Have I Ever Told You About the Time I tried to Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago? (Part Two.)

8 May

So I woke up early the next day to the sounds of Dora the Explorer and two toddler aged girls bounding around the living room.  I got up, took a nice hot shower, and had a delicious breakfast with Craig and Carrie.  Here I am with my hosts and their cat.  The cat didn’t really want to be in the picture, but cats don’t get what they want.  (They’re cats.)

126

And not long after that my good friend Ben arrived.  He was going to join me on my hike for two days, and we had a whole scheme cooked up.  The day before his wife had followed him to a seedy little hotel in Sturgis, dropped his car off, paid for a room, and drove back home.  Then the next day she drove him down to Craig and Carrie’s house to meet up with me, no doubt thinking the whole time that we were out of our minds.  Ben was also kind enough to bring me an actual hiking style backpack complete with a stomach belt and chest straps.  I said good bye to my old book bag, which I’d had for about ten years and had faithfully accompanied to many a college class.  Not wanting to haul an extra backpack with me, I put it out with Craig’s garbage.  I know it was just a book bag, but it made me sad for some reason.

124

And we were on our way.  If you’ve been reading this I suppose it’s pretty obvious that I don’t mind going for a little stroll, so naturally my body is quite conditioned for it, and more importantly my feet, which are pretty much solid callouses which never form blisters.  Not to say I wasn’t worn out at the end of each night, but by morning I was raring to go!  I wasn’t too worried about Ben either.  He was in the Marines for something like 20 years and was wearing what were supposed to be the best hiking shoes money can buy, (as opposed to Chuck Talyors.)  Our destination was Coldwater, which was about 32 miles straight down the road, and would be broken up by several stops in small towns along the way, namely Moscow, Jonesville, Allen, and Quincy.

127

Ben

The weather was once again perfect as we began our days travels and spirits were high.  Not long after we left we were visited by my long lost adopted brother Andy, who was driving his kids to a soccer game.  I’d only recently come in contact with him for the first time ever, and this was in fact the first time I met his wife or any of their three kids.  (Quite a way to meet one’s uncle or brother in law for the first time, hiking down the side of the road.)  For some strange reason it never occurred to me to take a picture of this meeting, but a little while after that I took a picture of this abandoned house.

131

And then we saw a whole lot of this for quite some time.

129

It’s only a little over five miles from Somerset to Moscow, and although we hadn’t walked very long we found a little party store, loaded up on some snacks, and took a break in this little park.  We didn’t see any Bolsheviks, but we did find this little train station. I think it was the last stop on the Orient Express.

133

It was about this point that Ben revealed that, in spite of my advice to pack extremely light, he was carrying a giant 10 pound mag light, a glass fifth of Kessler whiskey, and a whole assortment of odds and ends which, had we really needed, we could have bought in any po-dunk party shop or gas station within about five miles of anywhere we were.  (We never ended up needing any of it) That’s a Marine for you, I suppose.  Semper FI!!!!  We hung out here for a little while, and then headed on towards Jonesville, which was about 10 miles further down the road.

137

We stopped at a roadside park for awhile, but for the most part just kept going.  Ben seemed fine.  On the outskirts of Jonesville we stopped for lunch at this little hot dog stand that has been a staple of my life ever since childhood, though I rarely get an opportunity to visit it anymore.  It was, at one time, called The Dog and Suds, but now has a different name that I don’t recall.  We sat there in the little rotunda outside the restaurant and consumed hot dogs, fries, and root beer, because for some reason when you go to roadside hot dog stands you’re expected to drink large glass mugs of root beer, which I’m totally ok with.  We also completely ignored a couple of extra large sized country gals wearing way too small tank tops and white washed jean shorts that kept giving us the eye.  It inspired us to continue our journey a little sooner than we may have otherwise.

Then we passed through Jonesville, where there was some sort of carnival going on.

