Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ruthie On The Road, Update--Part One

It was an unusually warm, sunny day when Juli and I got into her little white car and headed out on the road. I was ready to resume my journey and so Juli drove me to the small town of Washington, Kansas. I was well-fed, cleaned-up, rested and looking forward to heading West on Highway 36.

Awhile later, we gave each other a hug, said our goodbyes and then Juli was gone.

I sat on the guardrail and tried and tried to get a ride. I didn't get one.

Finally, the sun went down, the moon came up and I was still sitting there. The wind began to pick up and I shivered in the dark, gathering cold.

Someone called me in and after about ten more minutes, a cop rolled-up in his rig. That was good because I needed to get to a rest room.

He drove me to a gas station and then, after turning his vehicle around, drove me right out of the County.

That ride began a relay of rides, with a series of cops, through a number of counties.

When I got to Phillipsburg, Kansas...a cop took me over to his station house and then over to a nice, little mom-and-pop motel. I spent the rest of the night there, eating hot pocket sandwiches (courtesy of the cops) and Doritos.

I contacted Juli and her husband via a wi-fi link to Facebook, and told them where I was. I have been in contact with them, through my laptop, ever since.

The next morning, I walked back out onto the highway and put my thumb out, again. This time, an older man, named Mel, stopped his aging car and picked me up.

Mel knows or is related to, just about everyone who lives in that particular County. As we rode along, over rolling hills (yes, there are rolling hills in Kansas), Mel pointed to barns and farm houses. He told me the story behind every board, window and fence.

After getting directions from a guy at a tire store, Mel drove a little ways down Highway 27 and dropped me off. I waved goodbye to him and then looked around. I quickly realized that I was now on a very desolate stretch of rural road.

After trying to hitch a ride for longer than I wanted to, I sat down. That did it. A man in a fancy, silver car roared past me and stared. Then he drove up to the next turn-around and did just that.

It turns out that the man sells parts for all of the irrigation systems in that area. He talked a blue streak, from outside of Goodland right on down to Syracuse, Kansas.

When we got to Syracuse, he bought me a room in a little, humble motel and treated me to a Mexican dinner at a local cafe. Then he was gone.

I called a local food pantry because I thought that I was going to be on the road for a long time, the next day. It was 8:30 at night, but the voice recording provided a second number. I called it and by 9PM, a sweet lady and her son were standing at my motel room door with bags of groceries and $6.50 in change.

We talked for awhile and then said "good night."

I put my head back on the pillow, a few minutes later, closed my eyes and smiled.

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