Day 165, September 15, 2012

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      I woke up and had slept pretty decent. I was still feeling good and right away thinking I only had one more full day of bare desert as long as everything went smooth. 
I got up with a positive attitude and was ready to tackle another day and meet my goal. I wanted to cover another 15-17 miles today. I was mostly guesstimating the miles at this point and was also using mile markers to do the math. My mind was so blurry that I hadn't been paying to close of attention the last few days, but I was getting more on track as I was getting closer. 
I stretched out and packed up. I was on the road and headed west again. Another day of open desert didnt sound too pleasing. I wasn't really looking forward to the same of nothing for another full day. But being patient will pay off. As soon as I get to 29 palms it is going to be worth it. And the level of appreciation will be vast. Man I can't wait to get there!
       I headed down the 62 and figured I would try to get a solid 2 hours of walking in before a break. Usually 2 hours takes me 6 miles, but since I've slowed down the pace with my knee issues, it's probably closer to 5. 
I went about an hour when a white truck pulled off and rolled down his window. He asked if I was ok and then held out a $5. I took it and was greatful. He also reached back in and grabbed a gallon of water. It was only about 1/5 of the way full, but it was more than I had. That meant a lot to me!
I chugged all of it and it was so good! It tasted like gold compared to the water I had. And it was cool as well. Very refreshing. I had drank all of the drinks given to me up to this point and just had 3 gallons of water left. It might have been enough to make it the next day and a half to 29 palms, but just incase it wasn't, I had an idea.
I took $20 that a guy gave me 2 days ago and an empty water jug and held them in my right hand together. When a car would pass I would hold it up with the $20 sticking out. I was hoping someone might pass that had a surplus of water. And I would gladly pay $20 for a gallon of water or so at this point! 
A few cars passed and then a man and his wife stopped. All he had was 1 bottle of water. I offered him $5 for it, but he wouldn't take it. He also had a 12 pack of beer that he offered me. But I passed. That sounded pretty nasty in this heat.
       I chugged the water and was still very thirsty. I was getting pretty far into the other gallon I was drinking too and was starting to realize that with a little more help, I was likely to run out of water at least 10 miles short. A few more cars passed but no luck.
I stopped to take a break under another shade bush on the shoulder of the highway. I was feeling really tired now and had to force myself to eat more food. I ate a power bar and did not enjoy it at all. I had to really force it down. I had tried eating sunflower seeds here and there in the last few days and they tasted horrible. They are seeds I have had plenty times before and enjoyed. But for some reason they made me want to puke in this situation.
       I sat down for a long break and kind of hoped the food would make me feel a little better soon before I took off again. The scenery around was starting to look different which really was a good feeling now. It didn't feel like I wasn't moving anymore. The mountains were closer now and they were also more green. Seeing that really comforted me.
       I felt a little better after about an hour and was ready to continue. I left walking again and wanted to get roughly another 5 miles in. I got about 3 miles when my right knee popped. It wasnt a terrible pain, but i stopped and definetley needed to take a break. I didn't stretch after the last break and am starting to find that I need to stretch almost everytime I'm going to continue after a break.
       I stretched out and immediately felt better. I continued walking very slow. After a mile or so I felt ok and kept going. I walked a couple more and then stopped for another break. When I stopped a car passed me and turned around down the road. It came back and then pulled off next to me. It was a guy and his family. He said he had some water and he opened up the back of his SUV. He grabbed me 2 waters out of an ice chest. I told him thanks so much and said it really helped me. He asked where I was going and I told him. I was suprised nobody had really been asking me what I was doing the last few days since we are in the middle of nowhere. I told him I was walking cross country and was running low on water in this long stretch. He was amazed and shook my hand saying Goodluck. I said thanks again and he left.
       I enjoyed the waters while they were cold and they went fast. It was hot and I was still consuming a lot of water. I was going through my own water pretty fast also. I wasn't happy with how fast it was disappearing. I took a pretty long break again and snacked on the little trail mix I had left. It was down to about a handful. I had 2 cliff bars left and one power bar. After that I had a tube of raisins and that was it. Food was pretty low.
I left from there walking again. I walked about 2 hours when a big truck passed me and then turned around. An older man stopped and asked if I was thirsty. I said I actually was pretty thirsty and he laughed. He got out and had an ice chest in the back of his truck. He had come from the military base in 29 palms where his son was being shipped out to Iraq. He had a sadness to him for obvious reasons. He pulled out a powerade and 2 waters from the ice chest. They were ice cold and I couldn't be happier. It really is amazing that so many people have given me the Nessesities to continue. As far down or as hard as it has been, I have yet to be stranded. He told me to be safe and he drove off.
       I drank all of what he gave me within 30 minutes. I don't think I realized how deprived I was of fluids until I had them to drink. 10 minutes after I finished the drinks I had cotton mouth already and was thirsty again. 
Another 20 minutes passed when a savior came my way. A red beemer stopped next to me and a lady driving said "are you nick?" I said yes. Then she said she had something for me. She got out and pulled a huge case of water out from her truck! It was enough to cover the final stretch! I just exhaled a deep breath and knew I was gonna be ok. What a good feeling. She ended up being the sister or sister in law of the guy who stopped in the white SUV with his family. He had called her and said to bring water since she was traveling across the stretch later that day. I was so thrilled and thanked her a lot. I also told her to thank the good man for doing that and helping me. It was about the best gift I've ever had!
       I packed it in my cart and kept moving. The sun was dropping and I wanted to move until dark. I was really pleased to FINALLY see a house! I came to the outside of 29 palms where there were a handful of houses. I was happy to see that and it was setting in now that I was getting close. Another car stopped next to me and it was a Mexican couple. The handed me a bag of Mexican donuts. Even though my appetite was not much, those looked pretty good.
       I walked past a few houses and some abandoned shacks. I came to an old closed down store and gas station. It was old. I found a spot out of sight next to that where there was an old tow truck and a tank. It was about dark so I made my bed there and laid down. I drank a few waters now that I had enough to splurge. It was nice to be able to drink without worrying about not having enough. 
       I laid down feeling excited now. I was at the last homestretch before getting out of the barren mojave. Man, what a scary place. I was ready to hit 29 palms the next day and have signal again to contact everyone following the journey.


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