DAY 11. Hi, readers. Well, here’s a sign of progress: this picture, taken a few hours ago, shows the first road sign on the whole trip to mention my destination, Sokcho. As you can see, it’s tantalisingly close.
The bad news is my feet. Road-walking in the rain today did them no favours, and they feel like they’ve been shotgunned, sprinkled with sawdust and dangled in a cage full of rabid beavers.
I’m at a beach called Jeongdong, a nice one with real sand and the world record for proximity of train station to beach (really). Kicking off the stinking New Balances and walking (tenderly) through that lovely sand to dip my wretched doggies in the water was indescribably wonderful.
I stayed in Paradise last night — the Paradise Motel in Samcheok. I can tell you that Paradise comes with floppy linoleum and the water is scaldingly hot (this is good) but agonisingly slow to fill a tub. But it was good, so good I didn’t leave till 8:30, easily my latest start.
The first hour in light rain was splendid, even if most of the coast is marred by barbed wire and the world’s ugliest abandoned sentry posts. I wrote another song that will make me rich one day, sang it till I hated it, changed stations.
But getting through Donghae, a city merging with Samcheok to the north, took hours. I’ve lost the Romantic Road — yes, the romance is over just when it was getting interesting — and had to ad-lib. I’m glad my phone is back to help.
And then the rain — serious rain. I didn’t bother with an umbrella for most of it, and don’t have a rain jacket. By now I was back on Rt 7, which has returned to being just a busy road, not a motorway, and was being led back into the steep and steamy mountains. Hours spent dodging cars, and a tunnel that was just plain NASTY. When I came to a turnoff leading coastwards, I jumped at it gratefully.
Coming into town here was great, actually. I had Bob Dylan’s ‘Tombstone Blues’ in my head, and knew he could do it better than I. I’ve lost another pair of earbuds, so just held the phone up to my ear and was in heaven, striding along this nice country lane, singing along.
It was so good, I followed it with ‘From a Buick 6’ (“All cracked up on the highway”) and ‘Maggie’s Farm’ and ‘Love Minus Zero’. That song always gets me emotional and the tears on my cheeks as I reached the beach were not from laughter (or pain).
So…I can reach Sokcho in two days, but my surprise detour could add a day or two. It looks like I’ll be calling in sick on Friday, when I’m due back. I just hope they have wheelchair access at the bus station.
Well, 8:03PM. Gonna try for five miles or so along the beach road. But first I’m gonna change my socks.
The town has no need to be nervous.
~ And that’s all the Goat wrote