Day 154, September 4, 2012

I woke up early when one if the many big rigs zoomed by during my sleep and woke me. The sun was up and I couldnt sleep much from the noise anyway. So I just decided to start the day. I was really tired and knew the day would be a struggle. But I have dealt with exhaustion enough out here that I'm used to it. I just figured I might sleep harder the next night. Maybe?
     I packed up and did my morning routine. My knees were hurting a little that morning, so I stretched my legs more than usual to try and loosen up. Not sure if it was the lack of rest or concrete or what. But they were in some pain.  I finally was ready to take off for the day. I was still tight when I bagan walking but loosened up after about 10 minutes. The first few miles were slightly uphill and a little windy. When I got to the top of the hills I went into it was a steady decline from there. Not much but for sure was downhill.
    I walked about 6 miles and it was still moderately flat ground. My body was feeling better than I thought and I was doing ok. And the weather was good too which I'm sure helped a lot. If it was extreme heat I think it would wear me down faster. I took a break under the next over pass I came to and sat there for maybe 15 minutes. I didn't want to sit too long and get lazy. So as soon as I was starting to get tired I got up and kept on. I wanted to make sure I moved somewhat fluently through the bare stretch until Kingman AZ. When I got there I could slow down to rest. That way I will have water and a dry place to take a break.
    I walked another 6 miles or so on about the same terrain and small declines. I went easy and just made sure not to push my body too much. When I came to an overpass I was a good ways in for the day and decided to take a longer break there under the bridge. So I sat against the concrete of the cement slope right off the shoulder on my sleeping bag. I usually sit on my sleeping bag and lay back on the concrete. I sat there for about 10 minutes when it started to get really windy and clouds rolled in and over the area all around me. It's amazing how fast the clouds come in. It looked like it might start to storm and the wind was really high speeds. So I got up to secure some of the things in my cart so they wouldnt blow off. The winds picked up now. Just then a truck pulled up and parked just in front of me. They guy got out and he was there to check on my and had some snacks. His boss was the same guy who has had his workers checking on me off and on since Texas. Such a cool support group!
We were talking and then winds picked up more and then rain started to spit. It was coming across the ground since the wind was so heavy. So the bridge wasn't really providing cover at this point. I pulled my tarp out to bungee it over my cart and keep my stuff dry. Then I threw a pancho on to keep myself dry. It was so heavy of winds that it actually was pushing my cart. Then the spitting rain turned to hail and thunder struck! It was suddenly an intense storm! And the first hail I had seen yet. The good thing was that the wind didn't push the weight of the hail easily like it did the rain. So now the bridge did provide an area where we weren't getting pelted anymore.
     I stood in the corner part of the bridge where It was not getting hit. The guy pulled his truck under the bridge also to get it out from the hail. The spot just of the shoulder now was filling up with water and becoming slightly flooded. I had to pull my cart out from there and the water quickly became about 6 inches deep!
     A motorcycle had pulled under the bridge on the other side of the freeway. It was a heavy storm. The hail went back to rain now but the wind had died down. At that point a motorcycle pulled off under the bridge on our side now. A man and woman got off and were pretty wet. They stopped to get out of the downfall. The guy in the truck was tripping out about the storm and thought it was really cool to stop at the time of a storm to experience it with me. He seemed impressed with how I had covered me and my stuff and quickly switched to storm mode and staying dry. The people on the motorcycle were from Canada and were cruising America. They thought what I was doing was cool and had a bunch of questions. I also admired their journey as they had no plans. Didn't even know what was ahead of them or where they would stay that night. I love that they just were going for it.
We all visited there a while as the storm eventually calmed and passed. The guy in the truck had given me a bag of trail mix, a beef jerky stick, a protein bar, and a powerade. That was really clutch as I was pretty low on food and could use it. And most of the food I have are granola bars which I am a little sick of at this point. So the change was nice. The man and woman also gave me an apple before they took off. That was cool.
     The guy in the truck also headed out and I was ready now to start walking again. So I headed out and into a little bit of a clear sky ahead. Before the guy took off he said I had a big downhill section ahead of me. And that once I was to the bottom it would turn to more of a desert terrain and get hot.
I took off and headed down that section. It was pretty steep downhill and I was having to use my brakes full on my cart to keep it from wanting to roll down the hill fast. It was about 4 miles of steep drop and big mountains. It was a pretty walk too and a creek ran along side of the freeway. It was rushing with water too from the storm that just passed. The water banged off rocks and crashed as it rapidly flowed downward through the canyon.
