When I told him I could sleep in small town jails along the way he said, “Hell yes! Your mom and I haven’t had an afternoon together since you went off to camp last year. Here’s twenty five bucks. Stay an extra day or two if you want.’’
Anxious to begin my journey to Marquette in the upper peninsula of Michigan where I would visit my favorite football coach I rolled up my sleeping bag, threw three roast beef sandwiches, two YooHoos, extra underwear and socks and a sweat shirt into my back pack.
My mom was nowhere in sight when I yelled “Bye mom.’’ I heard a muffled sound from the other end of the house, shrugged my shoulders, headed north across the field in back of my house, past the back of the bowling alley to M-78, stuck out my thumb, made it to Owosso in record time, hitched another ten miles to M-52 then north, toward Mackinaw City the northernmost town at the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula where I’d take the ferry across the Straights of Mackinaw to St. Ignace, the southernmost town in the upper peninsula of Michigan then further north to Marquette on Lake Superior.
I slept under an elm tree in a farmer’s field that first night. Breezy and cool, I unrolled my sleeping bag on the leeward side of that tree, ate a roast beef sandwich, listened to WBZ out of Boston on my little transistor radio, stared through the elm leaves at the stars while sipping a Yoo Hoo falling asleep around 9:30.