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Indiana

The Crossroads of America, apparently, and perhaps our first real Mid-Western state. We have been warned to expect corn.

Arriving in Indiana. The week or so that we have spent here has been fantastic. Already we have met some memorable people. Indiana has also proved itself to be the waviest state of the trip so far with around a 50% wave ratio.Corn fields and power stations have been a recurring feature of the landscapes that we have encountered on the boards of the Ohio River through Indiana.We have never been too far from the Fiddy. The short stretches where we walk on it are never our favourites.Janets Diner, Dillsboro, featuring delicious homecooking (some days.)Evening falls in Dillsboro as we frantically try and find the ball field (we had been given the all-clear to pitch up there by the chief of police) in order to set up the tents before the light disappears completely.Entering Friendship, Indiana, home of the National Muzzle Loading Championships.Leaving Frienship, Indiana, top place.l-r. Anne, Britten, Elmo, Stu. Anne practically dragged us off the street in order to feed us. A hungry walkingthestates team put up limited resistance.Chester and Dave were fascinating guys. Dave owned the former grain store, now an antiques emporium. We spent a great hour interviewing them for our film. All the time Dave was waving. He had an even higher wave ratio from passing cars than sweaty English hikers with over-sized bag.Pete Debuque, aka Papa Bear, and Albert Oriole Racecal Hoffman. We spent an idyllic few days with Pete, his wife Tammy and their adopted daughter Gladice.
The mornings around Madison Indiana were misty and cool. It felt like the first signs that Autumn is around the corner. The cooler weather comes as a relief when you travel with your house on your back.The morning mist smoothes the shapes and mellows the waxing colours of September. Its a magical time to get out on the road.The second time in a month that we have been reported as suspicious. We heard the reaction to our story from the cars radio, an astonished "They havent got a car?!?"The areas of Indiana that we have walked through so far have been very rural. This is a hardware store/gas station selling a choice of road or farm diesel.Praire Farmer Protective Union signage. Although we are still in rolling hills for as long as we follow the course of the Ohio River it is becoming more apparent that we are coming into the Mid-West.Roy Gentry, song-writer. It was a privilege and a pleasure to meet Roy and to talk and play music with him. Roy has an encyclopedic knowledge of Americana music and plays great finger-picking blues guitar.We spent a fantastic evening on Petes back porch playing music into the evening. For a fan of Americana music it was a memorable experience to sit and play guitar with these guys.Payne Hollow was built in the 50s on the banks of the Ohio River by the writer and musician, Harlan Hubbard. It is a mile from the nearest road, elctricity or telephone. Harlans approach to Payne Hollow and to life was to shun the use of mechanised machinery.Harlan Hubbard had moored at Payne Hollow on the 4-year trip that he took with his wife Anna on a shanty boat down the Ohio River. They later returned to the spot after a nationwide search in order to settle down and build a place where they could live to their principles of living without electricity or mechanisation.Paul Hassfurder worked with and for the Hubbards until Harlans death in 1988. Harlan left Payne Hollow to Paul in his will who has looked after the place since that time with the same principles that it was founded.
Paul is also an artist and musician in his own right and Payne Hollow has evolved through Pauls efforts. In every corner of the gardens is something to capture the imagination.While Stuart returned to town to write the journal I stayed at Payne Hollow to take pictures and to interview Paul for the film. It was one of my favourite days of the trip so far.The story of the Hubbards, Payne Hollow itself and spending time with Paul were inspiring in equal measures. I hope that I learned from the self-reliance and adherence to ones principles that are inherent to this place. People learn today that to get things you go to the shop and buy them. Payne Hollow teaches you that this does not need to be so.Everywhere there were items, many of them washed up from the river, that were waiting to be turned into something else, either ornamental or practical. I could have wandered round for hours. Leaving I felt thoroughly refreshed.Paul and Tootsie enjoying the afternoon, overlooking the garden looking down to the river.On the way home form Payne Hollow I met Tootsies niece Tasha, a.k.a.  Queen Victoria. She loved all things Queen Victoria (and Elvis.) She was thrilled to meet me as I was from England. I introduced myself as one of her loyal subjects and it was a pleasure that Tasha was excited to meet me.Greensburgs claim to fame is that it has a tree growing out of the roof of its courthouse. We gazed in awe.Roy and Paul play on Petes front steps.Tootsie joins in.
