Have I Ever Told You About The Time I Tried To Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago? (Conclusion)

18 May

So I woke up in another hotel room, slightly sore, somewhat worn out, but ready to continue my trek across the barren wastelands of the Midwest.  I wrote an entry in my much neglected journal, filled up on something called “Continental Breakfast”  and sat in my room for some time pondering what my next course of action should be.  I was off the beaten track (US 12) now by some 10 miles or so.  Should I backtrack, or plot a new course through the urban sprawl that connected Elkhardt Indiana and South Bend?  The only information I had ever heard about the place was that it was a stinking cesspool ghetto, but I, after all have wandered the streets of Detroit.  Compared to that, how bad could anyplace really be?  After a brief conversation with the morning desk clerk, I came to the conclusion that South Bend was perfectly safe and friendly, so I might as well stroll on through.  It seemed like it would make for an easy day, and the best part of all; I was convinced I would eventually come across the proverbial White Whale of fast food burger joints: Hardee’s.  (Call me Ahab.)

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I said good bye to my hotel, and crossed the 80/90 turnpike, which I had never done before on foot.

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And into Elkhardt proper.  (It looked like this:)

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Weather wise it was the complete opposite of the day before.  There wasn’t a cloud in sight and the temperature was already quite warm.  It didn’t take me long, as  I trekked due south through the northern urban sprawl of Elkhardt Indiana, before I was breaking a sweat.  Mile after mile went by, but no Hardee’s.

I saw this guy again, who I had first spotted somewhere in the Irish Hills area.  He was apparently following me.  It reminded me of that Twilight Zone episode where the lady is driving across the country and keeps encountering the same hitchhiker.   (SPOILER ALERT: The twist was she had died, and the hitchhiker was some form of Grim Reaper come to usher her into the after life.  I hoped that wasn’t the case with me.)

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I passed through the northern urban sprawl and into a sort of suburban area.  I never saw any kind of downtown district, but after a couple hours I had emerged into the southern outer business district of Elkhardt.   Hopes were once again raised that I would now encounter the Hardee’s I had hungered for all this time.

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By this time I was quite hungry, and I appeared to be about to cross over into some sort of outer city wasteland.  After crossing a huge bridge over a river I spotted the welcoming beacon of the Golden Arches, and decided I would wait no longer for nourishment.

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It was amazing as always.  OK, actually it made me sort of sick to my stomach.  It’s funny because when I was a  little kid McDonald’s was this magical place where one was treated to the best food in the world.  I actually believe that it tasted better then, as opposed to the more obvious answer that my own taste buds have simply soured on it.  (I specifically remember they used to toast the buns on their hamburgers, so the outsides would be just a little bit crispy. )  They don’t do that anymore, but one thing remains constant: Coca-Cola, which though always delicious, is slightly more so when one is eating at McDonald’s.  I believe it has something to do with the big straw with the yellow and red stripes running up the sides.

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Here’s a picture of that river I was talking about earlier. I put it here, because I felt like it.

So I moved on, now fearing I would spot the White Whale any minute, seeing as how my stomach was now full.  I don’t doubt I would have gone in and crammed some more fast food awesomeness down my throat anyway, but luckily no Hardee’s ever appeared, which pretty much defeated the whole point of ever having left the state of Michigan.  At last I got to the point where, according to my road map  (an actual one, made out of paper!)  that I should turn right and head west.

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To my left, a massive train yard kept me company for mile after mile, and I was treated to the delightful sound of screeching metal for a couple hours.  Also it was around this point that an El Camino came whizzing by with some red necks yelling something that sounded like: “Get a Job!”  (I have one.)  I yelled back at them something like: “Get a brain, fuck-faces!” and it was probably to my benefit that there was really no way they could have possibly heard me.  (By the way, an El Camino is one of those things that looks like a cross between a car and a pick up truck.  To qualify to drive one you don’t have to have a valid driver’s license, but you do have to have a mullet and a Guns and Roses T-shirt with the sleeves ripped off. )

For a long time I wasn’t really in the country, but I wasn’t really in the city either.  After several miles the train yard desolation finally veered off southwards and I passed over the city limits of a place called Osceola.   It looked like this:

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I was really hoping at this point that I would come across a friendly little pub somewhere along my journey.  It was not to be.  This was probably for the better since I also felt an intense urge to just keep moving.  I was truly on my own now.  I only had the vaguest idea of where a hotel might be found, and for the most part my “plan” was to just keep heading west until I found one.  This little sidewalk seemed to go on and on.

