Day 157, Sepember 7, 2012

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   I woke up around 7:45am. I had slept pretty good considering how close I was to the interstate. When I got up I looked around and there wasn't much traffic or anyone around me.
           I sat up and unzipped my sleeping bag. I put some cream on my knees first thing. Then I sat there on my sleeping bag and tarp and brushed my teeth and took my vitamins and other supplements.
         I got up to pack my stuff up. I threw my backpack and other lose items in my cart, then rolled my sleeping bag up and packed it also. When I picked up my tarp to fold it, a pretty big lizard darted out from underneath it and scurried over to a rock where it disappeared underneath it.  I was all packed up now and walked back towards the on ramp. I walked up to the overpass where I stopped to stretch out for a little while. While I sat there stretching my quads, I noticed a stray dog in the distance walking towards me. He came up close and then I saw he was pretty much skin and bones. He looked like he hadn't eaten in days. I felt really bad for it so I grabbed a couple cliff bars I had. I untapped them and tossed them over to the dog. He moved slow but fluently ate the bars off the ground. I felt bad for the thing but I needed to head out. It was close to a town so I just hoped it would be helped before getting to the point where it might starve. As I walked away I sort of created a good story for what I could imagine the dogs life would be. I won't ever see it again or hear about what happened. So I just create something good that I wish upon it. Sounds weird, but I guess that's a way to have hope for it.
          I walked back onto interstate 40 and started my trek for the day. I walked past the very small town of Yucca. Not much more than some old run down motels and junk cars in fenced in areas of dirt.
         I made it past the small town and continued. There was a rest area about 3 miles past the town. It was a good place to take a break, but it was too early for me to stop still. I passed by it just looking at the rigs stopped and the other travelers resting on the benches. It made me think there probably wasn't much past this. It seemed like people were stopping here like it is the first place to stop for a while.
          I walked about 4-5 more miles and my knees were actually beginning to throb. They were feeling very cramped, especial my right knee. They were popping every few stepped and just felt very uncomfortable also. I don't usually have this bad of pain until I reach at least 15 or 20 miles. So I was a little worried by this.
         I saw an overpass ahead maybe a few more miles. I figured I would take a long break there to give my knees a little break. I didn't want to push them, usually after feeling this sort of pain it just gets worse.
       I was just about to the overpass when I was really feeling the heat now too. The sun was beating down and it was getting hot! I got to the overpass and sat on the side railing. My knees were really stiff and I was walking pretty slow and tender. I felt like and old man looks when they can barely walk. They were worrying me even more at this point.
        I sat there and rested for about 20 minutes. It was so hot as I sat there, even in the shade. I wanted to rest longer, but I looked up a truck stop about 5 more miles ahead and decided to try and get there so I could take a much longer break in the air conditioning. And also I could ice my knees there.
         I left there and got about a mile up when a truck pulled over in front of me. When it came close the man I saw through the windshield looked familiar. As it pulled right up next to me, I saw it was the man from yesterday! He asked how my feet were doing today? I told him they were feeling ok, but my knees were hurting today. He had some aloe for me. The actual natural pieces of where aloe is derived from. He showed me how to peel it to get the aloe out. That was pretty cool that the guy brought that out and tracked me down. After not seeing anyone all day, he was a nice friendly face to see. And seeing someone 2 days in a row for a change is nice!
           He said he just had a little extra time and thought he would come track me down to help. He brought me some fruit too. Very cool dude. I thanked him a lot. I was thankful for his help, and at the same time my knees were killing me just standing there while we talked. I was sort of hoping he would cut the talking short so I could get to the stop ahead and ice my knees. I kept changing my stance and leaning on my cart to try and take pressure off of them. I mean, I loved the company, so much that I didn't say anything about how they were throbbing from just standing there. I waited and tried not to think about the pain. Then he finally headed out. I shook his hand and said thanks again!
           I walked west again and made my way towards the truck stop, which was still 3-4 miles up. It was really hot and I was drinking water like crazy. With the heat and the pain of my knees combined, I was pretty drained and hurting. I came close to the exit now, maybe a mile away from getting off. I was happy to see how close I was.
        All of a sudden my cart felt like it got heavier to push. I looked down and my left rear tire was flat. Dam! Almost made it but now have to stop again in the heat. There was no shade at all around in the bare desert, so I sat down on my sleeping bag directly on the asphalt of the interstate shoulder.