     I finally reached the bottom where there was a little climb up from there for maybe a mile. When I reached the top of that I could see a looong ways ahead and all the way to Kingman in fact. It was an easy downhill drop and then I was down into desert terrain from there. I took a moment at the top of that hill and just looked around and enjoyed the view. I was pretty far in for the day. About 26 miles! And had a couple more to go to get to the next exit where I planned to stop for the day. So I cruised down the hill while watching a relaxing sunset way off in the distance. I got down to the exit and I was BEAT! I don't know why, but it seems like some of my longest days of walking (in distance) are after nights where I get very little sleep/rest. I got off at the exit and there was nothing there at all. I walked about 50 feet down the road off the exit where it turned to dirt. There was a little sand trail that turned off of that and I walked onto that trail and tucked behind the first big bush right off that trail. There were no cars exiting and the exit was dead. So I figured I was ok there.
     I pulled my tarp and sleeping bag out of my cart and made my bed there on the sand. I kicked my shoes off and laid down. Man I was tired. I laid there as it got dark and was ready to go to sleep. I laid back and rested my eyes in what was decently quiet opposed to the last night. But then something woke me up....
     I heard tires screeching and sat up quickly. A car got off on the exit and slammed its breaks over the cattle guard at the bottom of the ramp. Then it took the turn without completely stopping and again got sideways and the tires squealed. It turned the opposite way from me and punched it under the freeway and off the other way. The truck was pretty out of control and flying! I laid back down and though I was a little startled, didn't think too much of it. I laid there 10 more minutes and was relaxed and ready to sleep when I heard something again...
     I heard a motor roaring towards my direction!! The truck was coming back under the freeway and back to the side I was on (south side of the interstate). Then when it passed me it slammed on the breaks and skid part way on asphalt and then onto where the road went to dirt. Then the truck went into reverse and gunned it! It backed up just before the trail I was on then slammed the breaks again. Then it punched it and swerved right toward where I was. The headlights shined through the bush I was behind and I scooted quickly against my cart where I was more hidden behind the thick part of the bush.
     I noticed when I walked into the trail there was a small ditch on the entrance that went about half way across the trail. The trucked was pedal to metal, engine roaring and swerving in my general direction. It had a good amount of speed and when it hit the trail entrance, it crashed into the washed out ditch and fell in bumper deep!!!..  The lights were now not directly at me behind the bush, but I was still in some of the edge of the lighting. I stayed still there and it was quiet for a second. Then he punched it again!!! The tires just spun.. Then into reverse, and they spun again. The truck wasn't budging. I had a really bad feeling and had a knot in my stomach. I was literally 20 ft away from the truck. I didn't know if I was relieved it was stuck, or If I wished it had made the trail and passed by me. I stayed still and the truck went to an idol again. Then the door opened!.. A pretty big man got out and walked around the front. When he came around he was now at an angle where the bush did not really hide me. I stayed completely still. He never looked up and was staring at the truck and ditch it was buried in. I was shocked he didn't say anything. I know if I was stuck I would have probably cursed in frustration. Or at least before this I would have.
He walked back to the truck door, reached in and turned it off, and shut the lights off. Then it was silent...  He moved away from the door and I really hoped he wasn't going to come towards me on the trail. I couldn't do anything but stay still and silent. Something was very fishy and the situation was very uncomfortable. Then I heard footsteps in the rocky sand. It went behind the truck and then quickly I heard many steps. I didn't know for sure where he was going as it was very dark. But the sound faded and it seemed like he just left down the dirt road where there was nothing.
So there I was with my shoes off and in on my tarp and sleeping bag. I sat there a couple minutes after there were no more noise. Now I needed to think fast. What to do?!!?
      I very quietly folded my bed up and just set it in my cart softly and as quietly as possible. I decided to move further down the trail to hide a little better. I had a feeling the action wasn't over. As I rolled out from where I was behind the bush, I now saw the truck in plain sight in the very little moonlight. All I could make out is that the driver door was left wide open. I couldnt make sense of what could possibly be going on. But I slowly and silently rolled up the trail a ways.
I found a bigger bush next to a random cement pad where it seemed to be the best spot to hide my big cart. There really wasn't much around there to hide out. So this was looking to be the best thing. Plus there was no way I was going to turn any lights on. So I was only seeing outlines mostly. I rolled my cart there and hid somewhat. Then I covered my cart with the grey side of my tarp, very quietly. I sat there in silence and was wondering what was going on. There was no way I was going to sleep until I had a better idea of what was going on. At this point I was still clueless.
     I decided to put all my valuables in my backpack and put it on. Just incase they did get through the ditch and came towards me, I thought if they saw my cart they might do something to it or take it. I sat there a little longer listening.
