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June 15 , 1981 Monday From Gonzo!s Appalachian Trail journal

Got up to eat breakfast, and noticed I still had a little back problem. Had hash browns, cheese omlet, and OJ. We waited for the bus to go part way into town. Chuck, Charlie, and I went in again. Chuck convinced us to stop at the Elms Restaurant so he could take a whiz, but he ended up ordering breakfast too. I told the waitress I didn’t want anything because I had no money, but she told me to order anyway. I got a free order of biscuits and a glass of milk. Very nice jesture. While we were sitting there, she told us the authorities had captured the killers of the two people. (This was not exactly true, but in fact a note had been discovered that lead to the identification of the killer as Randall Lee Smith. The incriminating note was found in his abandoned pickup truck in Myrtle Beach South Carolina on June 11, 1981. He was still at large, but now we were somewhat relieved since we thought he had been caught)

A new idea had entered into my brain – we went to the shopping center where White’s supermarket was located and I bought some tape, string and rings to make a hammock. If I could not find a hammock, I was going to make one. We also stopped at the bank, and I reimbursed Chuck for what I had borrowed after I got my $100. We had lunch at the local Pizza Hut, where I consumed a great amount of food at their lunch buffet. Later we stopped at BJ’s for a beer for Chuck, and while drinking, played a pinball game that was like the 10 cent money winning game I had seen back in Albers, Illinois at the Diamond. Chuck won 8 games (80 cent equivalent), but used them up. Upon leaving for Nolichucky, we walked for a while, found some shade and started hitching. A cab slowed to stop and we thought he was going to ask us to get in and pay, but he asked us where the AT was because the two people in the car behind him were headed there. We approached the car behind and told the two people that if they took us along we could show them right where to park and everything. They took us directly there. (Apparently, knowledge about the A.T. was not common during this era - even in a trail side town.)

Had so much to eat at Pizza Hut while we waited for our laundry that I didn’t even eat supper except for 2 slices of summer sausage. Paid for my room tonight and took a shower. While at the post office this afternoon, I sent a package home, and a letter to Constance that covered three days. During much of the afternoon, I began to construct the hammock, but the string was not strong enough and broke upon my first attempt at lounging. I found myself sprawled out on the ground, and just had to laugh. Guess I’ll just have to rough it. All in all I spent about $34 at Erwin. Really quite a lot, but it was fun and good food. Got a coke from John Smart. Bruce and Pat decided to move on today to the next shelter just up the trail a bit. I probably should have gone too. It would have saved me some money, but the draw of another night of sleep on a mattress was very inviting. But in reality, three days in a town is just too long if you want to get to Maine.

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1981