The day was as drab as the day I arrived 99 days ago. The drizzle blocked the sun. My return ticket was still secure in the aluminum tube of my Kelty backpack when I presented it to the lady at the check in. It felt good to relax and have nothing to do but wait and rest. This would be my longest day.


It was afternoon when our Icelander jet took off and chased the sun westward. The sun was faster and soon it was dark. I slept and was only awakened when we landed in Reykjavik for the mandatory midnight shopping spree while the crew switched planes and flew back from whence they came. We, the westward bound, boarded our new plane and continued upward and onward, some of us well-stocked with tax-exempt goodies like Iceland whiskey and Greenland tea. These days, those Vikings have found whole new ways to rob us without killing us. Obviously, modern Vikings prefer money to murder. Does this mean that Money is Peace? If so, I have solved all the world's problems: just print more money!


The time difference of six hours meant that it was once again close to midnight when we landed at JFK International. Luckily, the subways ran all night, so I hopped on the Far Rockaway line from Howard Beach, paying a fare that had increased to 50 cents since I left in May, and in an hour or so I made it to Washington Heights in upper Manhattan, ascending from the tunnel depths on a vertiginous escalator to the Bridge where I paused a moment to breathe in the skyline below. I have unique feelings about this place which I alone will ever know. It's a mixture of odors, sounds, and touches that I sensed many times as a child when we crossed this bridge in our various family cars: Model-T, Terreplane, maroon Lincoln, yellow Ford pickup... Some feelings are so personal they cannot be communicated — feelings that will die with us forever. This is one of them. Do you have feelings you cannot describe?


I walked across the bridge to the toll booths, my favorite spot for catching a ride out of Manhattan because here the cars had to slow down. I stood on the New Jersey side where there was space for cars to pull over and take me in. Within a short time, a fellow stopped and drove me down I-95. It was not long before he made his intentions clear about picking me up. He needed a special sexual relief of an oral nature. I wished him good luck in his quest for bliss, and once again found myself standing in the dark on a turnpike with lights flashing by. Lucky again, a fellow in a small truck saw me, gave me a seat, and drove me south through the Jersey night. He was on his way to somewhere in Delaware or Maryland. I got out at the Delaware Bridge in Wilmington, 125 miles south of the George Washington Bridge, where cars stop to pay more tolls.


It was 3 or 4 in the morning. I found a comfy spot inside the brambles beside the toll gates, and slept till noon. Five thousand miles is enough travel for one day. Thus ended my longest day. Luxembourg ⇒ Reykjavik ⇒ JFK ⇒ George Washington Bridge ⇒ Wilmington...