I started the morning early, feeling apathetic with a twinge of melancholy. I decided after the first stretch of the day to ride along with the others once I caught up. I matched pace, turned off my brain, and ignored my directions. I went into auto-pilot follow-mode. I was happy to do this. The morning was full of winds gusting from the sides and a little from the front. It's a slugfest. There's not much to focus on, and more than ever you can just get wrapped up inside your own brain.
I haven't had a great shower and sleep in awhile. There is sun and wind to spare. The wind whips my shirt against my back, and it feels like I'm getting slapped with a cactus. The sunburn will remain for a few more days, I think. At night, my skin sticks to my mattress. When I turn over, I pull myself up carefully. The action of turning over feels like pulling the backing carefully from a bumper sticker so you don't rip it.
Like Jeff was saying back in Kentucky, whenever something feels worthy of complaint, he reminds himself that the trip is not a compulsory one. He chose to be here. That line of reasoning works. Each day has beautiful moments, and even though I'm tired and a little bit ground down, I recognize these moments as visions with value. I will some day be well rested, and the difficulties will be the first forgotten figments of my memories.
In Toronto Kansas there is a one-block business district. It's laid out like a picture of a town from an old western movie. The first business on the left is the "What-Ever Store." The second adjoining building has a crooked rainbow instead of a sign. I took this as a symbol of acceptance. There are two places to sit and get some food delivered to a table. One is closed on Tuesdays, and the other is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Unfortunately, this was a Tuesday.
There were two Kiwis, two Eds, one Matt and me. We would all have gotten food, but this was not enough to convince the Tuesday-closed cafe to open the door for a couple hours.
My friend, Lee, is stationed 160 miles north of here. I convinced him to come down and get me with his Jeep. I'll be leaving the trail for a few days, and hopefully getting a new lease on a different reality. I'll be in Denver by the 30th to hang out with Tara, and maybe I'll talk about that later. Respite will be nice, and I'll take it where I can.
I am almost to the half-way point on this trip.