Day 141, August 22, 2012

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I woke up hearing a little rain hit my sleeping bag. It was the middle of the night. I got up and grabbed my tarp. I covered my cart and myself and went back to sleep.
        I woke up early in the morning hearing a tractor. I looked down from the pile of rocks I was sleeping on. I saw the tractor taking rocks from another pile and loading it into a truck. The sun was just rising and it was really pretty. I snapped a picture and then fell back asleep...
        I woke up again from hearing my tarp blow around lightly. It was a breeze after it was still all night. The tarp blew up very lightly. So I woke up and planned to bungee it so it would stay down. When I stood up the wind picked up a little and then rain started dropping. I reached over my cart handle from standing behind it to grab a bungee. I was still under the tarp.
        Right then the wind picked up and flung the tarp over my head from behind me and I felt rain hitting me. I grabbed the tarp and pulled it back down and stepped on it so it stayed down behind me. Then the rain came down harder and the wind wipped the tarp out from covering the front of my cart and the rain was getting my backpack and solar pan wet. I grabbed the tarp with my right hand in just a handful and held it over my stuff.
        Then the other side of the tarp flew up and the wind picked up more! Now the cart was pressed up tight against my body! I grabbed the tarp with my left hand too now and was holding that side down to keep it over my whole cart.
        Just then the wind pounded me!!... It pushed me and my cart from the back and it felt like someone hit me with a firehose!! It pushed me forward about 2 feet and I had to shuffle my foot to stay down on the tarp. The wind was furious!!! And the rain was hitting me through the tarp and felt like rocks were thrown at me!! They the wind caught the tarp from behind me to my right side and flung that corner of the tarp up!! The water was so heavy it came through the whole area under the tarp and was getting all my stuff wet!! Both my hands were tied up and actually fully tensed up trying to hold the tarp. But now it was acting like a parachute and it ballooned up and was pushing me and my cart back more!!! I couldn't do anything but hold the tarp now. The cart was slowly rolling forward and getting close to where the flat top of the pile of rock turned to the steep downward ramp. That was not good!!!
       Then I remembered, oh no!!! My iPod is in my hat on the ground about 3 feet behind me, along with my jacket and my sleeping bag!!!!... I put my right foot behind me to feel around for my hat. By this time my sleeping bag was soaked, and my jacket was soaked.. I felt back and couldn't feel my hat with my feet, which were also wearing soaked socks now!! Where was my hat!?!? I was sure my ipod was soaked by now.. Then I felt around my sleeping bag. I was so lucky. My sleeping bag was covering my hat and shoes!! When I stood up I stood up in my sleeping bag and sort of dropped it down like you would take off pants. And I usually have my hat and shoes next to each other right next to my sleeping bag. I also fold my hat over, just a habit so if someone comes near me my iPod is hidden. I felt around under my sleeping bag and ended up sliding my hat and shoes under my cart. I just said screw the sleeping bag and jacket. I felt how wet the sleeping bag was with my feet and knew the jacket was just as wet.
          After they were under the cart I could see my shoes and hat looked semi dry still. Now I grabbed the tarp in front with one hand by bringing both handfuls together and holding them with one hand! It caused some openings where my stuff was getting pelted with rain!! But I quickly took my free hand and grabbed the tarp that was whipping around, and brought it down under my right foot and stepped on it!! Then I brought my hand back and grabbed the tarp in front with two hands again to spread the tarp wide enough to cover all of my cart!!!
        So now I have both feet on corners of the tarp that went behind my back and over my head. I am hunched over with my cart handle in my chest, and the tarp goes over my head with the other two corners in my fully extended arms, fisting the bunches in my hands holding them pressed down to the front of my cart. The tarp is slapping my back seriously as hard as someone slapping me with their hand! I'm still slowly moving forward and getting close to a drop off. And meanwhile I'm shuffling my stuff with my soaking wet feet as I am moving forward but fighting it. My back is hurting and tense in an awkward position and my arms are throbbing trying to press down as the tarp is still being forcefully blown out from wind coming in from the sides!! It's still like a Sail pushing everything forward. The rain is ripping down on me feeling like rocks falling from the sky. All I heard is the tarp peircing my ear flapping back and forth vigorously!! I am looking down as I'm extending my arms forward, and I see water streaming in the ground under me now!! I slid my hat on top of my shoes and just hold on tight fully flexed!!!! And all this happened seriously, in about 2 minutes.
      So I held there for about 5 minutes as I was just holding still fighting the force of my tarp trying to rip away from me. My fists were clinched as tight as I could and I was just in an awkward position all around. The water streamed around my feet and soaked them even more. I kept my head down keeping an eye on my hat that had my iPod in it.
       Finally the wind eased up just a little. I held the two edges with one had again while using the other hand to grab bungees. Then I bungeed one corner at a time (the front corners). I bungeed them back to the frame of my cart. Then my hands were free. I grabbed my hat first! My iPod was wet but it didn't look bad. I put my hat and iPod in my backpack. The rain still poured!! Then I put my shoes one at a time on the back corners of my tarp. I pulled my wet socks off and put them under the cart frame on my water jugs. I lifted one foot at a time quickly and dropped it back down over my shoe. I got my shoes on with my bare feet and untied. Then I shuffled back slowly by lifting pressure off my feet and sliding them back while keeping enough weight on the tarp where it stayed down and slid back. I pulled my cart back away from the drop off. I got back by my sleeping bag and jacket again. I squatted down and reached back behind me to grab them. My sleeping bag weighed about 50 LBS!!! It was so water logged I couldn't believe how much it held. I put them under the tarp by my feet. Then I cleared one side of my Stoller out (one of the seats). I pressed them down to try and get some water out. A bunch drained, but they were still soaked. Then I put them into the seat. My sleeping bag was unrealisticly heavy.
