May 6th, 2013
I wake up well after sunrise, not having been hit by it as usual, I am under a bridge after all. I don’t know what it is about being on the road but my dreams have been consistently vivid and absurd. I actually like this; I travel by night to some previously unimagined place and it makes anywhere I travel to in the waking world seem familiar in comparison and easier to swallow.
The rain has stopped but it is still quite muddy so I struggle getting the bike up the steep little hill leading to the highway. I make it halfway then start sliding sideways and have to let go of the throttle and roll back down. After a few tries I realize I just need to give it all the power I’ve got and charge the hill in earnest.
I’m back on the road and happy to be out of there safely. My shoes are still soaking wet and it takes the next several hours of riding with no socks to dry them. The scenery changes from farms to forests, to farms, and by afternoon, marshlands and swamps. Even though I find swamps to be cool, mystical new terrain, I am worried about where I might be able to pitch my tent.
Around 3 in the afternoon I get to a town called Forrest City, Arkansas. This place blows my mind; I can’t believe I’m in America and not in some third world country. I’ve seen some decrepit buildings and run down towns on the way but nothing like this. It seems like a tornado or hurricane leveled this place years ago and nobody bothered to repair anything. The town is teeming with people, hanging outside or just walking around in no hurry and with no particular place to be. This is the first time I actually feel afraid that someone will rob me or something. I get over my fear by stopping for a couple of hours to have lunch and rest in the town. I’m sure after going through Mexico a few months from now I will laugh at myself for having felt afraid here.
I spend the rest of the day racing the rain and make it as far as Mississippi in the process. I find a nice hidden spot somewhere in the forest well before sunset just as the clouds shed their last drops of the day. By tomorrow I should hopefully be able to sleep inside once again as I am visiting some friends in Georgia, a full day’s ride from here. I am ready for some human interaction and to feel clean and safe, at least for a bit.