Day 154, September 4, 2012

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I woke up early when one if the many big rigs zoomed by during my sleep and woke me. The sun was up and I couldnt sleep much from the noise anyway. So I just decided to start the day. I was really tired and knew the day would be a struggle. But I have dealt with exhaustion enough out here that I'm used to it. I just figured I might sleep harder the next night. Maybe?
     I packed up and did my morning routine. My knees were hurting a little that morning, so I stretched my legs more than usual to try and loosen up. Not sure if it was the lack of rest or concrete or what. But they were in some pain.  I finally was ready to take off for the day. I was still tight when I bagan walking but loosened up after about 10 minutes. The first few miles were slightly uphill and a little windy. When I got to the top of the hills I went into it was a steady decline from there. Not much but for sure was downhill.
    I walked about 6 miles and it was still moderately flat ground. My body was feeling better than I thought and I was doing ok. And the weather was good too which I'm sure helped a lot. If it was extreme heat I think it would wear me down faster. I took a break under the next over pass I came to and sat there for maybe 15 minutes. I didn't want to sit too long and get lazy. So as soon as I was starting to get tired I got up and kept on. I wanted to make sure I moved somewhat fluently through the bare stretch until Kingman AZ. When I got there I could slow down to rest. That way I will have water and a dry place to take a break.
    I walked another 6 miles or so on about the same terrain and small declines. I went easy and just made sure not to push my body too much. When I came to an overpass I was a good ways in for the day and decided to take a longer break there under the bridge. So I sat against the concrete of the cement slope right off the shoulder on my sleeping bag. I usually sit on my sleeping bag and lay back on the concrete. I sat there for about 10 minutes when it started to get really windy and clouds rolled in and over the area all around me. It's amazing how fast the clouds come in. It looked like it might start to storm and the wind was really high speeds. So I got up to secure some of the things in my cart so they wouldnt blow off. The winds picked up now. Just then a truck pulled up and parked just in front of me. They guy got out and he was there to check on my and had some snacks. His boss was the same guy who has had his workers checking on me off and on since Texas. Such a cool support group!
We were talking and then winds picked up more and then rain started to spit. It was coming across the ground since the wind was so heavy. So the bridge wasn't really providing cover at this point. I pulled my tarp out to bungee it over my cart and keep my stuff dry. Then I threw a pancho on to keep myself dry. It was so heavy of winds that it actually was pushing my cart. Then the spitting rain turned to hail and thunder struck! It was suddenly an intense storm! And the first hail I had seen yet. The good thing was that the wind didn't push the weight of the hail easily like it did the rain. So now the bridge did provide an area where we weren't getting pelted anymore.
     I stood in the corner part of the bridge where It was not getting hit. The guy pulled his truck under the bridge also to get it out from the hail. The spot just of the shoulder now was filling up with water and becoming slightly flooded. I had to pull my cart out from there and the water quickly became about 6 inches deep!
     A motorcycle had pulled under the bridge on the other side of the freeway. It was a heavy storm. The hail went back to rain now but the wind had died down. At that point a motorcycle pulled off under the bridge on our side now. A man and woman got off and were pretty wet. They stopped to get out of the downfall. The guy in the truck was tripping out about the storm and thought it was really cool to stop at the time of a storm to experience it with me. He seemed impressed with how I had covered me and my stuff and quickly switched to storm mode and staying dry. The people on the motorcycle were from Canada and were cruising America. They thought what I was doing was cool and had a bunch of questions. I also admired their journey as they had no plans. Didn't even know what was ahead of them or where they would stay that night. I love that they just were going for it.
We all visited there a while as the storm eventually calmed and passed. The guy in the truck had given me a bag of trail mix, a beef jerky stick, a protein bar, and a powerade. That was really clutch as I was pretty low on food and could use it. And most of the food I have are granola bars which I am a little sick of at this point. So the change was nice. The man and woman also gave me an apple before they took off. That was cool.
     The guy in the truck also headed out and I was ready now to start walking again. So I headed out and into a little bit of a clear sky ahead. Before the guy took off he said I had a big downhill section ahead of me. And that once I was to the bottom it would turn to more of a desert terrain and get hot.
I took off and headed down that section. It was pretty steep downhill and I was having to use my brakes full on my cart to keep it from wanting to roll down the hill fast. It was about 4 miles of steep drop and big mountains. It was a pretty walk too and a creek ran along side of the freeway. It was rushing with water too from the storm that just passed. The water banged off rocks and crashed as it rapidly flowed downward through the canyon.
     I finally reached the bottom where there was a little climb up from there for maybe a mile. When I reached the top of that I could see a looong ways ahead and all the way to Kingman in fact. It was an easy downhill drop and then I was down into desert terrain from there. I took a moment at the top of that hill and just looked around and enjoyed the view. I was pretty far in for the day. About 26 miles! And had a couple more to go to get to the next exit where I planned to stop for the day. So I cruised down the hill while watching a relaxing sunset way off in the distance. I got down to the exit and I was BEAT! I don't know why, but it seems like some of my longest days of walking (in distance) are after nights where I get very little sleep/rest. I got off at the exit and there was nothing there at all. I walked about 50 feet down the road off the exit where it turned to dirt. There was a little sand trail that turned off of that and I walked onto that trail and tucked behind the first big bush right off that trail. There were no cars exiting and the exit was dead. So I figured I was ok there.
     I pulled my tarp and sleeping bag out of my cart and made my bed there on the sand. I kicked my shoes off and laid down. Man I was tired. I laid there as it got dark and was ready to go to sleep. I laid back and rested my eyes in what was decently quiet opposed to the last night. But then something woke me up....
