The Magic Lean-to, or How I learned to love a dirt floor

We left our lunch break with Chris and walked off into the rain. Up to that point, we had been very fortunate with weather on this walk. Every time the rain came down, we had ended up hosted somewhere or off the road at just the right time. We could have waited out the rain, but we decided that we had had it easy enough and needed to make the miles. It was due time for us to get a little wet.

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I had watched the radar all day, and saw some gnarly weather coming our way, but the worst of it seemed to split north and south of where we walked. We got wet, but the really nasty stuff missed our path. we managed to find a real beauty in seeing the rain and wind move across the open fields, and marveled at the unique color palette. Even with heavy rain, we made another 8 miles before deciding to find a place to call home for the night.

Out in the farming flatlands, the houses spread out significantly. We approached one house, but the windows were dark and nobody was home. We were only getting colder and wetter, so we hustled to the next property. Kait knocked on the door, and a sweet old lady answered. She said we could take shelter in her barn, or in the lean-to out back. Curious, we walked around to the lean-to and found the most magical place we could have imagined.

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The roof was wide and sloped, and the ground beneath was hard-packed, dry, and earthen. It was sheltered on the windward side, and the rest opened up to trees and grassy fields bathed in the soft late evening cloudlight. We giggled at our amazing luck as we stripped off our wet clothes and hung them up to dry. Under the cover of the sloped roof, we dried the dogs, cooked a hot dinner, and settled in for a dry night’s sleep.

The next morning, we woke to damp clothes and damp roads. On our way into Lafayette, we stopped to call ahead to line up therapy visits and press conections. The skies cleared as we walked.

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The walk into Lafayette was lined with strip malls and car dealerships – and with them, the ever present absence of sidewalks. We really hate walking past malls – almost as much as the drivers rushing to buy running tights and scented candles hate having to slow down for a baby stroller in their turning lane.

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We stayed with couchsurfer Carli who offered us two nights in her home. She took us to a local dive called D.T. Kirby’s for a pint and a burger, and we were blown away by the food. I’m a sucker for a good slaw burger, and they did not disappoint. Also – french fries. I wish I could explain how good they were. Go to Lafayette and find this place and eat there.

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The next day, we walked to a children’s home for teenage girls, part of the Group Homes for Children organization. There used to be four houses in the city, but currently there is only one in operation. The house is overseen by husband and wife team Cate and Tim, who have lived there for four years. Along with caring for their young son Isaiah, they are responsible for three girls. We hung out in the front porch and talked about dogs, the walk, art, and the girls’ plans for their future.

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Max and I wandered to the little playground for a good ol’ romp.

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After our visit, we soaked up Lafayette’s unique architecture on our way to the bike shop. We met up with Carli for lunch at the Lafayette Brewing Company, and let the dogs woo strangers on the sidewalk.

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Carli is a passionate yoga instructor, and offered to lead us through some much-needed sun salutations in her backyard. Apparently, we haven’t been stretching enough.

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We knocked out laundry and a grocery run before hitting the sack. The next morning, we met with a local reporter named Krista. Her passion for telling our story got us pumped up, and she tailed us in the beautiful weather to get good shots. Thanks for the great coverage, Krista.

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We camped in a kind couple’s backyard outside of Pine Village, and the next morning woke up to our last day in Indiana. We were lucky to have another beautiful day of weather.

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best porch art award

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Just a few miles from the Illinois border, we stopped in some shade for a water break. A woman named Julie drove by and hopped out to tell us she had seen us on the news. She invited us to take our break in her house, which was right across the street. We were joined by her son, Kerrick, for spirited conversation about school, studying abroad, science fiction, and faith. Julie and Kerrick were gracious hosts, the kind of people that we always feel effortlessly comfortable with. They were our final stop in Indiana, and as the sun started to drop we left their house to cross into a new state.

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It’s been real, Indiana, but the Land of Lincoln is calling.

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3 Responses to The Magic Lean-to, or How I learned to love a dirt floor

  1. Amy Kratz says:

    I wake up and enjoy reading your great posts. I am happy that you are all safe and your journey spectacular. I am still following you around from our first meeting in Lewes, DE. Happy wandering to you both. Keep up the wonderful posts I love them.

  2. Gail Pigion says:

    Me too. Love the posts. Happy trails : ) Love the photography…..

  3. Love the photos! Glad you found such a nice shelter from the rain. 🙂

    Stay safe out there! And keep the photos coming!

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