Day 155, September 5, 2012

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I woke up feeling a really bad pain. When I woke up I had a 10 second period where I felt my heart racing and I was trying to figure out where I was. Im not sure, but it almost seemed as if the events from the night before had spooked my mind a bit, and then waking up with the pain was a very startling combination to wake up to. I sat up very quickly and looked all around me. There was nothing. Nothing around me to worry about. It was just silence. Then I felt a calming ease come over me. Im safe. But now the pain had began to set in. I think my mind had a small adrenaline rush when I first woke up. But now that I knew everything was good, the feeling of the pain seemed to set in and it was pretty bad. It was my left knee. I slept in a very awkward position that really caused a tweak in it.
I sat there for a while moving my leg around and bending my knee. It was a pretty uncomfortable feeling and I was worried I may not be able to get much walking in for the day. I stretched it out and gave it about 20 minutes before even standing up. I kind of half way packed up my stuff (everything except my sleeping bag and mat). I brushed my teeth, took my vitamins, and then stood up slowly. My knee was really stiff but it seemed to be bearable. The pain definitely didn’t increase when I stood. So that was good. I walked around a little on the concrete pad I had slept on. It seemed to be loosening up as I moved it more. It still hurt, but I was feeling ok about taking off and walking. 
I packed my bedding up and loaded the rest of the things in my cart. I was curious to see what the ditch looked like where the truck had gotten stuck the night before. I walked down the dirt road back towards the paved road near the freeway exit. When I got to the ditch, it was deeper than it had been the first time I crossed it the night before. The truck had dug down pretty deep when it got stuck. The tweakers had dug one side of the ditch down pretty far back also. It looked like they did a lot of work to be able to get the truck out. I was really wondering how twacked out they may have been. They were definitely showing some heavy signs of tweaking the night before.
I got to the on ramp of Interstate 40. I stopped one last time to stretch out for a few more minutes. At this point my knee was feeling decent. I was just hoping that the pain would not get worse when I started putting miles in. I stretched more than usual and then climbed the ramp up onto the Interstate shoulder and began walking west on the Eastbound side of traffic (walking against traffic). I was 24 miles from Kingman AZ.
It was a pretty nice day. The weather was a little warmer than I had felt for a while now. Ever since I was about 20 miles east of Flagstaff AZ, it had definitely cooled down. But from this point on it is going to start warming up as I'm dropping back down into the desert from the forests and mountains. 
I walked about 5 miles and was pretty surprised with how my knee was holding up. It seemed to be fine and was just a little sore. I could feel a small amount of pain if I turned on it. Like if my foot was on the ground and then I rotated, I felt a strain possibly in my tendons. So I was moving carefully with my knee, and trying to not make any sudden movements or not even really do anything aside from just walking straight and taking it slow.
When I made it about 7 miles in, I was ready for a break. There was still nothing around me, just desert. So I stopped on a railing that was right off of the interstate shoulder. There was a large overgrown bush that was up against th backside of the railing where I sat. That provided a little bit of shade for me. When I stopped my knee felt stiff again after a few minutes. I figured it was still ok, and that It would loosen up again when I would take off. So I hung there for about 20 minutes and then took off.
I walked another 5 miles or so when I had a visitor. A guy named Steve Matthes and his wife Pookie Matthes drove over 2 hours from Vegas to come and help me out! Steve is a journalist among other things in the motocross industry. Although I had never met him, I have read plenty of his writing in magazines. Im a pretty big motocross fan and he is a well known figure in that industry. It was really cool that they somehow heard about my journey and made the long trip to come and visit me. They pulled off of the interstate and onto the shoulder. It was awesome to have a visitor! I had only eaten a handful of trail mix in the morning and was starving. They had a big bag of Carls Jr for me and I was so pumped to chow that! I still have not asked for anything, or even implied that I needed help. So when I have a surprise like that it means so much! I devoured that burger and fries they brought me. It was amazing! I seriously finished the entire bag in about 3 minutes. What a good feeling! 
We hung there next to their truck for about 20 minutes and talked about random stuff. We talked about some motocross stuff and that is awesome to catch up on, especially with a guy who has a lot of inside information. It was such a refreshing break. Having people who support me and stop along the way really makes things easier. Obviously for the things they bring to me. like food, money, clothes ect., but also it REALLY helps me mentally. With so much alone time out here, it's such a nice thing to talk to people especially when a lot of people don’t know what I'm doing and just look at me like I'm crazy. I'm usually filthy, smell bad, have a nasty beard, and am walking around with a baby stroller full of crap. So most people don’t take me too serious if I tell them I'm walking across the country. They probably thing I'm as high as a kite on crack. They would be shocked if they knew I have come to look like this while being completely 100% sober.
Before they left, they gave me a good size care package in a closed box and said to open it later. So I threw it in my cart, said goodbye to them, and took off again. I headed further down the 40 towards Kingman. It had been about 60 miles since the last place to stop. I was feeling pretty eager to get to a place soon so I could sit on an actual chair of some kind. I really wanted to just be in air conditioning too since the day was pretty warm. I walked about a mile up a small incline where I saw an exit ahead. I wasn’t sure, but it looked like there was a truck stop there. 
