Me and the dogs had made camp a couple hours later. I found a place by a stream so they would have water and unrolled my bag under a tree. I didn't bother to eat. I had nothing for the dogs and it didn't feel right to eat in front of them. Feeding them was going to be interesting. Even if Freya could drop us some bunnies from the sky it would still take about 10 of them to feed these pups and they would consider that a snack probably.
The next morning after we been walking for a little bit a rain began to fall. A cold one at that. The summer had not been as warm as it usually was. Wearing a vest and carrying a bunch of crap made me very okay with that. I stopped, stripped above the waist, and let the rain wash away some of the stink. I would have gone completely nude but the occasional thorn bush, nettles, and ticks that made up the sylvan meadow I was crossing made that impractical.
That was one of the many things I found after I became homeless. The woods are not Disneyland. Nor are they park like. You had to watch out for poison ivy. I remember one girl who wiped her ass with a handful. That was pretty funny. You had ticks. You had bushes that scratched you up. It was cold or hot. Never just right. Water that you could drink was a constant struggle to find. It took me all of two days to figure out why the relatively sane homeless always carried gallon water jugs. Living full time in the woods was a bitch. I had seen two people just break down and start crying because they couldn't deal with it. This was before things got really bad too.
A lot of times like this. When I was walking but hadn't gotten into a rhythm, I rehashed old times and places in my head. At first I thought "Hey. No distractions!I can do some seriously deep thinking." Nope. Never happened. Right now I was trying to figure out how to do this. Go get my bike and go into town or just go into town then get my bike. Big decisions like this occupied a lot of time when I had it. Or should I camp and go in the next morning? I decided the hell with it. I would just go in. I had at least four hours of daylight left. Maybe I could get invited to dinner. Maybe they would have dessert. Something good. I was still thinking about apple pies I had known and loved when I began getting close enough that I was going to have begin looking for an observation post. I skipped the ones we had already used. "Never use the same places and never use the same route twice" was what Max had taught us.
As I had walked the dogs had spread out around me in a diamond formation with an extra furry facet bringing up the rear. They moved right along with me considering that they seemed to pee on every other bush and tree. I made a bit of a jag out the way at one point so they could drink from a stream. They seemed to appreciate that.
I found a rise and crawled around to the side of it and looked through a bush. The town was occupied again. My timing for once was good. The team that had done the sweep after we left was leaving. It looked like a handful of people and yet another guy in a robe were staying behind. I bet he was someone else who appreciated a cool summer like this. The last guys robe looked like it was made out of wool.
Everybody stood around the trucks while he said what had to be a prayer. Then they were gone. Woof was sitting next to me helping me watch. This was the first time he had sat this close to me. He needed a toothbrush. I told him "Woof. You're breath stinks. I''m going to have to make some bones for you to chew on." Then I scratched his ear and waited, giving them time too settle down and the others to put some miles under their axles.