     I heard tires screeching and sat up quickly. A car got off on the exit and slammed its breaks over the cattle guard at the bottom of the ramp. Then it took the turn without completely stopping and again got sideways and the tires squealed. It turned the opposite way from me and punched it under the freeway and off the other way. The truck was pretty out of control and flying! I laid back down and though I was a little startled, didn't think too much of it. I laid there 10 more minutes and was relaxed and ready to sleep when I heard something again...
     I heard a motor roaring towards my direction!! The truck was coming back under the freeway and back to the side I was on (south side of the interstate). Then when it passed me it slammed on the breaks and skid part way on asphalt and then onto where the road went to dirt. Then the truck went into reverse and gunned it! It backed up just before the trail I was on then slammed the breaks again. Then it punched it and swerved right toward where I was. The headlights shined through the bush I was behind and I scooted quickly against my cart where I was more hidden behind the thick part of the bush.
     I noticed when I walked into the trail there was a small ditch on the entrance that went about half way across the trail. The trucked was pedal to metal, engine roaring and swerving in my general direction. It had a good amount of speed and when it hit the trail entrance, it crashed into the washed out ditch and fell in bumper deep!!!..  The lights were now not directly at me behind the bush, but I was still in some of the edge of the lighting. I stayed still there and it was quiet for a second. Then he punched it again!!! The tires just spun.. Then into reverse, and they spun again. The truck wasn't budging. I had a really bad feeling and had a knot in my stomach. I was literally 20 ft away from the truck. I didn't know if I was relieved it was stuck, or If I wished it had made the trail and passed by me. I stayed still and the truck went to an idol again. Then the door opened!.. A pretty big man got out and walked around the front. When he came around he was now at an angle where the bush did not really hide me. I stayed completely still. He never looked up and was staring at the truck and ditch it was buried in. I was shocked he didn't say anything. I know if I was stuck I would have probably cursed in frustration. Or at least before this I would have.
He walked back to the truck door, reached in and turned it off, and shut the lights off. Then it was silent...  He moved away from the door and I really hoped he wasn't going to come towards me on the trail. I couldn't do anything but stay still and silent. Something was very fishy and the situation was very uncomfortable. Then I heard footsteps in the rocky sand. It went behind the truck and then quickly I heard many steps. I didn't know for sure where he was going as it was very dark. But the sound faded and it seemed like he just left down the dirt road where there was nothing.
So there I was with my shoes off and in on my tarp and sleeping bag. I sat there a couple minutes after there were no more noise. Now I needed to think fast. What to do?!!?
      I very quietly folded my bed up and just set it in my cart softly and as quietly as possible. I decided to move further down the trail to hide a little better. I had a feeling the action wasn't over. As I rolled out from where I was behind the bush, I now saw the truck in plain sight in the very little moonlight. All I could make out is that the driver door was left wide open. I couldnt make sense of what could possibly be going on. But I slowly and silently rolled up the trail a ways.
I found a bigger bush next to a random cement pad where it seemed to be the best spot to hide my big cart. There really wasn't much around there to hide out. So this was looking to be the best thing. Plus there was no way I was going to turn any lights on. So I was only seeing outlines mostly. I rolled my cart there and hid somewhat. Then I covered my cart with the grey side of my tarp, very quietly. I sat there in silence and was wondering what was going on. There was no way I was going to sleep until I had a better idea of what was going on. At this point I was still clueless.
     I decided to put all my valuables in my backpack and put it on. Just incase they did get through the ditch and came towards me, I thought if they saw my cart they might do something to it or take it. I sat there a little longer listening.
Then all of a sudden I heard shovels digging in the sand. At first I figured the we're digging the truck out. But something was off. The sound seemed way closer to me than the truck was!!
Then it crossed my mind that it was possible there could be a situation where they were getting rid of a body. From the series of events, it made sense in my mind. Then I knew it was possible. Maybe not likely, but for sure possible.  I put my backpack on and walked further down the trail. I hunched down and walked slow and quiet. I came to a culvert that a dry creek lead to. It was just big enough that I could crawl into. So I sat there and waited.
      Then I heard yelling and saw lights shining towards me!! One of the lights shined close to me. I ducked down and crawled backwards into the culvert. I pulled my backpack in after me and I laid there silently. I could see out of it just over my backpack. I heard more arguing and it just sounded very sketchy. I worried they might see my cart. But I felt like I was pretty hidden. I stayed there for about 20 minutes.  Then the noise was gone and I decided to slowly crawl and see if I could figure out what was up now. I came out and stood up slowly.  Then I walked out slowly to where I could see further down the trail to where the truck was. I could see the headlights down the trail and then saw two guys digging and wearing headlamps. Then I figured that must have been the lights that shined near me.
      The more I watched the more I was relived. It seemed like they were just trying to get the truck out and they kept yelling, but not in anger, just yelling.  After watching them for about 20 more minutes I decided to go back to my cart. I got there and sat silently listening. I was so tired now. I got up again to check it out. That's when I saw another vehicle hooking up to pull the truck out. Then I thought that if they did get out, they were going back and wouldn't come down the trail. Plus the 2nd car relieved me. If they were trying to get the truck out, it likely wasn't stolen. The amount of risk to try and get something out of a ditch was big to chance a cop coming and finding it was a stolen vehicle. At least to my figuring.
     I was so exhausted by now and it was almost midnight. I decided to just say a prayer and then get some rest. I laid next to my cart and after a while, somehow dozed off.

