Wednesday, May 15th

It was nice to sleep in today, until 10:00 AM. It had rained last night, but I stayed dry in my tent. I skipped breakfast, lacking cash, as Moma don't take none of them credit cards. I spent the whole day on Mountain Moma's porch, watching the plaid-flannel-clad locals walk in to buy beer and packages of Drum, and the occasional lost northerner try to get directions. I called all over the place about getting a ride, mostly attempting to arrange one by way of Jim Arnette, owner of Comet.Net. His son, Jimmy, volunteered to come down with his sister, Ann, the next day, and meet me in Hot Springs, which was some 35 miles away.

Wooden Nickel arranged for us to be picked up by a local cab service in a few hours and taken to Hot Springs. We waited and waited, night approaching, but the fellow never showed up again. Mama herself, a quick and confident woman in her 30s, said that she'd drive us all there for $50, after taking us to Pizza Hut. If we all (the Kansas brothers, High Tech and myself) chipped in it would only be $12.50 apiece, so we did it.

At Pizza Hut, each of us ordered a pizza. It seemed like the best cure for a hefty appetite. I've never been one to eat mass quantities of pizza, so I just got a small. We all polished off our meals quickly, taking two pitchers of orange soda with it.

We finally got to Hot Springs just before 11:00 PM, knocking on motel office doors, being turned down at all. "No rooms," we were told. We ended up camping at a campground, where we only had to pay $5 a person. Nobody was there to take our money, so we went on in, figuring that we would pay in the morning. We set up our tents by the bath house and scattered, each looking for payphones around town. I finally managed to get in contact with Jim Arnette and lay out my plans, and he assured me that my ride was secure and there was money in the bank. That's what I like to hear.

Sure of tomorrow's plans, I went to sleep in my tent and slept well, happy to know I'd be going to Trail Days and happy to be in Hot Springs.

"On the trail, we learn to live simply. Why can't we also learn to let others simply live?"

- Bill "Sprained Rice" O'Brian

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