The Longest Backup Pickup

State: Florida

Today I got an early start and began working my way to Homosassa Springs.

It looked like it was going to be a decent hike (about 10 miles), but with my early start, I would have been there at noon.

However, as I walked I saw this red pickup truck way a head pull off the side of the road. I thought they must have had a flat or something until the began backing up.

I began laughing because they were so far ahead as I realized they were backing up to pick me up.

I shut off my music as we approached each other. There were two good ol’ boys in the front.

“Where ya headed?” the driver asked.

“Homosassa Springs.”

“Hop in.”

I smiled climbing into the bed of the truck.

I hopped in and figured their profession was in the auto industry, likely mechanics from all the empty oil bottles and various tools.

They took me for a ride and a half.

The people in the cars behind us were laughing almost as much as I was as we flew down the highway.

When we hit a stoplight a couple in the car behind us yelled out the window:

“Where you headed?” she asked seeing that my backpack is about as big as me.

“All 50 states,” I yelled back.

“Right on! That’s awesome!”

“You can watch me at liveontheoutside.com,” I yelled as the light turned green.

“Nice, we’ll check it out,” I heard her yell as we pulled away fast.

The guys (brothers Ron and Jeff) dropped me off at the local Publix (Florida Grocery Store).

“Thanks again guys, I appreciate it. Also you should know I’m a writer and you’ll be in my book when it comes out,” I said handing them my business cards.

They looked particularly excited when I told them that.

“Good luck and be safe,” they said.

I went and grabbed a coke then headed over to the local library do the usual: charging my phone, battery pack, and additionally my headlamp, which ran out of juice the previous night. Also to refill my water which I was going through rather quickly, hiking in 80 degree weather on an open road with no shade.

I checked and lucked out. They had a copy of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep.

I continued where I left off and read while my things charged.

A few hours later, I headed out and kept working my way to Crystal River for certain reasons you’ll see in some upcoming stories.

I spied some golden arches and my stomach gurgled. One thing about this trip is I had a necessary goal of eating healthier. However, sometimes cravings win out.

I passed a farmers market and the smell of the fresh fruit shamed me as I walked by toward McDonald’s. Briefly, I considered getting some of the fruit instead, but the food supply I already had discouraged additional weight…and shamed me further…

I ordered two McDoubles with Big Mac sauce, a McChicken, a small fries and a large drink (which for some reason I filled with fruit punch…a deadly combo with the food and heat).

Once I began walking again the lead brick in my stomach quickly became apparent. I sweat through my shirt and had to take a break after only a few miles.

It took me a good 30 minutes to get going even after drinking copious amounts of water.

I stumbled upon this little off shoot dirt road and explored till I decided to set up camp.

My pee told me I was still dehydrated and I remembered from college fatty foods take a lot of water to digest. Combined with the heat and lugging 60+lbs with me it was a wonder I hadn’t passed out.

Next time, I’ll listen to the fruit.

Forever your friend,

~The Outsider

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