Your account of being caught in the hail storm brought back memories from my youth. I was sent by Mom to a small corner grocery to pick up needed items for dinner. Needless to say the paper bag was filled to near capacity. I jumped on my bike juggling the bag on my knee and started toward home. There was clap of thunder and out of nowhere golf ball size hail stones started to pelt me. Not near half way home the paper bag started to deteriorate. I made the decision to abandon my cargo by the road side and get to safety while riding through the stinging hail. I made it to the safety of our front porch and the storm soon abated. I retraced my path and recovered my slightly soggy items in a cardboard box. There was not much damage done. I still remembered the sting of that hail yet today.
My students are still mounting your photographs as wallpaper on the background of the computer monitors. They particularly loved the shaggy tan steer with stupidly indignant look. When we get someone to look closely at that photo they begin to laugh.
Your plan to use the Mississippi River for a modified route is intriguing. Many early settlers drifted down the Mississippi on low bottomed flat boats. What bend or ox bow these early settlers landed on dictated whether they would settle to the east or west. So your planned modification might be more historically correct than you original routing.
We’re still watching your progress intently…
Regards, from the students at Porter County Juvenile Detention
Via con Dios!