Monday, March 24, 2008

I'd Rather Choke On My Own Vomit

Walking from one state to another, you usually won't see any obvious changes. The forest on one side of the state line looks the same on the other side.

But it didn't take more than a few days until I started thinking I had it good in Florida.

I should warn you--there is some disturbing stuff coming up. Kids, stop reading now. Really.

It started the night before Amanda left. I walked to a nearby convenience store to give my mom a call and update her on my progress. Amanda's cell phone didn't work in Andalusia and neither did the phone in our hotel room, so I walked off to use a nearby pay phone.

While talking to my mom, a car pulled up nearby and I asked the guy driving it if he needed to use the phone as well, but he shook his cell phone and said he'd try using that first. No problem, and I continued talking to my mom.

I saw the guy talking on his cell phone, so I figured he wouldn't need the pay phone and didn't cut the conversation with my mom short.

After we said our goodbyes, I told the guy he could use the pay phone, just in case he decided he needed it after all, but he seemed rather chatty asking where I was from.

The man looked about 30 years old, clean-shaven, but his car was filled with boxes and junk which made me think he lived out of it. He seemed short, though he was sitting down so it's hard to be sure, and significantly overweight. Nothing particularly scary-looking about the guy, though, so I humored him and told him about my hike.

Then he pointed down to his leg saying he what he really needed was a bathroom because he had wet himself, and sure enough, there was a puddle of liquid by his foot. Eeeewwww!

"Ah, well...." I said. "I guess you didn't quite make it in time, huh?"

Eeeeewwwww! Why did he have to tell me this?

Oh, if only it stopped there....

Then he said, "Hey, your kind of cute. You want to have sex?"

Eeeeewwwwww!!!!

"No!" and I immediately turned around and left.

He drove out of the parking lot, telling me out his window that that was a shame, because I was really cute then drove off into Andalusia.

Ewwww! I went back to the hotel and told Amanda what happened, and she was as grossed out as I was.

The next morning, Amanda was gone and I was on my own again. The rain had started up, so I lingered and delayed leaving as long as possible, seriously wanting to take the whole day off and stay dry in the room. But I needed to get miles on, so I packed up and headed out into the rain.

My directions took me through downtown Andalusia, and by the hiker headquarters for the area, but the building looked vacant and had no signage. I tried the door anyhow, hoping to get out of the rain for a bit and perhaps get more information about the trail ahead, but the door was locked. I continued on.

The storm eventually passed through and the sun started peeking out and I started drying out. After a couple of hours, though, the bottom of my pack and my butt seemed surprisingly wet--the rest of my pack and myself had completely dried, but my pack was positively dripping with water. Even worse, the water dripping onto my butt made it look like I wet MY pants! Eeewwww!

I took off my pack and pulled out my Platypus--the only source of water in my pack--and found it leaking. Drats. I emptied what water was left in it to my empty water bottles.

I finished the day camped under the Conecuh River Bridge. I got there early enough so I could find an alternative place to camp if I didn't like the conditions under the bridge--I learned THAT lesson!--but it looked quite acceptable and I set up camp just short of the town of Dozier.

The next day was clear and sunny, and I was making good progress on the road walks. A bit after noon, a man in an SUV pulled up asking what I was doing. Not THAT unusual, and the man didn't seem threatening. Probably 50 or so. So I told him about my hike.

"You want to...."

I didn't quite catch what he said, kind of mumbling.

"What?" I asked.

"Do you want a blow job?"

What the hell is wrong with this state?!

"I'd rather choke on my own vomit."

And without even saying goodbye, continued walking up the road. He drove off to destinations unknown.

I was stunned--propositioned TWICE in three days.

An hour or so before sunset, a police car stopped behind me and two officers got out. They looked like high school students in costumes, really, and one had a terrible acne problem. Were they even old enough to drink?

They asked the usual questions--what was I doing, did I have ID, blah, blah. They went back in their car to run my ID while I waited outside for the 'clear to go' verdict.

I was rather surprised at the result, though. They asked if they could drive me to the county line! They said they couldn't MAKE me go since I wasn't wanted for anything and wasn't doing anything illegal, but people who saw me walking down the road kept calling the police and they wanted to get me out of the county to get the calls to stop.

TWF?! What ever happened to Southern Hospitality? I've never felt so unwelcomed in my life. I told the officers I'd rather not--the point was to WALK from Key West to Springer Mountain, and they finally left to let me continue my walk.

I could not get out of Crenshaw County fast enough.

I camped in some woods just off the road near Centenary. Fearing creepy people and police alike, I did not set up a tarp so there would be less to see of me from the road, and refused to use my headlamp so as not to draw attention from passing cars with the light. I was absolutely determined to get out of the county the next day if it killed me.

And I spent the night just thinking, "I'm really, really beginning to hate Alabama." And what about those home-cooked Alabama dinners that the welcome kiosk at the state line suggested? No, I'm hiding out, scared to set up a tarp or use my headlamp in fear of attracting too much attention to myself. *shaking head*

32 comments:

Michael Merino said...

Oh my goodness. Sweet home Alabama it ain't.

Kerstin said...

Now I know I can plan a thru hike as I"ll be perfectly safe from any men..... *puke*

Hearing banjos yet Ryan?

Anonymous said...

You boys think we ain't got no laaaaw down here don'tcha boy?

Anonymous said...

Well now, Ryan, we both think you are kind of cute - until we got a look at your feet. Maybe you should walk barefoot through Alabama.

Grumpy Grinch

Michael Merino said...

Here. I thought this post worthy of a posting on digg.com. Would you consider digging it?

http://digg.com/travel_places/It_Ain_t_Sweet_Home_Alabama

Debbie said...

Eew, creepy!

