Day 173

August 16, 2016

Day 173
I awoke along Highway 72 in western Arizona beneath railroad tracks. I was in my hammock. I broke camped and repacked the buggy.


I watched the sunrise. 


And hit the road.


I put in the miles:


I reached Bouse, AZ, a little town on the road to Parker. I didn’t see it on my map so it was a surprise when I saw a sign.


There was a Family Dollar. I headed inside to use the bathroom. The AC felt so good! I would have hung around and let my body temperature drop a little bit, but I wasn’t making a purchase, so I kept moving.


I found a little Veteran’s Memorial park and set up for a siesta. It was almost noon.

Adrian


Adrian came by! He was catering an event further up the road. He saw me walking earlier, and then decided to stop and help me! He gave me a burger and an ice cold can of sprite. A meal, it was so good! I couldnt thank him enough. We parted ways.


Time passed. I slept off and on in my hammock. I kept waking up drenched in sweat. I was in the shade, but I think UV rays were reflecting off the concrete floor I hovered above. It was so hot! I just kept sweating. My skin was cool, homeostasis.


At 4 p.m., I headed over to a convenience store and asked if I could fill up a gallon of water. They let me! I also went to a laundry mat and used a hose to wash up and cool off. It made such a difference, so refreshing! I hit the road.
Into the desert:


It was hot! My water supply almost felt like it was boiling. I had to force myself to drink. A trucker stopped and gave me an ice cold water! I thanked him so much, what a great guy! I cooled my scalp and drank it cold, fast.


The sun set.


The moon rose.


I kept moving.


I made Parker city limits! It was still another 14 miles or so to town. I kept moving.


Highway 72 ended and I joined Highway 95 north. 

I took a little break there at the intersection. I mixed a gatorade and ate a can of chef boyardee. It was a hot meal, the sun had cooked the can all day!


I gained and lost shoulder off and on. I used my system to avoid oncoming traffic. It worked, but it was tiring. I took water breaks when pockets of truckers hauled by.


I crossed onto the Colorado Indian Reservation just before 11 p.m. I gained shoulder and traffic became less of an issue. Then it slowed and it was quiet.


Sand dunes and mountains. Hills and mountains. Shrubs. The moon was high in the sky.


I started scouting locations to camp as I approached Parker. There weren’t many places to hang a hammock, in fact there was only one. I set up under a billboard 4 miles from town. I was a little exposed to the road, but It was late and cars were few and far in between. I hid the buggy behind a shrub and hoped no one would notice me dangling beneath the Daniel’s Really Good Fresh Jerky sign. No one did. I fell asleep around 1 a.m., I slept ok!

Day 172

August 16, 2016

Day 172
I awoke in my hammock a few miles from Wenden, AZ. I broke camp and repacked the buggy.


I watched the sunrise up on the road.


I started moving.

I made it to Wenden! 


My phone had died, but I made it to a convenience store and charged my phone outside. I looked up, and the mission was across the street! 


Mass wasnt until 1 p.m. Time passed. A man from town gave me a hotdog that he had bought! It was so good, much better than pop tarts and pringles!

At 12:30 p.m., I made my way over to St. John the Evangelist. Doug greeted me! He showed me to the bathrooms where I could wash up before Mass and gave me a cold bottle of water. He was so nice to me. I also met his mom, Marylyn. she is from the Boston Area!

Doug (second from left) Marylyn (third from left), Fr. Richard (far right), and friends!


After Mass, everyone was so nice to me! The priest, Fr. Richard was so welcoming. Doug gave me a few more cold waters. Fr Richard drives over 200+ miles round trip on Sundays. He celebrates many Masses at the missions and parishes in Western Arizona. I answered everyones questions the best I could about what I was doing. Fr. had some interesting perspective on this pilgrimage and gave me some insight into some challenges I had been facing. Everyone wished me the best. We parted ways.


I headed back over to the convenience store and restocked what I could. I was trying to find things high in calories. Peanut butter, cans of beans, tortillas. The woman behind the counter’s name was Crystal. She gave me a free gallon of water! I gave a man outside who looked homeless a bottle of water, and he gave me a dollar. He told me to buy a cold drink! I hit the road.


I rejoined Highway 60. 


