Some regions seem to breed people who are into every little thing, who have not just their finger on the pulse of the community, but compose one or two chambers of the heart, seemingly with no realization that's what they're doing. I mean, more likely the reverse is true, that the people breed regions where things can happen. Some say that's what Melissa was to the church we went to, and so it gradually dissolved after she left.
I can't know for sure if Jeremy Davies plays the same role for the area around Bagley, but I suspect the answer is "Yes," and if it wasn't for the natural scenic beauty of the place everyone will just move out, shutter their homes and cabins when he goes. He actually spends most of his time running camps for prisoners, and perhaps children, and also driving around checking on canoeists.
First encounter: he was driving around in a van filled with kids, stopped by just to see what I was up to. He told me to stay on the Yogi Lee Trail that night and stopped by with his father Keith later. He actually gave me this ground cloth he dreamed up while he was in Iraq so he didn't have to share a tent with any officers. This ground cloth was made of some heavy material that wrapped around your sleeping bag, for some warmth but also to replace the floor of a tent. Your roof would then just be a rain poncho with cinched hood and staked down corners. Make a tent like that and you wouldn't have to worry about officers taking it from you.
He showed up again the next morning to exchange contact information. Who knows, maybe he just thought I was up to no good. But he set up an exchange for the bent-shaft paddle I broke while using it as a lever for my canoe on the road. Not too bright, that. So later on I waited at this park until he drove up in a blue Beatle he was driving across the state for a friend, and got me an aluminum paddle.
That was the last I saw of him, but at the end of the day, just a mile or two out from Itasca, I heard a loud "shpuh! Shhhp," coming from the right-side of my canoe trailer, as the last of my patches gave out. Knowing that motorists never stop to help cyclists, I was shocked beyond belief when the next car pulled over on the side of the road, and out came... Jeremy's parents, Keith and Judith.
They drove me to their place, they fixed up my wheel with their big air compressor, they gave me strawberry yogurt. Judith, mute from ALS, wrote on her whiteboard in red marker that I should really stay at the hostel at the state park. I had hardly any cash, and no working debit or credit cards, but I found out I did have some checks linked to a checking account with a bit over $100 in it.
Day 117 ended: Mississippi Headwaters Hostel