DebBee

Cheysuli and gemini said...

So you were walking along and YOU get propositioned by two creeps and they think YOU are scary?

Bonnie

Anonymous said...

excuse me while I gag....

Anonymous said...

Well I guess you can look on the bright side...at least the 2 cops didn't proposition you too!
Let's just hope you never need to know how to squeal like a pig in that state =)

Anonymous said...

And people say they don't need a gun while hiking. Geez.

Anonymous said...

I keep telling him it is the beard. He never got propositioned when he didn't have his Grizzly Adams beard! :-)

-Amanda from Seattle

Anonymous said...

so what did the police say when you told them about your inquiring creeps that you ran into???????
thanks for the title to this one. i finished my lunch before opening it and reading it........so glad i did.......even so....it might not stay down.
so glad to hear you are safe. sleep a little more off the path from now on.
you better post daily to let us know you are ok........:J

condo

Anonymous said...

Ugh Ryan ... I'm a proud Southern by birth currently living in Mississippi. I was raised in Georgia. I have never much cared for Alabama and now I really don't. I do hope you get to Georgia with no more propositions. Stay safe!!

mississippimorning

Anonymous said...

I am a proud Southern by birth as well (presently living in New York State) and I am sorry this happened to you down South, but I do know it could happen anywhere in the US. People are weird!

Keep on walking, Ryan, things will get better!

Anonymous said...

Due North, brother, due North! Tennessee is only one state away.

mstrwndl

Kaaren said...

And to that...I say Ewwww. Keep walking the heck outta there. Gross.

Peas on Earth said...

Oh my, oh my!! And I admitted being from Alabama!! Well, I can honestly say I didn't even know Alabama HAD a Crenshaw county. I mean, I probably did in 4th grade Alabama History class, but I have long forgotten. I don't imagine you will soon forget it, though. Oh my, oh my. Can I apologize, on behalf of my home state (which I have not lived in in nearly 16 years)? There really are some good Alabama folk out there. Here's hoping you find some of 'em.

Terras4TheHunt said...

Maybe they thought you were a man-whore! lmao Walk faster Ryan!!!

Kristin aka kjnohr aka Trekkie Gal said...

I have never been to Alabama. After reading this, I don't think I will ever go there. So much for visiting all 50 states!

Wow. Poor you!

wyzarrd said...

LOL

Sorry Ryan, but that's just hysterical. It sounds like the plot of a movie !!

Get outta there, boy!!!

Jaxx

Anonymous said...

Being from the south, Tennessee not Alabama, I am totally embarrassed of your experience with some pervs. So sorry you are questioning Southern Hospitality because it does exist...really it does!!!

Anonymous said...

My theory is that the people calling the police about you are actually the same guys you turned down. They can't stand the temptation of knowing you're still out there, hiking along their roads, so close and yet so far...

Ginger said...

Geez, Ryan. What a difference the state line can make. Now I do know some nice people who live in Alabama, but I grew up in Georgia. In Georgia there's a "joke" that asks, "What advantage does Alabama have over Georgia?" Answer: Better border states!
Wishing for wings on your feet and the wind at your back!

Knit Wit

Anonymous said...

eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww
eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwww
eeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww
eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww

nasty!!!

-just4bees

Wooohoo Crew said...

I think they were VERY friendly. LOL "You gotta perdy mouth boy"
What an experience, I hope the rest of the people are the correct kind of friendly.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't blame the entire South for the bad deeds of a few weirdos, especially since you are from California, Land Of The Fruits And Nuts.

Anonymous said...

WOW YOU MADE IT ALL THE WAY THRU FLORIDA AND OJ LIVES HERE ,AND JUST GET INTO ALABAMA AND THAT HAPPENS??????

Anonymous said...

Hey I grew up in Alabama (5th generation at that). Alabamians are not so bad. Every state has weirdos. Unfortunately all of Alabama's just happen to be in the Andalusia area for some odd reason. I am not kidding! I have never met anyone normal from that area.

As for Georgia and Mississippi... As a kid growing up I was thankful for those two states, because if it wasn't for GA and MS, AL would be #50.

Having moved from AL to GA I can tell you that GA takes the absolute cake for corrupt government. At least in AL we occasionally throw them in jail. In GA they just reelect them.

Last thing... I thought you would find this extremely amusing:

"Welcome to Luverne, Alabama, the Friendliest City in the South. Luverne, county seat of Crenshaw, is proud of its traditional past and pleased with its exceptional home town qualities. Recently named as one of the top ten small towns in America, Luverne is a perfect blend of what people seek when wanting the best of small town living." -From http://www.luverne.org/

funhog said...

Sheeesh! If I thought everyone who had ever hit on me were a creep I would have quite a roster from my younger days. If they had kept on AFTER the resounding "NO! then I'd worry but it seems to me all's well that ends well... Take it as a compliment and keep on walking. Makes for great stories!

MountainScorpia said...

The weirdest thing about it to me is why anybody would think peeing himself was a great come-on....yikes!

Anonymous said...

Wow! "I just peed myself", is that some sort of pick up line?

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Reminds me of when a girlfriend and I were hiking up in the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico about 16 years ago. Some guy was walking down and we were hiking up and we passed each other as we sat down to take a rest. He sat down beside us and we shared some crackers and a banana with him. He told us where he called home and not long afterwards he asked if we wanted to see him naked.
Yeah, naked. Um...really? Why would two girls on a hiking trail want to see your skinny ass naked? ewwwww!

And can you just guess where he was visiting from?

Yep....Alabama!

Hike on!
~Twinville Trekkers

ps Your Atlas Quest widget is perfecty coordinated to this post yet again. It has a picture of a chick and says "Naked Chicks"

All sorts of sordid stuff going on here!
lol!