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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DAY 226: MONROE - RUSTON, LOUISIANA

we were fortunate to be offered a parking spot last night in a private business a bit off US 80. All started out so pleasant. Then, two hours after turning in, the biting started. In less than two minutes, I had six new bites. I scrambled out of the bunk, prepared a spot on the settee, and enjoyed the rest of an uninterrupted night.

Today, I was determined to get rid of my sleeping companions. Stopped in at the local FAMILY DOLLAR, which had "insect bombs", guaranteed to kill all pests in a list of about 30 choices.

Parked SPIA in a convenience store lot, set off the bomb, and walked for 5 hours toward the town of RUSTON, LOUISIANA. Upon returning, aired SPIA out for 45 minutes, thanked my hosts and drove into RUSTON.

A highlight of that walk of 16 miles was many meetings of the local Mail Man, pic above.

meetings, along this picturesque US 80.

We are back in Hill Country, which I am assured will continue well into Texas.

I was feeling particularly good, so had no difficulty negotiating the many hills. Left leg did become a bit sore just below the knee...probably bringing new tendons into play on the hills.

Our clinging vine is still with us.

Must be close to voting day in Louisiana. Many are running for the local Parish Sheriff position. Must be a desirable job.

This photograph is included because of the rendition of the Indian TOMAHAWK. In the old Western Movies, the Tomahawk was used to scalp intruding Pioneers.

This land owner has the good fortune to have a placid clean-water lake. Click click to see two folks on the distant dock.

This is a typical Bass (fish) Competition Fishing Boat. A powerful outboard gas engine hangs on one end, sending it speeding from fishing spot to fishing spot. On the other end is a small electric motor used to precisely position the boat to best advantage for casting the Bass Lure.

Two fishermen use the two raised seats - one forward & one aft.

Bass Fishing Tournaments is very popular in the South East. Prize money makes it worth having high-tech equipment to compete.



A quite unusual Church...using a Manufactured Home.

Competition extends to mail box design.

I call this rig the "Smok'n Beast".

Late in my walk this Dump Truck roared past me trailing a dense cloud of Black Smoke. I could smell burning brakes, but it was moving nicely, so decided it was just a oil burner in need of some TLC.

Half hour later, I came upon it again...parked off the road next to some Manufactured Homes.

From the opposite side of the road, a voice from the woods..."so, you caught up with me already...passed you a few miles back."

Please say HELLO to R.L. May.

R. L. is the driver of the Smok'n Beast.

Had to stop and beg for a water hose, says R.L....seems my rear brakes caught on fire and having no fire extinguisher, had to use a garden hose to put it out..

Naturally, I stopped and chatted with R.L. for at least 30 minutes. R.L. just returned from a trip to Seattle. He cruised from Seattle to Alaska and back. R.L. has, however, driven over most roadways in the United States.

Currently, R.L. is speculating on Commercial Buildings. Buys a piece of property - say in Texas - builds a commercial building on the land and leases it out. Seems to be working for R.L.

Another mishap for SPIA today. The "shroud" protecting her Catalytic Converter broke lose - from all the bumpy road surfaces on US 80. I tied a length of 4-conductor sheathed electrical wire to hold it in position temporarily. Wouldn't you know it...a few miles down the road, ran into an honest to goodness Hardware Store. They carried the perfect size Hose Clamp. Bought two clamps ($1.20 each), which I will install as soon as the exhaust systems cools down. Should have no further problem from that quarter.

Now, if that bug bomb just works. Would welcome a peaceful night sleep.

Oh...nearly forgot: Bank Read-a-Board said temperature this afternoon was 109 F...and that was before factoring in Humidity, which results in an even higher reading. As we already know, temperature down on the asphalt is always higher ...would venture to guess it was 115 - 118 F while I was walking. Felt great after my 5 hours hoof'n it.

Strange event: A white panel Van - about 10 years old with commercial writing and what appeared to be a Yellow Pages Book pictured on the back doors acted strangle with me today.
He passed me slowly...five minutes later he passed me again more slowly from the opposite direction. Another 10 minutes later, he passed me - again slowly - but continued in my direction. A half hour later, I rounded a bend to a long straight stretch of US 80...and there he was, parked 1/2 mile from me. A person got out and started walking towards me...dressed in all black; the van made a U turn away from me, but pulled off the road and again stopped...the walker continued walking toward me. Got goosers up my back...these guys are up to no good.

The walker, within 1/4 mile from me, I turned around, walking normally away from him until reaching my previous curve, where upon I doubled my walking speed - to about 6 miles an hour. About 3 miles further on, the van again passed me - in my direction and continued on.

At this point I reached The Smok'n Beast and R.L. May, who also saw the same Van. After chatting for 30 minutes with R.L., I continued walking - still 3 or 4 miles to go - back to SPIA. A 1/2 mile from SPIA, the same van AGAIN slowly cruised toward me...I turned to take his picture, but he sped up...

Have not seen the van or the walker again. Do not believe he connected me to SPIA...certainly hope not, as we are parked in an isolated spot in front of a Wrecking Yard about 2 miles West of RUSTON.

Hope I'm not just getting jumpy or psychotic...til now, have had NO feelings of unease during my entire 1-1/2 years walking America's back roads. Would like to keep it that way.

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