Radcliff, KY * 757 Miles Walked * 61 Days Until Miami
Before heading out today I took a glimpse at the route I’d be taking from Louisville to Radcliff, KY. It showed I’d be walking on an old country road for 6 miles, branching off of Highway 31. It turns out that the old country road had been closed off to motorized vehicles and was now a walking path through a small Kentucky State Park. I couldn’t have been happier. The old paved road ran parallel with a small babbling creek, together weaving through a small canyon. The trees were bright and green. Birds sang and hundreds of blue and black butterflies fluttered this way and that. The canyon was lined with trees and thick brush making it feel like I was walking through a large tunnel of vegetation, the sky blocked out by the enormous tree’s branches and leaves.
About four miles in, as I was coming upon a turn up ahead, the shrubs to my left started to shake. I could hear a small animal running towards me, but couldn’t see what it was. Seconds later, a small Yorkshire Terrier bounded out of a bush a few feet away and growled at my feet. It was no more than four pounds, had a pink bow tied on top of its head, and seemed to have been following the scent of an animal that was most likely double its size. I looked up and down the road but saw no sign of an owner. I bent down to pick it up, but it quickly darted from my grasp.
“Oh, come here!” I said loudly, and it instantly cowered in my shadow. I bent down for the second time to scoop it up. The moment my fingers touched its side the small dog gave a yelp and bit my index finger. I stood straight up, giving a small yelp of my own. Little pinpricks of blood we’re oozing slowly from two small puncture holes. I looked down at the dog, holding in my urge to just kick it aside and move along, when suddenly the sound of someone yelling rang through the trees.
“Missy! Miss-E!” a woman was shouting with a thick southern drawl. “Missy Mae, where are you!?!”
“Over here!” I shouted back.
“Missy?!” The woman replied, in a voice that sounded as if she believed her small female dog had just realized it had a voice (and a deep masculine one, at that) and was using it to beckon her owner.
From around the bend a rather large woman in flip flops waddled into view, arms flapping at her side. She began to wobble back and forth faster when she saw her dog, her flip-flops flapping wildly against her over sized feet. FLIP, FLAP, FLIP, FLAP. A man followed behind her wearing an expression that plainly showed that he could care less if they found Missy Mae or not.
“Ooohhhh Missy! You darling little dog. Did you go on an adventure?! Oh…little Ippykins!” she cooed, ignoring my words as I tried to explain how I had come upon her little Missy Ippykins.
The man slowly ambled over and explained that they had taken the day off to take a hike and that the dog had run off a way up the road.
“You not from ’round here?” he asked, taking notice to my non-southern accent.
I explained that I was walking across America to raise money for Haiti, but kept it simple when I saw that same “Missy look” fall across his face. I looked down and noticed that my bite wound was now dripping blood onto the ground. The man saw as well and smiled.
“Aw…did she getcha?!” he beamed.
“Uh…yeah. I suppose she did.” I replied.
“Ha!” he laughed. “Welcome to Kentucky, huh?”
I made a weak attempt to smile as the man, woman, and Missy passed by and started back down the road. I began to walk in the other direction, applying more pressure on my finger. I looked back in time to see the woman set her dog back down onto the road. Missy sprinted back into the brush as the woman picked a large wedgie from her very large backside.
Welcome to Kentucky, indeed.
(Post Script: The picture above is not of Missy Ippykins herself, but of a dog that greatly resembles her.)