       I tried pumping the tire up but there was a fast leak and it wouldn't hold air. So now I put slime into the tube and pumped it back up. It was holding air now and was almost full enough. I was gonna give it about 5 more pumps when on the next one I heard a sudden release of air. It was on the opposite side of the tire now. It filled up enough to break another previous slime seal. So again, I put more slime in. At this point I was sweating like a dog and pretty frustrated. I just kept realizing, soon I will be in air conditioning. So be calm and just keep working to get the tire filled up.
        Finally after working more slime in and spinning the tire. I aired it back up just enough so that I could make it to the truck stop. I though maybe they had patches there.
        I walked again now and finally got to the exit. It was also where I was going to end walking on the 40. I had walked almost half of the country on highway 40. But now I was taking the 95 south to Lake Havasu City and Parker, then the 62 into California. It was the recommended route of the CA highway patrol when I talked to them on the phone in Williams AZ. As I got off the exit I was hot, tired, dirty, but still stopped to kind of bid farewell to the interstate 40. It had been a long crazy road. After turning around and looking back at it for 10 seconds, I was ready to get into the truck stop.
        I went in to the truck stop that had a Wendys in it also. I went in and left my cart at a window to keep an eye on it. I ordered a French fri, drink and salad off the value menu. I filled up my cup and guzzled down blue poweraid about 4 times. It was so good it was unreal. I also asked for a couple salad bags and filled them with ice so that I could ice my knees. I wrapped my knees wraps over them and let the ice relieve the soreness. That felt amazing too. Usually I don't like icing my body as it feels so cold, but the pain was enough in my knees where I could feel the instant relief. I sat down and enjoyed my food while I rested and cooled off.
         I sat there about an hour when a couple had contacted me on twitter and said they were passing through along the 40 right by me and wanted to stop to help me. They pulled up in a truck loaded down with their things and they were actually moving from Southern California to Georgia. They came in and were excited to meet me as I was to meet them. I was resting and cooled down now and definitely appreciated the visit! That wanted to buy dinner and eat with me so I got another couple value menu items that they bought for me. They were really nice and supportive. We hung out and and visited for a while sharing stories. It was really cool and they gave me some really cool insight to how my story helped them. I love to see what others take from my story. It's usually always a little different from each person, but always positive. After about 45 minutes of hanging out they were ready to hit the road and I was ready to leave too. They offered me $20 but I told them to share it with someone else that needs it. I had enough money right now for at least a few days, and many others don't. So someone else could definitely use it more than me. Plus they already bought me food and that was plenty enough to impact me greatly. I'm always thankful for the gesture of people helping. I don't need to be spoiled, just need what I need day to day.
        We parted ways and I headed south now on the 95. I wanted to get about 7 more miles before stopping. I walked away from the junction now and watched the sunset. It was another beautiful one and I stopped for a few moments to take it in.
        I put my vest and headlamp on now to finish the last leg in the dark. I walked down the lonely road and it was tough as it was mostly uphill. The terrain around me was pretty cool. Tons of big rock mountains. I enjoyed it until it was so dark I couldn't see anymore.
        I walked the last 5 miles and was getting really tired. It was about 9 when I was ready to stop. My knees felt slightly better from the ice and rest. I walked for about 2 miles once I decided I was ready to stop until I found somewhere I could sleep. The spot I found was pretty sketchy. It was just a flat area off the road with rocks all around. There was no cover anywhere around and I couldn't get out of sight. Since it was dark it was ok until the sun was up. So I was on with that. I was maybe 50 ft off the road and laying in the open. The road was not to busy (highway 95) so the noise would be too much through the night. I made my bed up there and had a feeling it might be an early morning. I laid down and was so beat. Pulling my shoes off felt so good. And laying down was such a relief, just feeling all my muscles ease up. I climbed into my sleeping bag and covered up. I fell asleep in about 10 minutes. I didn't sleep good that night. I tossed and turned on the hard surface all night and kept hearing noises like something was crawling around next to me. There was a breeze through the night and I thing it was blowing some of the tumble weed plants that were around me together. I was thinking they were just making a scratching noise and that was what I kept hearing. But I wasn't sure and I kept waking up in full alert when I heard it over and over. Little did I know I was in for a very early wake up call from something unexpected.


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