Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One more day

Only 70 miles away now. In my tent, 5am, I'm pitched snug tight against a fire station side wall, a small alley patch of grass between this station and the church next door here on Main St, Johnsonville, SC. After talking with the police chief and the pastor, this seemed the best spot for me, as there's no suitable park or campground nearby, the only motel 7 miles in the opposite direction. A tall box wood hedge and illuminated plastic nativity disguise the better part of my encampment, which, would have otherwise been completely exposed to the small town passing traffic. The three wise men have been my glowing friends throughout the night, as I can't see baby Jesus or Mother Mary from this angle. The police department is directly across the street, a Mexican restaurant next door, nice sidewalk lights, and a fairly soft and quiet scene in all - small town America. I thank the pastor and chief for letting me bed down for the night, but everything around me now screams the need to finish this: a beat up water bottle, the journal's last pages, the tires on my bike, the cold air that turns my knees into rusty hinges...

Closer and closer now.... a dog's ability to find his way home doesn't amaze me anymore. There are familiar sights, sounds, and smells to be found: the food, the forests, the coastal flats, and people's accents. About 17 more miles up ahead, there is a bridge that spans the Little Pee Dee, which is fed by none other than the black waters of the good ol' Lumber River. More so than the mighty Columbia, the carving Colorado, or big Mississippi, I look forward to crossing that bridge, seeing those waters and knowing the source and path it has traveled from my homeland.

I'm ready to see my family. They'll be waiting at the old floating bridge that leads across to Sunset Beach, where 25 years ago, we began an annual summer vacation tradition. So many fond memories: my Uncle Gary lunging to save the little blow-up boat that held me, my brother, and my cousins Lee Ann from a monster rogue wave that would have wiped us out, and easily washed us away; my Uncle Darryl, his great big fireworks, and the fat cop that stopped us; fierce volleyball matches; big family meals; time under the tent, relaxing, just watching the waves crash and return....Just 70 miles separates me from those same sands, as it was there, that this idea came to be - there, where I want to complete the journey.


  1. Josh:
    Thank you so much for sharing with us your adventure. You give me, and I am sure others, the encouragement and motivation to do such an adventurous trip. I have been wanting to trek from Indiana to California for two years and have not had the motivation yet until my son called me after 30 years of absence due to an ugly divorce. I want to do this trek to meet him, but he is afraid of me getting run over before he meets me. I read of your adventure and others and want to do this, but am afraid. Keep up the good work. Dave

  2. Dave, Everyone deals with fear differently, and I'm not one for giving advice, but I do encourage you to go for it, and buck up in the face of fear. Out of the many quotes I heard on the road, one of my favorites was that, "it's better to have regrets over the things that you did instead of the things you didn't do." You can do it.