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The first stop was DC where we stayed with a friend of mine named Dale, who helped Desiree’s soar throat and headache with an energy healing. The next day we ate tamales at the Native American History Museum, rubbed leaves between our fingers at the Botanic Gardens and climbed the stairs to Lincoln’s Memorial for a breezy sunset.

From there was a drive through the Shenandoah mountains and down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rolling far from both sides of the winding road were huge hills bursting with fresh green. As the night neared, thick fog rolled in. It became difficult to drive and Desiree’s throat was getting worse.

In Southern Virginia, late at night, we stopped at a local gas station. There was grey bearded man wearing a camouflage hat and a one piece camo jumper, which was unbuttoned halfway allowing a mesh of white netting to spill out from his chest.

I perused the aisles humming along to the store’s background music “she thinks my tractor’s sexy…”, considered playing a round on the Deer Hunter arcade game, and then paid for the bottle of Tums I hoped would calm what the past nine hours of road had done to my stomach. Before leaving, I asked the camouflaged man if he knew where we could find a motel.

“Ya’ll guh duh row bout fie mies, den throw two lies an yarun rie into ahzorts ah dem moe taze an hoe taze,” he mumbled.

“Thanks!” I said grinning with bugged eyes.

The next morning, with Dale’s healing hands ten hours away and Desiree’s throat aflame, we took a trip to the local hospital. After a 3 hour wait and 12 second analysis the friendly doc said she had strep and gave her a thick needled shot of Penicillin in the rear.

We spent a few days at a Super 8 Motel in some small Virginia town I’ve already forgotten the name of. Far from an interesting place, it was a cluster of franchise hotels and restaurants at an exit in the middle of nowhere. We ate at Shoney’s and the waitress showed her southern hospitality by checking on us every 20 seconds.

“Y’all all set?”
“Y’all need anything?”
“Y’all ok?”
“Y’all all set?”

We never once needed something as we had ordered the buffet, but it was amusing nonetheless. As was the biker in black leather who went from table to table spreading the word about his group, the “Christian Biker’s Association”. In case you’re interested, they meet every Tuesday evenin’ in the parking lot of Mike’s old place to talk Gospel and Harley’s.

When Desiree was feeling better, we hit the road on a hunt for my friend Hoshaiah who is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail. We had managed to determine her location via text messages and weak signal connections.

While trying to find her, we got a bit lost and ended up in a Tennessee block style neighborhood with garage sized houses and front porches big enough to park and car on. There was a man in overalls standing on one of the porches. He chugged a can of Coors and stared at me blankly as I turned around in his driveway.

Finally, in a light rain, on the side of a long windy road, with nothing but trees for miles in both directions, we came upon a group of four wet and dirty hikers milling about in a muddy turn off.

After a brief meeting, two of them hiked onward and we took Hoshaiah (who we should now refer to by her trail name “Brisk”) and her friend “Blaze” for a ride and some lunch.

The hungry Brisk ate a grilled cheese, large fry, onion rings and 4 cups of coffee. Her dirty handed and remarkably personable friend Blaze devoured a basket of onion rings, a fish sandwich and five (not kidding) 1 liter jugs of iced tea. After the short stint in civilization, we dropped the two back off at the trail. The rain had stopped; the clouds had passed by then. We waved goodbye and they hiked on.

From there, by the recommendation of Brisk, Blaze and the lady who stuck the big needle in Desiree’s backside, we were headed for Asheville, North Carolina.

6 Thoughts on “Southbound”

  1. UT Says:

    Apparently Blaze was a bit dehydrated. I think there’s some great golf in Flagstaff.

  2. Dave Says:

    Hey John,

    I see you are back on the road…good for you guys! The Fl market has crashed to a halt for now depending on what our good Governor does this June, so I am still here , and on June 7th I go north so if you two find your way to Florida before then stop in for awhile….

  3. Nathan Says:

    Glad to see you are back “traveling”. Maybe not as exciting as when you have been in the last year and half but still fun to see you writing again.

  4. Suzy Says:

    Because I traveled the rural parts of Central Pennsylvania this weekend and to my dismay, for the first time… hit something alive and on the high speed lane… I’m curious as to how many times you have hit something alive while on your travels?

  5. Suzy Says:

    With all these travels going through empty spaces, have you ever hit a big or little critter?

  6. Randy Says:

    I am contemplating traveling in Europe on a motorcycle starting in August 2007. Having quite happily used JP’s destinationless wandering technique on my U.S. motorcycle trip I am flexible but will likely do the same in Europe as I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Admitidly I am a novice traveler especially in Europe.
    I am looking for a travel partner
    o with experience or a sense of adventure(I met JPM while parasailing in Switzerland)
    o with a motorcycle or without – I have found a BMW 1150RS touring bike that will comfortably seat 2
    o for all or part of my travel time.

    Any ideas on who, how or where to find a compatible partner would be greatly appreciated. I am currently in Switzerland.


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