I know, I know. I’ve been lazy with these. But hey, I’ve been busy getting the thing ready for print! The release date has been set for December 17th, 2014. A few lucky people will get a free pre-release e-copy, but that’s still a week or so in the future as well 😉
The chapter Journey South begins with our departure from Heidelberg, Germany. Johannes, the guy we’d stayed with there, had told us about a hitchhiking spot along the highway. It was a gas station near and onramp where we could supposedly find a ride easily. We ended up walking for miles down this bike path, and finally ended up in a little tunnel. This is a snippet from towards the beginning of the chapter, and the beginning of several chapters cataloging our long and sometimes miserable journey from Germany to Rome, Italy:
…It was at this point, right next to the highway with no gas station in sight, that we started to think we had somehow ended up in the wrong place. When Aaron caught up with us, resting in the shade of the tunnel, it was clear that he had come to the same conclusion.
We decided to continue walking on the bike path, which took a little bridge over the highway and ended in what looked like an American military base on the other side. There were still plenty of these scattered throughout Germany; and in fact my Father was stationed at one during the 70s. Interestingly enough, I was the fourth generation of Edwards men to visit Germany—my great grandfather in World War One had came here (and was subsequently shot in combat), then my grandfather in World War Two, my dad when he was in the service, and now myself; as an international homeless person. Luckily when my dad and I had visited the country (both in our own respective times) we weren’t being shot at. Well at least I hadn’t been shot at so far…
Once we’d reached the other side of the highway, we plotted course towards the base, where we hoped one of our fellow Americans could point us in the right direction. We got within about 50 yards of the base when my pants immediately filled with poop.
A chubby soldier standing at the gate lifted up an M-16 and pointed it at us—“STOP! Stop where you are, NOW!”
I almost coughed up my testicles as they receded all the way up into my chest cavity. “Uhhh, we’re Americans! Please don’t fuckin’ shoot us, man!”
“BACK AWAY FROM THE PERIMETER!”
“Listen buddy, we just need directions fo—”
“BACK AWAY FROM THE PERIMETER!”
“Okay man we’re leaving, we’re leaving.”
This guy was like “Farve” from the movie Super Troopers. You could tell he was just so excited for something to happen to him, finally. Oh well… thanks for nothing, U.S. Army.
We turned around and walked back over to the tunnel. It was starting to get dark, which is no bueno when it comes to hitchhiking. It’s hard enough getting picked up when you’re three bearded, dirty-looking guys on the side of the road. It’s impossible when you’re doing that in the dark.
“Looks like this is where we’re sleeping tonight,” Aaron said.
That night was ridiculous. I had uttered an inherently stupid phrase repeatedly before I left the states when all my friends would ask if we would have enough money to make it: “I’ll sleep under a bridge, I don’t give a shit!”.
Here I was, months later, sleeping bag laid out on the cold asphalt of a bike path tunnel, thinking you stupid motherfucker. Turns out I do give a shit, and let me tell you, sleeping in a tunnel sucks. It was laughably absurd, actually. We were sleeping along one wall, and people were riding their bikes along the other, all night long. I would wake up to a blinding bicycle light and a ding ding! as they pedaled past. As if it couldn’t get any worse, then came a massive thunderstorm. Fuck me hard. I slept like shit. I think we all did.
We woke up early as hell since none of us were really sleeping anyway. It was unanimously decided that the fabled gas station Johannes had shown us might as well have been in Ethiopia, because we had not a goddamned clue where we were or where it was supposed to be at this point. So, we just headed to the onramp to try our usual technique for catching rides.
We were tired… we were grumpy… but still we smiled. I played guitar and Corey held up the sign, dancing around. Aaron started making some sandwiches behind us. I started noticing some very weird stares from the drivers as they sped by us. What the hell is going on? I wondered…
I looked over my shoulder to see Aaron standing there sharpening his knife.
“Uhhh Aaron, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that there is no way in hell anyone’s going to pick us up if you’re standing back there sharpening a killing instrument.” I said.
Corey looked back and immediately bent over with laughter. “Aaron, you’ve got to be kidding me.”
He hadn’t even thought about it. We all three laughed for a good while at that one, just imagining driving down the autobahn and seeing three strange guys standing there; two waving and one of them slowly sharpening a knife.
Aaron put away the knife, but still no one was stopping. No one was even waving or really acknowledging our existence at all. We finally realized that since it was 8 o-clock in the morning, all of these people were probably on their way to work. You know which kind of people were usually picking us up so far? Hippies. You know who probably doesn’t have a job? Hippies. We realized it wasn’t going to happen… not right then and there, anyways.
We walked along the highway until we found a shaded spot by some trees and laid out Corey’s rainfly—a tarp of sorts—to lie down on. Lest you forget, we were only about 15 yards from the goddamn autobahn. This is the German highway that literally has no speed limits; it’s huge, fast and incredibly loud. Exactly how I’d imagine sex with Corey would be.
I put in my earbuds and slipped a bandanna over my head. I have an app on my phone for traveling which plays a fan noise that’s usually pretty good at drowning out background noise. But here, it didn’t do a damn thing. Fortunately, I was so tired that I still fell asleep within minutes.
I was awoken not long afterwards by a kick in the ribs. I still didn’t hear anything but the static noise of traffic and the fan app, so I quickly pulled the bandanna up from my eyes. There were two German Police Officers standing over me. They were plainly yelling at me, but I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. I took out my headphones…
“Hello, Officers,” I said, smiling for some dumb reason.
The looked at me as if I was completely daft—“You know you cannot sleep here, yah? … Zat is zee autobahn over there. You cannot sleep on zee autobahn.”
We figured as much…
“Oh, we can’t?” Aaron asked innocently. This is something we all did quite frequently in situations like this… play dumb.
“No, you cannot… do you have any drugs?”
…You’ll have to get the book to see the rest of this chapter!!! 🙂 I’ll be updating these teasers with order links once the release date hits.
Until then, let’s hear what you think in the comments!