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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Friendship, IN to New Albany, IN

10.28.2010 -Right now we are camped in the back of an old country cemetery, but that story will have to wait. Let's go back to Friendship,IN where this saga ended last time...

We had heard that Cross Plains had a place where we could get some breakfast and groceries. So we woke up from the pavilion early and pointed our hiking poles west. We walked about another 6 miles to get to town and we were really hurting by the time we got there. Keep in mind that we had just eaten a whole bag of mini crullers and felt full, but we just didn't have the energy. So we dragged into this little country general store called Best Buy Groceries. It was great! They had the grill going and there were several locals in attendance to give us strange looks as we hobbled our way over to a table. Which was between the toilet paper and the catfish bait, and behind the candy rack. NO JOKE!! The man behind the counter was immediately very friendly and we soon felt right at home. His name was Ray and I think he might have owned the place but I'm not sure. So we picked out some iced teas from the drink coolers and Ray took our order. We both ordered Country Fried Steak with two eggs, hash-browns and toast! We sat there and talked with the fraternity of old men who apparently meet at Best Buy everyday. They were intrigued by what we were doing and offered a lot of "good" suggestions for us. We soon got our food and I think that was probably THE BEST country fried steak I've ever had! It wasn't the fact that we were really needing some real food, it was bonafide good!! I wolfed down mine so fast Kristin asked if I even chewed it! After eating an incredible breakfast we mustered up the courage to stand again. Our joints are really mad at us. Especially our hips. We needed some groceries and made a round through the isles and picked out a few things that didn't need to be cooked. We purchased our food stuffs and crammed them down into our bags. Ray, and the woman there, said that we better take some peanut butter fudge and pumpkin bread with us, and threw it down in our bag! You just never get tired of meeting loving, caring people!! Well, I had let my phone run completely out of battery and was charging it during this whole time, but it hadn't fully charged yet. So we had to stay there for a few more hours! Darn. We were there long enough to have the second shift come in to work. Her name was Dawn. The locals and Ray quickly filled her in on our story and soon everyone was asking lots of questions again. At this point we were trying to find a more direct route to get to Madison. Whenever we mentioned the roads the trail had us going on, everyone in the place started talking at once while shaking/scratching their heads. Apparently the trail had us going on a wild goose chase again so we asked to look at their county map. Here we are standing at the front counter with the map out, and there are about 6 fingers pointing out routes and roads and "hollers." Ray told us about an Amish family he knows about 3 miles down the road that would probably let us camp. And that there was a church just down the road from them also. We kind of settled on going to the church by the Amish house and trying to camp there for the night. After a while we were all just sitting around talking and laughing. So Dawn just came out and said, "if you guys are trying to get to Madison, I get off at 8:00. I'll just take you down there if you want."


Jeff and I thought about it for a little while and decided since we were so worn out and the trail was going to have us going way out of the way to get to Madison, we would just take the ride. We asked if she knew of a church in Madison that had a yard to camp on. She said her sister's church did and she could call and ask her if it would be ok. So we walked to the church down the road a couple miles and sat under their pavilion and called some people back home who we are missing. An older couple drove by and asked us how far we had gone and I asked how they knew we were walking. They said Dawn from the store had told them about us. We told them a little about what we were doing and they asked if we needed anything. I told them not unless one of them knew how to sew, because a couple nights prior I had ripped a hole in my sleeping bag. The lady said she wasn't, but the Amish right next door could probably help us. I thought that was a brilliant idea seeing as how we love the Amish folks! So we went to knock on the door of the Amish family but before we could even get to the porch several of them had come outside to greet us. The lady of the house came outside with a plateful of cookies to offer us. I told her I was hoping that she could help me with the hole in my sleeping bag. She asked to see it so I pulled it out and showed her the quick patch job I did in the tent. It's hard to sew thin nylon in the middle of the night with a straight needle and thread, while wearing a headlamp and trying to keep a gazillion feathers from going everywhere! She said she could put a patch over it and took it inside. While she was doing surgery on my sleeping bag the kids took me to see their many animals. They had goats, pigs, horses, a turkey, which I asked if they were having it for thanksgiving and they looked at me and said, no that's our pet! They also had cats and dogs and over 100 bunny rabbits. I am sure I am forgetting something but I think you get it, they had a bunch of animals!! So after the tour of the zoo we went back to the house and Mrs. Christner, the lady of the house had finished patching the bag. It looked great, I am so grateful for her help. They invited us in for dinner but we were still full from the big meal we had earlier. They invited us in anyway just to visit. She had made some homemade bread which smelled delicious and when she offered us some I could not decline it! She also made us a fresh cup of coffee. I asked if they liked to sing. They said they usually sing in the morning but before I knew it they were all holding songbooks in their hands. I asked if they knew any German songs and they said yes and began to sing it. It was so beautiful to hear the whole family singing together. I got a little tear of joy in my eye. They asked if I wanted to sing with them, I was so happy they asked. I looked through their song book to see if there were any songs I knew. There were a few and we sang them. Meanwhile, Jeff offered to sharpen Mr. Christner's pocket knife. We sang until Dawn came to pick us up. We really enjoyed spending time with the Christner's! I hope someday we will meet again, if not here, then in eternity! Dawn, her son, and her husband drove us to Madison, which was about 16 miles from where they had picked us up. They dropped us off at the North Madison Christian Church and gave us a bag of junk food. Yumm!!

