Thursday was mostly low-key. Woke up around 7 for free breakfast (pancakes and bacon) by the First Baptist Church of Franklin, NC, who gives free food to hikers every morning for about a month during the NOBO bubble. Went back to Motor Company Grill for another burger, got a free shuttle to the local Wal-Mart for resupply (I almost certainly have way too much food right now, but more snacks I can eat during the day, so I should be in better condition by the time I make it to camp.)
For dinner, I ordered myself a large pizza, and are most of it myself. I was feeling a bit like a hick yokel from an old tv show or movie, sitting in front of the motel room on a lawn chair with a pizza on my lap and a beer in my hand, talking with Mountain Eater, also on a lawn chair with a beer. All I was missing was a shotgun and some kids to yell "get off my lawn" at.
While I was eating my pizza, Beast came by. He had previously commented on how, on his attempt last year, his mail drop to one of the other inns in town got opened, part of its contents dumped into the Hiker Box (a communal box for leaving stuff you don't need anymore, but someone else might find useful), and then taped back up with scotch tape. Apparently, one of the staff did that, and were relatively unapologetic about it, so Beast had been telling everyone to avoid that hotel.
This time, however, his mail drop had been outright stolen, apparently by a hiker. He had picked up one of his boxes, and hadn't immediately remembered he had another box that was being redirected from another hostel. When he went back to ask about it, the guy at the front desk, an older man who looked like he could be Santa Claus, had super-nonchalantly confirmed it had been taken. By someone. Didn't take note of whom.
This was particularly upsetting for Beast, because it included a number of irreplaceable items (including contact lenses), and it was the second time, in two years, in the same town (at different places owned by the same person, he found out).
While Beast was in the middle of his 15 minute rant about it with me and Mountain Eater, the Santa Claus from the front desk walked over and said,
"I've got your package."
Which immediately defused the rant. As Beast went back to the office to get his package, Mountain Eater and I just cracked up. It was an incredible absurdity.
Apparently, Beast's package was never taken. It was a case of mistaken identity. And it's unclear if someone else's box was actually stolen or not.
The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. The usual: food, beer, theological conversations (a hiker attended a baptist seminary in Tennessee), etc.