BBQ Chicken, actual Beef, and Homegrown ta-may-tas

Waking up in a different bed (campsite) every morning is a weird feeling, so when it’s a bed you stayed in five nights before, it’s a welcome change. I can’t remember if I mentioned that this wasnt the first time meeting the notorious Johnny Israel but, this wasn’t the first time meeting the notorious Johnny Israel. It was whilst we were on tour with the boys that we had our first meeting.

When Cindy and  the boys go on tour they aren’t fortunate enough to have a label paying their way, so they have to get their own hotel rooms, or alternatively they stay with families through the Christian organization RYFO (I think that’s what it’s called (don’t ask me what it stands for)). These families welcome christian musicians (musicians that are Christians, not specifically Christians that play Christian music, although I’m sure they’re welcome too) into their homes. So Karen is one of these homeowners, and Johnny Israel is one of its residents.

photo 1

The Nickelback Trail, as Jack likes to call it

Long story short, after we had left the boys it’s was another few days walk back in the right direction to Johnny Israel. Now the blog can really begin.

Waking up in a different bed (campsite) every morning is a weird feeling… We’ve been here before, literally this time.

When Johnny woke up after a late night, he suggested we have a BBQ and take the day as our rest day; we’re ahead of schedule and actually wasting some time before we meet my brother, and cousin Amy in Chicago so we jumped at the offer. Karen’s daughter Channelle and her husband Matt came round and suggested that we have the BBQ at their house, where we could meet their three children Remy, Kash and Mason, and their two beautiful dogs.

Remy's self portrait

Remy’s self portrait

We spent the afternoon relaxing on the sofa, chatting about anything you can imagine while Matt and Channelle regularly checked on the grill. Just before the time came to eat, Johnny had to rush off as he had some (as Matt would say) “Johnny Israel stuff to do”. After we ate, fixed Johnny a plate and headed back to Karen’s house, we sat on the sofa and chatted with Matt for another few hours.

For someone we were told “doesn’t like anyone”, Matt was one of the most interesting, generous, and welcoming guys I have ever met in my life.

We both decided that we needed sleep, and that an early night was in order. Little did we know tomorrow was going to be “one of them days”.

It’s shit when you have to backtrack on miles you’ve already done, but two days previous we had sacrificed four miles for the offer of a bed. We didn’t mind too much seeing as the two miles we’d have to repeat would take us back on to the Nickel Plate trail, which we’d follow all the way up to Rochester in northern Indiana.

Maybe it was the fact that we started the day with our headphones in, or that its always hard to restart walking after a rest, either way we were both pissed off with each other.

We walked a good 6 or 7 miles before anything came of it. I’ll admit upfront that I was the cause, the antagonist, the wanker in the argument, but I’m pretty sure Jack won’t have read this far, do please don’t mention it to him.

We had like $24 left, and Jack suggested it was a good idea to stop at one of the many cash points around us. I decided that as we had a cart full of water, food, supplies, and the fact that we were modern day Baden Powells, we’d be fine. Glares were had, words were thrown, names were called… Money was drawn out. One nil Jack.

Silence.

2 hours of silence.

Jack went into a shop to grab a drink while I went in the other direction and grabbed a sandwich, when he returned he had a found us a place to stay for the night. Sara, the owner of the store had suggested her fathers property 8 miles up the road where we could camp for the evening. I felt it was a good time to apologies for being the instigator. I offered a handshake by way of apology, to which Jack met with a hug. As quick as that it was all washed away! We beamed at the prospect of another place to stay at the hand of another kind stranger.

Where we put our differences aside

Where we put our differences aside

The 8 miles were gruesome, the heat was in the low nineties and some bastard had left the humidity on high. By the time we eventually reached Sara’s dad’s property we were tired, thirsty, and our feet were literally (honestly, literally) covered in blisters.

While Jack was on the phone and we were about to set up our tent, Sara pulled in (remember I hadn’t met her at this point) and greeted me like an old friend. She saw the state of my feet and without hesitation rang a doctor friend, asking her to bring round medical supplies. She took us up to the house to meet her dad, Doc.

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture to show you of the property. Doc and his friend had built this place on their own. Besides being a full time dentist, Doc is a carpenter, musician, amateur historian, and craft beer connoisseur. As you can see below, this guy had a full bar in his house. He sang us a few Johnny Cash numbers (along with one about home grown tomatos, which was my favourite) whilst I tended to my blisters, and Sara pulled us a pint.

Docs bar

Doc playing us a tune while Sara pulls us a pint

The reason Jack was on the phone earlier was that Diane (someone from couch surfer) had rung offering to come pick us up and take us to stay at her house in the next town.

After her friend Jenni gave us the much needed medical supplies, Sara dropped us off where Diane’s son Justin had come to meet us. He explained how his mum was working late but that she was more than happy to have us come and stay.

With Diane's son, Justin

With Diane’s son, Justin

Another beautiful house (with our own rooms) to stay in. When Diane got home she was naturally curious about who we were, what we were doing, and how we had found ourselves in her little town in Indiana. Diane and Justin were some of the first people we have met who have not only travelled out of America, but been to England for more than a flight change; more than that, they had even traveled through Stevenage to get to Cambridge.

The two of us with Diane

The two of us with Diane

Diane didn’t have to be in work early the next day so she suggested, when she dropped us back to the trail we go to her favorite coffee shop for breakfast. she picked well. We sat, ate amazing sandwiches and chatted with her and the baristas about where we could rejoin the trail, and where would be the best place in town to buy bug spray.
Im going to leave this one here, but I’ve only told you half of our recent adventures. I’ll write another one soon, and show you the most amazing place we’ve stayed to date (hint, its on a massive lake).
Until next time,
Kieran
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