Walker Notes::Table of Contents::Chapter 1

Prologue

Aug. 31.

The trip has begun.

I'm all moved to LaC. and N. is moved to Duluth . All film needs have been taken care of with Hector. I've said goodby to Ed S. The Apt. at 3139 is a disaster area - junque all over the place.

In the prediction column: Patty (N's friend) says that 1) We'll get ripped off (money only) near the start of the journey, 2) I'll meet a girl that will “surprise me”.

Today I must finish banking affairs and buy plane tickets.

Sept. 1.

D - day. Yesterday turned out to be much more hectic than planned. First - the new folks in the apt. started moving in about 1 day early. We really had to scramble to get stuff moved out before mid-nite. Then AAA temporarily lost our airline tickets. As for the last of our furniture - it got dumped by the side of the old house.

Two more weeks and we'll be in Miami/San Andres.

Sept. 5.

Getting closer. Put $1500 in savings cert. and $2200 in passbook today.

Bought new windbreaker. Still must seal seams in tent. Tested out new hammock - rather small. Didn't get to test mosquito net yet.

Clothes are going to take up a lot of room.

Virtually all preparations completed except for actual packing. Must hold off on that until N. gets here.

Sept. 6.

Lazy daze in LaC. Paul & Eddie are painting in Caledonia.

Today I sealed all main seams on the tent. Also read more from PATAGONIA. Argentina sounds like quite a place.

I'm also getting used to smoking less. Homegrown is a good placebo. I don't miss Ronnies or Mpls. except for bike rides around the lake. I'll miss that bike.

Made arrangements for a letter of recommendation from Bob Smythe. I hope I don't need it.

Thurs Sept 7.

Today was a day of activity. First I took the letter to Bob Smythe (mom wrote it) for him to write for me. Then I got my hair “sheared” as dad said. Then, after picking up and dropping off a hitchhiker going to Central High, to K-mart for bad I.D. photos. Got film for photos for the paper and for mom.

Visited with Grandma and Art. Fixed their vacuum. Went to the clinic for gamma globulin. 5cc (2.5 per cheek) and talked to Dr. Vallejo about Osvaldo Sanchez in Cochabamba. Sounds like quite a follow. Then came home and finished waterproofing the tent.

Went for a bike ride up Northridge and, while sitting smoking some H.G., Jeff Olson & then Longknife showed up quite by chance. Needles to say - the bike ride was high despite the paining cheeks.

Sept. 11:

On the road outside Lexington K.Y. Today is Monday. To recap the last 5 days:

Friday was a day of mental preparation. I took the bike out for one last ride to Brownsville. Just outside of town I got a flat tire due to the spoke poking into the inner tube. I had to walk back to the folks to fix my last flat for 2 years. It seemed like a lot of work for one last ride - but it was worth it.

That evening - N. was to arrive. But due to complications with the car (he couldn’t get the car until 9:00 PM) he didn’t arrive. I went out with Dudley & Ed. We went to the 4Seasons and had drinks with Mrs. McEville [1] (her birthday). Then went over to LaX where a chick Eddie knew grabbed him & started necking (bodying is more like it) with him. I wound up spending the night in Dakota.

Sat: N. arrived and we made some last minute purchases. Then we went down to Tom G.’s and took photos of us & our stuff (!!) .

That Night we met up with Paul and ate 4 hits 3 ways. Off to Dakota again - this time to a BIG party downstairs. N. and I laid on the floor (no chairs) and watched the ceiling while the music vibrated our spines.

Then someone downstairs broke an overhead light fixture. Jeff O., who had come home by then, reacted. Every bulging muscle carried away by a fit of rage. Not only that - but I leaked pen ink on my new hiking shorts. These 2 items combined to send me into a bad vibe situation. Bummed but not freaked - N. & I left.

He drove and I clutched the door handle with ever whitening knuckles.

Sun: The Day. Arose still woozey from the trip. Packed our packs (55 lbs each), [2] ate our last home cooked meal, kissed the grandmas goodby and hit the trail. We drove steadily until Tipicanoe River Park in Indiana. Slept on the ground under the stars, mosquitos, and visiting 4 legged creatures (1 unidentified running away, and 1 skunk).

Today: Awoke to the smell of sulfur water and the scrape of razor blades. The beards came off today, the mustaches stay.

Plan to camp tonight in Great Smokey Mt. Nat’l. Park, Tenn. Last night we managed to sleep free due to late arrival & early departure.

Tues Sept 12:

Yesterday we drove into the Gt. Sm. Mt. St. Pk. At roadside stops near the middle of the park we spotted bears on 2 occasions. On the first - I got a chance to photograph . The second time one was stopped near a car as we drove by. We made camp farther on down the road - and another one wandered into the campgrounds. It stopped and snooped around the campsite next to ours - looking over the picnic table - pots and pans - and other camp items. Not finding any food - it wandered on. We camped for free again last night.

Today we drove to some park [3] near the Okeefenokee Swamp. Not nearly as crowded as yesterday. After a brisk but short session of frisbee (kind of stiff after sitting for 3 days) and a little swim in the lake (narrowly being missed by water skiers) N. went off to buy dinner while I watch the camp.

The people in the South seem friendlier than their Northern counterparts. As N. says - “maybe it’s the nice weather.” The weather was damp and cool in the mts. but here it’s warm and sunny. No free camping here tho -cost us $3.00.

Sept 13:

Camped at Hillsborough River State Park.

Today we drove to Hemossasa Springs where we went to the best Tourist Trap in town - a combination zoo and aquarium. We saw many tropical-type birds: emus, rheas, condors, eagles, peacocks; along with other more exotic animals like a hippo , alligators, some assorted monkeys, goats, sheep, tame squirrels and an underwater observatory to view uncaged fish (fresh & salt) .

We're now camped near Zephyr Hills, along a river, near which grow cypress and other hot weather trees like palm ferns [4] On a nature hike we saw 3 armadillos and a bIG spider with its web in full operation .

Sept 15:

At the airport in Miami.

Delivered the car yesterday with no problems. Spent the rest of the day loitering around St. Pete. Saw “Animal House” last evening - good humor.

Rode the bus to Miami last night. Slept fitfully due to noise and cold(!). This morning was spent trying to locate Ecuadorian & Peruvian Consulates. Once we found them, we decided we didn’t need them. Still must find some Colombian money. The only excitement so far has been in butchering my face trying to shave. Now I know why I don’t like to shave.


[1] Future REF. MRS.  MCE. wants pix of lambs.

[2] took the blue bomber to Tom G.'s

[3] Laura S. Walker St. Park

Walker Notes::Table of Contents::Chapter 1