146

It didn’t take us long to get through Jonesville, and then we had about 6 miles before we got to Allen.  Much of the way we had to walk in this gravelly shit that was right on the side of the road.  It was murder.  Whenever opportunity arose, we walked in the road, but it was a very busy stretch of highway, so we never got to do that very long before we had to walk through the rocky gravel again.  Ben began to slow down substantially,  but we kept our spirits up with inane banter, and also by laughing at flattened animal carcasses we came across from time to time.

148

Luckily, we discovered a lemonade stand, and purchased delicious beverages for ourselves from these enterprising young ladies.  I think we were their only customers.

157

Not long after this we were in Allen.  Allen, though a very tiny little town, was for many years a bustling little economic center, based entirely on a thriving antique business.  Now it is little more than a ghost town.  I myself had shopped at a few of these places within the last decade or so.  (Glad I got my chance, cause every single one of them is now out of business and boarded up!)

152

This town, it’s kind of like a ghost town.

Ben was definitely hurting by this time, but there was little we could do but keep moving.  We took a short breather, but he said the longer we stopped the harder it was to get moving again, so we trucked on down the road towards Quincy.  I kept telling him we were well beyond the halfway point now.  In fact it was more like the Two Thirds point.   A couple hours later we had traversed 6 more agonizing miles and passed through Quincy.  We had considered stopping there for dinner, but Ben felt it was better to keep his momentum going and just keep trucking, so that was what we did.

161

When I was a kid I always assumed Quincy was named after the television coroner of the same name.

It would be about 6 more miles from there to Coldwater, but as Coldwater is a fairly decent sized town (the biggest I myself would pass through since leaving Ann Arbor,) there is a substantial urban sprawl between Quincy and there, which made the hike seem to go by a little quicker.  At least I thought so.  For this last stretch Ben really didn’t say a whole lot.  I was sore of course by this point, but not too bad.  However I felt I could feel some of my friend’s pain at this point through sheer empathy, and I was feeling a little guilty about dragging him into this endeavor.  Ben was a trooper though.  He just kept up his steady march down the Trail of Tears.

163

At this point we were probably less than a mile from the first hotel we would come to, a Red Roof Inn that was a most welcome sight!

We checked into our room, whereupon Ben immediately got in the tub and I actually walked back out the door to visit a Wal-Mart that was not too far back.  (Normally I would not set foot in a sweat shop like that, but it was seriously the closest place, and Ben thought with some Epsom salt, and maybe some sort of gel shoes, he might be able to continue our walk the next day.)

We had a pretty quiet night.  Some talk had been exchanged about having a few drinks, a few laughs, and maybe a couple of “working girls” (just kidding) but we pretty much just crashed out.  Well Ben did.  I spent much of the night watching television.  (I’m an insomniac.)

164

The next morning, Ben actually managed to squeeze his swollen blistered feet (they looked sort of like balloon animals) into his shoes.  He was also in very good spirits and seemed determined to give it a try.  After all, there is no bus that runs between Coldwater and Sturgis, and that was where his car was!  Plus I kept telling him that the worst was behind us, as today’s hike was about ten miles shorter, and I wasn’t lying.

170

We made our way across Coldwater, passing this hospital where, about 37 years prior to that, I was born!  When you drive through a small town like Coldwater, a lot of times you don’t notice there’s some cool things to see almost everywhere.  Like this place:

171

Some sort of Masonic Temple or something.

And this cannon, which no doubt blew away some Johnny Rebs or perhaps some redcoats back in “The Day.”

172

Actually I think it was a Word War 2 era cannon.   In any event it wasn’t long after this that Ben decided to call his wife.  We had greasy spoon fare in a little downtown diner while we waited for her to come get us and haul our sorry asses to Sturgis.  (I decided to go ahead and take a day off.  I could have made it easy enough, but it was looking like rain, and I figured it would give me a chance to check out the awesome city of Sturgis, Michigan a little more thoroughly.)

