Sleeping at my parents house was a quiet victory. Knowing where I had come from it seemed liked this could be the finish line, but it wasn’t. I had my own state more than halfway completed and I wasn’t about to stop now, even though the bed was warm and it was one of the ugliest days I have ever seen. With support from the family I got the ride back to my fathers store in Charlton, where I had ended yesterday, and would begin today.
Rain, rain, rain, nothing but rain today. After this whole trip and paying my dues walking in undesirable weather I thought luck would be on my side today and give me sunshine, especially when walking through my hometown. NO such luck! I go back to the phrase I have come accustomed to saying on this trip, “It is what it is.”. I said it so many times while on the phone with my mother that she said she began using it and coined it as mine. There’s a difference saying “It is what it is.“ when you are 2000 miles away from home and you are hurting, its raining, and your tired compared to being in your hometown. I know I could say, today is not the day to walk, I’m going to hang out at home and wait for some sun, but that hasn’t been the spirit of the trip. I want to finish, I need to finish, and soon!
I continue and make it through Charlton no problem and make it into Oxford and walking on some very sketchy parts of route 20, very unsafe parts. The seriousness of this dangerous section hits home when you see the crosses on the sides of the roads. I have been passing hundreds of these crosses, marking the untimely death of someone’s loved ones. I felt the need to take pictures of most of these crosses. Some of the crosses seem to have personality, encapsulating the person who lost their lives in that spot. Toys, flowers, and pictures adorn many of the crosses, giving those who pass by a quick glimpse into that persons life however briefly it may be.
I keep walking in the rain, Buddy right there with me, who now has barely anything left in his storage areas, he is as light as a feather but still a faithful companion. I can’t tell you the importance of creating such a personification. It keeps you attached to something while on the trip, you don’t feel as alone during the rough patches. Yes, your stuff is inside but there is a sense of duty beyond your material things, especially on such a trip and in the times where your “Buddy” is left alone or in danger. I am not saying he talked back to me when I talked out loud but he did listen! Buddy and I decided to stop at my Grand mothers house where we were greeted with a smile, hug, and a diet coke! We spent some time just chatting, telling her how the day was going and where I planned on making it to. I thanked her for being there yesterday when I reached Charlton and being at my little reception! My Grandmother has been a constant supporter throughout my entire trip, she was with me when I had the tough legs of my trip. My grandmother is an extremely strong woman and that spirit was with me when pain radiated through my ankles and knees, when the rain refused to let up, and when I needed some words of wisdom. I thank you for that Grams!
I leave with another hug and smile and I am on my way to Worcester to make it to my fathers store there. The rain continues but I finally make it to Worcester with no problems but know the section of road coming up is actually one of the most dangerous sections of 20 I will face in the entire country. A mile and a half down a very steep grade with little to know shoulder in a very industrious part of Worcester. When I get there I don’t stop to contemplate the dangers but just walk into it, trying to be as visible as possible to those cars coming towards me. There were a few close calls but after about 10 minutes of this obstacle course section of 20 I make it to the bottom without incident, thank you God! I am now only about 1 mile away from my fathers store where I will be able to take a break before trying to squeeze in a few more miles today.
As I approach the store I see a group of people gathered outside with signs, people who have worked at my fathers store for years and have become friends. I start laughing, a little embarrassed, but happy to see the familiar faces of Camosse Masonry supply holding onto signs of support. There is something about walking towards a group of familiar smiling faces, especially during such a rainy grey day, that just puts everything into perspective. What a wonderful gesture to be there for me and greet me with handshakes and hugs! Another top 5 moment of my trip, guaranteed! I stay for about 20 minutes, take some pictures and videos of my friends/welcoming committee. I thank them again and again and decide I should get a few more miles in today so tomorrow won’t be so daunting especially when its supposed to rain more than it did today. With one more wave goodbye I continue on down 20, pretty flat for a couple miles and then a few hills begin to make the end of the day a little more difficult. My friends mother sees me walking and knows what I have been up to and decides to get me a hot chocolate and stop and speak with me for a few minutes, its always so nice to spread the word of why I am doing what I am doing. It is also interesting to see the reaction when someone who knows about the walk, actually sees me walking, it makes it more palpable what exactly it is to walk across the country. After the quick conversation, a hug, and a thank you I continue on with hot chocolate secured down by Buddy.
I continue walking and get a call from my God mother asking where I am on 20 because she wants to meet me where I am at. I told her and she said she was going to bring her to two daughters, Rachel and Jess, out to see me. I told her it would be wonderful if when they see me, I call it a day and they could drive me back to my fathers store. She was so excited to be a part of the trip and would be happy to help out. It was such a wonderful sight to see them approach and be greeted with a hug from three special people. The conversation in the van was a wonderful ending to the day of walking, recapping everything that has happened. I was ecstatic to be done today but knowing in the back of my head tomorrow was going to be just as tough if not more so. But that is tomorrow and I need to be here now, focus!
Day 150 (Miles 3160 - 3180) Charlton to Northborough