Day 153, September 3, 2012

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 I heard a truck passing by right on the other side of the wall I slept behind. I woke up and it was around 7:45. I had slept on some rocks that were under the dirt and just exposed enough to dig into my back and sides as I slept. The spot was not one of the better places to sleep out here.
I got up and sat there for a few minutes to wait for my mind to get focused and out of the morning funk. I grabbed all my supplements from the net pouch on the back of my cart. I took my vitamins, glucosamine, and fish oils. I sat there and also brushed my teeth. Then I packed my things up and packed it into my cart.
      I went up to the truck stop I had slept behind so I could do a couple things before leaving there. Leaving Seligman (the town I was in) I had about 80 miles ahead of me before the next place of any kind. So before I left there I took some toilet paper from the restroom, and filled all my water jugs in the drink dispenser (14 gallons).
      The stretch ahead was not too bad of weather. It was cool there and still pretty high elevation. I wanted to make the 80 miles stretch in about 4 days to make sure my water wouldn't run low. The next town from there was Kingman AZ. So I was ready and stocked up to hit the road.
     I took off down the shoulder along the 40 walking against traffic (on the south side of the interstate). I walked past the area where it was still Seligman, and in fact still had the last exit to pass.
As I approached the last exit I noticed a man standing up on top of the ramp. So instead of walking past the exit along the 40, I decided to take the ramp up and then back down so I could check to see if the man was ok.
     I walked up and he looked to be homeless and seemed like he could use a little help. And before the stretch I was about to hit, I could use the karma. So I gave him $4 and 3 granola bars. I was pretty shocked and was really sort of tripping that I helped him. I really love to show others that I am selfless, and truly believe that in always helping when I can, I have a deep trust that I will be helped in the moments where I really need it. And in return I will pay it back as much as I can. He was a really nice guy. He was 71 years old and actually looked really good. He told me how relieved he was to have the help from me. He receives money every 2 weeks but had some issues where he didn't have much until his next time of getting his money. Not sure what it was through. But he was really insistent that the $4 would get him through the next couple days. He gave me 2 disposable razors too and said that's all he really had to share. But he wanted to give something in return. I wouldn't use them, but took them anyway to make it a mutual feeling of looking out for one another. Very cool man headed to Amarillo TX.
I went back down the ramp on the other side of the overpass and left town into open land. I was off and that encounter gave me the last little boost before leaving. I walked along the interstate through green valleys and rolling hills. It was really pretty all around and just bare country side. I made my way to an uphill climb about 6 miles in and gradually made the uphill walk through some mountain ridges that the interstate climes over and weaves through. Again, very pretty. When I got to the top I stopped and caught my breath. It was still pretty high up and the air was thin. So I was feeling more easily winded than normal. After about 10 minutes of resting, I continued across the top part of the hills and then to the drop where it weaves through the down side of the ridges.
     I made my way slowly down and then kept going when it leveled out again. I walked a few miles when I stopped for another short break. I sat on a railing where I rested my legs right there on the shoulder of the 40. After another short break I pressed on. I could see pretty far ahead from there as it was a big green valley ahead for a while. I saw an overpass at the end of the valley just before the interstate went back up and into some hills after that. I decided the overpass would be where I would stop for the night and figured that to be roughly 20 or 21 miles. So I headed down into the valley bottom and towards that. It was maybe 5-6 miles up ahead.
    After about 20 minutes, the clouds heading towards me looked pretty nasty. They were dark and parts of it were rainfall dropping. You could see it coming down in the distance via a dark blur that went from the clouds down to the ground. As I was getting closer, I got the rain gear out (tarp/bungees/pancho) and geared up for the rain. I covered my cart and stuff in it, and also put the pancho on over myself. Sure enough about 10 minutes later the rain started to hit. There was no cover until the overpass, which was still miles ahead. So I hoped it would not get too heavy. But man was I in for it..
   The rain was moderate for the first ten minutes, then suddenly in one moment just hit hard!! It became heavy big drops and was being pushed down harder from a decent wind coming front the south east (behind me). Since it was falling in that direction, it was hitting my legs and feet. So I ended up having to stop in my tracks. It was getting harder now and I was getting wet even from the rain bouncing and hitting my feet. So now I was stopped and pulled my umbrella out. I got to the far edge of the shoulder and sat down. I sat on my pancho as it hung down to about my knees. I applied the brakes on my cart and sat there right behind it pressed closely to it. I held the umbrella with the top side directly faced to the oncoming direction of the wind and rain. I just hunkered down and sat there trying to stay dry.
      The wind was really putting force into my umbrella and I had to hold it tight and keep it in just the right position to where the wind didn't get under it and blow it back or fold or break it. It was strong enough at this point that if I held the umbrella straight up, it would rip from out of my hands.
So I just held down what I had hoping there was no more intensity coming. It was already pretty intense at this point. The water was so heavy that it flowed down the shoulder and ran onto parts of my shorts that we're on the ground as I sat there. I couldn't avoid that and was already fully holding what I had. I couldnt do anything else or even move actually.
      After maybe 15 minutes of sitting there it lightened up. Thank god. When it let up I got back to walking as soon as it was doable. I was now running out of daylight and really wanted to have some light to figure out where to sleep that night. It was gonna be rough already since there was nothing out there. So I wanted to have light to look around and find the best choice of where to crash when I got to the overpass.  I walked about 2 miles using my umbrella in the rain. The wind let up enough to just be able to hold it over me while I walked. It would still gust here and there and push the umbrella from over me to in front of me. After a couple miles the rain stopped, I packed the umbrella in, and picked up the pace to get to the overpass.
      I finally made it there just in time! It was about 22 miles total for the day and the sun was about to set. I looked around the area but there were no good choices. So I ended up making the decision to really rough it in the best option I had. I stayed in the median right next to a column of the bridge. Having the cover over me played a part in picking that spot too as the rain was still on and off. So even though it was really loud and uncomfortable, staying dry outweighed those issues.  I made my bed on a small strip on flat concrete right next to the round column. It was just getting dark enough where I didn't think most of the passing cars would notice me. Also it was in the middle of nowhere with no towns nearby and nothing off the exit. So I also figured it would give less reason for anyone to call the cops, and less of a reason to since nobody even exited there at all.
After the sunset, I crawled in my sleeping bag and bundled up. It was pretty cold and the breeze chilled the air even more. I fell asleep somewhat around 9:00. I didn't sleep too well and seriously woke up hundreds of times from big rugs passing bye, shaking the ground and piercing my ears. It was a tough day, and tough night. But I salvaged what rest I could from it and weathered the storm on staying dry enough where it wasn't an issue.


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