Grits, 4th of July, the Made in America tour, and 6 flags
For some reason ‘griiiiitttssss’ has become the word for the trip; we say it when we’re trying to do an american accent, I don’t know why, but it just seems to come out. We first had grits when we were staying with just outside of Pittsburg. They don’t taste good, and yet people here seem to love them.
When we last left you we were staying in a RV park on the edge of Pennsylvania. The kind people who owned the park refused to let us pay when we checked in, but when we were getting ready to leave they insisted on bringing us into their prayer circle and saying a prayer for us. Neither of us are particularly religious, but it’s always interesting to see what people put their faith in, and just how dedicated they are to that faith.
My right foot hadn’t been in a very good shape since we left Andi in Centre county, PA, but now it was really bad. I could barely walk. That’s not to say I wasn’t still walking on it. We had a long day before we reached anywhere, and it was a day of constant ups and downs (hills). At the end of the day i was done, i literally couldn’t walk anymore. We found a dirt cheap motel and I put my feet up and didn’t move for 2 days. Fast forward. I’d love to tell you that it was a miracle cure; that I stretched religiously, gave my foot/ankle the hot and cold treatment every twenty minutes, that I woke up on the third day and I walked 30 miles. Well I did do all of those things (bar the last one), but walking across the border into Ohio was one of the most consistently agonising experiences of my life. The next 5 days were identical to each other: wakeup, pain, shoes on, pain, walk, pain, rest, walk, pain, eat, sleep and repeat. It wasn’t until Cleveland that I’d really be able to rest.
When we made it north to Cleveland we were both elated. Me because I had a week of going on tour, not having to walk, and Jack because he wouldn’t be the only one having to put up with my incessant moaning.
Meeting up with Cruise, Johnny, and Drew was an absolutely amazing morale boost. For those of you dont know who im talking about, collectively they are ReverseOrder. Remember back in New Jersey when we stayed with the one and only Russo-Zirkel family? Them. Well, minus John, Parker and Cindy (but she’d be along shortly)
In regards to what went on during the tour, Jack assures me there will be a video blog of it all very shortly, so i’ll just tell you we went from Cleveland to Chicago, Chicago to Fort Wayne, Fort Wayne to Detroit, and finally Detroit to southern Indiana. A whirlwind tour of the midwest in 9 days.
We left Cindy and the guys on July 4th, Independence day (apparently its a big deal). But we spent all day with them at a local waterpark where the boys were playing a show. Being on tour with the guys was so great, but im sure you can imagine it was not all fun and games. After we had unloaded the vans and set up all of the equipment there was little else for us to do, apart from handing out promotional cards to their hoards of teenage, female fans. But come 6 oclock, the water park was closed for cleaning for an hour. That hour was not just for cleaning, that hour was also for us. We’d been told that the 5 of us had free reign over the pools and slides, no lifeguards and no rules. Again, this is probably something that Jack will try to show you in the video, but the camera ran out of battery just as we were getting started.
You know those little charity bins in supermarkets where you put a penny into a slot, then watch it spin round and around before it drops into the small hole at the bottom? They had one of those for humans! It was the highest and steepest slide in the park, with the pure intention of shooting you as fast as possible into the bowl. We abused the privilege of their being no lifeguards by having 3 of us go down the slide at once. The result was a bruised hip, cracked toenails, a bloody elbow and a whole lot of laughter.
I dont know if you can tell, but im really struggling to write this one; we’ve walked a long way (even by our standards) in the last two days, and my body just wants to veg out and watch a film. We’re lucky enough to have been taken in by two separate people over the last two nights. Yesterday we were walking along a trail when a lady jogged by us,”Where are you boys headed?“, “California” , she stopped. “Well do you have a place to stay tonight?“.
Ruth Osmond and her husband took us in and fed us for the night, but we were disappointed to find out that we were not the first cross-country walkers they had taken in this year. In May, Ruth had met a guy in exactly the same place she met us; his name is Ryan Herrmann and he too is walking across country to raise money for charity. The name of his walk is Herrmann’s Hike, check him out.
This evening we are staying with a guy named Johnny Israel who, along with his brother (Ed Money) is a big name in the local hip-hop scene. He doesn’t look like your typical rapper though: 6 foot white guy in skinny jeans, with shoulder length hair and a metal beard (if you are either of my grandmothers, then i mean metal as a genre of music, and not a material). He lives on the edge of a prison and airforce base, so you can imagine we got some really funny looks walking along the road. Especially when we were taking the photo below.
We’re really happy with how the walk is going at the moment, and have made great progress since linking onto the American Discovery trail (which spans the country, Delaware-San Francisco). We’ll be able to take it almost all the way up to our next stop in Chicago, then from Chicago we can take it all the way across Iowa, Nebraska, Cleveland and a large chunk of Utah.
I hope the next blog I write is a bit more coherent, but thanks for sticking with me.