Then all of a sudden I heard shovels digging in the sand. At first I figured the we're digging the truck out. But something was off. The sound seemed way closer to me than the truck was!!
Then it crossed my mind that it was possible there could be a situation where they were getting rid of a body. From the series of events, it made sense in my mind. Then I knew it was possible. Maybe not likely, but for sure possible.  I put my backpack on and walked further down the trail. I hunched down and walked slow and quiet. I came to a culvert that a dry creek lead to. It was just big enough that I could crawl into. So I sat there and waited.
      Then I heard yelling and saw lights shining towards me!! One of the lights shined close to me. I ducked down and crawled backwards into the culvert. I pulled my backpack in after me and I laid there silently. I could see out of it just over my backpack. I heard more arguing and it just sounded very sketchy. I worried they might see my cart. But I felt like I was pretty hidden. I stayed there for about 20 minutes.  Then the noise was gone and I decided to slowly crawl and see if I could figure out what was up now. I came out and stood up slowly.  Then I walked out slowly to where I could see further down the trail to where the truck was. I could see the headlights down the trail and then saw two guys digging and wearing headlamps. Then I figured that must have been the lights that shined near me.
      The more I watched the more I was relived. It seemed like they were just trying to get the truck out and they kept yelling, but not in anger, just yelling.  After watching them for about 20 more minutes I decided to go back to my cart. I got there and sat silently listening. I was so tired now. I got up again to check it out. That's when I saw another vehicle hooking up to pull the truck out. Then I thought that if they did get out, they were going back and wouldn't come down the trail. Plus the 2nd car relieved me. If they were trying to get the truck out, it likely wasn't stolen. The amount of risk to try and get something out of a ditch was big to chance a cop coming and finding it was a stolen vehicle. At least to my figuring.
     I was so exhausted by now and it was almost midnight. I decided to just say a prayer and then get some rest. I laid next to my cart and after a while, somehow dozed off.

(Please note that today 9/27/12 Nick is two days away from putting his feet in the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach, CA.  This is the last journal that he sent to me for posting (I am Nick's mom) so there will be a little delay in getting the rest of his journals and pictures uploaded.  He sends them to me through his ipod so I can upload them for him as he doesn't have a computer with him.  I know a couple of weeks ago he gave us all a scare when we couldn't get a hold of him for several days while he was on a long stretch of desert from AZ to CA.  I was a distressed and worried Hobo Mom during that time.  But thank God everything worked out and I can't wait to read his journal about what he was going through during those days.  His dad and I are so excited to see him at the beach on Saturday.  I can't wait to give him a great big hug and see him with a hair cut and clean shave soon thereafter.  Please continue to check the blog and he should begin posting the rest of his journey sometime next week.  God bless you all and thank you for your prayers for Nick's safety during this journey.)


Day 153, September 3, 2012

 I heard a truck passing by right on the other side of the wall I slept behind. I woke up and it was around 7:45. I had slept on some rocks that were under the dirt and just exposed enough to dig into my back and sides as I slept. The spot was not one of the better places to sleep out here.
I got up and sat there for a few minutes to wait for my mind to get focused and out of the morning funk. I grabbed all my supplements from the net pouch on the back of my cart. I took my vitamins, glucosamine, and fish oils. I sat there and also brushed my teeth. Then I packed my things up and packed it into my cart.
      I went up to the truck stop I had slept behind so I could do a couple things before leaving there. Leaving Seligman (the town I was in) I had about 80 miles ahead of me before the next place of any kind. So before I left there I took some toilet paper from the restroom, and filled all my water jugs in the drink dispenser (14 gallons).
      The stretch ahead was not too bad of weather. It was cool there and still pretty high elevation. I wanted to make the 80 miles stretch in about 4 days to make sure my water wouldn't run low. The next town from there was Kingman AZ. So I was ready and stocked up to hit the road.
     I took off down the shoulder along the 40 walking against traffic (on the south side of the interstate). I walked past the area where it was still Seligman, and in fact still had the last exit to pass.
As I approached the last exit I noticed a man standing up on top of the ramp. So instead of walking past the exit along the 40, I decided to take the ramp up and then back down so I could check to see if the man was ok.
     I walked up and he looked to be homeless and seemed like he could use a little help. And before the stretch I was about to hit, I could use the karma. So I gave him $4 and 3 granola bars. I was pretty shocked and was really sort of tripping that I helped him. I really love to show others that I am selfless, and truly believe that in always helping when I can, I have a deep trust that I will be helped in the moments where I really need it. And in return I will pay it back as much as I can. He was a really nice guy. He was 71 years old and actually looked really good. He told me how relieved he was to have the help from me. He receives money every 2 weeks but had some issues where he didn't have much until his next time of getting his money. Not sure what it was through. But he was really insistent that the $4 would get him through the next couple days. He gave me 2 disposable razors too and said that's all he really had to share. But he wanted to give something in return. I wouldn't use them, but took them anyway to make it a mutual feeling of looking out for one another. Very cool man headed to Amarillo TX.
