Tom picked us up readily and off we went for dinner and sleep. The next day was spent lounging around and just having a good playful day. Tom was very excited to spend time with us, as we were too. It turns out that his phone had died and he couldn’t find it. He had no way of contacting us and was very upset about the possibility of not spending time with us. It al ll worked out in the end though. We ended up spending two days with him, the bus company gave us travel vouchers for a free return trip. Our goodbyes were short, but long in our hearts as we parted ways for the bus.
Our bus ride again was spent without, this time Kevin was “that guy.” He found a kindred spirit in the passenger next to him. They talked of survival, tracking, religion, politics, and every bit in between all through the night. Oh sleep how you have evaded me over the past few days. Still the excitement was not here yet. Our bus ride finally ended in georgia and god it is hot this morning. They are having record temperatures this week. We had a bit of time to kill so we took the train to the end of the line to check on our shuttle and grab some food. Turns out there is no food at the end of the line, but there was Don. Don as we talked is from Maine and was thru hiking this year too. We invited him to lunch and sought out the local chicken establishment.
We were instantly greater by a lovely lady who knew us through and through. She said that all the thru hikers come through here and if we needed anything should would be happy to oblige. Grabbing our meals we scared down our food so we could hurry back to the meet up point. She came back and gave us coupons for free shakes the next time we went into the chain. Our first bit of trail magic and we aren’t even on the trail yet, this is going to be a great trip.
We hadn’t even gotten our bags up off the ground when three women close to my brothers age asked us about our backpacks. In the only way I know, conversation insued, flowing like a leaf on a stream, dancing from here to there, gently navigating the rocks and currents. Kevin was instantly infatuated with them. Really who wouldnt, the soft southern accent, genuine hospitality and warm personalities. Our quick conversation came to an end, we were on a time crunch and we couldn’t stay here in this moment forever. My brother had to leave his Charlies Angels and catch our shuttle to the hiker hostel.
Off we went again, down to the end of the line. Getting of the train we were immediately full of smiles as we saw more hikers waiting to catch the same shuttle as us. That is the beauty about doing something like this, everyone is almost instantly friends and we all quickly bonded over past experiences and stories. The hour long shuttle ride to Walmart lasted minutes. The excitement wasn’t building, it was exploding all around us, everyone feeding off of each others expectations and expierences. I hope we all make it to the end of the line.