Walking across America is not a good idea in the best of times. These weren't the best of times. Some might have said the worst was past us. I didn't think so. I thought I had some idea about how big this country was. I was wrong. America is freaking huge and right now it was also hot in Ohio.
We had been gone two days now from the main group. They were behind us. Maybe 40 miles or so and they would be beginning to move tomorrow. That would mean they would be narrowing the distance between us pretty damn fast. We needed to roll but I wasn't in a hurry. The breeze felt good on my face. I took another sip of water that I didn't need or really want but Max had taught us to drink or "Hydrate" as he called it. I already knew to do it but not to the extreme he wanted us to practice it. The two guys with me must have gone to the same school as Max had as they drank a fair amount of water too.
I remember asking Max what he remembered about the roads in Iraq an Afganistan. I expected something like crazed Muslim fanatics in cars or IED's. He looked away for a second and said "Water bottles."
"Yeah, they were everywhere in some places."
"Oh." For once he had me at loss for words.
Well we didn't leave our water bottles behind. Loco and Ricky had camelbacks. As soon as I could find one I was going to get one. My idea of just carrying a couple containers and a filter was turning out to be pretty stupid. What worked for me back in Fairfax and at the farm was turning out to not work so well on the road. You spent anytime on foot and carrying water got to be a major pain in the ass. We were spending far too much time dismounted and walking. Far more than I had planned.
We were sitting off Route 124 east of Wilkesville and not real far from a strip mine job on one of the many hills around here. I had gotten a look at it from above and it was ugly. A scar gouged into the earth filled with water. It looked like a pond, a big one too but nothing grew around it. I bet some local asshole would have told me it looked like money. If it had smelled bad he would told me that smelled like money. I shook my head, stood up, and stretched.
We had been watched on and off since we left the main group. I hadn't felt it since this morning but it was back.