I went back down the ramp on the other side of the overpass and left town into open land. I was off and that encounter gave me the last little boost before leaving. I walked along the interstate through green valleys and rolling hills. It was really pretty all around and just bare country side. I made my way to an uphill climb about 6 miles in and gradually made the uphill walk through some mountain ridges that the interstate climes over and weaves through. Again, very pretty. When I got to the top I stopped and caught my breath. It was still pretty high up and the air was thin. So I was feeling more easily winded than normal. After about 10 minutes of resting, I continued across the top part of the hills and then to the drop where it weaves through the down side of the ridges.
     I made my way slowly down and then kept going when it leveled out again. I walked a few miles when I stopped for another short break. I sat on a railing where I rested my legs right there on the shoulder of the 40. After another short break I pressed on. I could see pretty far ahead from there as it was a big green valley ahead for a while. I saw an overpass at the end of the valley just before the interstate went back up and into some hills after that. I decided the overpass would be where I would stop for the night and figured that to be roughly 20 or 21 miles. So I headed down into the valley bottom and towards that. It was maybe 5-6 miles up ahead.
    After about 20 minutes, the clouds heading towards me looked pretty nasty. They were dark and parts of it were rainfall dropping. You could see it coming down in the distance via a dark blur that went from the clouds down to the ground. As I was getting closer, I got the rain gear out (tarp/bungees/pancho) and geared up for the rain. I covered my cart and stuff in it, and also put the pancho on over myself. Sure enough about 10 minutes later the rain started to hit. There was no cover until the overpass, which was still miles ahead. So I hoped it would not get too heavy. But man was I in for it..
   The rain was moderate for the first ten minutes, then suddenly in one moment just hit hard!! It became heavy big drops and was being pushed down harder from a decent wind coming front the south east (behind me). Since it was falling in that direction, it was hitting my legs and feet. So I ended up having to stop in my tracks. It was getting harder now and I was getting wet even from the rain bouncing and hitting my feet. So now I was stopped and pulled my umbrella out. I got to the far edge of the shoulder and sat down. I sat on my pancho as it hung down to about my knees. I applied the brakes on my cart and sat there right behind it pressed closely to it. I held the umbrella with the top side directly faced to the oncoming direction of the wind and rain. I just hunkered down and sat there trying to stay dry.
      The wind was really putting force into my umbrella and I had to hold it tight and keep it in just the right position to where the wind didn't get under it and blow it back or fold or break it. It was strong enough at this point that if I held the umbrella straight up, it would rip from out of my hands.
So I just held down what I had hoping there was no more intensity coming. It was already pretty intense at this point. The water was so heavy that it flowed down the shoulder and ran onto parts of my shorts that we're on the ground as I sat there. I couldn't avoid that and was already fully holding what I had. I couldnt do anything else or even move actually.
      After maybe 15 minutes of sitting there it lightened up. Thank god. When it let up I got back to walking as soon as it was doable. I was now running out of daylight and really wanted to have some light to figure out where to sleep that night. It was gonna be rough already since there was nothing out there. So I wanted to have light to look around and find the best choice of where to crash when I got to the overpass.  I walked about 2 miles using my umbrella in the rain. The wind let up enough to just be able to hold it over me while I walked. It would still gust here and there and push the umbrella from over me to in front of me. After a couple miles the rain stopped, I packed the umbrella in, and picked up the pace to get to the overpass.
      I finally made it there just in time! It was about 22 miles total for the day and the sun was about to set. I looked around the area but there were no good choices. So I ended up making the decision to really rough it in the best option I had. I stayed in the median right next to a column of the bridge. Having the cover over me played a part in picking that spot too as the rain was still on and off. So even though it was really loud and uncomfortable, staying dry outweighed those issues.  I made my bed on a small strip on flat concrete right next to the round column. It was just getting dark enough where I didn't think most of the passing cars would notice me. Also it was in the middle of nowhere with no towns nearby and nothing off the exit. So I also figured it would give less reason for anyone to call the cops, and less of a reason to since nobody even exited there at all.
After the sunset, I crawled in my sleeping bag and bundled up. It was pretty cold and the breeze chilled the air even more. I fell asleep somewhat around 9:00. I didn't sleep too well and seriously woke up hundreds of times from big rugs passing bye, shaking the ground and piercing my ears. It was a tough day, and tough night. But I salvaged what rest I could from it and weathered the storm on staying dry enough where it wasn't an issue.


