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Tuesday, July 13, 2004



After leaving the library I did go for a swim; some of the lifeguards and attendants there were curious about my trip and I talked more with them than anyone in the city. The nearest LDS branch was in Shenandoah, 20 miles away, and I didn't want to beg a ride. I hadn't seen any churches and didn't have the energy to search the town, so I stayed in the park most of Sunday, reading my scriptures, watching the weather and kids playing in the skate park, and so on.

Monday morning I got my groceries and headed out for Corning. I walked about 8 miles, just past a town that bills itself as a center of Swedish culture, and was offered a ride into Corning. That was about 18 miles and saved my a day. However, when I got to Corning, the library was closed, and my wandering around town looking for a place to shelter from the storm I could see coming in attracted police attention. I found a park, but the city police came, took me downtown, and turned me over to the sheriff's deputy, who took me out to the county limits. I only talked to a few people in Corning; one of them a reasonably friendly convenience store clerk, a family at the school playground who were very nervous about me being near their children and had nothing to say to me, and another who gave me some directions but must have reported me in to the police. Apparently there were more people willing to call the police about me than to say hello. I wanted to see the County fair, which was in progress, but got hustled out of town instead. According to the residents I spoke with, the county fair was hardly worth seeing. The deputy who drove me out of the county mentioned that they used to be a lot bigger and more interesting, but people don't participate as much as they used to.

The county line was about 6 miles from Creston, I stayed next to a field there and only got a little wet. I started into Creston and was offered a ride the rest of the way, and found my way here to the library.
I've been thinking mostly about social networks and connections, and the problems a newcomer and stranger to anyplace in the country has in finding people to talk with, especially about anything important or significant. Unless someone has family, church, employment, or the like already in place, it is hard to get past the most superficial greetings. With the difficulties I'm encountering staying in towns, I'm minded to avoid them at night and do my sleeping where I'm less visible. I had figured four days to get this far, but it looks like I'll be moving on toward Osceola tonight.

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