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October 30, 2013

Starbucks
Ashland, Kentucky

Still trying to shake this fall illness, I visited the doctor then stopped off at Starbucks to loan Mike a flash outfit.  He had been working on this piece that was slowly emerging from the canvas.   During my downtime, I've read some and watched a few documentaries, Netflix stuff, and a few episodes of Live from Darryl's House.  The last documentary was Craigslist Joe, a film about a guy who leaves home with the mission to live off the goodwill of Craigslist users for a month.  He does remarkably well and makes his way clear across the country and back again, meeting dozens and dozens of people along the way.  Of course it helps that he has a camera guy with him as well as being young and possessing a warm, compassionate, and believable persona.  I certainly wouldn't do as well, I believe.   The film doesn't seem to get rave reviews at Rotten Tomatoes or IMDb but we really enjoyed it.  From a photography point of view, he met a very interesting subset of the culture.

Many of us are self-professed Amazon junkies and rarely miss a day looking at the site, but I had never considered that the nation is filled with a larger (and growing) group of Craigslist junkies that sort of resembles a social network.  We also found it interesting from an explorer's point of view.  I was reminded of my long range bicycle trip from years ago where we took a Greyhound bus to the Mississippi River and biked back home, carrying any needed possessions on the bicycle.  If it hadn't been for the kindness of strangers, we would have found ourselves in some interesting situations. 

During one memorable day, we had ridden through cold and wet weather and found no motel close by to take refuge.  We did find a diner where we ordered up a hot meal and basically stayed as long as our welcome lasted, which Craigslist_Joe did once in New York City.  Back on the dark sidewalk, we were putting our layers of clothing back on when two ladies stopped to inquire about our business.  They were Catholic nuns and they offered to open up a house that the church used for events.  I remember it had a roaring gas furnace that was greatly appreciated! 

On other days, we found ourselves sitting in the back of a pickup truck being whisked down the road at 70mph (it seemed!) during a freezing rain that caught us after dark.  A few days and a good snowstorm later, we found ourselves tired and in another town being driven to a laundry mat by an elderly gentleman with an elderly huge car that seemed to float on the road, considering our days on a bicycle.  On another day, we found ourselves at sundown in the middle of nowhere, our directions to a remote campground were accurate but the campground was closed for the season.  Luckily, the owner not only opened up for us but put one of the cabins into service since it was below freezing that night.    American can be full of interesting people, if you give her a chance.