7:30 a.m. I visit with my friend and talk with them about some of the things that are going on in their life. We discussed possible solutions and I helped them come up with a plan. The importance of life is making sure that we ourselves are healthy first, and then we can help others. That is the vague message of the discourse between this individual and myself.
The rest of the morning is spent working on the blog and uploading videos to social media.
1:00 p.m. I get all my gear ready, pack my truck, and begin the 2 hour drive to Springfield. I stopped and got a sandwich at a rest stop on the way and didn’t arrive at the Active and Fit Gym in Springfield I plan on setting up camp near until 3:30 p.m. I check out the gym, specifically the lockers. Then I take a ride around the wooded areas on my bike to see where I will camp. There’s a path so I go down it, and at the bottom of the hill there’s a tent.
Every shopping area I’ve been to in 4 cities seems to have an encampment nearby. I follow the forest on the road until I find another small path. This is a tiny enclave, and I mark it in my mind as a camping spot. I continue to follow the forest line and see if there is a better campsite. I like to identify multiple campsites just in case I have to move for some reason in the night. I find a path behind a liquor store that leads to a big oak tree with flat ground covered in leaves underneath. This is another good camp site option, I made a mental note.
Now that my Camp spot is situated I decide to get to the homeless dinner. I found one on Google maps at 45 Maple St, a church in Springfield. I decided to drive over. While I walk into the church there’s a man at the front entrance who seems to be high on fentanyl. I wake him to see where I go in for the meal. The meal is a bagged sandwich, cake, popcorn in a bag, and chocolate chip cookies. There’s about 15 men in the room eating. It’s a cold meal for a cold night. I leave the church and drive back towards the gym. There’s a lot of free parking in Springfield, so I drop my truck on the side of the road and ride my bike the rest of the way to the campsite, with my full pack on my back.
When I walked into the spot behind the liquor store I noticed some rolled up foam padding in some pricker bushes. I lean my bike against a tree, drop my pack, and go to grab the foam. It will make a nice base for my tent. When I grabbed the foam I immediately realized it’s someone’s bed. Someone has been sleeping here, and rolling up their mattress when they’re done. I think to myself, will they come back? The foam is dry with a few leaves in it. I untied the foam and rolled it out, but then I couldn’t stop thinking that someone might come back there to sleep for the night. I decided to go to my other, safer spot. I grab my gear and bike and head out. On my way out from behind the liquor store I noticed a cop parked a ways away, with their lights off. I saw the same cop earlier when I was doing recon. This makes me nervous so I travel all the way around the shopping center to get to my other camping spot to avoid going past the cop.
6:30 p.m. I sneak into my little hidden enclave in the woods which is closer to the building than I like, but it is pretty camouflaged. I set up my tent and get ready to lay down for the night. Around 7:30 pm the temperature starts dropping and I can feel it. It’s quiet where I am and I fall asleep around 9 p.m. I make sure to bundle up in my subzero sleeping bag. I also have on thermals. The temperature drops down to 22°F in the night. To keep warm I pull my little pink blanket over my face and conserve the warm air coming out of my lungs by breathing into my sleeping bag. I sleep comfortably. The only area of my body affected by the cold is my back. My core stays warm and cycles heat to the rest of my body. Oh and I have 2 pairs of socks on to keep my feet warm.