Heading west. I chipped away.


The sun began to set. I took in my surroundings:


I traveled through Hope.


I left Highway 60 and joined Highway 72 west. It brought me deeper into the desert.


Traffic was nonexistent. I had my reflective gear on, but kept my head lamp turned off. It was dark and quiet.


I stumbled into JR! We almost walked right into eachother! I think when I turned on my headlamp, I scared him silly!


And then we started chatting. Out there in the desert. JR is 70 years old, he wants to get into better shape. He was walking his bike back from a 5 mile ride. JR served in Vietnam at the same time as my father. We chatted into the night.


It was kind of trippy running into JR out there in the desert. After what seemed like a long while of chatting, we parted ways. He headed east back towards Salome, and I continued on towards Parker. 

Into the night. 

And then everything changed. Highway 72 met up with a trucking route. Traffic came in pockets, and I could see cars coming for miles, but there was basically no shoulder on the road. The truckers cling close to the white line. I had a system of avoiding vehicles, but I kept having to haul the buggy back and forth across to the opposite side of the road. It was tiring.


So I stopped and set up camp early. Well, it was passed midnight, but I have been slowly getting used to traveling at night. It was early for mileage. Beneath a railroad track I slept. I had to climb through cattle guard to get there, but I was safe. A train went overhead at some point early in the morning, it was loud! I slept great for a few hours.

Day 171

August 16, 2016

Day 171
I awoke before sunrise in my hammock along Highway 60 in Arizona. 


I broke camp and repacked the buggy.


I watched the sunrise in the east.


And then hit the road.

I put in a few miles and made it to Aguila, AZ. It was a agricultural town, and it smelled a little bit. Lots of flies too!


I made it to the Centro Catolico in town. It was just a little mission building.I was  hoping there might have been a vigil Mass, but it seemed they only had Sunday afternoon.


I took a siesta on the front porch. Lots of farm hands walked around town. I think it was their day of rest.


Time passed. I washed up at a hose behind the building. At 2:30 p.m., I was back on the road.


Miles:




I watched the sun set. The moon rose. It was beautiful all around:


I moved into the night. I was just a few short miles from Wenden, AZ. I found out there is a mission in town with a 1 p.m., Sunday Mass. I would have some time to kill, and decided not to push it to make it to town. I set up camp along a culvert down beneath the road. Lots of crickets and a few mosquitos. I slept great!

Day 170

August 16, 2016

Day 170
I awoke in my hammock.


And watched the sunrise.


I took in my surroundings. I was at the Hassayampa River Reserve. A few short miles from Wickenburg, AZ.


I hit the road as the sun rose.


I made it to town! 

I went to a Taco Bell and ate a breakfast burrito. I drank some fluids and charged devices. I wasnt there long.


I headed across town towards the library. It was another hour or so before it opened. I set up my hammock beneath a footbridge and took a little nap.
At 9 a.m., I crossed town and made it to the library. I was there to journal, but I ended up just kind of hanging out. A long siesta. I watched some youtube videos on my phone and listened to music. I continued to charge devices.


Just past 3 p.m., I left the library and crossed town.

I stopped at a Family Dollar and restocked on food. I left town.


Up, and out, of Wickenburg, AZ. It was a lot of climbing!


I chipped away at the miles:


The sun set.


It grew dark.

Into the night.

I kept moving. The shoulder was decent, but it was Friday night, and I was worried about reckless drivers on the road.


At 10 p.m., I stopped a little early, and set up camp along a drainage culvert down beneath the road. Coyotes off in the distance. Some sort of winged bat or bird kept flying around. I think I intruded its habitat. I slept great!

Day 169

August 16, 2016

Day 169
I woke up in my hammock behind Walmart in Surprise, AZ. 


I watched the sunrise.


I knew I was forgetting something and I was! I headed back in and bought a huge tub of gatorade electrolyte powder. I would be heading into some vast distances over the next week or so. I also bought a reusable water bottle and batteries for my headlamp. 
And then I hit the road. I started chipping away at the miles.


Back into the desert, and back in rythyhm.

Just past 10 a.m., I found a culvert and decided to stop for a siesta. 
Time passed. Just past 4 p.m., I left the culvert and rejoined Highway 60. 


