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On day 31 I woke up at about 9 and was ready to go. I was really ready to get out of there and moving west again. I woke up very rested and ready to go. I hopped up and got ready, packing my things quickly.
I went up to the church to get a full charge and fill my waters before I would leave. Everything was ready so I gave myself a few minutes to use the Internet before taking off. As I laid there a lady in a car pulled in and slowly drove by me then stopped. She rolled her window down and asked if I was Nick? I was really confused but answered yeaahhh...? She asked if I was done and needed a ride? I was so lost and confused. I told her I was about to leave and I was going to walk. I was thinking maybe someone called her about my journey or something, but thought that was improbable and if so, why did she ask if I needed a ride?...then she asked where I was going? And I told her towards California. Then she said "oh. Your traveling through?" and I said yes. Then she told me I had to leave because there was nobody at the church. I told her no problem and got up to leave. I was still confused but figured maybe another nick was supposed to do work or something at the church? I don't know. But either way it was good timing for someone to say I had to leave in my 3 day stay there as I was about to anyways. I put my backpack on and started down the road.
My feet felt good and I was excited to be moving again. I also decided that if I could find a Mexican restaurant I would go in and order a side and fill up on chips and salsa. So I googled one and it was two towns away in Loxley. Perfect as I would be there around dinner time.
I got to Robertsdale and came to a dollar general store. I was also planning to buy some Dr Scholls inserts for my feet. So I stopped there and they had them. They were $12! I wasn't happy spending that much but it was a necessity for the health of my feet. So I picked them up and inserted those bad boys into my shoes. It felt like I was walking on a cloud. Felt wayyyy better. I also munched on some more crackers there while I was stopped.
I left there and headed through Robertsdale. I passed a house where there was a girl and a guy maybe in their mid 20's on the porch. They had a few dogs that were barking at me like crazy too. I waved to them and passed by. About a half mile later a car passed me then made a u turn and pulled off next to me. It was the girl from the porch. She said she saw my sign and since her dogs barked so much at me she figured she would bring me food. She said they didn't have much but she brought me 6 cans of Vienna sausages. I was so thankful and told her it meant a lot. Those things are good to pack and are a decent meal for how small they are.
I got into the middle of town and suddenly it started raining. The clouds looked nasty so I pulled off at the next church I came to and sat under the overhang. As soon as I had cover it really started coming down. I sat there and watched the down pour for about 45 minutes. When it stopped the sun was out again instantly, so I continued.
I passed the edge of town and took the 90 north towards Loxley AL. It was about 5 or 6 miles up and I finally came to the town. I walked through along the sidewalk. At a stop light a car pulled along side of me and a lady called me over and handed me $5 and said she didn't have food but to use that and buy dinner. It was about 5 now and I was close to the Mexican restaurant so that was perfect! I said thanks and God bless and was happy. I would pig out thanks to her $5.
Right before I came to the restaurant a van pulled next to me and it was an older lady. She said she was a teacher and had left over snacks from her class. She handed me a bag that had 3 little bags of sun chips and $5. She said God bless and drove off. It feels so good when I get multiple people in short amounts of time to help me. It's funny because we are all raised not to talk to strangers. And the only reason I'm able to survive is by talking to strangers.
So I arrived at the Mexican restaurant. I stashed my cart behind the building inside some bushes and went in. I asked if they had a table with a plug in and they did. It was in the back corner and I was happy there as I like to be hidden so I dont scare kids. I sat there and ordered a side and ate 2 baskets of chips with salsa. I'm liking this cheap trick and will be able to use it most of the way as there will only be more and more Mexican food places the closer I am to California.
I left there very full and just as the sun was starting to set. I was in a really good mood for some reason and headed towards Spanish Fort where the church I would stay at was nearby. I had my headphones in and was singing Jason Alden as I watched a beautiful sunset. It was really nice and I had a strong appreciation for its beauty.
