Waking up was brutal. Boy am I glad I ain't got no job. The phone alarms began at 5:30am, because some folks had work two hours away. I was in a crowded bed, and when the alarm sounded it felt like I'd just laid down my head. I picked up someone's phone and could not figure out how to shut off the alarm. It shouldn't have taken much science, but my brain had no electricity.
Work was cancelled for Ben because another guy couldn't make it. The girls still had to check on chickens and do a few hours of farm-ish and greenhouse labor at the college. Me personally? My rest day was full of activity.
I got the exact right couchsurfing host. Ben is good to talk to, low key and active. He knows plenty of interesting people, and that's how I got to meet them too. We went on a short hike and later went to see a waterfall. A group of four of us packed in Eagle's car and drove to Jackson County. (It was Eagle's rented cabin last night, and his real name is Eagle.)
The waterfall is a known swimming hole, but not known for being busy. Being Memorial Day, the spot was packed with kids from Berea College. You're not supposed to jump off the falls, but that activity was in full effect. On the drive up, I thought I'd give it a try, but as soon as we walked across the top of the rock formation to reach the path leading below, I knew I was out. Nope - didn't feel like taking that leap. Plus, you have to land in a certain spot to make sure your legs don't break. Nope - not down for anything anymore.
Really, my day only had about an hour of down time, when Ben and family went to pick up a bicycle for his younger brother. I sat in the kitchen with my guidebook and computer trying to figure out where the hell I might be sleeping in the upcoming days. There's some good stuff in Missouri and Kansas - a lot of free camping at city parks - but until then I might need to make some cowboy maneuvers to camp for free. Either related to this, but most probably not, I had anxiety. The big picture blurred the immediate one, or maybe the other way around. I sat at the table feeling small and alone. I sent out a couple emails through the Warmshowers list. I was more than pleased a few hours later when I was invited to stay at a home the perfect distance from Berea.
Hungry. Ben and I went to town to split a pizza. It was delicious, and we were most of the way though when Jeff walked in. Ben had some work to do, so I sat with Jeff to compare notes. He was welcome to - and took advantage of - camping in Ben's backyard. While Ben worked a few hours, Jeff and I went back to his house to discuss a little touring and logistics, and talk to Ben's mom.
Later, a group went to dinner at Kate's, which nicely rounded off an extremely long day. We sat around on the floor eating the food that she had prepared, and we talked. I was asked what my trail name is. I was just thinking about this. I told them I was just Chris, but if I needed to have a trail name I would offer up "Sassy Larry." Well, you can't give yourself the trail name - it needs to be given to you. I didn't know this, but it makes the entire practice seem less macho-goofy-escapist. The subject changed, but a few minutes later, my trail name came to light. Party Socks. If I ever need to introduce myself using a fake trail name, Party Socks is it. I actually like it, which I guess is probably requisite. It's a good name from several angles, but for now I'm still just Chris.