Sunday, July 18
As my next destination, Ritchfield, was only 17 miles away, I figured I could sleep in a bit, enjoy a second cup of coffee, and generally take my time getting under way. I did not leave until after 9:00 and soon paid the price for it quickly warmed to another 100 degree day. Not wanting to be repetitive with the reader, allow me to say I arrived in Ritchfield, Idaho, very hot and very tired.
Asking a local where I might stay, I was told the town park was the nicest place and no one would bother me. It was a lovely little park surrounded on all sides by neighborhood houses. As I rolled out my sleeping bag I’m sure a few residents wondered who was I and why was I there. In Eugene, I would have been mistaken as just another homeless man hardly noticed, but in tiny Richfield, population 450 in the middle of nowhere - a stranger in town is indeed noted.
The sign said the park closed at 8:00 but I was assured the rule is not enforced.
Early Tuesday, July 19
I had set my alarm to 3:45 AM hoping for time to make breakfast and get still get an early start on my day - but my breakfast was not to be. Unfortunately, as soon as I slipped out of my sleeping bag a dog started barking setting off a chain reaction of others. Now though I’m technically in the country, in reality, I’m in the middle of a dark rural neighborhood and a chorus of barking dogs at that hour represented a real problem. It seemed that no matter how quiet I was, one particular dog knew I was there and would not stop barking. As a result of the noise several house lights began turning on and I figured it was time to quickly “make tracks” and get out of there. Hurriedly packing my cart, I soon left the canine cacophony behind and disappeared into the darkness of another early morning.
Watching for the sun to rise I convinced myself that I didn’t really want that coffee anyway.