Day 2 Camp, Day 3 Lunch
Clarksville was the first place I felt like I really spent any time in on this trip. I arrived late in the day on Day 2, and headed for a YMCA that Amber had arranged for me to get a free shower at. The facility was nice and the people working there were friendly. When I finished my shower, I asked if they’d let me pitch my tent there, and they were gracious enough to allow me to do so. The next day I had lunch at the Great Wall Chinese buffet which had an all you can eat buffet for only $6.93. I was apparently spotted on one of the city’s cameras (photo at the top) by Amber and some friends, who I heard were quite excited by this. I talked to a few of the locals, including one older man who has been traveling all over the continent for the last several decades by camper. All in all a great experience.
Day 1 Campsight
It was getting late, and I had no idea where I was going to camp. Around 7:30, I pass this little brick and aluminum shack that happened to be an EMS station just to the left of an elementary school. I thought about asking if I could camp there, but got cold feet and decided not to. I passed a couple hundred feet, and realized that I really only had an hour left before it would be pitch black out, and decided that it was at least worth asking. So I ride up as an ambulance was slowly pulling out, and asked the driver if anyone would mind if I pitched a tent in the big grass field behind their shack. He said nobody would care, and that I could go ahead. Phew! There was really nothing to it, and this was such an easy place to set up in that it’s a little scary how close I came to passing it by simply because I felt a little timid.
Later that night Amber came and visited me, and parked at the Elementary School next door. Over the course of the next hour or two, two different county sheriffs stopped to take a look at her car, forcing her to run over and take care of it. Both times she said the officers were the perfect image of small-town police officers, nice, accommodating, just wanting to make sure she wasn’t causing trouble and not giving her any guff about where she was parked. Counter this with Raleigh’s police force, who mostly seem coldly “professional”, who will ask you questions and disinterestedly listen to your answer knowing full well they’re writing you a ticket no matter what you have to say. I don’t know if city cops have quotas or anything like people say, and I’m sure that the politics of being a police officer in bigger cities puts much more stress and pressure on them that country sheriffs don’t have to deal with as much, maybe. But I don’t think we’re doing it better in the city. I’ve dealt with a fair number of cops in my lifetime, and my experiences with city cops has almost universally been poor, almost always feeling like the law is just another corporatized entity looking to get money out of you, while my experiences with county sheriffs and small-town cops has been almost universally positive. It might just be a small sample size, or some kind of a personal bias toward the “simple life” or whatever, but I don’t know.
In any event, thanks for not giving my girlfriend a ticket, even though she was parked illegally in a school, and thanks for letting me spend the night in your quiet little town, Brassfield.
A 1-mile wide little town that had a library that provided me with a much needed respite from the rain. I didn’t get to spend much time there. Just long enough to put a bit of a charge back into my cell phone and check my email, but most of Day 2 was spent outside of anything you could really call civilization. This was the first public building I had seen all day, and I was grateful.
This is my starting location. I’ve been living in Raleigh for close to 9 years now. It’s got fairly warm winters, beautiful falls, hellishly hot and humid summers, and pollen-coated springs. They’ve also got medians on every road you want to turn left on, cops who love harassing college students and sitting in speed traps, beautiful, breathtaking skies, and some pretty nice people here, too. Raleigh specifically seems to be composed of only about 10% natives. Everyone else who lives here appears to be from Michigan.
It’s not a bad place to live, but I am definitely looking forward to traveling away from the south for a while in the coming months.