Day 116, July 28, 2012

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 I woke up and the sun was shining down hard on my body. I opened my eyes and looked out into the bright open land. It was pretty windy and there was a coat of dust over all my stuff from the wind carrying dirt through the area. I got up and packed up. It was about 8:30.
         I got out onto the road and it headed west from there as I left the corner where I had slept. There were no cars or houses or anything in sight. I walked about 2 miles when I saw a sign that said pavement ends. I didn't feel too good about that.
        So there I was on a dirt road. I was about 18 miles from the new Mexico state line and it was gonna be a tough walk to get there. I had walked through the entire state of Texas and did not see one live snake! Not one. Even passing through areas where people said it was rattle snake country. Not even one glimpse of any. I liked that. And here I was on my last day in Texas, and as I walked down the dirt road, I see something move to my left near the bushes. As I look towards it, it was a snake! I was so pissed! I wanted to make it though the whole state snake free! So I walked up and sure enough, it was about a 5 foot rattler. I was upset and yelled at it a little, only since he ruined the not seeing any in Texas!
          I came to about the area where I was expecting the road to turn back north and head back towards the interstate 40. But all I saw was a cattle guard that went into a pasture where the road was rough. So I kept going. Then I checked my GPS again and I had gone past the area where I was supposed to turn. Then I thought, did my route seriously lead me into a pasture? I looked at the gps again and it appeared that way. I went back to it and just laughed. Are you serious?
         So I crossed over the cattle guard over bushes that grew out of it and hit a really rough and bumpy dirt path with cow hoof tracks everywhere. My cart was not rolling well on this dirt and I couldn't see the road too far ahead. I really hoped it went all the way through like the GPS said. I was too far now and turning back was a half days walk.
         I walked about 10 minutes down the path and then the trail went to a steep downhill slope! I was going down and really working hard to hold the weight of my cart pulling down hard! I came to a part of the road where there was about a 4 foot wash across the whole path. I couldn't believe it. I had to lift my cart and basically carry the thing across.
         I came to a valley where I was on the bottom of mountains on both sides. The dirt on the trail was sandy and deep. It was so deep at times that my tires were not even spinning. I was just pushing my cart through it sideways like it was a sled. My cart was really being pushed hard.
        When I began to climb back up there were more washes and ruts. I was having to man handle my cart uphill and was really working hard to keep it moving. When I got up the hill it was really pretty. I could see down and into the open. There were hawks flying around and it was silent. It was pretty hot also. I stood there to catch my breath and enjoy the scenery.
        When I was ready to go again I looked down and my rear tire was flat to the rim! So I lifted my cart and set the frame on my water jug. I put some slime into the tube and then spun the wheel, aired it back up with my hand pump, and was back on my way.
       I walked about another mile where the road was much smoother. Then finally it popped back out to the interstate! When I came out, just by coincidence there was a truck pulled off with a flat right at the place I came out. Another truck was pulled off and a guy helped this elderly lady to change her tire. They saw me walking out from there and looked at me like I was crazy. Where the road came out, there was a sign over the entrance that said it was a ranch. Very confused about the whole route there. But happy I was out of it.
        So from there, my GPS also showed a frontage road from there, but there was nothing. I was about 8 miles from the state line. So I just said screw it, and took the interstate. It was really starting to heat up now.
        I walked a few miles when a car pulled off. A guy and girl came out and said they were looking for me! They gave me some snacks and a water. They brought me a playboy magazine too and said they figured I was lonely haha. I laughed and thought it was funny. But that was extra weight and not a necessity so I planned to ditch it soon. Plus if I get searched it might not look too good and not give me a chance for the cops being cool. But it was cool they thought about my loneliness. I thanked them and they said good luck.
        The last 5 miles were really tough. I was very dehydrated and feeling the heat break me down. I was ready to get to the information center at the state line and cool down. I really pushed through the heat to get there. I honestly wasn't even that exited to cross the state line, but more for cooling down and resting. And to get water that was cooler than about 95 degrees. My waters were all hot from the sun.
        Finally there it was! The New Mexico state line! I then felt a little excitement. Made it out of Texas, the biggest state I will deal with. It was tough to get through but I was happy how fast I had made it!
       I came to the sign and stopped to take a picture. Then I crossed it and was ready to get inside the information center which was about 500 feet past it. Just was about 30 feet past the line, a car pulled off in front of me. There were a lot of cars pulling over there to take pictures since it was on the 40. So I figured these two guys were also just doing that.
