WALKING ROUTE 66

Weirdos Are My Favorite People

It takes one to know one.

Rasheed Hooda
Oct 26 · 6 min read
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The sun setting on my dad’s !00th birthday. © Rasheed Hooda

Four years ago, I walked Route 66 — from Chicago to Santa Monica and blogged about it daily. Now, I am reflecting on the lessons learned along the way. (Read from the start)

It would have been dad’s 100th birthday had he been still with us. Did he reach out from the other side last night to assure me that I am taken care of, no matter what? I hadn’t thought of it until now.

I woke up and headed for the restaurant I had picked out on the GPS the night before. The plan was to have breakfast and then replace the inner tube on the front tire. I had walked with a flat for two days because I was trying to avoid it. I had never done it before, which meant that I would be stretching my comfort zone, not my favorite activity.

It was a tiny restaurant that couldn’t accommodate my stroller, and there was no way for me to leave it outside while keeping an eye on it. So I went to the donut shop across the street.

It was run by a couple that I always referred to as Oriental people. I know it is not PC these days, but they were the nicest people. I got some coffee and a couple of donuts and sat down to charge the phone and procrastinate, changing the tire as long as I can.

While I was there, high school kids shuffled through to get their morning fix on the way to school. I decided to update my blog—anything to avoid changing the tire. Parents with little kids stopped by to get some donuts. I made them balloon animals. There was a steady stream, and it kept me busy, and as it always happens, I give away the balloons, and people give away money.

The shop owners were impressed. They packed me a few donuts for the road. You should have seen the lady’s face when I made her a teddy bear holding a flower — Priceless. I say that I make balloons for kids of all ages.

It was almost 10 AM, and I couldn’t procrastinate any longer. It took me 45 minutes, but I managed to figure out how to do it. I was so proud of myself. Everything you need is always accessible to you. All you need to do is grow into receiving it.

David Freeze had given me some maps that showed bicycle routes and places of interest. The map showed that there was a rest stop 18 miles away. I was ready to rock and roll.

A couple of hours into the walk, I was gifted with the most beautiful sight I had ever beheld. Thousands and I do mean literally thousands of birds flying in unison, creating all manners of beautiful formation. Utterly breathtaking. Another gift from Dearly Departed Dad on his birthday?

I created a Facebook Live for the first time. I tried to locate it but didn’t succeed today. I’ll keep looking and post a story when I find it.

I must have gone maybe a hundred paces when I felt a drag. Looking down, I noticed one of the rear wheels had gone flat. My initial reaction was, “Really?” But then I remembered all the synchronicity and coincidences I have experienced due to unforeseen events and circumstances; I was grateful for this, not knowing what gifts it bore.

I found three punctures in my self-repairing tube. I patched two of them, and the third one repaired itself in the meanwhile. I decided on the spot. This is the last time I am getting a flat. And gave thanks for that reality to come about. I had been afraid of flats, and they didn’t disappoint me. It was time to bid them farewell.

As I neared my planned destination, I remembered that God has picked out a place for every night. I was excited when I saw some signs indicating there was a truck stop ahead. My pace quickened, and as I came to an opening among the trees, I heard someone say something behind me. I turned around to see a man standing in front of a shack looking at me.

“What the hell you got in that thing, dude?” He asked.

I told him about my trip and that I was carrying my supplies in it instead of carrying them on my back. He introduced himself as Lucky and asked if I was hungry or needed something to eat. I told him I was more interested in finding a patch of grass where I can unfurl my sleeping bag for the night. He said, “Heck, you could use the lower bunk of my bed.”

How does it get any better than this?
What else is possible?

He stopped at the door, put his palms together in a Namaste pose, and said,
“It’s okay; I told him he could stay here for the night. You don’t have to worry.”

There was nobody around or in the house. “I had to let my friend know that you’re staying here, and it’s okay.”

I thought, “If you say so, dude.”

On a “table” by the entrance, in plain view, was an unsheathed eighteen-inch blade. He said he was going to go to the main house and get me something to eat and see if it would be okay with his sister and brother-in-law for me to freshen up later.

I looked around the shack. There was a tattered bunk bed; the lower bunk was a couch with missing legs. There was another “table” with all sorts of paraphernalia, including a crossbow. There was a chair. Otherwise, nothing unusual about the place.

Somehow, I was more at ease than I found myself a couple of nights earlier when I encountered a cultist for a host.

He came back with a couple of bologna sandwiches and an orange soda. We talked as I ate. He got really excited when he learned that I could play chess. He took out his custom made glass chessboard, which was only 6x6 squares, and we had to pretend the rest of it as if it existed also.

While we talked and played, from time to time, he would look elsewhere and say something to his friend that I couldn’t see. He was having two conversations simultaneously. The chess game only lasted about ten minutes before he lost interest and surrendered his King.

I’d say I feel lucky to have met Lucky that day. I slept like a baby.

As I think back and ponder.

It is strange how sometimes you meet people and feel at ease with them when all the outer appearances say otherwise. You meet other people with whom you don’t feel at ease, even though nothing seems to the point that way.

When you learn to trust yourself and your inner guides, you know when you need to put your guard up and when not to worry. That was one of my goals for undertaking this journey; to take my trust in myself and God to the next level.

Day 98: Stretching the Comfort Zone (Original blog post).

Just for fun.

Watch it on YouTube.
El Reno to Calumet, OK Walking Route 66
El Reno to Calumet, OK Walking Route 66
Screenshot of GoogleMaps by the author.

I invite you to tag along if you’re up to it. I am mentioning a few friends who may be interested in it. If you are tagged but don’t want to read my stories daily, let me know in the comments, and I will remove your name moving forward. If you are reading this and aren’t included in the list below, but you’d like to come along, let me know so that I can add you.

Michele Amy Trista Henery Timothy Tim P.G. Sherry Saloni Indra B. A. Linda Sharon Tree Linda Britni Desiree Elisabeth Simona Kristin Helen Julia Chris Rosennab Tom Truenorth Agnes Aurora LauraRaduenz Catherine Joe Stuart Gurpreet BFoundAPen Margie Bob NaNa’sworld Wolfie Rebecca Susannah Paul

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Graphic created by Rasheed Hooda using Canva

Will you buy me some chai?

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Rasheed Hooda

Written by

Self-proclaimed weirdo. Jack of Many Trades, Master of Some. Author, Speaker, Photographer. He walked on Route 66 Chicago to L.A. https://ko-fi.com/misterweirdo

Freedom Lifestyle

Do what you need to do what you want.

Rasheed Hooda

Written by

Self-proclaimed weirdo. Jack of Many Trades, Master of Some. Author, Speaker, Photographer. He walked on Route 66 Chicago to L.A. https://ko-fi.com/misterweirdo

Freedom Lifestyle

Do what you need to do what you want.

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