(Please note that today 9/27/12 Nick is two days away from putting his feet in the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach, CA.  This is the last journal that he sent to me for posting (I am Nick's mom) so there will be a little delay in getting the rest of his journals and pictures uploaded.  He sends them to me through his ipod so I can upload them for him as he doesn't have a computer with him.  I know a couple of weeks ago he gave us all a scare when we couldn't get a hold of him for several days while he was on a long stretch of desert from AZ to CA.  I was a distressed and worried Hobo Mom during that time.  But thank God everything worked out and I can't wait to read his journal about what he was going through during those days.  His dad and I are so excited to see him at the beach on Saturday.  I can't wait to give him a great big hug and see him with a hair cut and clean shave soon thereafter.  Please continue to check the blog and he should begin posting the rest of his journey sometime next week.  God bless you all and thank you for your prayers for Nick's safety during this journey.)



Carly said...

Wow, intense post! I have really enjoyed reading this blog and I look forward to the posts everyday. Thanks Mom for keeping us updated! How amazing he is almost at the end of his journey.

Anonymous said...

The journals have been fun to read. Thank you Hobo Mom!

Anonymous said...

I love your blogs with all the details. Yesterday I was at the beach with my friends for my birthday and our campfire was right by yours Hobo Nick. We saw the sign saying Hobo Nick and everything. My friend and I didn't know who you were but thought you were pretty awesome because of your name. Next thing we knew, you were sitting at your campfire. We were all like let's go talk to Hobo Nick! We came back and gave you a chocolate homemade cupcake. I hope you enjoyed it!! You are awesome Hobo Nick!!!

Anonymous said...

Don't leave us hanging!

Anonymous said...

Greetings from the UK!

I'm not sure where I got the link to your blog, but once here I ended up reading every post with interest and am sad to have reached the end. Great adventure, and one which I gather concluded successfully - if success is measured in terms of reaching the original goal. It seemed that you were also looking for answers to find you.

I look forward to following your next adventure if the answers haven't found you yet. Can't help but feel the experience would have been more comfortable with a sleeping pad weighing ounces and something to keep insects out though. Seems that you struggling with that one yourself when turning down the offer of a sleeping pad, even if you did take the abandoned one without hesitation.

"Exactly!" said Deep Thought. "So once you do know what the question actually is, you'll know what the answer means."

Adam Eiland said...

Great blog. Just a real treat to see this journey through Nick's eyes. He's got a good heart and a kind soul. I am looking forward to reading about the final stretch. Thanks for posting along the way Hobo Mom!