         So now all my things were together. The rain still poured!! Even harder now!! But the wind was calming. I then walked down the ramp slowly and the back of the tarp was staying down since the wind let up. The further down I went, the less wind also. I got to the bottom and the pile was blocking the wind now just about completely.
          I stopped over a high spot after walking through some puddles to get across a couple areas. Well more like streams rather than puddles. I got to the high spot and just sat down on the wet rocks. My hands were wrinkled now. My clothes were wet. Not soaked, but damp rather. I sat there in a tank top, shorts, and shoes with no socks. I was freezing cold too now. It was chilly but being wet made me cold.
       I reached over into my backpack and grabbed two panchos, three pairs of socks, and a shirt. I put one pancho on over my tank top, then put my shirt over that, then the other pancho on over that. I figured the layers might warn me up.
       I took one of the pairs of socks (high ankle socks) and pulled my knife off of my shorts and cut the foot part out. I slid the tube part over my foot and placed it from my knee down to my ankle. Then I put another pair of socks (ankle sock) and put them on, then put my shoes back on. The I took the last long pair of socks and pulled them over my hands and arms up to my sleeves. So now I was covered from head to toe and was warming up right away. I sat there for about 45 minutes to wait out the rain. I didn't know if it would even stop. Well it didn't, but it slowed down to a very light rain now.
        So I came out from under my tarp now and stood there seeing how wet it felt. It was light enough that I was ready to take off. I was pretty frustrated, and sitting there was not helping. I just wanted to move and get out of there. So I re-adjusted my tarp over my cart, bungeed it good, and left walking.
       Wow! I just went through a Monsoon!!! I barely dodged disaster and couldn't beleive I made it out as well as I did. I realized how crazy a monsoon/flash flood can be. What a powerful thing! It took all I had to battle the weather and keep me and my gear together.
         It was setting in now that I was possibly screwed for the next night! What was I going to do about my soaked sleeping bag and jacket?!? Especially if it is cold. My thoughts before had no time to even think about that. But now I was worried. The weather was nasty as far as I could see, and it began to rain again...
         I walked about 5 miles through the rain when after a while I finally saw a sliver on the horizon of a little bit brighter sky. As the time passed it got bigger and bigger. And soon enough it was coming my way. As the clouds moved over me and the rain eased I grew with more hope of clear skies.
         After another hour it finally passed me. The ground was dry and the sun shined through. I couldn't beleive it. After 15 minutes I was hot. I took off everything and was back to my tank top. I stopped for a break and pulled my sleeping bag and jacket out. I sat on a railing next to the 40 and opened my sleeping bag all the way and laid it out on the shoulder for the sun, along with my jacket and socks. I needed those socks now for a spare.
           I sat there for 20 minutes and flipped my things over. It was so hot now I was burning up. I had to put sunscreen on too! I was SHOCKED how fast it changed from one extreme to the next. It seriously blew my mind. Now it was hot and clear. So crazy!
         I took off from there and laid my stuff over my cart like a clothes line. I couldn't beleive what I just went through. It was like I woke up and was thrown on a ship in the middle of a hurricane in the ocean, and now birds were chirping and the flowers stood tall and shined. Wow!
         So I was about 18 miles from Holbrook now. I walked about 5 more miles when I came to a construction zone. The freeway went to where both lanes were on one side. I had to walk on a very narrow shoulder for a while in that section. The other side was an unfinished bridge. Once I passed the bridge I crossed the median onto the other side where It was still closed and no cars were. I love when I have the whole side to myself. Had that a handful of times along the way.
        I walked a few more miles when I took a break on another railing. I had a peanut butter sandwich and relaxed there. I thought about what that storm in the morning would have been like from inside a house. Probably wouldn't have even woke me up from a sleep.
        I headed back on the road and had about 10 miles to go to get to Holbrook. My knees were sore and my legs were tired, but I kept pushing. I walked the last 10 miles without stopping since it was timed just right for me to make it by sunset. A break would have caused me to walk in the dark and I didn't want to. Especially after that storm. Who knows if it would roll in like that again.
        I got to Holbrook right at sunset. The last mile was really tough! I was hurting. I had walked 27 miles! I got to a Denny's in Holbrook and ordered a $2 meal there. I sat there charging my stuff and hanging out. I realized that even though the storm was crazy, it was also exciting. It could have easily turned to a disaster, but the fact that everything was ok made it a pretty exciting thing actually. Would not want to face it again since I was close to having my tarp ripped away in the wind and all my stuff blow away. But since I made it through it was kinda cool. And the sun shined all day and completely dried all my stuff!! I was sooo thankful I could sleep with those things dry tonight.
         I left Denny's around 10 and was looking for a spot to sleep. The weather on my phone said it was clear through the night too, thank god. I walked down and passed a hotel about 1/4 mile down. I saw two containers out behind them and walked over there to check it out. It was perfect. There was a cement slab and a bunch of stacks of pallets. I leaned some pallets around my cart and over it too. I leaned a few more around me to make sort of a fort. I was very hidden and just blended in with the other pallets too. I fell asleep in my dry sleeping bag, and using my dry jacket as a pillow that night around 11... Wow..


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