We stayed with Tim’s friend Taylor Tuesday night, and woke up bright and early Wednesday so he could drive us just east of where he picked us up. Due to Indiana’s time zone identity crisis (we crossed into the Eastern Time Zone mid-state!), we had him drop us off in the small town of Donaldson so we could meet Tim’s brother-in-law Mike in time. Mike was born and raised in Indiana, like Tim, and wanted to walk with us for a few days across Indiana!
Mike was the first person to join us with a full backpack like us, as we planned to camp at least one of the next three nights. The first day we met him about seven miles into our day, in Plymouth. It was fun to have three people walking on the side of the road. We felt less homeless, and more of a group of travelers! Since Rebecca had started wearing a sign on her back saying “SF to NY”, we were getting a lot more honks and waves.
Once we met with Mike, we had about 17 more miles to the campground. By midday, Mike had regretted not bringing a certain pair of shoes, and he was stuck with a pair a running shoes. We slowly made it to the campground right before sunset. Mike had just enough phone signal to face time with his wife (Tim’s sister Susan), his son Evan (who celebrated his first day of school!) and his daughter Alaina. We met some kind campers who gave us their extra firewood. After telling them we were walking across the country, they heated up some spaghetti that went along great with our hot dogs!
Mike set up his tent next to ours, and we called it a night. He woke up before dawn Thursday morning and started cleaning up the campsite. We agreed to rise and shine earlier than usual, as today was going to be about a 30 mile walk to Columbia City.
The morning was chilly, but we persevered. We finally got into a good groove of walking, and taking breaks every six miles, but at lunch, Mike’s feet were starting to develop some nasty blisters.
We were at a crossroads, did we go on ahead, all three of us walking together, and risk Mike’s feet future, or should Mike hitch ahead to the destination town and rest for the third day? Mike thought it through and decided to buy a bike in Warsaw and try to still finish the journey by foot power!
We called around to some local used bike shops, and we went to a sports store, but got a great deal at Kmart. The manager even discounted the price when we told him we were walking across the country!
Mike bought the floor model, so it was already put together. He still needed to pump up the tires, so we decided to get a head start on the destination. After about fifteen minutes passed, Mike came flying past us on his new bike (sorry I didn’t get any photos in action!).
Almost immediately after Mike got the bike, we experienced a random act of kindness (sorry I didn’t get any ice cream for you!):
A woman driving to babysit her grandkids saw us walking on the side of the road, and turned around to give us ice cream sandwiches. It’s people like this that keep us going!
Mike beat us to the motel, and he was as exhausted as we were. Mike’s business partner who had dropped him off in Plymouth two days before was back in the area, so on the morning of the third day was able to pick up Mike (and the bike) from the motel. Mike got to see how tough it really is to walk 25-30 miles day in and day out. One day Tim hopes to beat Mike’s personal record of walking 53 miles in a day (we walked 52 to Wisconsin from Chicago back in April 2014)! Thanks for joining us, Mike!
On Friday morning we were off to Tim’s old college roommate Jeremy’s place in Ft. Wayne. It was a short day of walking (anything under 25 miles we consider short!). We didn’t see much until we ran into Joerg, a cyclist from Germany biking across the US to NYC! Joerg had the craziest/coolest bike and outfit of anyone we’ve seen biking across the country this summer!
Support his cause:
Right before Jeremy’s place we saw a guardrail on the side of this lonesome country road. It was by far the most unique one this or that side of the Mississippi! We finally arrived at Jeremy’s and had a nice relaxing Friday night with him and his wife Kaitlyn (and their dog). Pizza and a movie was a nice way to end the rough couple of days.
Overall the two/three days were fun, and we enjoyed our time with some of Tim’s fellow Hoosiers. These were Indiana nights not to be forgotten!
Today(s) we walked through:
Tim: 56,276, 57,251 and 28,692 steps
Rebecca: 59,641, 60,980 and 30,442 steps
2,497 miles finished