Roy talks with Stuart.Mike Nicolai organised the Junction Trail Festival which we spoke at and spent most of the weekend driving round in his $19.95 chariot.We spent a great weekend in Milford with Suzanne Stagg. She was a lot of fun to be around.At Suzannes we spent a great evening with Vince and Karen eating huge steaks and drinking Suzannes family bourbon.Connie Myers presents Andy Skurka with the innaugural Trail Festival award (walkingthestates was robbed!) We stayed with Connie in Richmondale, Ohio earlier in our walk. She is the Fairy Godmother of long-distance hiking in Ohio and has put up tens of hikers at her house over the years. She is a real star and it was good to see her again.Many dogs follow us as we walk down the  smaller country roads; we call them all Barry. This Barry was very keen and followed us for 5 miles while we were slackpacking near Madison and showed no inclination of making his own way back. When we got picked up we dropped him off where he came from. His family will have no idea of his adventure that day.In New Albany Darryl James, pastor at the local Baptist Church stopped us and invited us in out of the rain. Darryl squeezed as much generosity as he possibly could into the short time that he had before an appointment, including buying us lunch. He certainly practiced what he preached.In Buchanon we camped at the farm of the Haubers and bumped around the farm with their son Ben on their newly acquired golf cart.Eileen and Ben Hauber.One of a series of photographs taken at the first public performance of the Walkingthestates Balletic Suite at the Rustic Frog, New Albany.
One of a series of photographs taken at the first public performance of the Walkingthestates Balletic Suite at the Rustic Frog, New Albany.Every Saturday I try and make sure that we are in a reasonable sized town so that I can lead a parade celebrating 7 years of the blue smartie. So far I have been the lone participant in each parade. However, I am not dispirited.Crossing the Iron Bridge. The area in the foreground where the support rail disappears was where I lost my nerve, choosing instead to swim across.Staurt elected to continue across the bridge. This self-portrait when he had made it across is the result.Early morning sun over hay bales. Camping in a farm field.Indiana home and truck.Mid-September has brought fantastic clear blue skies and cooler temperatures. Perfect walking weather.St Meinrads was a beautiful, tranquil place to rest up. The monks at the monastery were very kind. We also received the hospitality of Treye and Karen and spent a great evening chatting with them.We met Lou in Santa Claus and visited her home where we met her 19 parrots.
Stu, parrot.Dave, alpaca.A fascinating evening with Lou, Ryan, Hunter and their many animals.Saluting Santa. 20 ft high year-round guardian of the proud citizens of Santa Claus.Trailor etiquette. Keep out, smile.Storms coming. Indiana barn.Strangely sometimes, after a days walking the best way to wind down is to head for a walk (35lb lighter and alone.) While Stuart wrote his journal in the Knob Hill Tavern, Newburgh, I headed back to the Ohio just in time to miss a speactaular sunset over the river.John rescued us from darts and bad beer in the Crickets Bar in Newburgh and gave us more beer, a place to camp and a fire. Happy Days.We were given the name of Nick Fuelling, of Top Spot Outdoors to contact when we reached Evansville. We called at the store and were directed to the parking lot where we were told Nick liked to spend the working day sleeping in a cupboard in the back of his truck in definace of his boss, JD. We were frightened to wake him but he seemed OK, at first.Evansville on the Ohio. Again, just in time to miss a spectacular sunset.
Team Evansville - JD, Amy, SH, Madison, Judy, Melissa.Just 4 Kicks. Rehearsing in the basement nextdoor to JD and Melissas. Tight.Madison Mckinney, master magician, mistress of rhythm and lead cheer.Dave Lions, Dave Toolan. Legends of the radio media meet.We spent about 3 hours in the Cross-Eyed Cricket eating fine breakfast, chatting with the journalist from the local paper and, most importantly, avoiding the rain.Evansville. We love it here. Melissa, Nick, Brandon, Ed, Josh, JD. Fine, fine people.    

E-mail: stu@walkingthestates.com and dave@walkingthestates.com | Phone: (00 1) 301 538 0308