Breakfasted at Ernie's in downtown Columbia, where the waitresses thought the diner was a their own theatre, with their Misery expressions, loud voices across the room and clattering dishes. Overheard an old woman say to her friend how she had read on the internet that Obama had been born in Kenya. The way she spat it out, she might as well have said he was the Devil's own. Took my steed to be shod and a young man here asked me if I needed a lift and whisked me to the laundromat a couple of miles away. He had just driven in from Boise in 43 hours, including a three hour sleep halfway through. It had taken me almost as many days than it had taken him in hours. While waiting for my laundry I couldn't help but listen to a conversation between a wide brimmed-hatted old couple and a younger black man. The old couple were doing all the talking, preaching to him about how Jesus had sat down next to them and said this and that. They mixed Biblical quotes with something about a grasshopper turning into a man, then becoming the lion of Judah and finally transcending into an eagle. The black man, who they called a Negro, listened attentively. While the old man went on in earnest, his wife sprayed each item of laundry and it made a farting sound. I know I'm bad. Maybe one day I'll be saved, but hopefully not before I've had sex with a lot of women.
I did some other chores and walked several miles around Columbia, a well to do, typically spread out US city. My heels were soon sore, as I'm so unused to walking and this must be about the only part of my anatomy that has had an easy ride. At 4 pm it suddenly dawned on me that I was supposed to get to Fulton tonight. I had thought this was a rest day, and in a way it was, but there were still 25 miles to take care of. Back to the bearded young men at Walt's Bike Shop, where a service, including new chain, mended mudguard and toe clip only came to $22! The sky was darkening as I whizzed along a shoulderless two lane road. In the rush hour the cars careered around me without reducing their speed one scintilla and it was exhilarating stuff. I have never been hit by a vehicle on the open road and must be wrapped in a cloud of charming, British invincibility. I enjoyed riding on such moonlit night; with the stars, the succulent-scented, warm air (one benefit of humidity) and the mood of whispering melancholia. Halfway through this journey, Rachel (Robert's wife) phoned to offer me a bed for the night in Columbia and apologised for not being welcoming last night. Not welcoming? I dined in a nice restaurant and slept in a posh hotel, both at her family's expense, and they had all been lovely to me. I nearly went back, but this would have meant another 100+ stint tomorrow.
When checking into a basic motel in Fulton, the elderly couple who ran the place saw my British passport and told me Winston Churchill had made his 'Iron Curtain' speech here and to honour this fact an English church had been demolished and rebuilt here, brick by brick, as a memorial to him. Dined at the Sir Winston Restaurant & Pub down the road, where the menu was a testament to his and other prime ministerial visits (a Churchill Pizza and a Margaret Thatcher Wrap). I had the raspberry chicken salad with a cold pint of dark beer - in a warm glass at least - and very nice they were too.
When I asked a different woman at reception if she could show me on my Fulton map where the library was, she said “Ooh, I don't know anything about these maps.” Took in the Churchill Memorial en route to a cafe.