Desert miles.


I made it to a truck stop in Whittmann, AZ. Some one on a bicycle outside gave me a stick of beef jerky. Didnt catch his name. I bought a meatball sub inside and hung out charging my phone.


After a quick break, I was back on the road.


With an Arizona Iced Tea! 


The sun hung low.

And then it set. It was beautiful all around.


With reflective gear, and a bright bright headlamp, I continued on Highway 60’s wide shoulder. Into the night.
I have to say, it was so great seeing this sign! I have been on this journey since February 26th, 2016. Los Angeles is so close!!!

The bright moon illuminated the night. I even saw a few shooting stars!


I passed over San Domingo Wash. Deep canyons and steep cliffs.


I kept moving.


Just past 1 a.m., I found a little nature preserve along the roadway. I set up my hammock. The moon had set. The meteors and night sky were incredible! I’ve never seen anything like it. I fell fast asleep.

Day 168

August 16, 2016

Day 168
I awoke on the ground by the Sovereign Grace Bible Church in Phoenix, Arizona. The sun was about to rise.


I broke camp and repacked the buggy.


I hit town. The sun rose.


I went to a Walmart and waited for it to open. A man came by and gave me a banana! At a Mcdonalds inside they had a great breakfast special on sausage mcmuffins. It was good! 


I killed some time at Walmart. I had some time before Mass. I took a little nap outside.


I made it to the Cathedral of Saints Simon and Jude!


I passed through the Holy Door of Mercy.

And attended Mass.
After Mass, I started heading west. I needed to find a safe place to get some rest.

And I did! At a park in Glendale, the next town west of Phoenix. I set up my hammock in some decent shade. Just before 11 a.m., I fell asleep!


Time passed.


At 3 p.m., I awoke. I rejoined the sidewalk and headed west.


Northwest.


I filled up my 3 gallon at a water machine outside a dollar store. I had finished it off early that morning. 3 gallons in one day! Rested and hydrated, I felt great!


I made it to a Circle K in Glendale. I bought a burritto and a coconut water. I sat outside and ate.
And then a man pulled up to the gas station. He tried handing me a pack of cigarettes. I thanked him, but told him I didn’t smoke and kindly refused. But he told me to look inside. Wow!

And then a woman came out of the store, she handed me some money and told me to get something to drink!


And immediately afterwards, a woman pulled up, got out of her car, and asked me, “Sir, are you thirsty?” She bought me a huge cup of powerade! She was so polite, kind, and sweet!
I was pretty dumbfounded. These three different people all helped me out in the span of a few minutes. None of them knew each other, or saw the other person help me either. It was pretty moving. It had been a rough 24 hours. I don’t think they knew how much they helped me!


Feeling a resurgence of motivation, I started moving.


Chipping away at the miles:


I made it to Sun City just passed sundown! 


The police stopped to check on me. They had gotten a call about someone pushing a stroller, and just wanted to make sure I was ok. They were pretty amazed after they asked me where I was coming from!


Sun City was beautiful. 


A thunder storm to the south.
I had recieved an “anonymous donation” from someone! I headed to Taco Bell and sat down for some much needed calories. I rejoined the road.


And then the storm blew in! It was pretty crazy, lightening and all. I found a DQ and got a small blizzard.

I  I watched the storm from the patio. 


It passed. I started moving.

I joined Highway 60 was wide, and traffic was minimal. There was construction going on too, so all the cars were going slow. I decked reflective gear and a head lamp. I kept moving.


Into Suprise! 


I made it to a 24 hour Walmart. I decided to stock up on some things I would need for the journey west.
I bought: a coconut water, pop tarts, new sandals, chef boyardee, pringles, new gallons of water, and a few other things. 


I knew I was probably forgetting something, and didn’t want to leave town unprepared. So I camped out behind the store. There was a great little forested area behind the back loading docks. I set up my hammock. Phoenix was well behind me. It was quiet and safe.

Day 167

August 16, 2016

Day 167
I slept in! I checked out of the motel and entered out into the sun.

