Bailey is finishing his state mandated testing. A requirement to prove we are capable parents and he has learned something while in our care. And that is a good thing, because we can get back to what matters.
Putting in near Erwin and finishing the trail.
Over the days we have sat trapped in a box, surrounded by civilization, we have pondered the people we met on the trail. Shrek and Donkey, Black Bear (Ursa Minor?), and Gilligan. Midnight, Chewbacca and Han. Darwin and Snuggles, Ice Cream (without Cake). Where are they? What about Turbo? Did his Achilles heal (pun)? What about the Bionic Woman? Did her new leg come in? Is she back on trail?
Well it turns out you “google” people. And Google being what it is (an agency affiliated with the NSA), you can type in a trail name and “Appalachian Trail” and get something. According to Terry Dowdy’s online trail journal Shrek and Donkey were in the vicinity of Hot Springs back on the 9th of April, which means they are moving slow. On purpose I assume, as Shrek is using Donkey to meet the ladies. He had a good bit of luck with that, especially at Dick’s Creek Gap with a massage therapist that “lost” her dog while on a day hike. Shrek and Donkey found the hound, and met up with her. We didn’t hear from him until we hit North Carolina. She gave him ride to a trailhead a few days later.
Ursa Minor (Black Bear) is a very nice lady from Maine. Her son is a kicker for some university team, and all her kids are in college now, so she decided she would thru-hike. She cooked us all dinner (all being me, Bailey, Gilligan, and Colin Gooder aka Zen) at Colin Gooder’s hostel, Gooder Grove, in Franklin. She’s in Damascus now, which makes sense. The GSMNP requires zero days and slow moving. So there might be hope that we could catch up with the bubble we were in.
I know we could catch up to Shrek and Donkey, women outnumber men on the planet, so he is destined to stop for a lengthy “resupply”. Ursa/Black Bear? Probably not. She’s hammering out 20 mile days.
Bailey and I did not “zero” as much as the other hikers. When the weather was crap we stayed on the trail regardless. Just to get the miles in. We had an agenda. As many miles in the time we had so we wouldn’t have to make haste when we returned after a substantial “zero”.
Reading the trail journals of some of the people we met made me happy. Maybe I was a little rough on Bailey, pushing for big mile days. I was wanting to keep us ahead of the pack. Now I see the pack kind of sauntered into Damascus, VA. They’ll probably hitch a ride south and hit town right about the same time as us. Right before Trail Days. And then we can see familiar faces, and avoid Saurkraut/Srorlax/Rasberry Beret/Wildcard or whatever that D-Bag is calling himself.
Here are some things I have noticed since I have been back (yes, even after only a month away from “civilization”):
Four seats in a car, but only one person actually in it.
We have too many plates, glasses, forks, knives, spoons. Seriously. How many people are we ever going to have over at the house? Apparently around 40 at one time.
John Stewart is leaving the Daily Show? Whu-huh?
We will probably see the new Avengers movie while on the trail. Bailey has spoken.
You can get by using one towel more than one time people. Come on. Are you wiping your ass with it? Okay. Then use it again and then wash it.
E.D. is real, and it is a problem. Since we came home I saw three new commercials (read: different than the ones I was seeing, with a different actress) for medication to help guys get wood. Need a real solution with no side effects (like rectal bleeding, blindness, heart attacks, and dry mouth)? Try exercise. I hear walking for miles with a pack on your back is good.
In the Metro-Atlanta area walking is synonymous with poor/homeless. Everybody has a car, and they drive every where. Even one mile down the road. I’ll walk, and be mistaken for a shifty drifter. We need more sidewalks.
I also learned I hate driving. I did it as part of my job for so long, and was trained in how to do it at high speeds. Now? I can’t stand it. The only cool thing about driving is that I have Sirius XM Alt Nation (channel 36) in my truck. That’s it. The 8-cylinder Chevy Silverado four wheel drive, blacked out like Johnny Cash just doesn’t do it for me anymore. The upside is Michelle drives the truck and loves it. Makes her feel “In Charge” and shizzit. Maybe I can convince her to go deer hunting next season?
Stay Irregular and Iffy.