Sunday, July 12, 2009


I'm getting ready for some emptiness, so I made what I could of Dubuque. For the first time since I left for this trip, I went to bars. Every night. I went to a gay wedding reception and cut myself by far the biggest piece of cake of anyone there, which got me noticed (I knew pretty much everybody by the time I left). I then scoured for someone as far from my views as possible and started a conversation about politics, which I survived. A huge thanks to Hannah and her roommate Jack; not only did I live in their apartment, but they showed me where to go. And Hannah took me along the Mississippi riverfront and pointed out pretty much everything within eyeshot.

As I rode through the east, I constantly attempted to obtain a solar panel for my phone. Everywhere, people told me they don't carry them, and for some reason, the response to that particular request was always particularly rude. By Chicago, I was completely sick of it, so I did what Shaya had recommended back in Indiana and went online and got a solar panel drop-shipped to Iowa. But the manufacturer had been so afraid of damaging a cell phone that the panel is extremely finicky, and as soon as it senses a slight change in current or voltage, it stops charging. And when I plug my phone in, the screen automatically goes on, which means that once it goes back off 15 seconds later, the charging stops. And if I turn the phone off first, it charges until it begins displaying that it's charging, at which point the charging stops. I have yet to test whether I can talk on it and keep the flow of electricity constant enough to keep it charging in that situation. But it may well be that I'll need to find work for a day to cover the cost of the solar panel, but that I won't be able to use it. That also means that on the very loneliest part of my trek, my phone will have to be kept off.

Those people who read this who know me personally should feel encouraged to text me any random thing they feel like, anytime; I'll pick up the texts whenever I turn on my phone and have signal, and will likely respond. (Calls will likely not be returned because of battery considerations; I need to still be able to check weather forecasts.) I don't know quite how bad it will get, but don't be surprised if in a later post I make my phone number public.

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