I walked closer to the exit and I was really excited to see there were some places there to stop. Finally! I hurried to the exit and got off. It was a truck stop with a dunkin donuts and a iron skillet restaurant. I was pretty excited and relieved. Actually very excited and relieved. I was ready for a break and also to get something small to eat there. When I walked up close I stopped so I could open my care package. I opened the box and it was full of goods! There was a new shirt, a new hat, a box of energy bars, a pack of socks, some toiletries and wet wipes, and $30!! It was a well put together package and really helped me a ton! It was a big boost and I was really thankful.
I left my cart outside of a window so I could keep my eye on it and then went inside. Just to walk through the doors felt amazing. It was refreshing to see people around, and also feeling the cool air. I went to the iron skillet and was seated near an outlet (per my request). I grabbed the menu and ended up getting a baked potato and a water. The potato was $2.19. It was pretty big too and filled my up.
So I sat there and relaxed after I was done. My legs were getting a much needed rest. As I sat there I was listening to two older dudes argue politics. This is something I would usually hate. I really can't stand politics and hearing about peoples views tends to drive me nuts. But for some reason I was really enjoying listening to them go back and forth. I think it was because I have been alone so much, and just hearing human interaction in general was nice. 
One thing I thought about while the two oakie trucker dudes argued politics was this: I imagine this world under distress. Maybe under attack or severe natural disaster. I picture a situation where we need to come together and survive. Maybe the grid shuts down for some reason or another. So if we were in this situation, I really think that the small differences that we bicker about in today's world would seem meaningless. I'm sure we would have other things to disagree over, but it just seems silly at times when I hear of people having falling outs or losing touch because of little disagreements. I mean, if you were about to fall off a cliff, and a person stuck their hand out to save your life do you think your gonna care what his or her political views are? Or religious views are for that matter? It just seems like we need to put that stuff aside and unite a little more. I feel like so many people take the world so serious. Ya, I joke around a lot about mudbutt. And I wear my hat sideways. But I feel I have a good sense of when someone needs help. Especially out here on the streets. That’s where the jokes end. I don’t ask someone what they believe before I help them. I just help them. I would like help if I needed it too.
I stayed at the truck stop for about an hour and a half. At about 3 I took off. I was debating stopping for the day there since it was a bit of an oasis after being around nothing for days. But I wanted to cover more ground towards Kingman. So I took off again. I walked nice and steady for the next 3-4 hours. My knee was feeling much better now and I was happy about that. The break was much needed for my body.
I covered some ground and was only about 8 miles from Kingman. It was dark now but I kept going. I decided if I found a spot that looked good I would stop. But if not, I would push towards Kingman and try to make it all the way there. Well there was nowhere really to stop along the stretch before I made it to Kingman. (I feel like I just typed Kingman 1000 times.) It was about 9pm and the lights of the city were in sight. So I kept pushing west. I was using a headlamp for light as I walked. Someone gave that to me in Flagstaff. 
Finally I made it. My knees were tired. Not the pain I had from how I slept with my knee twisted but rather a tired and worn out feeling. The pain seemed to vanish when I left the truck stop earlier that day, which was a relief. I came to the first exit but it looked to have no spot I was comfortable with. So I went to the next exit where there were some hotels and fast food joints. As I was walking off the exit, I had the hobo eagle eye to seek out a spot to crash. I kept my eyes peeled and actually found a spot easy. As I was getting off the exit on the south side of the freeway there was a hill. Right off the on ramp (I walk down on ramps to get off) the land dipped down and was somewhat smooth with the hill rising after the dip. I walked right down that small dip and stopped behind a coupe trees. I was pretty well out of sight and the only way I figured I would be spotted was in the morning light as cars entered onto the freeway. But I wasn’t near anything really. So even if I was spotted I didn’t think it would be an urgency for anyone to call the cops. So I made my bed there and hunkered down in the shrubs to stay as out of sight as possible. It was a pretty good spot. A little noisy with the freeway, but other than that not bad.
My body was really tired. It felt amazing to get off my feet and lay down. I checked my GPS and I had walked about 24 miles! It's so weird that I walk some of the furthest days on the harder mornings. But either way, I was happy I covered that much ground and made it. I laid back and felt the relaxation in my muscles. I closed my eyes and fell asleep surprisingly fast. It was roughly 10:30. I slept ok that night. The big rigs passing by would wake me up here and there and a few bugs crawling on me woke me up at times. But I was so tired I crashed hard.


Anonymous said...

Hello Nick, I wonder if You are still in Orange County? I live in Orange and would meet You at ?? To buy You a meal. Also I have a partially furnished bedroom maybe You could stay a couple of days?? Ok take care and Congratulations on Your "Great accomplishment!! My email is Seand me a message! Bill

Anonymous said...

Homeless is huge .here in orange ca I helped a lady living in the local park .I gave her some shelter for her stuffin my truck so she could walk around town.lonely and seeking quality interaction is what homeless have on their plate. Great thing your crusade life long experince. Nice u made to hb water is nice . Heck so many live without a home here to. Me as well.
Keeping our sanity while attempting to coexsist in this has many tuff days .
I see that talking with some really opens our mind to diff lives that take this route. Enjoy your beds.bitter sweet luxuries. Sleeping feet extended. Even a blessing. Just be glad to be here. Homeless again tonite

Anonymous said...

I guess, by reading Nik's recent Twitter logs, that weed, booze and womenizing is more important to Nik then finishing this blog. I feel stupid for getting sucked (erd) into this story. Wonder if this story is even close to being true???

Aaron Girard said...

Being true? Like he faked walking across the country? Give the guy a break, I'm sure he is just decompressing after walking across the country!