That night was crazy! There were what seemed to be million miles an hour winds and that made for a noisy night. Since we set the tent up in the dark we did not take the time to stake it down. There was hardly any wind when we went to sleep, but soon after we woke up to loud gusts of wind coming up around the tent, blowing off the walls of the church and back over the other side of the tent. So we did not get much sleep that night. We still managed to wake up in a good mood though and went inside the church to thank them for letting us stay the night in their yard. There were several people there and we met the pastors who asked if we would like showers. We definitely needed showers!! So we smiled and told them that would be a blessing. A nice fella by the the name of Robbie took us to the showers and told us they also had laundry. We were so thrilled! Showers and laundry at the same time!! That might sound weird to be so exited about that, but if you have ever hiked a long distance then you know what I'm talking about! As our laundry was waiting to dry, a nice woman came and sat by us and talked to us. She asked if we needed anything. I told her we really were hoping to find a place to rest for a couple of days. She said she knew of a couple in downtown Madison that has taken in bicyclist and hikers before. My eyes lit up, it sounded like the perfect place. She told us they also had went across country on bicycles for a christian organization. She said her and her husband could drop us off downtown if we would like so we got our clean laundry and hopped in her car. It was a good thing we accepted the ride because we had just enough time to go to Dollar General and walk to the post office, where we had a package waiting on us. As soon as we got to the post office it started pouring down rain. It was so windy that the rain was coming down sideways and the gutter at the post office was unable to hold it. It looked like a water fall coming down in front of the post office door and it began seeping into the building. Jeff and I marveled at the weather for a bit and then decided we better put on our rain gear. By the time we got it all on the rain had slowed down to a sprinkle and we headed to the library to get on the computer. We wanted to check out the route the American Discovery Trail wanted to take us and see if we wanted to take a short cut. Shortly after we got to the post office the nice lady from the church who had given us a ride called and said the couple she told us about said to bring us on over. She said she would pick us up in thirty minutes to take us over there. When we got to the Canida's house Mr. Canida was there to greet us. He showed us to a beautiful upstairs quarters with our own room and bathroom and a nice view of the Ohio river. It was very beautiful and felt so peaceful, I could not wait to relax. Mr. Canida immediately started asking if there was anything we needed before he went back to work. He offered us food, showers, laundry and anything else we might need.


