July 13th

Near Payson, IL

I just gotta tell y’all what happened last Wednesday. I had done like 17 miles and came to a place called Mozier, right on the Mississippi. The restaurant (the only thing there) I was going to eat at was closed. Well, I sat down on a bench in front of the place to at least take a little break. As I sat there I looked at my cart and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… my tent wasn’t where it was supposed to be! My house was gone! Damn, that just wasn’t a good thing at all. I immediately headed for a house I had just passed and went up and knocked on the door. A guy came to the door, Kevin Osterman. I handed him my card and told him my situation and offered to pay him for gas if he would drive me the six miles back where I thought I had forgot to strap my tent bak down. Kevin explained that he was watching his three little ones ages 2, 4, and 6 and couldn’t possibly leave until his wife got home. I thanked him and boogied full steam ahead doing something I literally hate to do, go backwards. I went four and a half miles to the home of Bernie Friedel who I had met earlier in the day when he joined me on my break enjoying the luxury of a guard rail to sit on. Well, Bernie wasn’t home. So, off I chugged trying to get to the spot where I figured my tent to be hoping to get there before dark and planning to just camp there for the night. I went about a half mile more and an old van pulled up beside me and it was it was Kevin Osterman! He said, “Hey man, my wife got home early and I figured you could use some help.” Then he said, “Damn man, you flew to get this far!” I said, “It’s my house man…. Gotta have my house.” We loaded up my gear and went to the place I thought it was and there it layed in the tall grass. I had eaten a melting candy bar on my break and had washed my hands and forgotten to strap my tent back down atop the container I had to open for the hand soap. Kevin took me back to his house where I pitched my tent and charged all my stuff and his lovely wife brought me a meal fit for a king. The next morning Kevin brought me a huge cup of coffee. I walked the eighth of a mile (all I lost) to the little restaurant, had a good breakfast and continued on my way. I figure I must have needed the extra exercise. LOVE LIFE and for God’s sake… ENJOY WHO YOU ARE!!!! You’re special just like me.

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