I didn't sleep too well last night but this time it wasn't my aches and pains that kept me awake... I had somehow convinced myself that the lovely old couple I was staying with had lured me there as part of a Hollywood horror movie! I was the only guest, locked inside the property by big automatic gates, miles away from anywhere... I spent most of the night planning my best Steven Seagal moves and escape route.
With a big day ahead (and fear still coursing through my veins) I got up early, prepped, pack my bag and snuck downstairs. Just as I open the front door, guess who turns up. The crazy knife wheedling grandmother, lunging at me!
Actually she had gotten up early to make me breakfast - bless her! What a lovely lady. We couldn't really converse due to the language barrier but she refused to let me leave without 2 bags of fruit and cookies. It's strange how the most un-corporate, un-English place I stayed, had the most heart.
Today was a long day in the saddle passing through valleys of fog this morning, hill climbs and switch backs over lunch and then down into the real heat of the basin that Rome sits in.
I pushed a little further than I had planned this afternoon in the hope that it will help our final day tomorrow. I'm predicting my journey through the South of Rome and across to the Tyrrhenian Sea on the West coast will be traffic ridden with lost of wrong turns by me.
I'm putting away litres and litres of water everyday and the town fresh water fountains are an absolute god send. I make a point of not missing the opportunity to buy fresh bottled water whenever I can. Being in the sun so long means my bottles get hot quickly and cooling myself down becomes a real problem when I'm on the move.
A strange occurrence started happening today as I got closer to the Rome Ring road. The Rome ring road is like an unofficial border, marked by a fast moving 4 lane highway that skirts the capital and allows people to travel around it, or into it.
Anyway... I saw a lady sitting in the middle of nowhere next to the main road I was travelling down and I assumed she was waiting for a lift. The plastic white chair she was sitting in must have just been coincidence. Then a couple of kms down the road - there was another lady waiting for a lift... Same white chair too... Then another, and another.
Eventually the penny dropped when I realised these ladies were not exactly wearing their church outfits and were always strategically perched close to a car park or quiet side street.
I assume it is a new initiative from the Rome government to help lost tourists. I'm not sure who was more surprised; me when I realised what was going on or them seeing a lanky sweaty mess with a teddy bear on his back!
Much like the Anzac Ultra from last year the heat and distance is starting to make my feet break out in a rash but I'm hoping with one day to go they hold out.
Tomorrow marks the final leg of this 5 day journey and although it feels 'possible' that I may finish tomorrow, I'm still not confident for some reason. There is something unrealistic about making it to the West coast as planned. I will just keep doing what I've been doing all week and hope for the best. One foot in front of the other.
All the messages, likes and comments have been overwhelming. Even though I haven't been able to respond please know that every single piece of encouragement is helping me and this is becoming one almighty team effort!
I am also so excited about the donations that are still coming in! These generous funds will make a big difference to the dreams of some brave kids. Thank you!
Four down, One to go - HBWR