So Kristin and I got settled in at the Canida's house and hung our wet gear in the bathroom. When we went back downstairs we met "Doc" Canida. Doc was Mr. Canida's elderly father who was staying with them for a few days after having surgery. He couldn't hear or see very well anymore, but he was the nicest guy in town!! Soon after getting settled in and having some lunch, Kristin said that she would like to take a nap because we hadn't gotten much sleep the night before due to the crazy winds. So as she went upstairs to take a nap, I remembered the vintage music shop we had passed downtown on the way in. I told Mrs. Canida that I would like to walk over to the shop and have a look around. She said that sounded like a good idea and told me how to get there. When I got there I met Andrew. He was the son of the owner and we got to talking about all kinds of stuff. He let me play a bass or two and we shared hunting pictures and stories about big deer. He told me about his times working with the department of wildlife and a slew of other things. It was great to get out and be able to just relax there in the music store for a while. The name of the store is Crawdaddy Music and it has some of the coolest vintage instruments for sale! If you like vintage guitars/drums/basses/Ukuleles?... then you should give them a shout. Super nice people to talk to also! Thanks for letting me hangout in your store Crawdaddy's!


130 E Main St

Madison, IN 47250-3411

(812) 265-6087

After spending a few hours in Crawdaddys, I realised that it was getting close to 6:00pm. Mr. Canida had told us that they were going to be picking up a friend who was in town and we were all going to go eat somewhere. So I went upstairs and woke up Kristin and we all went to pick up their friend. On the way they showed us the route we were going to be taking when we left Madison, and some of the next town over. We were grateful to have a little insight on the upcoming trail for once, and noted some of the more dangerous spots in the road. We picked up their friend and we all headed off to eat dinner. We had Italian at a locally owned restaurant and had a great time talking and laughing. After dinner we took their friend back to the Lodge where she was staying. She was in town to give a seminar to the local dentists over things like infection control and ethics. She also needed some help setting up her brand new projector, and connecting it to her computer. So we went in and made sure that she knew how to hook it all up and turn it all on. She was a lot of fun! I'm sure that all the dentists attending this mandatory seminar were glad that she was so light and bubbly! So after passing myself of as an I.T. expert, Mr. Canida, Kristin, and I went back to the house to get some sleep. The next morning Kristin and I woke up to a quiet house with a note from Mrs. Canida regarding breakfast. We helped ourselves to some cereal and coffee and toast and sat down to eat. After cleaning up from breakfast we had a few things to get done. Kristin wanted to write letters and postcards and I volunteered to go to the laundr-o-mat to wash our sleeping bags. See, that is the reason we went to the post office in the first place. We had to pick up our sleeping bag laundry soap. Edmond Summit Company continues to go above and beyond a mere retail store. Our sleeping bags were really starting to get dirty and smelly. Also, Kristin's bag is stuffed with down, and it was starting to loose some of it's "loft" or insulating properties due to being dirty. So it was time for a washing. The problem is that you can't just throw in some Tide laundry soap and walk away and forget it. It would strip the natural oils off the down feathers and destroy the bag. Down takes a special detergent which is harder to find on the trail then a 5 leafed clover! So we told John back at Edmond Summit Company and he shipped us some THAT DAY!! He and his store have been so amazing on this trip and we can't help but feel like they are just the best ever! So if you people reading this blog are ever in the need for anything outdoorsy, from technical climbing gear to a warm pullover, you should be giving Edmond Summit Company a call. They are a local business who really care about the people who are their customers, and that is so important and so increasingly rare!!

Edmond Summit Co.

100 N Broadway, Suite 118

Edmond, OK 73034

Ok, Kristin took her coffee upstairs to write letters and I grabbed our sleeping bags and took off for the laundry. I had to walk all the way to the other side of downtown to get to the laundry that had two big front-loading washing machines. It took ALL DAY to dry that down bag! You can't dry those bags on high heat or it will melt the thin nylon fabric, so you have to dry them on low heat. Man those feathers get clumped up in there so bad that you have to take it out and knead it like bread dough to break up the clumps. I was doing that every 5-10 minutes!! It took over 5 hours to wash and dry our sleeping bags! They had to be completely dry or else they would mildew and that is NO BUENO! So after paying rent at the laundr-o-mat I headed back through town to the Canida's house. Their son and daughter-in-law had invited us all over to their house for dinner that evening. After helping Mr. Canida and his son hang a few banners for their dental practice's annual "halloween candy buy back," we all headed over for dinner. When we arrived the house smelled like lasagna!! It had just come out of the oven and after a quick tour of their beautiful historic home we all sat down for an amazing home cooked meal! We were able to share our testimony and a few "trail stories" over dinner. And after dessert "Doc" asked Kristin to sing him her favorite song! I gotta tell you that I NEVER get tired of hearing my wife sing!! Every time she sings I just can't help but be reminded of how blessed I am to be her husband. I'm so grateful to God for allowing me to have such a beautiful wife!! I'm sure that Jesus is tired of the choir director of heaven tuggin on his robe, daily beggin Him to bring her home already!! I'm just glad He takes pity on me and lets her stay down here on this rock!! I can't tell you how generous and caring all of the Canidas were to us! They truly are wonderful, loving people, and we will forever keep them dear to our hearts and in our prayers. We Love you guys!!


