Day 23, The Where Eagles Dare Day

Rules of the Road. 1. Shade will always be on the opposite side of the road to you. 2. If you don’t see cars for miles, when you’re about to reach the crest of a steep hill, there will be a sudden rush-hour from all directions. 3. If an insect wants to bite you, it will do so at the worst possible time. Like when you’re sweating up a hill and can’t take your hands off the bars to swat it away. And then it will deliver a stinging pain to you as though injected on a hot, poisoned, acupuncture …

Day 22, The Watermelon Day

The heat is jumping up to punch me in my face. It rolls and pushes, jabs and uppercuts. Every part of me is bruised by the violence of it. I dream of a giant watermelon in a chiller. I dream of removing it from its chilly tomb and smashing it to the ground. Of picking up a broken jagged chunk and burying my face into the reddish wet flesh. I dream about this for miles as the sun hits a high note that pierces every nanometer of me. I still have twenty miles to go today. Twenty miles. Damn this …

Day 21, The Presidential Day

Four thirty is a great time of day. If it’s in the afternoon. The light from my phone alarm beamed down on me from on high, piercing my woolly-headed dreams and slapping my consciousness on its baby-bare arse. I say on high because it was hanging there in the air. Suspended in the darkness. A result of me suddenly discovering that the mesh thing hanging from the roof of my tent was actually a shelf to put things on. I love this tent. Sighing, I slid out of my sleeping bag and trudged over through the darkness of the campground …

Day 20, The Doddle Day

When I opened my eyes, I felt a little lost. Foreign. Not myself. It was still dark in the room. Shapes and unfamiliar noises. And me, snuggled in my sleeping bag on top of the bed. My throat was sore and scratchy from the air conditioning. Turns out that was the least of my problems. Feet out of the bag. Swung to the side. Sat up. I felt ill. Bad food ill. What did I eat last night? What, in this neighborhood of rundown shops and decrepit dream-killing buildings, did I find to eat? I spied the cup sitting on …

Day 19, The Dog Day

Snickering like a madwoman, I am flying down a hill and can’t quite believe it. What all signs are pointing to. I feel like I’ve gotten away with the crime of the century. That my little hand has reached up onto Nan’s cooling rack, swiped a scone, and safely made it to my hidy-hole out the back shed to eat it without her catching me. The open farmland and rolling hills hold their hands to mouths and whisper: “They’re behind you. They’re behind you.” Mountains. Berea, as it turns out, is considered the gateway to the Appalachians. Gateway. Gate through …

Day 16, The Deluge Day

Fork lightning, jabbing at the earth. Thunder belly rumbles across the sky and all around me. Again, I am pushing Precious up a climb. I’ve given up. No, no. This is supposed to be an easier day than yesterday, and yet here I am on the tips of my toes and flat out pushing. The air crackles and one minute I’m dry and suffering in beat-down-upper-cut full sun and the next, I’m soaked to the bone. To the calcium and marrow. I look up ahead to where the curve disappears around the bend and into the trees. There is a …