August 11

I’m in my tent in some farmer’s field 16 miles from where I started this morning and about 3 miles from Blue Rapids, Kansas.

In Marysville sitting outside the Verizon store which was in an old gas station outside of town, and waiting for them to open at noon, I heard someone whistling. I looked across the road and there was a young man with a dog behind him and he was using a one gallon jug of water as weights, pumping it with each arm at least 8 to ten times before changing. And it was really hot out, I couldn’t believe it. I yelled at him and he happily came over and introduced himself as Derry, from Chico, California. We talked about how good Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA beer is, it’s made in Chico. He introduced me to Beefy, his mixed German Shepard and pit bull dog. Derry said he was glad Beefy looked like his father, the Shepard. I could see the pit in his shoulders and his waist. Derry said they just got off a freight train at Marysville and were walking to Wally World He said he would try to hop another train tonight or very early next morning. Derry said that his rule of life is to always treat everyone nice and with respect. The young man was very at ease and comfortable with the way he was living. I was very impressed with him. I gave him some money. People give me money. As he walked off toward Wally World he started working out with that water jug again.

When the Verizon store opened I was delighted that the young lady, the only 0one in the store was a delight to work with. Some Verizon stores I’ve gone into are akin to jumping into a huge aquarium stocked mostly with piranha. But Haley was a sweetheart. She is seven month’s pregnant with her second child. She told me she just recently lost her father at only 60 years-old. She was the youngest child she said and so was most definitely daddy’s girl. Even though one could readily see the pain in her eyes, she spoke very positive about her father’s death. She said he had a heart attack and died instantly. Then she said, “I miss him terribly but, hey, he always said he didn’t want to live to be real old and he always said he wanted to die fast and not have a slow death.” I told Haley I was terribly sorry for her loss but that I admired her very much for not wallowing in self-pity and instead being positive. She said, “That’s what my dad would want.” God, I love people and I LOVE LIFE! LOVE LIFE my friends.