Last evening, Harre, my Host for the past 3 days, asked me to breakfast in the morning at IHOP. At the appointed time (7:00 am), I was eager to spend some special time with Harre after being unable to spend time together for over 72 hours. Harre walked to me in the morning twilight, handing me an envelope...there is a note inside for you...Maryanne and I have decided not to join you for breakfast.
Dumbfounded, I was speechless. I took his envelope. He put out his hand. I refused his hand and instead hugged Harre for longer than perhaps I should. He came away with tears.
Is there not something I can do for you, Harre, looking around the Ranch...you have so much to do and....no, I have nothing more for your to do. Mother and I wish you a safe journey and God Speed.
I said no more. Again I hugged Harre...I am going to miss you my Friend. Goodby Harre...
Please keep in contact with Michael, Bruce...Mother and I want to know you are OK.
Harre backed away. I walked to SPIA's electrical cord still plugged into Harre's outlet box. I unplugged the cord, put it into SPIA's storage area, locked the door, and walked to the Driver's Door, got in, started SPIA's motor and without looking back, drove away from Harre and Maryanne's Ranch - perhaps for the final time.
I tell you the absolute truth. This walk has been a blessing to me....with one exception: I have a very difficult time saying Goodbye and walking away from my new-found friends. A want badly to be with them...all of them...but, I have a mission to complete...then we shall see...
I drove to STARKE, FLORIDA. It was only 7: 15 am. The RV store did not open until 9:00 am. I parked SPIA and took a 2 hour walk West on SR 100, the road I first walked into STARKE nearly 4 months ago. When I returned, Charles, the owner was there. He telephoned his "Service Man", who arrived 15 minutes later.
Charles handed the Furnace motor to Wade, the Service Man. Knowing I would just be in the way...how long do you feel it will take to service the Furnace and Air Conditioner, I asked. Oh, about 2 hours.. OK, I'm going to take a walk up US 301 (which turns into US 17). I'll be back in a couple hours.
I walked North on US 301 for 6 miles and returned to REVEL'S RV.
Wade was finished with the Furnace. I clicked it on and it ran without any noise whatsoever...like a new installation. I'm already into the Air Conditioner, Wade said...can I be of any help?...Nope. Cigarette dangling from his lips, Wade dropped it on the ground - only 1/4 smoked and still burning as he returned into SPIA, filling her with second hand smoke.
A few minutes later...Bruce, can you come here and hold this for me...and so, I began to help Wade as he fought to remove a stubborn bolt - which finally broke off inside a nut welded to the top side of the A/C. For the next half hour, Wade grumbled and cursed as he tried...and finally succeeded in knocking the offending nut off.
From that moment on, it took Wade only 10 minutes to install a new gasket - designed to keep rain water from entering into SPIA - and put the whole thing back together. I hooked up 120 volt AC power from REVEL RV, and turned the A/C on. I appeared to work just fine..don't use another 15 amp extension...you will burn something up, said Wade. Geeze, how stupid can I get.
I got out of SPIA and Wade drawled: that will be $300.00, CASH !
You must be kidding, Wade...I expected perhaps half that much at most.
I said $300.00 CASH for my 4 hours of work.
You have not worked 4 hours on SPIA...at max 3 hours, if that.
I said $300.00 for 4 hours work CASH.
I stop this discussion here. I spent the next 2 hours on the phone trying to convince my Bank to lift a BLOCK they put on my Debit Card...the Bank saying it was an automatic computer act that cannot be reversed for REVELS RV (the Bank representative said the computer considered that REVELS RV was trying to "double-dip" my account because a few minutes earlier they used my credit card for a small transaction. I did not win. The bank would not budge.
So, I walked to WINN-DIXIE Grocery Store, where the Service Desk told me to purchase three items of my choice - a candy bar could be one of them -. Upon checkout, three separate transactions would be made which I could add $100.00 additional CASH BACK per transaction. 5 minutes later, I walked out with $300.00 CASH, which I, with great reservations to Wade, handed him the wad of twenties, which accidentally fell to the floor as he attempted to take it.
Charlie reminded Wade and I that we were in a house of the Lord foul language was not permitted as Wade proceeded to call me every cuss word I knew, plus a couple new ones.
Alas, my first confrontation with anyone in over a year and half of walking. I decided to call it quits. I returned to SPIA and drove the 26 miles up US 301 to BALDWIN, FLORIDA, where I pulled into WAFFLE HOUSE. I ordered 2 eggs - scrambled - and hashbrowns with toast @ $3.95. My bar mate and I got into a conversation...he expressed his long-time pleasure of the WAFFLE HOUSE, especially the coffee, which was always exactly the same in all the restaurants, asking if I didn't think so also. I agreed, but said the cost of coffee has gone out of my budget. He got up after finishing his meal and left. A couple minutes later a cup of coffee was set in front of me...I didn't order any coffee...never mind, it is already paid for ! Half way through my cup of coffee, a second waitress set another cup full of coffee in front of me...already paid for, she said.
I attempted to pay for my dinner...no, we have already received payment for your dinner from the gentlemen sitting next to you.
I was, for the second time today, speechless...He is a regular and we'll tell him you said thanks.
STARKE, FLORIDA at the intersection of SR 100 and US 301.
A STARKE Church.
May be the last of the Palm Trees on our walk North.
US 301, North of STARKE, FLORIDA. A very nice road to walk.
I walked all day today in my work boots. I brought them from home to use in the ice and snow. Today is the first time I used them, feeling I better check them out before reaching Winter roads...so far so good.
US 301 as I neared I-10 Freeway. Somehow, I feel Florida is trying to tell me something.
After parking at WAFFLE HOUSE, I walked South on US 301 for 6 miles. This black plume of smoke started rising, getting larger and larger.
I thanked the WAFFLE HOUSE folks for allowing me to park SPIA while I walked. Then, we drove North on US 301. About 4 miles out of BALDWIN, all traffic was stopped and forced to turn around. The smoke turned out to be a quickly growing forest fire. Dense smoke blocked US 301 ahead of me when I finally got turned around. |
I drove back to the WAFFLE HOUSE, told the crew of the growing fire, and asked if I may park SPIA over night...yes, you may.
SPIA is now safely parked as I create today's Blog. It is now 8:03 pm, blacker than the Ace of Spades. In the morning, we shall walk from here North on US 301 to see how goes the fire...
then we shall see