As it got dark I still had about 3 miles to go. I was walking down the highway when a black Tahoe passes me and stopped ahead of me. It pulled into a driveway then turned around facing the road and stopped. As I walked up I wasn't sure if they had stopped for me or not so I figured I would just walk by unless they say something. As I walked by I heard a girls voice say "hey, where are you going?" I sort of turned back and headed up to the car. It was dark and I couldn't really see well. When I walked up closer it was a young girl likely around my age. I told her I was headed towards California and am trying to walk there from Florida. She said she had some left overs and handed them to me. We talked for a minute or so and then she asked if I needed a place to stay? I was excited she asked but knew I would only do it if it was along the way as I didn't want to veer far off my path and add extra miles. Just then she picked up her phone and said "mom he's not a weirdo, just an adventurer". That was funny, and smart of her. She had called her mom before I approached and set the phone on the console so her mom could hear her. If she was my daughter that would have made me proud. A good idea to be safe, especially since I look like a predator.
So she showed me where she lived and it was on the way. It was a different route than I had planned but was only maybe a mile or so more and a hot shower and laundry alone was worth a mile. So I got her address and punched it in. It was 5 miles away and I would get there walking at around 10:30. So I let her know and we planned to meet there.
When she took off I thought to myself, a beautiful girl pulls over in a nice Tahoe and offers me food and a place to stay that's ahead on my route, no way this is real. I honestly thought when I would walk up to the door at her house I would wake up on concrete somewhere with bugs all over me and be pissed!
So I started walking at a good pace. I was so excited and thankful that I felt like a kid waking up for Christmas. I couldn't believe I would have shelter for the first time on this journey, and after the last few nights it made me appreciate it even more.
As I pulled up to the house I was anxious to meet her family but nervous too. And since I walked so fast I was really sweaty and nasty. I got to their door and knocked. She answered it and said her family and friends were there. I was very nervous now. I pulled my cart and backpack off and put it aside by the front door. I walked into the dining room and there was a table of her friends. I met them all and shook their hands. I warned them I smell bad and apologized for my nasty beard. After I shook their hands as I back stepped from the table I tripped on a small table and almost ate it pretty bad. That was pretty embarrassing.
Katherine (girl who was in the Tahoe) asked if I wanted to hop in the shower. I was so excited to feel hot water on my skin again and have missed that. I said yeah. And told her I was excited. She showed me where the bathroom was and I went in to take a shower. It was AWESOME! Best shower of my life, hands down. After the last 30 days only having 3 showers under water hoses or faucets outside, this was a treat.
When I got out of the shower I came out and was wearing my extra shirt and jeans. The jeans I havn't worn since I started and they were falling off. And my shirt stunk as it was only washed with some conditioner under a hose too. I met Katherine's parents and her brother and his girlfriend as they had just got there. Katherine said she would do my laundry and her brother gave me shorts and a shirt to wear so I could wash the clothes I had on too. So I changed and she took all my clothes and threw them into the wash.
So after a month of only talking briefly to a few people, there I was in front of 9 people sitting at the table with me. I was so happy and excited, but also very socially uncomfortable and it was pretty overwhelming. In a good way, just a little weird to be around that many people talking with me. We sat there and talked and they were all very kind. They were genuinely good hearted people. It was very refreshing. They spoiled me and kept asking if I needed anything and made sure I was as comfortable as possible. They really made me feel at home right away and it was a great feeling to have. I couldn't have imagined I would be here when 2 days ago I was wet all night and couldn't sleep. What a pleasant unexpected gift from God.
We talked a whole lot and then Katherine brought an air mattress down and made a bed for me in the living room. Everyone was happy I was there and excited to spend time with me the next day.
I climbed into the air mattress around 12:30 or so and it felt like a cloud it was so comfortable. Such a relief. They all said goodnight and said if I was up before them to make myself a bowl of cereal or eat whatever I wanted. I was very thankful to them for being such welcoming people. I laid there in silence for a few minutes and just took it all in. Before I closed my eyes I glanced over to my cart that was by the front door. Me and that thing had been in sone pretty grimy places where we have camped. It looked so out of place in that nice house. And it was so unexpected that me and all my stuff would have this break from the tough homeless outside world. I stared at it and just laughed a little before I went to sleep.
at 12:45 PM