When we left the Canida's we walked down the main street of Madison with all the old buildings. On the edge of downtown I saw a vets office and low and behold they had a litter of kittens in the window. I ran inside to ooh and ahh at them and asked if I could pick one up. The runt was naturally the most social of the three. I picked her up and pet her till my heart was content and knowing I couldn't stuff one in my backpack, although for a second I went over in my mind how that might be possible, I put her back with the others in the cage and we headed back down IN62. We meandered around the winding highway till we came to Hanover college, where the trail took us to walk up a long winding road where we got a beautiful view of some waterfalls and cliffs and things. When we got to the campus we were pretty hungry so we decided since there was probably not a good place in town to build a fire we would just eat at a restaurant. So we stopped at the first one we saw. Mr. Canida had told us of some property he owned just a few miles passed Hanover so we headed there and we finally reached it just a little before dark. When we found the entrance to it we thought, "Oh my I hope it doesn't all look like this!" It was overgrown and thorny and not an ideal place for our tent. We walked through thorns, Jeff got hung up by a feisty limb, we chopped down vines and sticks till we got to a corn field. The corn stalks would be too rough for our tent as well so we walked back to the road and by that time it was dark and we were exhausted. Jeff told me that the property went all the way to the cemetery. So I said we would just have to walk to the cemetery and camp there. We really had no other choice. So that is what we did. We slept on top of dead people that night. Some of them had been there since 1815. So I was pretty sure they were good and dead. Once we got into our tent I was ok but when I woke up in the middle of the night I had to make myself not think about where we were because it kinda creeped me out. I slept pretty well though! Goes to show you we can call anywhere home these days!! We had slept in pretty late that morning. I think it was 11 when we finally got started walking. We made it 10 or so miles down the road none the less. That night we knocked on a couple doors to ask if we could camp somewhere but we were not successful so we just walked into a hayfield and tucked up under some trees by a creek. It looked fairly safe. The next morning we woke up to tons of frost on the ground, on our tent, and because we forgot to move our Crocs, they were all frosted over as well. We got packed up from there pretty early because we did not want to get in trouble in case the owner of the hayfield would not approve of us camping there. We walked about 5-6 miles and then kept passing all these cars and they were mostly Kentucky liscence plates. We wondered what was going on and then we got to a line of cars that were backed up to enter in the boyscout camp. We found out that they were putting on a haunted forest and apparently advertized very well because there were hundreds of cars lined up for this thing. As we were passing all this commotion I got a phone call from a new friend of ours that found us on the web. He is a beautiful child of God who has forsaken all things of this world and has also had some amazing experiences following the truth that IS Yeshua! We had some good converstaion and hopefully when we get farther west we can meet him face to face, if that is the Father's will. We sat down on a retaining wall for a few minutes to take a break and a police officer pulled up to us and asked what we were doing. We told him we were walking across the country and he could come talk to us if he wanted because he was holding up traffic. So he turned his car around and just pulled up back in the middle of the street and talked to us for a bit. We found out that we were actually just a couple miles from a town. So after exchanging some words with the officer we headed to Charlestown IN. As we were coming into town Jeff caught his foot in a hole and twisted his ankle and fell over. He looked to be in quite a bit of pain so I threw off my backpack and leaned over to make sure he was ok. We took off his shoe and I prayed that God would not let it be broken. He said it felt like he popped something and it was on the top of his foot. After a few minutes he decided it was just a tendon or something and he would be ok. So we got up and walked a couple more blocks. I was praying that if there was one person that in this town that could find favor with us that God would let us meet that person. Then we got to a 3 way stop and were not sure which way to go to the main part of town and there just so happened to be a man outside in his yard and so I walked up to him and asked him where the eating joints were. After just a couple minutes of talking to him we were putting our backpacks in his backyard and