8

I don’t sleep well when I camp. Exhausted as I may be I am forever tossing and turning. It’s hard when one is accustomed to sleeping on a mattress that is deeper than just a couple inches. As a result of this the following day of a mere 35 miles to Charlotte turned into a slog, which it should not have been.

I spent five days in Charlotte. Most of those days it rained. One of those days was Christmas. Not a bad way to spend one’s Christmas, alone in a house taking care of some chickens.

I had thought that I would be spending a few nights at a friend’s house, but that was not to be. I arrived in Charlotte around 3:30 only to be notified that a) I could not stop by until 8 pm and, b) I was only kind of welcome for that night. After sending numerous emergency couch requests out I heard back from someone who, while they weren’t there, had a friend staying overnight a couple evenings to take care of the chickens in the backyard, and that he was okay with me crashing there. This was a God send if ever there was one. This friend of hers, Dean, who I now call a friend, and I got along really well. We got along so well in fact that he vouched for me to Charlotte (yes, her name is the name of the city she lives in) so that I could stay in the house for another couple of days, two of which would be Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Splendid. I just had to look after the chickens which was no problem, in fact, it was a delight. The experience of having watched over them has convinced me that I should like to own a few if I ever settle down in a place on a little land.

Most of my time in Charlotte was spent relaxing, writing, getting things in order for the next leg of the trip, having my bicycle looked at and determining that I might need to make some changes down the road (perhaps a premonition of what was to come), and the aforementioned chickens which I had to chase down and herd back to the yard twice on Christmas Day because the gate got left open the previous night. Herding chickens is surprisingly easy though. Just walk behind them in the direction you want them to go. The trickier part is getting them out of a neighbor’s fenced in yard because they’re often unwilling to fly (probably because they don’t fly well at all). A chicken’s flight is something like a leap with a lot of chaotic fluttering. It’s a bit comedic because watching them one gets the sense that they don’t really know what they’re doing, where they’re going, and if they’ll get there. This explains why you really only need a yard with a waist-high fence to keep them; they prefer to be on the ground foraging for food.

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