Howard and Ana


I met Howard and Ana! I offered them some food but they had enough. They asked me a few questions about my travels. Ana just wanted to talk to someone. She told me on the street, most of the homeless are hard to converse with. She thought I was a journalist! We parted ways.
I made it to a little spanish market, and bought a 3 gallon container of water! 
Roger had emailed me a military study on hydration and I learned a few things. In hot environments, I would have to drink nearly 3 gallons a day to maintain hydration! Wow!


With the buggy loaded, I made my way north.

On a little detour! To Our Lady Queen of Peace cemetery in Mess, AZ. A good friend on mine named Dan’s grandparents were buried there:


And then a crazy dust storm blew in! I actually had to seek shelter in a little alcove near the mausoleums. It was crazy, wind blowing, dust kicking, and a brown sky. 

And then it passed.
And the sky cleared.

I started moving west.


Along Baseline road. Through the outskirts of Phoenix and along the mountains:


Daniel

I met Daniel! He was heading to the bus stop. He looked beat! I offered him a powerade and the rest of the snacks Kevin had given me back in the reservation. He accepted! I hope he made it to his bus.
I made it to Laveen just as the sun set. It was beautiful all around, even in the city:


I decided to start heading north. I had hoped to find somewhere safe to sleep until morning. Only thing is, after a few miles, I found myself in another rough area. I kept moving.


I stopped at a little church I had stumbled upon. Their service was just getting out. I spoke with the Pastor asking for permission to maybe stay in the church. He was a really nice man, but he only rented the building. He and a lot of the congregation said a prayer for me. I kept moving.


It was a long night. I never really found anywhere safe to sleep. I ended up circumnavigating the downtown area, and made my way all the way to the Cathedral, 7 miles outside Phoenix.


It was a rough area. Especially by the highway. There were lots of people just roaming around, or hanging out. I was one of them. 
I had thought about all kinds of ways to sleep somewhere safe. The only way to do would be to sleep somewhere no one else could. I thought about climbing a tree and hanging my hammock way up in the branches. I really liked the idea, but I didn’t want to risk leaving the buggy down below unattended.

I found a dumpster by a bible church in the corner of the parking lot. It was by no means a stealthy spot, but I was so tired, I decided to risk it. It was well past midnight. I broke down the buggy and kept everything low to the ground behind a guardrail. I dozed off in my sleeping bag on the ground.


At some point in the early a.m., a garbage truck came and scooped up the dumpster! It was hard to process what was going on. I was half asleep! The driver clearly saw me, but went on about his way. I fell back asleep. 

Day 166

August 16, 2016

Day 166
I awoke early in a dumpster corrall in a parking lot by Mcdonalds. I was in Chandler, AZ.


I watched the sunrise.


I headed over to Mcdonalds and grabbed a quick breakfast. It was good!


I hit the road:

I needed to catch up on journaling. So I did! I went to the Chandler Public Library. It was attached to a high school, so there was lots of students coming and going. It felt weird hearing the announcements and bells ringing throughout the day. Like I was back in class!


I was actually there for most of the day. I needed to transfer photographs on to a usb flash drive from my phone. It took forever! Just past 5 p.m. I finally caught up with all my work. I hit sidewalk.


Back outside, it was hot! I was glad to have spent most of the day in the AC. 

I kept moving through Chandler on sidewalk.

I stopped by St. Mary’s in town. There was an adoration chapel, but you needed a code to get in. It was difficult getting in touch with the priest there, so I said a little prayer and kept moving.

The sun set, and I found myself on the street just north of Chandler. I had originally planned to travel north to Mesa that day, but I had spent so much time at the library. I wasnt sure what the road ahead would look like, and I was already uneasy about my surroundings at dark. 


So I took the plunge and got a motel room! I was happy to have somewhere safe to sleep. I was also happy to be able to sleep in the AC. I think I had been combating heat exhaustion the past few days, and the day spent in the cool library had helped with my mental clarity. I drank a lot of water and passed out. I was tired!

Day 165

August 8, 2016

Day 165

I awoke from a deep sleep. I took in my surroundings. I was on the Gila River Indian Reservation.

I broke camp and repacked the buggy.

I watched the sunrise.


I hit the road towards the next town. Sacaton was just 5 miles away:





I made it to St. Anthony’s Mission Church for Sunday Mass! I was early, so I found some shade and hung around outside through the morning.