he was driving us to town! He said we could camp in his backyard and he would drop us off at the grocery store. I was so thankful the Lord answered our prayers quickly. We ate some Taco Bell, stopped by the grocery store and walked back to the nice man's house to meet his wife. There names were Ron and Sherry. They had actually only been married for a couple weeks. When we got back to the house they said we could take showers. That was so awesome of them to offer such a wonderful thing!!! I really needed a shower. This line seems familiar, I think I have typed it before! After showers we hung out with them for a while and they offered to take us to town to Dick's sporting goods where we were heading towards anyway. We needed to get a hydro lock for my camel back so when I forget to remove it from my backpack at night I won't wake up with big puddles! (AGAIN!!) On the way home someone mentioned iceream and they said there was a Graeter's in town. My eyes got really big and I said, "oooohh can we go there?!!" So we were in the car before we knew it and at Graeter's with icecream in our hands! I tried a different flavor this time. It was something like cocunut almond fudge. It was delish!! Ron and Sherry offered to let us sleep in their spare bedroom. We had to kick the dog out of it though because that was her room. I don't think she was too happy about it because when we woke up the next morning if that dog was not in a kennel I don't think I would have a leg left! She was apparently not too fond of women. She loved Jeff, she just crawled right up in his lap and started licking him. But me, she just snarled at. When we walked back to their house from the grocery store we noticed a little church called "House of Prayer" that we though we would stop by for church since it was Sunday. So we thanked Ron and Sherry for thier hospitality and headed to church. They were having sunday school first and we studied 1 John. It was wonderful. Then as service was about to start the band was warming up and they asked if I wanted to lead singing. I guess they just knew I was a singer! They were also missing a bass player so of course Jeff came up and played! It was a blessing for us both!! After church one of the pastors said he lived in New Albany and he could give us a ride so we wouldn't have to walk on the busy highway. We said yes to the offer. We were really not looking forward to the highway walking. The pastor's name was Donnie and him and his wife took us to lunch and then insisted on putting us in a hotel room. They were such generous people. They picked us up a couple hours later so we could go to the evening service with them. On the way there we stopped at the Jeffery's place, some members of the church. They had a home where elderly people lived so they would not have to go to a nursing home. Donnie wanted to go by and see one of the women who lived there who used to go to the church. She was the sweetest little old lady. I sang her a song and we all prayed with her for her upcoming surgery. It was a very beautiful moment! I got teary eyed and so did she. Jeff wrote down our names for her because she wanted to pray for us. She thought Jeff was handsome and told him he should shave off his beard so people could see how handsome he is! I agree, you should see him these days. His beard is getting pretty crazy!! Well after the church service Donnie's son, who is just as generous as his dad took us to eat some dinner. Him and his wife were very lovely people. She is expecting a baby in just a couple weeks from now. I pray the Lord blesses them and their new baby and gives her a smooth delivery!
So we slept well in a nice bed and now we are finally finished with this blog. For those who are wanting us to blog more often (you know who you are!!), we are sorry it took so long. It is hard to type even though we got an iphone so we could do it more often. It is just a never ending process and by the end of the day we are so tired that it is hard to get a lot typed. We are getting really tired and praying that God would show us soon where to spend the winter. I am getting homesick but we don't think we are supposed to get off the trail. We are just trusting the Lord to keep us going strong until we get to the place we need to be. Please be in prayer with us about our wintering place.
Thank you to all of the wonderful brothers and sisters we have met in the last week! We have been so blessed by your kindness. We just pray that the Lord will bless you beyond imagination! We send our love to you all and pray that God will give you peace and grace and make you light in this dark and dying world! Remember to keep you mind on things above.

We love you all with the love of the Lord!

The Vandagriffs


  1. If you guys decide to get off the trail for winter and come to Norman for a sabbatical, it would be awesome!! But, God's will be done, there...

  2. You could even stay with us some--no joke!!!