Day 152, September 2, 2012

 I woke up hearing a slamming noise. I opened my eyes and looked around but there was nothing. Then I saw that around the corner there was an auto shop and there was a bunch of noise coming from the guys working in there. When I woke up I noticed my hips didn't feel the usual cramp and tight feeling that I get from sleeping on concrete. The mat I had really made a difference. I was pretty proud of that find.
      I got up and packed my things and then sat on the edge of the concrete and brushed my teeth. I remembered the guy from the night before and wondered if he was there. I had a feeling I wouldn't see him.  I came around the front and looked around and he wasn't there. Even by the benches where he said he was gonna sleep. It was all empty. Maybe he caught a ride? Either way I was happy to just be walking on my own. I hopped on the interstate heading west. It was about 8am.
      I walked a good pace and was rolling along. It was another nice day and I was enjoying the weather. The walk was a steady uphill climb and there were some mountains ahead where I was climbing towards and heading to a ridge I needed to cross over the top of.  I walked about 6 miles when the incline seemed to be a little steeper starting about a half mile ahead. I decided to take a break before starting that. I stopped at the only tree around and still had a little shade before the sun was right overhead.
     I sat on my sleeping bag there and actually wrote a journal while resting. About 10 miles in, a cop car pulled up. He got out and walked over to me. He asked me if I was alright? I said yes, and that I was just taking a break. I asked him if someone called but he said no. And that he was just driving by and saw the stroller. He was really nice and said Goodluck to me.  I left there about 15 minutes after that and climbed the long hill ahead. It was a good distance and I was bent down and really pushing the weight of my cart to get up that slope. After about an hour I made it to the top. It was a long push and I stopped at the top of the hill. I didn't sit, but just stopped to stand there and stretch my back a little.
      I continued after that and walked across the top of the ridge. Once it dropped off it was a steep decline as well. I was holding my cart back and being careful going down. There were some lightening storms off in the distance, but sunny and warm above me. The storms here in Arizona are really something. They will pass right next to you and dump loads of rain, but you will be getting a tan right next to it and clear skies over you.
     During the downhill a truck pulled off in front of me. 4 guys jumped out and came up to me. They knew my name and had followed my walk. They were on their way back from one of the guys bachelor party in Vegas and wanted to stop and see me on their way home. They also brought me some snacks and drinks. By this time I was just about starved and only ate a couple hundred calories for the day. I only had a handful of bars left and just had no appetite for them. They were smashed up and stuff too. So after the guys left I devoured a lunchable they brought me. One of the guys asked me when they stopped "have you found what your looking for in life?". I realized when he said that, that this is it. What I'm doing was what I'm looking for. There's no magic answer. This was what I needed. Being out here and living in the moments I experience. This is living.
      I rolled a long ways down the hill. I got about 19 miles in for the day, and had about 5 miles to go to get to Seligman AZ. I took a little break on a railing for 15 minutes. Then I was ready for the last 5 miles and hoped to get there around sunset.  I rolled into Selegman just as the sun was going down. I got off on the first exit at a truck stop. I went inside and sat down at a subway seating area. There was an outlet and they also had free wifi. When I got online there was a newlywed couple on their honeymoon who were looking for me. They ended up meeting me there about 30 minutes later.
They were staying not to far from Selegman and they brought me a big box of cliff bars. It was a relief at that point realizing that I now actually had enough food to last most of the way from there. It had 90 bars in the box! I could almost make that box stretch the whole way back to the pacific ocean. The guy gave me $20 also and they brought some waters for me!
     I went back in after they left and sat there resting, there was a trucker in there next to me from Bakersfield. We talked a while and he was a really cool dude. He had some really cool thoughts about my journey and he got me pumped up. At about 10pm I was tired. I went out back behind the truck stop and the only spot I really found to sleep was right behind a stone wall next to dumpsters. It actually smelled really bad when I laid down. But it was the only spot around the area. I made my bed on some weeds and fell asleep around 11pm.


Day 151, September 1, 2012

  I heard a voice say "nick". I woke up and looked down the hill. It was my dad. He walked up the hill holding a cup of coffee. He hiked up and sat on the log next to me. He said he woke up early (like always) and just came up to visit. I laid there and we talked for a while. He was feeling pretty good even after walking 12 miles the day before. I honestly thoughy he would be moving slow today. But he looked pretty good. We talked in the woods as the sun was rising. What a way to start a day after not seeing them for 8 months until the day before.
       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.