174

In other words, for the second time since my hike began, I was going to cheat.  About an hour after this picture was taken, we were transported down the road to Sturgis, where Ben quietly drove away in his car, which was still waiting there for him in the parking lot of a very seedy looking hotel indeed.  He had considered hanging out with me in Sturgis for the evening, but the somewhat irritated silence we endured from his wife on the car ride home convinced him otherwise I guess.

177

Ben drives away…

So I had a whole day to hang out in Sturgis, Michigan!!! What, you may be wondering, can one do in Sturgis, Michigan?  Well first I went to the local laundromat and washed all my clothes.  Then I went to this Chinese Buffet.

182

And after that I went to this Applebee’s, where I drank several large glasses of Miller lite.  (It was that or Budweiser, as I recall) If I remember correctly I changed my shirt in the bathroom at Applebee’s, wanting to show off my favorite Monty Python shirt.  (I figured it would get me laid, at least.)

183

And then I headed across the street to the only other local drinking establishment in town as far as I could tell: a bowling alley.  I consumed White Russians, just like the Dude would have done!

185I also made friends with a small gang of  Sturgis hoods, who no doubt thought I was a freak, but they were friendly enough.  On the way home from the bowling alley I stopped at a drug store and bought myself a six pack of beer that I really didn’t need, and hauled it back to my cozy little hotel room.

187

Drunk Hotel Room Domingo

I think I may have drank two of them before I was out for the night.

(To be continued…)

7 Responses to “Have I Ever Told You About the Time I tried to Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago? (Part Two.)”

  1. BJ Walraven May 9, 2013 at 2:52 am #

    You do realize that it says Sgt. Peppers behind you at Applebee’s…right?

  2. Ben Payne May 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm #

    Dom, This recollection is truely inspiring. I only lament being unable to join you for more of the trip.

    • domingosaurus May 10, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

      Well start getting your feet in shape, cause I’m planning on doing it again this fall. Probably mid September!

  3. Russel Ray Photos June 4, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

  4. domingosaurus July 1, 2015 at 12:20 am #

    Reblogged this on Not Necessarily About Dinosaurs or Anything Else.

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AlyZen Moonshadow

The words and works of AlyZen Moonshadow, digital mixed media photography artist, designer, musician, poet, philosopher, mother, muse, Goddess!

Are You Finished Yet?

I like to write about stuff. I usually try to be funny. Take it or leave it.

Michael's Origins

Sherlock unlocking the past

anewperspectiveperhaps

This site is about everything from my philosophy on life to the little things that make me laugh. IIt is about living, and breathing, and pausing long enough to take it all in. I hope it makes you laugh, sometimes makes you cry, but always makes you want to come back for another visit. It is your words, and your likes that inspire me to keep writing. And it is through my writing that you have a very large window to my soul. Relax awhile, read, and enjoy!

Be Free 2 Love

Soaring through Life, Love, & Happiness: One story at time.

PotatoPen

That's right! I write!

Forty, c'est Fantastique !

La vie est belle !

Mr Tookles

tee hee

The Dependent Independent

TV, movies, books…rants… just trying to put skills to use.

Fictional Kevin

Cigar Fueled Creative Writing

Tubularsock

". . . first hand coverage, second hand news"

Elizabeth Conrad

True stories from a recovering asshole.

jenny's lark

the beauty of an ordinary life

Skinny and Single

Single and Over 40 and Not Suicidal About It

BunKaryudo

Lovingly Hand-Crafted Humor Blog

Life After 50

Life at any age can be amazing! We only need to grab hold & experience it!

Lessons from my daughter

Although all doctors agreed she would do nothing.....

lindaseccaspina

remembers the invention of the wheel

Fiction Favorites

with John W. Howell

Ram On

Soon, Right Away, Right Away

Retro Girl & the Chemo Kid

Superpower: love. Adventures through childhood cancer, grief, healing and happiness.

What Rhymes with Stanza?

Words at rest, words at play

Life and Random Thinking

A old dog CAN blog

Just Fred in Wyo

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Acorns. And scurrying.

The Falling Thoughts

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Mental Defecation

My mind poops here

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