As the jeep pulled up to the Lodge, Mike came out the door. Oh what a site. He immediately snapped up the backpack for me. He said that they were worried about me since it was getting dark. Then he told the story of how Bob had waved a $20 bill in the Lodge’s parking lot in an attempt to attract a ride. A waitress from the Lodge obliged and drove about 3 miles from the Lodge on Skyline Drive before spotting Mike and Bill.Mike said he thought it was an illusion when he saw Bob yelling from the back of the pickup truck to get in. When Bob said “Get in, Damn it”, he realized it wasn’t a mirage. They figured I had taken the shortcut on the Appalachian Trail. Some shortcut that was.
The body odor stench was overwhelming, I doubt that Corn Dog smelled as bad as I did at the time. A warm shower was the first matter of business. The muscles cried with exaltation as the warm water cascaded and the soap cut through 20 miles of perspiration. After coming out of the shower, the stench returned. No its impossible, more deodorant, no thankfully it was the days clothing which was immediately escorted outside.
Another fatality in the sake of excessive weight reduction was the removal of my mustache which I had come accustomed to for over 25 years. A person can do extreme measures.The guys were in the restaurant at the Lodge and I consumed the greatest Fried Chicken in my life that night. Actually, anything would have been the greatest meal of my life even liver and onions. Our waitress was Mike and Bill’s savior, she saved them a couple hours earlier on Skyline Drive. Called home that evening to say HI to the family and then I don’t even recall hitting the pillow because I was totally exhausted.