October 28, 2017
The next morning I showered and Bryan and Mariah dropped me off on the side of the road, just two miles shy of what they assured me was a really nice truck stop. They would take me all the way, they said, but they may be hassled for being unlicensed.
I was now in Foristell, MO population 505.
I thanked them from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know where I would have been without them.
I stuck my thumb out as I began my two mile trek to the truck-stop. Only two vehicles passed me before a small car with an elderly couple and a scruffy little toy dog pulled over. The ride was short and sweet. They were carrying on in another direction. I bid them farewell.
I was at the TA truck stop of Foristell, and it certainly was nice! There was even a restaurant with a salad bar! It was not long before I found a nice cozy booth and served myself plate after plate of greens and veggies and garbanzo beans. I was very pleased. After brunch, I moseyed over to an adjacent Taco Bell/Popeye’s to sit at a bar stool and sip coffee and charge my things. I had my sign visible.
A man walked by, glanced at my sign, and continued to fill his cup with sweet tea. “How far ya goin’?”
“I’m trying to get to California!”
“Oh. Well I’m not going that far. I’m headed to Kansas City.”
“How far is that?”
“OK! Are you leaving right now?”
I quickly gathered my things and followed him out.
He was nice. Somewhere in his 50’s with a mustache, and hair that trailed slightly down the nape of his neck. He was from Alabama.
He was curious as to why I was hitchhiking. He said that he had picked up hitchhikers before, but not too often. He said that you just get a feel for people. He said that most people want to help people. I liked hearing this very much; I thought so too.
We made small talk for a bit, seamlessly alternating between conversation and comfortable silence.
He suggested that after Kansas City, I continue west along I-80, as it will take me directly to Sacramento. Oh, Sacramento! How I long for you!
I agreed. I travelled with him through Kansas City, up to Shelby, Iowa. We stopped at the Love’s Travel Shop.
It was supposed to drop below 30 degrees in the night. He had mentioned letting people crash in his cab at night. I said “I guess I should go, now.” I trusted him, I felt comfortable with him, but I felt more comfortable sleeping alone.
In the end, I wandered in to the remains of what appeared to be a harvested corn field.
I was wearing a t-shirt, a wool long sleeved shirt, a zip-up cotton hoodie, a fleece pullover, a down puffy, and a long heavy wool coat, wool socks, a scarf, and gloves. I tucked hand-warmers in to my gloves and in the arches of my feet and under my hat, then I tossed one in to my sleeping bag for good measure.
I gazed up. I was beneath the Iowan stars, and moon, and sky. I breathed deeply. The field was crunchy beneath me. Though the lights from the neighboring truck stop were still prominent, my body was hidden by thick bands of darkness and shadow.
I slept well, and warm.