I forgot what state we were in today, but Illinois and Missouri border each other and they have a lot of similar letters, and similar letter structures like repeating consonants, so I don't feel that stupid.
We left Kansas today without Tatum. It was sad, I really wanted to say "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, tatum" on a bike. But there were no tornados and Tatum is gone, so I just watched videos of her on my iPhone instead.
Mary and I were thinking about taking a shorter route through Arkansas. We had no maps for it, so we prepared by researching hick towns in Arkansas with a plan to visit the creepiest. We planned a route through the kkk's current most active county. Then we went and saw "The Dark Knight" in Wichita, spent one night in a shady trailer park, and decided to get back on the Trans-America bike route through Missouri instead.
The route is well known and there are several other cyclists. It feels a lot safer, and all the small towns we pass through on-route are accustomed to bikers coming through. Off-route we have to explain ourselves thirty times a day. The people are great, but having the same conversation about who we are and what we are doing gets hard.
Speaking of how great the people are, a few days ago we met a man at a gas station who pulled us over five miles later because he'd bought a ten dollar sunscreen for us since our backs looked red. He didn't know that the night before someone had stolen Mary's purse with our sunscreen inside, and he wasn't flirting or anything. Just buying us sunscreen and going home (he had to do a u-turn to go home, so he drove out of his way).
Another man stopped on the highway to give us six bottled waters.
Another knocked on our tent with a Tupperware container of Tri-tip steak when we were camping.
Another knocked on our tent with tortillas, pork chops and sausage.
There have been so many kind people we've ran into, and so many kind people warning us about dangerous people. We haven't had any shady encounters, and it makes me feel differently about Society. It's sort of humbling.
We've only been on the road a month and a half, but whenever people stop to offer something I start to think about how I can't wait to have a structured life again, to work and live somewhere with an air conditioner, and to have something to offer someone. I hope I will be more generous when I am through the bike trip than I've been before.
We are in the Ozarks now. When I was in third grade I remember getting obsessed with the Ozarks and picturing living here with a pet armadillo. We haven't seen any live ones yet, but a lot of dead ones. And dead turtles, and ferret-things. I am glad we visited the Ozarks.
We're camping in an rv sight tonight that we snuck into. There's a public pool that's closed so we plan on hopping the fence a few (more) times. I wish it were open, instead. I would pay two dollars. Every time someone does something kind I swear I'll stop breaking minor laws. But then it gets hot.
If we take a direct route, we are only 700 miles from new Orleans now. I am excited to arrive, but fear adjusting back to society. Spending this time on the fringe of american society, it will be hard to go back to wearing real clothes, sleeping in a bed, and working each day. We usually take days off once a week in major cities, but cities have begun to feel foreign. It is a funny balance; all the unpopulated ghost towns we pass are depressing, but all the major cities are disorienting with so many stores and entertainment options. .