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"You Wanna Fly, You Got To Give Up the Shit That Weighs You Down"

-Toni Morrison—Song of Solomon

If it's Labor Day, This Must Be Ohio!

Julie and I made short work of Pennsylvania. Three days, I guess, but then again it was only about 70 miles of the Keystone State.

It was mostly rural except Erie, but we had good camping, in state parks. Lots of food along the roads, too.

We picked a fine time indeed to travel through farm country, with corn, squash, tomatoes, peppers, onions, GARLIC, ours for just a few bucks, every few miles. Oddly, we haven’t seen ONE carrot for sale since Vermont.

And I didn’t encounter any of the Amish super elixir—switchel—an apple cider based drink known to refresh and invigorate.

I finished a couple of “Pennsylvania books,” Walking to Listen” by Andrew Forsthoefel, a book about a young man, fresh out of college…a boarding school/private college kid who decides to do something “epic” post-graduation and spends a year walking from Pennsylvania to the south, and then to California. His goal is to listen to people’s stories along the way, in hopes of gleaning some wisdom from them.

It was pretty good.

The privilege with which he, an upper middle-class white kid, roams the country can be off-putting, but he at least acknowledges it. He gathers friends along the way and then gets to go back to New England to spend the next couple of years free-loading off of friends and relatives, writing this book.

I guess, despite my snarkiness, it was worth reading, especially now, here, just for the stories of kindness and hospitality he shares. Oh, and I do admire his ability to overcome fear and reluctance to reach out to people along the way, asking for a place to pitch his tent. Usually this resulted in his sleeping indoors for a few days and eating a lot of dead animals.

Let’s not forget that Ed Abbey, whose books I use as “fillers,” is from Home, PA!

Now, here in Ohio, I’ve taken the deep dive into Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon.

Holy shit. Of course I’ve read some of her other stuff—Beloved, The Bluest Eye….but it’s been a real treat to read this AS I FUCKING WALK THROUGH HER CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN!

We took a short detour through Lorain from the route along Lake Erie to snap a couple of photos of her home. The house she was born and growed in.

There is no marker or anything. Someone, who hasn’t (as far as I know) won a Nobel Prize for Literature, now lives and struggles there.

I am putting together a resume’ of homes of writers whose homes I have creeped out, who have won Nobel or Pulitzers. So far, I have ticked off Bob Dylan--Hibbing MN, Robert Frost--Bennington VT, and Toni Morrison (Nobels) and Eudora Welty--Jackson MS, and Charles Bukowski--LA (Pulitzers.)

I’m hoping that my dear friend and cousin of some sort, Staci Lola Drouillard--Good Harbor Hill MN, wins something because I’ve already been to her house.

I almost forgot to mention that we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yesterday!

We spent two and a half hours in there and only made it about halfway through the exhibits. At that point our worry about the dogs in camper, albeit in the shade sent us to the exits. We took a zillion pictures of guitars and stage outfits....

It’s with great embarrassment and regret that we didn’t make it to the David Bowie area. It’s crazy. I’d go back in a minute.

We also hit the 1000 mile mark of our walk on that same day.

We’d been dreading Cleveland for a few days, but it was actually pretty pleasant walking! Mostly along the lake (Erie) and traffic was minimal.

Now, I’d like to introduce a pile of people whom we’ve met along the road this past week. Such curious, helpful new friends!

Some do U-turns on bikes or cars, some we talk with at red lights, high school cross country runners, triathletes, regular working folk, and others emerge from driveways with bottles of water.

Nick doubled back in his car while driving his mom home from work, gave me water, and walked a little with me. I love curious young people.

Are you fucking kidding me right now!? This is a presidential library above a Mexican restaurant. It gives me hope that Trump's will be between a used car lot, and a strip joint.

It was very tempting... but I would have to download the app.

Cool twist on Atlas (?)

The obligatory political "no comment" photo

1001 miles, yo!

Toni Morrison's childhood crib

Hi, Anita! Good luck in your next triathlon

Hey, Dave... I want muscles like yours! (Took our 1000 mile photo)

Robert and Susan... I hope your son spends a little time with you (Hudson Wisconsin?) Thanks for the H2O.

Hey, Ed, good talking with you. Vermilion is quite the pretty little town!

I do have a few more pics of people I talked with but am having trouble downloading in the campground. Peace out.

Good humans all.

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”—Toni Morrison

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