Day 99 – July 12, 2014

I return to my brother Ray in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and his happy routines. I meet him at the Yellow Springs Brewery where he serves me a beer before he gets off his bar shift at 7pm. He and I are both weary from driving. I woke this morning in Gettysburg, PA; he in Ann Arbor, MI. We wisely defer a second beer until after dinner. Back at his apartment, we grill skewers of Brussels sprouts, racks of green beans, and two ears of corn.

We watch Game of Thrones, a lot of Game of Thrones–four episodes in twenty-four hours.

Friday noon, friends Tom and Cheryl pick up us two Dudeks for an afternoon adventure. The four of us float all afternoon down the Little Miami River on rented truck inner tubes. The rental company portages us in a van and drop us upstream into the warm river with our sack of canned beer.

It is Friday, summer, and few are on the river. A couple of laughing canoes pass us and two fishermen in waders throw flies around us.

We learn inner tube sailing: you can sit face down or face up. Your ass gets a little wet face up, but the water is quite pleasant, warm and shallow–vigorous at times. Hand paddling steers the inner tube somewhat, but the river current takes the tire where it wants, under trees, over shallow stony banks, and through eddies.

The four of us revel in the river’s idyll decadence. This magical afternoon of drifting serves as a metaphor for life and my trip.

We return to Yellow Springs fried from sun and beer. Fortunately, I insisted earlier on slathering sunscreen so we are not burnt, just lazy. We eat Panini sandwiches at a new restaurant far away on the other side of town, so a ten-minute walk. While resting back at the apartment, we watch more Game of Thrones.

Ray and I drive at sunset to Dayton to pick up friend Lee at the airport. The triumvirate from December’s Rio trip reunites for the weekend in Ohio. Lee is in good spirits. With Ray, it is hard not to be.

Ray takes us to a food-truck corral behind the repurposed Yellow Cab Building in downtown Dayton. We eat some eats, look at some paintings, and have a beer or two before moving on to Warped Wing Brewery. Lee skillfully beats up a pinball machine while I crash a beer glass to the floor during a foosball match. It is time to go home, or least back to Yellow Springs. We stop by the Gulch Bar next to Ray’s apartment for last call. This Friday has been full of merriment.