Tuesday, June 11, 2013
POST 1135; JUNE 10, 2013; PONTIAC, ILLINOIS
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PIPER CITY, Illinois, is a small village on US 24. Last year, I stopped overnight in Piper City...so, when SAM and ME walked into town, JIMMY PRATER immediately recognized me. KEVIN PRATER, Jimmy's brother, took SAM and ME under his arm...first organizing for us to overnight in the town GAZEBO.
First, SAM and ME visited the local Convenience Store, where we were met with a whirlwind of activity...our $$ is no good...alternate overnight lodging has been arranged by AMANDA with her neighbor, NICK.
So, leaving the Gazebo behind, SAM and ME arrived at the home of NICK, set up in his master bedroom on the second floor - complete with private bath - and an influx of neighborhood friends bringing food for an impromptu dinner (Nick says they do this all the time), and chat under Nick's canvas-covered patio...to keep the falling rain off.
Piper City...a small town, but one with a bit of good taste...and considerate friendly residents.
Old Town PIPER CITY businesses are nearly all closed down...as is the above General Store.
Main avenue from US 24 to downtown Piper City.
Piper City Main Drag (main street)
Please say HELLO to JIM and WIFE, JOANN. Jim and Joann stopped their car in mid town...the normal inquiry as to what we are about...and a nearly 30 minute chat.
An hour or so later, Jim reappeared...we chatted some more...when Jim handed me $40.00...to help you find lodging in your next town...
Jim is a fascinating man...with a fairyland vocation of over 30 years with "BLACK" organizations...i.e., organizations which do not...and never did...exist. Fascinating...just fascinating.
Local HEADQUARTERS...Convenience Store, where all matters of importance in Piper City seem to be discussed and arranged.
Many rural town in the Prairies of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, - and probably points West - were originally founded as the Pennsylvania Railroad pushed West.
The above street could well be called RAILROAD STREET, as it parallels the current railroad tracks...still rather busy nearly 200 years later.Pl
Please say HELLO to KEVIN.
Please say HELLO to AMANDA...employee at Town Headquarters (the Convenience Store), who took over logistics to arrange for SAM and ME our evening activities and overnight in next-door-neighbor NICK'S home.
A lady not to be forgotten...have a feeling we will meet again...someplace...someday.
SAM saying goodbye to the Gazebo, where we nearly spent the night.
Please say HELLO to our Host and chief CHEF, NICK.
Thank you, NICK, for taking SAM and ME in...for parking SAM overnight smack in the middle of your KITCHEN...around which flowed food and people all evening.
Our goodbyes were said after dinner...and as neighbors and friends filter off to their homes down Walnut Street.
A most difficult moment...saying goodbye to the wonderful new friends of this tiny village...only NICK was on hand ... steaming hot cup of coffee waiting for me...as we spent a last few moments together before SAM and ME walked back out to US 24...head full of memories of Piper City.
A final over-the-shoulder look back at Piper City as SAM and ME head West on US24.
Main Street - aka US 24, passing through the town of FORREST.
Leaving US 24, SAM and ME headed North on SR 23...Stopping in at the interesting Company, BCS
Please say HELLO to WAYLAN and ELIZABETH, employees of BCS...and who endured another rendition of SAM and ME continuing saga across America...thank you Elizabeth for the HARD Ice...and sweet ice cold water.
BCS manufactures chemicals and fertilizers...which, under contract, apply their products to surrounding farmer's fields using the huge SPRAYERS pictured many times previously in these blogs.
Please say HELLO to Sisters TAMMY and DAWN...both standing on the berm of SR 23 as SAM and ME trundled by. Seems Tammy and Dawn received a telephone call as SAM and ME left BCS...advising that a very thirsty walker would soon be coming down the road...and would they please have ice water ready.
True to form...being good Illinois residents...TAMMY and Dawn held glasses of ice cold water as SAM and ME stopped to enjoy the water...and once again chat with new friends.
Local PONTIAC, Illinois Church.
Surprised to find another walker on the back roads of Illinois...
Please say HELLO to JOSE and BARBARA.
Jose, the other walker, and I met and chatted a few miles before I arrived in the rather large (small city) town of PONTIAC, Illinois.
Seems Jose raised the interest of Barbara...who insisted on driving SR 23 to find SAM and ME.
...and then, there were TWO new walkers...
Please say HELLO to Ben...walking hitch hiking from California to North Carolina by way of Washington State.
Interesting that Ben and I should meet be headed in opposite directions to and from the same locations.
Upon arriving in PONTIAC, Illinois, we have taken a room ($42.00) in a 1960s vintage motel...enjoyed a good Italian Din Din - with interesting discussion(s) about Italy and the MAFIA.
It is now 8:30 am in the morning of June 11, 2013. The latest two blogs are now complete...having been working continuously on them since 3:00 am this morning (last night).
We are about 80 miles South of Sister Carol, in the Nursing Home in DE KALB, Illinois. SAM and ME will head North on SR 23 in a few minutes. We plan to arrive sometime Thursday morning in DE KALB, where I hope we can find a spot to overnight at the Nursing Home...Carol is fighting, but this may be the last time I will walk...some 3,000 miles of America's back roads...
to say "HI, LITTLE SISTER".:.