Going to have to go back and figure out where I left off.

Sitting in Paul C. Wolfe Shelter listening to the intermittent rain. Got here yesterday after a ride from Yellow Truck. That’s what he said his name was when I asked.

He did have a yellow pickup truck.

“Y’all stink, y’all are ugly. I don’t want to know your trail name cause hopefully I’ll never see you again,” he added.

Explored the abandoned restaurant and hotel at Rockfish Gap before hiking out. Food bag was stuffed enough, (though I couldn’t tell you with what) that I had a grocery bag with bagels, cream cheese and two 20oz Cokes tied to the outside of my pack.

Mostly I think the lack of space is due to the addition of the laptop.

Wait. Have I covered that already?

After KFC on the 22nd the sun started to come out and I kept an eye out for stealth camping spots.

On the hill to the right of the Walmart and behind the KFC looked perfect. And yet I rode the bus into Waynesboro. Something to do and maybe I’d find a better spot. Only Waynesboro seemed sketchier somehow, and I ended up back at Staunton.

My phone, which had been broken since sometime the night before magically started working again after I’d resigned myself to not texting anyone or being able to get online.

I sat in Burger King, with no outlets to charge anything, for almost three hours before my battery was about to die. That forced me to move. Outside Walmart I plugged phone in behind a soda machine and sat 50 feet away. Oh the fun people think I have while travelling.

The sun starts to set and from there I walk down to the Sheetz gas station to charge a little more and drink the free soda someone had left on the bus. As it gets dark I buy a sprite and move off to the field behind Sheetz. Down a slight slope behind the tall grass. The ground is sporadically covered with sharp thistle plants but I’m in for the night.

An abandoned, and what looks like an old insane asylum is visible over the grass and small shrubs as the half moon rises.

I drink the cheap vodka I brought and oddly enough my ex texts me and we chat back and forth for a bit, running down my battery much more than I’d wanted to.

In the morning I pack my damp bivy and walk to Waffle House.

And once again charge my phone. This is turning into a never ending process/battle.

I tip the waitress well and she asks, “See you tomorrow?”

“You never know,” I tell her. The truth was I didn’t know what I was doing right then. But it was free bus day so I had a sneaking suspicion it would involve riding the bus somehow.

It did. Just not as much exploring every bus route like I’d vaguely planned. Instead I end up at the library to warm up and kill a little time.

I walk around Waynesboro and end up at Sam’s Hot Dog’s. Hoping it would be fantastic but ultimately being disappointed. Down to Kroger for a soda and Salvation Army across the street for a book.

Then I read in the park for a couple of hours. No shoes on, just laying in the grass, warming myself under the sun.

A hard knock life.

Ultimately I end up back on the bus. Out to Waynesboro Walmart, but in getting alcohol for the second day in a row I miss the bus to Staunton’s Walmart.

2 hours to kill. I read and eat cookies and try to finish off a half gallon of milk that was the same price as a pint.

I’m drinking nip bottles of whiskey at the bus stop. Poor college kids (maybe) have bags of macaroni and cheese and chips from a grocery run and they’re waiting for the bus as well.

Is she checking me out? Every time I turn away she is looking at me. When I turn back she briefly makes eye contact before looking away.

Either way she is off the bus with her friends before I am.

I walk to the same spot as the night before and immediately start drinking. I don’t know why, I think to myself. The last time that I drank while out travelling was in Seaside, Oregon when I was killing time before my flight home…

Isn’t that exactly what I’m doing now? Killing time before my train ride back to the northeast? This time I wasn’t going back to work at the restaurant and I didn’t have any of the previous responsibilities… but the knot was still there in my stomach now that it had come to my attention.

I needed to get out of civilization. I’m spending too much money, getting too fat, and generally not feeling very comfortable.

And for the next five days it was supposed to be raining.

In the morning I pack my wet bivy and think about last nights dreams. About how I’ve seemed to notice a pattern in how the alcohol makes my body react. The way it shifts focus let’s say.

I’m at Waffle House thinking it would be funny to be there two days in a row. I’ve already got what I’m going to say to the waitess picked out for maximum effect. Only it’s a whole different set of waitress’s. ANd this one, Kayla, is way cuter. Blonde, uneven haircut, tattoos, but nothing fancy. Blue eyes. (Railroad tracks tattoed around her wrist, as a line from a song about a waitress.)

And I wonder how people get to be where they are. You could have been anything and yet you chose to be a waitress at a Waffle House in nowhere Virginia?

But how was I any different? Sure, I wasn’t waiting tables or bartending or even punching a clock, but where was I? The same nowhere Virginia with a pack that’s too heavy and socks that need to be changed.

“You don’t even have a place to go,” I think to myself.

So I eat, and I leave. Her to her world, and me back to mine. Bus to Waynesboro. Wifi to get a little work done and down to Kroger. Not sure for what, but it’s time to get out of town.

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09/26/15
Hitchhiking to Waynesboro

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