road here is terrible, I cant ride the shoulder so Im trying to skate on the parts smoothened up by cars"
We talked some more and he told me how big Texas was, 858 miles across, which would take me 20 days at 40 miles a day or so.
"Im in no rush man"
"So heres the deal, I can take you all the way to Tyler if you want, Im heading there to work"
The thought corssed my mind. It would make life easier. What if the road didn't improve? The heat? But Im supposed to skate, fuck hitching, anybody can do that, Im trying to prove something to myself. I need for once to accomplish something. I already feel horrible for taking this 8 mile ride another 40. In the end, fuck that. I plan on skating there and getting there tomorrow. The offer was tempting, very, but I couldn't
"Nah, thanks man, I appreciate it, but I gotta skate"
"So whats your name anyway?"
"Chad, I work for Texas Roadhouse, a famous steakhouse around here and I pop in when nobody knows and tell them what they should and shouldn't do"
So we get to Gilmer and he gave me 4 free entree certificates to that place
"This place is all around Texas man, should keep you stuffed until you get out of here"
"Thanks man, I appreciate them and the ride, and tell your wife Im sorry"
So we parted. I loaded on drinks and skated outside of town and found a nice little spot off the side of the road and took a deep nap. From here 155 looks smooth, lets hope things don't change for a while.