Day 32 – Lunchtime Visitors and Stealth Camping (December 3, 2020)

Night 32- Kingsland, Georgia

Stealth camping, or discrete homelessness, can be a lot of fun. It can also be a pain in the butt when you didn’t sleep well and now you are up at 5:30 am tearing down your stuff as soon as your eyes open. It can be fun though.

Roll it back 24 hours and I was waking up in a my own bed, in a guest room shared with Russell. Naturally, up at 5:30. No rush here. Just wandering out to the main room of this home away from home cabin for a family of island dwellers.

Our hosts are 2 of 60 full time residents of Sapelo Island. 30 of which are descended from the original surviving slaves from mainland plantations. They will have to forgive me if I’m leaving anything out, but it seems the island’s history and culture was refined and passed on due to the restrictions to and from the island. A barge connects the island to the mainland and its a tight fit. Each trip is valuable and special cases require professional help. With that, one of our hosts had to get up just after me and run out to help load the boat that morning.

Matt was close behind to rise. He likes to ride a few more miles than we do and earlier starts means more daylight. So he was heading for the door next. He grabbed a bagel and an apple, we exchanged info, and off he went.

I had offered to cook breakfast after making a comment about how many eggs I tend to eat. Coffee on and ingredients out, time to dance around the kitchen looking for utensils and trying not to burn the 12 or so eggs. They weren’t all for me, but I think I did end up eating 7 or 8 of them. Our other host came out to catch Matt just before he headed out, and started making bagels with peanut butter to go with the eggs.

I may have gotten carried away in conversation through breakfast. By this point Russell was already packed and on the move. He showed me the time and I got the message.

So a later start, 9:30-9:45ish, we had 60ish miles depending on housing for the night. Not all of which were on 17, so the ride wasn’t too boring. We had a swerving bike path for a little bit as we passed by gated communities and gated homes. Nothing too crazy.

We stopped for lunch in a park and started cooking. Russell had some issues with his stove since he switched to kerosene, but learned that a quick shake of the stove when it started sputtering out, would clear the line and the flame grew again.

In addition to the few cars that stopped to look at us, we had a guest for lunch. I’m looking down at my food when Russell says “woah” while looking over my shoulder. A dog was just a few feet from me. Glad this one was a sweetheart just out for a stroll. We played fetch with the guy until his owner yelled from a house just on the other side of some brush. Sorry my dude, you can’t come with us.

We took off and the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Which, while somewhat boring, can be a nice thing. Traffic was low, the shoulder existed, and we were able to keep a decent pace.

18 miles from our hiding spot, we stopped to makes some calls and to use the lav. When calling churches around 2pm on any given day, it is a strange thing, but common thing, for a woman to answer the phone and always respond to our normal intro with:

“I’m not authorized to let you do that”

…. okay, so can I talk to someone who can?

“The pastor(s) are gone for the weekend”

… okay? Do they have a number?

“No, they are gone for the weekend”

Now, aside from this journey, I don’t frequent churches of every kind. I could probably recall and tally up the number of denials, hang ups, no answers, no number, not allowed, can’t helps, and no help at all for every kind of faith so far on this trip..

But to completely lose contact with the person in charge of a building is a little strange. I should mention that I had a job as the night sexton at a Lutheran church at one point. They were great! Responsive. Understanding. Would have tried to help even if they couldn’t offer up their own property. I’m not a Lutheran either. It was just a great job. I know times are different right now, but to be told “we can’t help” without even offering advice seems a bit against the purpose of the church. Most of them, anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, there are great communities of faith out there. We have been helped a few times on this trip. Unfortunately that ratio is between 20 and 30 to 1.

So that’s why we find ourselves sneaking into some brush to sleep for the night. Don’t damage anything, pack out your stuff and any trash that shouldn’t be there, and be kind to anyone who might find you.

We also made a friend at the park while waiting for night to fall. (see video)

It’s a warmer day today. I think we finally outran the winter. With Jacksonville as the goal, Florida is just a few miles away.

Time to find some breakfast.

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