Angle to Key West: Five Months (11/11)

Mile 73 of Upper Mississippi, Crawford Towhead – November 11, 2011


If you have no idea who Wally is, read his introduction here and his second, third, and fourth updates first or you’ll think I’m crazy. Well, more crazy than you already do.


Hey Wally, how excited are you about the Half-Gallon Challenge?

“The what?”

Don’t pretend like you don’t remember.

“Look, I’m a bit busy for games, Out of Order, the burden of being a celebrity, I suppose.”


“They don’t just name burgers after anyone. I’m famous!”

I think it was named after a different Wally. Besides, I see “Out of Order” signs all over the place and you don’t see it going to my head.

“Don’t be jealous.”

Whatever, don’t pretend like you’re too good for the Half-Gallon Challenge. Before you were famous, it was always the happiest day of a trip for you!

“The happiest day for me is the one after the last.”

The second happiest day then.

“Sure, sure, I remember. I remember because you cheated me of it.”


“It’s supposed to be at the halfway point.”


“And we’re five months into this trip!”


“So, naturally, you missed it somewhere. You can’t just do the Half-Gallon Challenge right at the end. Have some respect for tradition.”

What? We’re not at the end.

“You think I’m an idiot? I see those little mile signs and they say we’ve only got 73 miles left.”

Uh oh.

“Uh oh, what? You think I’m stuck repairing shoulders, fixing up wrists, and tightening bolts on the spine all day, but I get up to the eyes and peek around every once in a while. You can’t trick me.”

Wally, maybe you should sit down.

“Maybe you should stop messing around with a fellow and tell him the truth.”

Wally, those signs are for the Upper Mississippi. In 73 miles, they’re going to start back at 950.

“Shut the front door, what?”

I told you you should’ve sat down.

“What the hell is in 73 miles?”


“Cairo? CAIRO!”


“Maybe we shouldn’t go to Isle Royale, I said. Just a little side trip, he said. Should we skip the Apostles, I said. It’s the last one, he said. See, see what leniency got you, Wally, now you’re on the far side of Africa trying to get to Key West.”


“You just make sure my arms keep working, he told me. I’ll take care of the rest, he said. Worst navigator in the world, I say. Can’t tell the Mississippi from the Nile.”


“Boys, pack your bags, we’re out of here. This is the last straw, bustin’ our tails to keep this heap running and he navigates us to another continent. It’s the last straw, I tell you!”


“You’re in the right place, find a new camel’s back to break.”


“Don’t ‘Wally’ me. Me and the boys are gone, going to wander the desert and find our own way home. You know what, I’m gonna take that sexy red blood cell with me, too, if she wants to come.

Wally, it’s Cairo, Illinois.

“Cairo, what?”

Cairo, Illinois.

“They moved it to Illinois?”

I think they just ran out of names. They got one in Georgia too, seems quite popular.

“So no pyramids?”

No pyramids.

“Not even a sphinx?”

Not a single one.

“But they have ice cream?”


“You’re lucky I like you.”

I’m lucky you like ice cream.

“That too.”

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