It was a slog, Dear Reader. I wish I could tell you that I zipped through my last few miles of the Natchez Trace with ease. With grace. With the wind at my back and the sun on my face.

Nope.

Nope.

Nope.

Thunderstorms, of the Midwestern tornado-spawning variety, rolled through the Nashville area overnight. (Really, it was the weather. Not me screaming at Dad to turn the TV off and go to bed.)

We awoke to a smoldering sky that promised rain, if I was lucky.

I wasn’t.

Lucky.

I trotted away from milepost 435 into dank humidity. The wind pounded me along those last few miles of ridge line, along with a fine curtain of rain. I scarfed down a snack at milepost 441 and—mercifully, thankfully—descended a steep drop into a valley. The wind eased. The only moisture steamed from a very stinky me.

I strolled up to milepost 442.

And.

Well, watch the video to find out what happened.

Fitting. Just. Fitting.

But the Trace didn’t let me down in the end. Friends surprised me at the finish line. Reporters awaited interviews. My family and my husband were there. I galloped up to that knot of people. I took my final picture.

And I savored every bit of the moment.

A moment I found through reading.

I became interested in Meriwether Lewis again when I read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose more than a decade ago. Reading gave me this grand adventure. If I didn’t read, I never would’ve written my novel. I wouldn’t have canoed the White Cliffs of the Missouri or crawled the Columbia Gorge. I certainly wouldn’t have known about the ancient Natchez Trace, and I never, ever would’ve walked its length in a little over a month.

Make time to read. Choose to live the adventures reading brings.

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Click here to see the best photos from Day 34 of my Natchez Trace 444-mile walk: Andra Watkins Tumblr

You’ve still got plenty of time to win a TOTALLY FREE TRIP TO CHARLESTON!! Tweet, Facebook, type and review your way to Charleston, South Carolina in the To Live Forever Journey to Charleston Contest. The more you enter, the better your chance to WIN. Click here to find out more: Support My Aching Feet.

You’ve followed the crazy walk. Why not read the book? To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is available in paperback and e-book formats at these outlets: Click to Purchase To Live Forever.

Today’s Reader Question. Sort of.

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