I counted the remaining Nature Valley granola bars in my head. I could survive the day on them. But I wasn’t sure if I’d want to. After years of eating them, they’d begun to lose their appeal…after the first year.
“I feel bad for you,” Wells said.
“Because you’re hungry.”
I thanked him sarcastically in my mind for reminding me of my ever-present hunger and then turned back to the task on hand – getting to some food. It was Monday, May 30th, and nothing was open.
A slight problem when we had planned on living off of the local restaurants.
We woke up at 6am. More accurately, we decided to start moving again at 6am, because we hadn’t really slept last night. The tent was a sauna the first half of the night and an ice box the second half of the night, 50-60 degree temperatures waking us at 3am.
“We didn’t plan for Memorial Day,” Wells said.
“Yeah. Fuck national holidays,” I grumped, “I want to eat.”
At the next stop, I pulled out a granola bar, took a long pull of water from my Camelbak, and then ate it. Tasted just like it did five years ago. We’d stopped briefly and chatted with the proprietor of a trail side stand who informed us that our destination, Easley, was a barren wasteland. Thankfully, “hop and a skip” was never mentioned. She also mentioned a grocery store in Mokane, which we ended up eating at.
When we finally made it into Hartsburg, a town of 104 people, I had extremely low hopes of finding a place to eat. On the upside, we had finally found the gazebo that Wells had been talking about the entire trip. Hartsburg was an extremely well kept little town. There was a park for bikers to camp for free. The grill came pre-stocked with kindling and wood, and we would set up tent under the gazebo later that night. The park, nestled in the heart of town, would come to symbolize perhaps the greatest lesson that Wells and I took out of the trip. People all along the trail were always ready to help, always friendly, and always good hearted. given the chance, people are good to each other more than they are bad.
Speaking of which, the first thing we did after leaving our cart by the gazebo was to try to find some place to eat. Thankfully, the Big Muddy Tavern was open, and welcomed us with delicious food, a warm environment, and did I mention great food?
Definitely my favorite location along the trail.
Then we ran into trouble.