Today’s Miles: 19.1
Total Miles: 4,341
Pamiers, France – February 13, 2017
The highway grinds down on me again. The bit of me that recovered overnight scrapes away and then I just feel beat up. I don’t even think it’s the pavement as much as it’s the constant threat of cars racing by. I stare at each, watching to make sure the driver sees me, hoping they’ll slide a bit over to give me room, readying to throw myself to the side if they drift too close.
By the time I reach Pamiers, I don’t have the will power to push on. I feel broken by the pavement. I waiver back and forth in the street then I go to a hotel. It’s only the second time on the trip, but it’s the second time in ten days.
It’s a dumpy roadside place. Nothing special, but I need to download maps and recharge batteries anyway, I tell myself. I wait in line to check in with a group of road workers, tired from their day, still wearing the bright neon colors of their uniforms, and a couple, a man and woman who don’t have luggage and she pays in cash.
In the room, I lay on the mattress and feel the exhaustion of the day. The trip is wearing on me. These thousands of miles are catching up. Every day I lose a bit more than I recover, I feel tired a step sooner. The thoughts sit there like a weight on my chest, laughing at me.
Then I laugh back.
It’s all true. Of course I am worn down, I’ve almost walked the length of Appalachian Trail twice, but it doesn’t matter. Underneath the cracks, under the bruises, below the asphalt-punched surface, I know I have more to give, so much more, more than these roads can ever take. It’s not bluster. It’s not bragging. I just know. I know they cannot win becaue I won’t let them.