Leaving the small town convenience store, and turning toward home, there was still hope of assistance. The highway bypasses the town, but I still had to walk over a mile to be outside the jurisdiction of their law enforcement. Many people call that stretch of highway a speed trap, and maybe it is, but whatever the case, I seldom drive that stretch without seeing at least one police car. Not this time!!!!
That's right, in the time it took to walk the mile and a half to the edge of their jurisdiction, not one member of the local police force passed me. On the other hand, within that mile and a half and the two miles to follow, three different ambulances passed me, apparently making transport runs (no lights or sirens). I had hoped the local police would make their rounds and at least make a call for me. Then I had hoped that at least one of the ambulance drivers would radio law enforcement to let them know there was a late night walker and an abandoned vehicle. It seems that neither scenario was in the offing.
Not to be brought down by such trivial matters, I continued to walk. A beautiful star filled night should not be wasted, and a meteor shower is always a rare treat. My quiet walk and star gazing was only interrupted by the passing of cars, always accelerating and seldom moving to the other lane (this part of my walk was on a large divided highway). A few miles down the road, I passed another convenience store that is the highlight of a small community at a major intersection. There was no need stopping, since I already knew that they close at 10 pm, so I continued walking.
Another three miles and I reached the shortcut which connects the highway I was on with the next highway north. The shortcut is actually a very highly traveled paved county road. Narrow and only two lane, I would have to be careful of two way traffic, but at least for the moment, most of the cars were going my direction. Were they more likely to stop than on the big highway? IT SEEMS NOT!
By the time, I had reached the shortcut, I was beginning to get tired. There had not been much rest for a few days, and the hour was truly getting late. An old leg injury which had left a misalignment in my left ankle joint was beginning to ache a bit as well. The fact that I had not walked more than a mile at any one time in quite a few years did not help much either. Oh, but those beautiful stars, meteors and warm, gentle breeze. Such a truly beautiful night for a stroll. Slowly but steadily, I continued walking, stepping into the road ditch each time a car approached (this is a narrow road and the cars were not slowing down or changing lanes).
About four miles further along the shortcut, I could look to the east and see the morning star rising, telling me it would be daylight soon. It would be a while yet, but it was coming. With the approach of morning, I knew that the traffic would soon change. The majority of cars would be coming to meet me instead of going my direction. At this point, I was also approaching the bottom of about a two mile long hill. Not really all that steep, but steadily up hill. Fortunately, with the particular ankle problem I have, up slope is easier than down slope. My hope was to reach the top of the hill before the direction of traffic changed, and I would worry about the steep slope down the other side when I got there.
With the morning star high in the sky, but still no daylight, I reached the top of the grade. For the first time since leaving my Jeep behind, I stopped for a very short rest. By this time, the pain in my left foot and ankle was significant, though not unbearable. Traffic had changed to a good mix of directions and with only about ten miles to go, I prepared to start down the other side of the hill. Yes, I was still enjoying the stars, and the meteor shower had intensified as dawn approached. Absolutely gorgeous!
Thank you for reading, and please stay tuned for part 3. There will be lots of excitement, frustration and lessons learned.