         I noticed the driver got out very slow and was moving his hands slow and opening his fists to straighten his fingers with a good amount of effort. So as I walked past them I said hello. Then the driver looked at me and said they were there to see me. I was suprised! And happy! I shook their hands and said it was nice to meet them!
        The driver was slow to shake my hand and again it took a lot of effort. Then he explained his condition.
          His name is Will. He had heard about me through a friend in the motocross community. Roughly 4 years ago he was riding motocross when he swapped in a whoop section (big bumps you ride through that can throw you around) and the bike launched him off. When he landed he fell on his wrists, the fall had unfortunately paralyzed him from the neck down.
      He was in the hospital and his life had changed just like that. It has been a very long and hard road for Will. But he has worked very hard through the tough times to move forward. He has put a tremendous amount of effort into doing all he can to somehow rehab and begin to move little by little. First his toes and fingers. And as his friend Doyle described it "it was like being a baby all over again". He learned to move again. Then the movements grew from there into more movements. Then the muscles were becoming useful again little by little. After a lot of work and rehabing daily Wills work and dedication, and positive hopes had paid off. Will walked again.
       As will told me his story it really touched me. I also ride motocross along with a lot of my friends. And we are all at risk to be thrown into this kind of thing. And the strength will has shown to get back to where he is now really went deep on me. I can't imagine not only the physical struggles and trials, but mostly the mental roller coaster he has had to endure. Through all of that, he pulled through and works hard every day to become better. And now, he was walking with me. He stepped with me on a walk now that he could only have dreamed of before.
         Will said I was an inspiration to him and I cant even express how he was an unexpected gift to my spirit and how much he inspires my mind. He walked about a quarter miles with me. Taking breaks often and moving very slow. I had chills and I was honored to walk by his side. I see Will as a hero to many. What he has done to get to the point to be there with me taking steps, is amazing. Every step he took was much bigger than any step I could ever take. All the tough things I was dealing with as I approached the state line, the heat, dehydration, being worn out. It was all gone. Sucked away from the elevated mind set Wills story had lifted me to. I didn't feel any pain anymore. I felt chills and tingles of being moved by his will (ironic).
           We walked together to the information center where we had a chance to talk more. We sat inside and visited for about an hour and a half. He was such a grounded person and his stories were painful, but very powerful too. It was such a gift to me to have this experience and I'm not sure if he would understand that. It really lifted me up and I knew would last in my mind to help me get through struggles I would face. I was so thankful to God that he was sent my way.
         The information center closed at 5 when we left there. He and his friend had brought me a bag full of snacks for my travels. And gave me a Walmart gift card also. He came outside and took some pictures of me with my cart and stuff. We said goodbye and they were on their way. Great day!
          After they left I laid down outside the building next to an outlet. I laid there and relaxed as the sun set. I met a guy who was walking his dog around for a rest stop from driving. He was on his way to Monterey CA and was moving there from South Carolina. He hungout and talked with me for a few minutes. He was a nice guy. Before he left he said he didn't have much but he gave me a dollar. I didn't ask him for anything, he probably wanted to help since I look exactly like a dirty hobo and was laying on the floor. If it was more than a buck I wouldn't have taken it, but I thought ya I guess I'll take a dollar. He got my information and then hit the road. Sometimes I struggle to tell people what I'm doing. I want to share my story and how cool it has been to have made it from starting with nothing. But a lot of times I don't want to tell them because I don't want them to think I say that on purpose to make them feel the need to give me money. It's a tricky situation and mostly just avoid telling them the part about starting with no money. But since that is one of the big parts of the power of this trip I sometimes share it. But after all I give so much money away that I am still ok with the few times that I have been given money at those times.
          After that I sat there til about 9. Then I picked my stuff up and walked to the back of the property and made my bed right behind a row of dumpsters. I fell asleep pretty quick from being so drained.
          At around 3am I rolled over and as I rolled I planted my arm a bunch of thorns stuck into it! Ouch! There were about 10 deep in there. I got my flashlight and picked them out and blood ran out of some of the deeper holes they punctured. I could see then that I was laying in and around a bunch of them. They were all stuck to my sleeping bag too. So I got up. I was so tired. But I threw my stuff in my cart and moved back to the building. I shook my bag out and then laid it down on the concrete next to the wall of the building. I laid on top of it. I used my backpack as a pillow and my jacket as a blanket. I fell asleep at around 3:30 again. I woke up frequently as big rigs pulled in often and the entrance was right off the curb I was laying next to. Rough night of trying to rest.


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