I’ve logged over a thousand miles on the second phase of my trip, and one aspect of my journey that has changed can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump. Whether people love him, despise him or fear him, everyone talks about him.
Back in the primary days of 2015, while I pedaled across the north and west, the Donald got the most attention of all candidates on the airwaves but not the complete attention of people I met on the ground. There was a sense that it was not politically correct to support Donald Trump, supporters took a low profile. Yet in state after state voters pulled the curtain on primary day and selected him as the Republican candidate.
Now that covert support has blossomed. If yard signs are an indication of electoral might, Trump will squash Hillary. From Massachusetts to Virginia, the open spaces ten miles beyond big city limits are littered with his name.
Gary Hill was a restaurant designer in the West and Hawaii; he even spent fifteen years designing eateries in Guam. After his second wife died, he sold everything, got a PO box in Las Vegas and spent seven years travelling. Gary hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Israeli National Trial, and Kilimanjaro. He cycled across the US three times. Finally, he settled in Harper’s Ferry where he is an active volunteer with the AT Conservancy and owns a collection of rental houses. At age 70, Gary was the featured hiker in the National Geographic film, ‘Appalachian Trail,’ the guy they follow up Maine’s Mount Katadhin. “That was my fifteen minutes of fame.”
Gary is a news junkie with a center/left slant. He reads The Washington Post cover to cover every day and watches MSNBC. During our conversation over dinner at a local restaurant, Gary said, a bit too loud, “We’ve got a crazy person and an uninspired woman.” The man at the next table stood up, came over and shook his hand. ‘That’s the most cogent description of this election I’ve heard.”
No matter where one stands on the political spectrum in this country, Trump is in the air and the ground feels unsteady.
How will we live tomorrow?