Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day 5 June 9 2009, Clarendon to Hazen (31 miles)

Again waking up at 630 after an uncomfortable sleep because of the fuckin railroad tracks right next to me and the shitty floor. But its all good. I had a sweet dream about Jordana Brewster, the chick from the Fast and the Furious. She was at AIS, my high school in Kuwait for some reason.

Its so hard to get motivated in the morning. I feel down but once I get going, I get going. The day before Jimmy said the bridge across Clarendon would be like 7 miles. I thought he was exaggerating being the redneck he was. I mean I crossed the the Mississippi, a much bigger river than the White River and it wasn't even that long. He said it was going to be impossible to skate which I believed, knowing how much bridges suck to skate on. I should have believed him. The bridge was long. The part over the river was short like expected, but the bridge did keep going for about 6 miles through wetlands that were federally protected. It wasn't a fun skate. At the top of the bridge I stopped for a picture, but when three 18 wheelers flew by, I felt the bridge move so I held on to the railing for dear life, realizing afterwards that a bridge is supposed to have some flex.

I was supposed to take AR-86 but I couldn't find it so i took AR-33N to Devalls Bluff, a long empty road through farms, farms and more farms. The sign said 14 miles to Devalls Bluff which was 8 miles east of my final destination, Hazen. I covered about 8 miles before the road started getting really bumpy and hilly making the skate dreadful. At least the wind didn't pick up. Then I ran out of water, in the middle of fuckin nowhere at least 5 more miles from the next town. But for some reason I wasn't worried like the time at Lula. While I was skating I spotted a red Ford jeep speeding towards me. Fuckin ay, I got out the way. Hey! it was the big bearded fellow that ran the Biker club the day before. What a sweet coincidence. Hop in man. I had no choice. I did and cheated the next 5 miles to DeValls Bluff. He apologized for not being able to conversate that much the day before. "Don't stress it man, so whats your story"
"Well I used to live in Maryland, until September 11th, they didnt tell anyone in Maryland about the Pentagon. But I had a friend who worked there and told me we were under attack. I grabbed my wife and said we are going back to Arkansas, where my father grew up. Im living off the land, no bills, no utilities, freedom and thats how I raised my kids"
This guy was the fucking man, I had to go learn a few tips from him but now wasn't the time. When we got to DeValls Bluff I asked him to drop me off, I could't cheat for longer. I would fill my water and skate to my destination.
"I never got your name man"
"Madcat, thats what people call me, but my name is Donnie"
Donnie the Madcat, very appropriate for a dude like him, I wish I got a picture, but didn't have the balls to ask.

When I went in the gas station of this little town of 700 some people the woman working started a conversation. She used to skate and told me about the skatepark in Little Rock. I bought a Gatorade and went outside to refill my water. Before I had a chance to leave
"Excuse me," waving for me to go back in
She was on the phone speaking to somebody about me
"Yeah, he is skating to San Deigo," "For what reason?" she asked me
I shrugged "Dont know, just doing it"
She Hung up "When you get to Hazen stop at at Herald publishing, they want to do a story about you". Cool. I didn't even ask. I hustled to Hazen. God, you have made this journey so easy on me.

The road was newly paved and empty but nothing is perfect. The wind was blowing well from the southwest because of an oncoming system. I arrived at Hazen at 942. Good timing, but I was beat. The next town was 9 miles west and I decided I would just take it easy and find a place to stay here. I was in no rush. I told my Little Rock hosts I would be there on Friday, it was only Tuesday and I was 42 miles from Little Rock.

I stopped in Hearald publishing, an empty office with two people working it.
"You must be the skater"
"Yes I am" smiling
"Where are you from?"
"Rhode Island"
"What is your name?"
"Omar Fahmy"
"Originally from Rhode Island?"
"Originially Egyptian"
"Oooh" she wrote that down on her notepad
"So tell me about your route"
I did
"Anything else you want to say"
"Not really, I thought you would have specific questions for me"
She snapped a couple of shots asked if I wanted a copy and I gave her my RI address. That was that

On one hand I wondered what being Egyptian had anything to do with the story, but on the other I felt it was going to be good exposure for the people of my region. Its all good, but I needed to rehydrate.

I walked to a Tobacco superstore down the road where two white ladies working and a man customer were conversating. When one of them rung me up she asked my story

"Oh my god, aren't you scared? There are alot of crazy people in this world these days"
"Everybody I have run into has been exceptionally kind, although Im not naive enough to think that there are no bad people"
I asked where would be a good place to stay and she told me about a place 3 miles north, by the interstate which was out of my way. Then she said to run across the street to the city hall, they can help me out. She walked out with me to point out city hall and then handed me $20.
"Please, no" not again
"Even if you were God Himself"
I walked away to sip on my Gatorade and munch on my Doritos at a park when I found her driving by 10 minutes later
"Make sure you go to them, I called them and they are supposed to help"
"Thank you so much!"
She looked like Mrs Maxfield, Matty's mom. She acted like her too and it gave me a good smile. Man I miss South County. I decided to hit up the public library to use the computer and give you my first 2 posts!
At noon I left and walked over city hall

The Marshall insisted there would be nowhere for me to stay except the same place 3 miles north. He wasn't there but spoke to me through his secretary. He kept insisting and put me in a place where I couldn't refuse.
"He will give you a ride there and pick you up in the morning"
Fucker, I know he wont pick me up, but I had no choice against the big cop of the town.
While I waited on him I shared a few laughs with the ladies working there. The secretary said I looked like her son and I guess that developed a little connection. I went to pharmacy really quick to get something for my tendon in the back of my left knee. I feel like a stretched it a little too much. When I got back the Marshall was waiting and sucking on a lollipop.
"Thank you for doing this, I really didn't want to take you out of your way" I didn't really mean it but I was trying to get on his good side
"Oh its ok, I have nothing to do anyway"
And thats the fucking problem with cops. They dont have shit to do and have too much authority. So we drove to Mammoth Pond Park
"Let me give you a little history lesson about this place. Its called Mammoth Pond Lake because when they were digging up dirt for the interstate form there, they found mammoth bones"
Wooooordd. I was excited to get there. So he dropped me off and said he would pick me up at 600 although I had a feeling he wouldn't. He doesn't even start work until 9

So I set up there. A couple of hours later a car with three guys pulled up and they went to fish. There was nobody around so I decided I should o talk to somebody. When the big boss of them asked about me and I replied,

"Are you fucking stupid?!" in a thick Latino accent.
"I guess"

People have so many ways of describing my journey. Epic, awesome, courageous, a lot of heart, stupid, crazy. But it all just a learning experience. A personal journey of discovery

I ran across to a sheel gas station where I got some fried chicked. And that is the awesome thing about this place. Every gas station serves fried chicken. Why couldn't it be like this everywhere?
I slept a happy man.

1 comment:

  1. Omar. You're doing great man. I heard you lost the necklace I gave you. It's all good man. I was boasting about that shit to everyone but now I got nothing! I hope you reach Little Rock by Friday. I didn't know it was so fucking far. I thought it was just across the river. Red Bull better treat you right in Little Rock.