Nearly everyday since I’ve been in Ohio, it has been raining! On Saturday, April 23rd, my day started off with an ominous grey and cloudy sky. It began to rain on and off but of course, I kept walking. On this section of the Trail, I had to take more than one route to get where I was headed. I had to make a few turns and one of those turns ended up being a wrong turn. I continued in this direction until the sun started peaking out of the clouds. It was then when I thought this can’t be right. I spotted a farmer cutting grass along the side of the road and asked him for directions. Sadly, I had gone 5 miles in the opposite direction.
By late evening I arrived in Canton, Ohio. Exhausted from the extra 10 miles, I ventured into the little city. The area didn’t look very promising. It was a disarray of a city, made up of a couple square blocks and some interesting looking characters. Across the city I found what seemed like the only hotel in the area.
I walked into the reception area and was greeted by a desk shielded by a panel of bulletproof glass. There was a tiny hole with a microphone to speak into. I managed to get a room for the night. The man behind the glass told me it was room 36 and it would be on the second floor. Before I could look for the stairs, a man came up to me and said ‘my man, what time is it?’ I told him it was a little after 8pm and he went about his way.
After this little exchange, I started looking around for the stairs. I found a set of stairs that resembled a fire escape and thought this must be it. At the base of the stairs there was a woman standing at the entrance of her room with the door wide open. Recognizing she was clearly “a lady of the night,” I tipped my hat to her, smiled, and said “howdy.” She smiled and invited me inside but I politely declined and continued up the stairs to find my room.
When I got to the second floor, I was surprised to see that all of the room numbers were out of order. They went from 24 to 63 to 38 and so on. The door to room 35 was halfway open so I called out asking where room 36 might be. Two interesting looking characters came out of the room and pointed down the hall.
A few minutes later, I finally found my room. I put my key in the lock, opened the door and was almost knocked over by the myriad of smells wafting about inside. It smelled like a combination of things beyond your imagination! I couldn’t touch anything in the room for fear of getting sick or contaminated somehow. I put my bag down and went out onto a little balcony at the front of the hotel to have a cigarette.
While leaning against the banister of the balcony, and enjoying the less than ideal scenery of downtown, the “ma man” guy from earlier who asked me the time called up to me from the street. “Hey cowboy, do you want a girl?” he asked. Now, I had been getting all sorts of comments because my hat kind of resembled a cowboy hat. People in the city and even in the hotel had nicknamed me “cowboy” and “Dundee” for the character, Crocodile Dundee.
I managed not to laugh and smiled at the guy while once again politely declining another offer. He walked away and I returned to the stench of my room for the night. I didn’t even want to pull back the sheets of the bed so I laid on top of the bed with all of my clothes on. Despite the fact I was beyond exhausted, I couldn’t sleep. There were tons of strange and crazy noises carrying on throughout the night. It wasn’t until well after 2am when I managed to doze off for a bit. When I awoke at 7am, I picked up my bag and bolted out of there.