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He headed down the hill after a while to go back to the hotel and we agreed to meet at a Denny's across from their hotel for breakfast. I packed my things and walked down the hill. I stopped at a big rock where I sat down and brushed my teeth. I headed down to a gas station next door to Denny's where the tenant gave me permission to fill my waters in a back storage room in a sink. I filled enough jugs to get me about 50 miles (5 gallons). Then I went over to Denny's and got a booth and waited for my folks.
They came in around 9 and we got breakfast. Again, I didn't want anything from them so I had a separate tab and hot a $2 breakfast. And I did not take any bites of their stuff or anything. I wanted to make sure I didn't accept anything from them at all! Even in a tiny way! Mainly because I have made it all the way to the middle of Arizona now from the Atlantic ocean on only help from people I didn't know before. And havnt asked for anything still.
We sat there at Denny's for maybe an hour and a half and milked our last visit before we would both leave and likely not see each other again for at least a month. It was really nice to have them around.
We finally said goodbye and I wanted to make it short and emotionless. So we said goodbye and hugged. I left from Denny's and went over to the gas station again to use the bathroom. I made sure that before I left there I took a good stock of toilet paper that I bunched up and put in my backpack. Then I was off.
As I walked away my parents passed by me and I heard my dad say "he's busy, get away while you can" and he pointed in front of them. I looked and saw a cop car that had someone pulled over. I smiled and waved as they drove off.
I hopped onto the 40 and started walking west leaving Williams AZ. It was a nice day and I was still in the forest area where it was high elevation and cool temperatures. It was a perfect day to walk.
I came across a purple yoga mat that I found right off the shoulder of the highway. It looked to be in pretty good condition. I have been offered a couple mats from people to sleep on and carry with me, but never felt like I really needed them. But for some reason finding one that was sitting there and just probably going to rot, I felt ok taking that and packing it.
I continued walking and after about the first 7 miles for the day I stopped at a railing and sat down for a rest. I ate a cliff bar I had and rested for about 15 minutes. Then continued.
After that the 40 began to really start going downhill. Flagstaff was about 7200 feet, so I knew I had a lot of downhill ahead. I walked down for another 8 miles or so when I stopped for another break on another railing. As I sat there I could see storms with heavy rainfall on both sides of me. I couldn't tell exactly what way they were moving, but I had a feeling it might pass over me.
I took off from there walking again. I got about another mile when a sprinkle started to fall. I stopped and then pulled my tarp out to bungee it over my cart. I grabbed a poncho I had packed also and threw it on. I continued.
About 1/2 mile later the rain started pouring!! I pulled my umbrella out and was walking and trying to stay dry. It got harder and harder and there was an overpass about another mile up. So I hurried and I made it under there right in the heart of the storm. I sat under it on my sleeping bag leaning up on a column. It was a very hard rain and lightening all around too.
As I sat there a couple motorcycles pulled off under there too. Those guys are crazy riding without rain gear in those storms. Then shortly after that, a u-haul pulled off. A guy jumped out and was covering the back rack that was full of luggage with a tarp. So I ran over across the lanes to help him. He didn't say much but said thanks before he left. I went back and sat down to wait out the rain.
I ended up sitting there about 2 hours. I was really surprised of how at peace I was feeling just sitting there. I was just feeling happy. Happy that through all the things I have experienced I have been alright and have made it through everything unscathed. Just feeling how lucky I am and how I have moved so fluently. As I sat there with my poncho over my entire body like a TP, I was feeling the moment and taking in something good.
I sat there until the rain stopped and then took off. It was really bright and pretty after the storm passed. I walked a little ways further to get to Ash Fork AZ. As I walked the last bit, I watched an awesome sunset. After I had set, I made my way to the last exit of the little town. I got off there and went to a chevron. I went in and bought 2 little bags of peanuts for 99 cents. Basically to buy the cheapest thing and hangout inside. There were little tables and stools inside where I sat down and there were outlets there too. At this point my Internet signal was gone.
I went outside to grab the charger for my iPod and when I went out I saw a guy who walked towards me. He had a backpack on and had an extra pair of shoes tied to it hanging down behind him. He looked about my age and was blonde and overweight. He asked "where you going?". I said towards Kingman AZ. He said "me too! Let's make it a journey together!" I said "I'm walking". Then he had a serious tone and said "I walked 43 miles today from prescott to here! I'm walking there too!" I was a little shocked that he said 43 miles and I asked "43 miles?!?!". He said "I'm a firefighter, I can walk 50-60 miles a day". This is the point where I really felt like he was full of it. He had no water, was overweight, and his shoes were not really walking shoes. They were skate shoes tied loosely. Like to slip them on.
I said "if you walk that much you will leave me behind. But we can walk together until then". He said ok and then came inside the store and sat next to me. It was a little odd that he followed me. He asked if I wanted a beer and I said no thanks. The more I talked to him, the more I felt that he was full of hot air and that I didn't feel comfortable with him around me at night. He seemed very scattered. He said him and his girlfriend just broke up since she cheated on him, that's why he left Prescott walking. We sat there and I really was uncomfortable with what was going to happen. I sensed he was already leeching onto me and I don't like that, especially out here where I like to be alone and at my own pace.
When I told him I was gonna go outside and crash, he grabbed his bag and walked outside. Then he asked where I was gonna stay. I walked behind the gas station and saw some wet grass. I flashed my light on it. It was not a good spot, but there was nothing around. So I said "this will have to do". He looked at it and his face just looked as if he was thinking no way! He told me there was a bench out front. I told him I liked to be hidden if possible. The bench he was talking about was right by the road. Then I asked "do you have gear to sleep?" he said no. Then he said "man I knew I should have brought a sleeping bag!" then I knew he really had no idea what he was doing. I told him I'm gonna pass out back here and I'll come out to find you on the morning. But in my mind I hoped he was gone by the next day. He said ok and then he said if he gets a ride tonight he's gonna take it. So we shook hands and I said if he does get a ride, good luck. Then walked behind the gas station and across to the far side. I spotted a small concrete pad right off the building. It was just big enough for me and my stuff. So I made my bed there and put down my new mat. When I laid down I already felt less pressure on my hips and knees. I still had a little concern that the guy knew where I generally was. So I slept ready and alert incase I heard anything. After about 20 minutes I heard ruffling in the grass. I sat up and shined my light, and it was a stray dog. As soon as it noticed me it took off running through the field behind me.
at 10:44 AM