Through suburbia.

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brief patches of “countryside”…

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Past tiny little streams…

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And at long last I passed over the city limits of Mishawaka, which actually seemed like a pretty nice little place.  I had an ice cream cone at a little Dairy Queen looking place that wasn’t a Dairy Queen at all but some weird Indiana thing, and then I found myself in a pretty quaint little downtown district.  I sat on a bench for awhile and took another in a long line of pictures of myself.  (I’m really good at that.  The only thing that would have made it better is if I had made a “Duck Face”  (Whatever that means)

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There were some cool things in Mishawaka.

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I would like to go back there someday, if anyone ever feels like going on a random out of state bar hopping outing.

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I passed some cool looking pubs that I would have loved to stop into for a beer (or three) but now I was really feeling pressured to get some place safe for the night.  It was, as usual, taking longer to get “across town” as I would have guessed from looking at the map.  I hadn’t even entered South Bend yet, and I really had no idea what to expect.  About three hours later I would find out.  It was indeed, as I had been told:  “pretty ghetto.”

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The entire downtown district seemed deserted, save for one solitary cargo van that slowed down when it passed me.  I just ignored them and kept moving.   (I find that’s usually the best way to stay out of trouble.)

Most of the buildings I saw seemed abandoned.

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And it was getting darker.  I stopped at a small gas station for Gatorades, (or the like) and the clerk looked at me kind of incredulously and asked me if I was walking.  I replied yes, and he asked me (I’m not kidding about this) “Aren’t you afraid you’ll get shot just walking around in this area?”  With my usual  disregard for danger  (which is actually a facade)  I laughed and said “In this sad little excuse for a town?  Gimme a break!” paid for my beverages, and continued heading west, a little quicker now even though at this point my feet were beginning to protest ever so slightly.  I had not, after all, stopped since my brief respite in beautiful downtown Mishawaka.  In retrospect, I wish I had continued taking pictures of South Bend, but to be honest I was slightly spooked at this point, being in a completely unknown place, and felt it was wisest to leave my sad little digital camera in my pocket and just kept moving. To make a long story a little less long, I’ll just say I finally made it to the far west side of South Bend, where I discovered this hotel, right by the airport.

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Now it was time to face a harsh reality.  Chicago was still 96 miles due west.  That was going to take 3 days.  I had about 100 dollars left.  (It wasn’t going to happen.)  I called my buddy Tom back home and he agreed to pay for my room for another night so I could just sort of chill for a couple days.  (I wasn’t ready for my vacation to be over yet, but I was done with my hike.)

This room became my home for the next 36 hours.  This was the first time I had ever inhabited a hotel room through more than just one day, which was actually pretty awesome.

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I drank gin, soaked in a hot tub, ordered pizza, and watched an oddly compelling baseball movie starring Tom Selleck.  (He was that guy that used to play MagnumPI.)

After a couple days of that I hopped on a bus and came home.

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The moral of the story, next time I will pay for all my hotel rooms in advance, bring more cash, and stay on US 12.  Oh yeah and sun screen.  And I’ll get a better i-pod, cause the one I had sucked.

8 Responses to “Have I Ever Told You About The Time I Tried To Walk From Ann Arbor to Chicago? (Conclusion)”

  1. Agent Beetle May 18, 2013 at 1:26 am #

    Spectacular story! I am highly anticipating your next one!

    • domingosaurus May 19, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      Thanks! Of course all my other “adventures” sort of pale in comparison to this one. I’ll have to come up with something bigger and better to write about.

  2. BJ Walraven May 18, 2013 at 2:22 am #

    I think you’re spot on about McDonald’s, and especially about Coke!

  3. the winegetter May 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    You are so right about Coke and McDonalds. As a kid I would put a bite of burger and some fries in my mouth and then suck in Coke. The mixture in my mouth was grossly divine…Great trip!

    • domingosaurus May 19, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

      Mmmmm… Now I am craving McDonad’s. Guess I’ll settle for a glass of coke and some chili cheese fritos while I lay on the couch and watch old episodes of South Park. (That’s kind of like going to McDonad’s, right?)

  4. domingosaurus July 3, 2015 at 12:16 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!

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

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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!

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My mind poops here

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

Just a guy living life in Wyoming. These are my personal words and photos.

Live Laugh RV

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Acorns. And scurrying.

The Falling Thoughts

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heretherebespiders

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Mental Defecation

My mind poops here

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