Around 9:30 a.m., I headed in for Mass. Some parishioners were praying the rosary.

Kevin Smith, Parish Chief


After Mass, the parish Chief introduced himself to me, he was so friendly! His name is Kevin. 

He gave me a bunch of bottles of water, and a big bag of snacks. He asked me a bit about the journey I am on, and told me a bit about the mission and its history. He also gave me directions to a park in town where I could siesta! 

The Matthew B. Juan and Ira H. Hayes Memorial Park. I remember learning about them in school. I set up camp for a siesta.

Time passed. I slept on and off. I did a complete unpack, repack of the buggy. I’m trying to find the right weight distribution. The left wheel is a little wobbly. It will be interesting as I will need to carry more and more water going forward.


I headed over to a gas station, bought a couple corn dogs, some Doritos, and an Arizona iced tea. I loaded up on water.


At 4 p.m., I left town:



It was hot! I was tired. I wasn’t sure if I was dehydrated, or still fatigued from rationing water the day before. Probably both. I drank lots of fluids.

After just a couple miles. I came to the intersection of Sacaton Road and Highway 87. There was a church on the corner, and a small little pavilion. I sought shelter in the shade. I hung out and chatted with friends. I drank lots of water. I waited for sundown. 

I’ve been debating on when to go nocturnal. Up until just south of Phoenix, I’ve been able to get away with taking siestas mid day. Now even the afternoons are so hot! I looked at my phone, it was 108 degrees! 


An hour before sun set, I joined Highway 87, and started heading north:


A police officer pulled over. He offered me a ride to Chandler, the next town. I thought about it, but kindly refused. I really appreciated his offer. He understood and couldn’t believe I had come all the way from Jacksonville, Florida! 


He warned me about the reservation, and told me it was one of the most dangerous places in the country. He told me not to wander off the road, and that the police would be more than willing to help me with a ride if I called at any point in the night. I thanked him. We parted ways.


The sun set. I decked reflective gear and a head lamp. I kept moving:


After a couple hours, I left the reservation.

I made it to the outskirts of Chandler, officially part of the Phoenix Metropolis!

And all of a sudden, I was back in civilization. I stopped at a McDonald’s, ate a small meal, and hydrated.

Hydration. Part of me wanted to keep moving, but I decided to find a place and stealth camp. On this journey, I never know what things will look like even just a few blocks up the road. I’ll pass through anywhere during the day, but at night I am cautious. Especially in cities.

I found a great open parking lot just behind McDonald’s. There were a few dumpster corrals that were brand new with no dumpsters inside. I was able to set up my hammock! I fell fast asleep. It was warm, I didn’t even have to use my sleeping bag to sleep!

Day 164

August 8, 2016

Day 164
I slept in a little, the sun had risen! 

I broke camp and repacked the buggy. I left the fromtage road and headed up highway 84 towards Eloy, AZ.
I made it to town.

A man pulled over and gave me a donation! Didn’t catch his name, but he told me to start the day off with something good. I think he meant a meal!

Ramon

I met Ramon at a gas station in town! He was hungry, so I bought him a sweet roll. I ate one too, it was good! Ramon was born and raised in the Eloy area, and has never left. He asked me questions about Florida, I showed him some pictures. He was a really cool guy. We parted ways.

I stumbled upon St. Helen of the Cross in town. There weren’t any Masses that day. 

I took a little break and said a few prayers. It hit the road.

West out of townAnd then north. I chipped away at some miles.

At 11:00 a.m., I stopped for a siesta. There wasn’t much around except some shrubs, but I made a good shelter. It doesnt look like much, but it was cool under that tarp!

Time passed.

Just as I was breaking camp, a couple pulled over along the road. They gave me a big bag with teo frozen waters, another cold water, two ham and cheese sandwiches, and a sleeve of ritz crackers. Wow! They also offered me a ride, but I was fixing to walk. They were so nice to me, wish I got a photo and names.

Back on the road, another person pulled over and gave me an ice cold water! Didnt catch his name. I had left town without restocking on water. Good thing these people had helped me!

I headed north. Along all different kinds of country roads. At this point I know better than to follow ways my GPS sends me, but I do enjoy little detours and adventures every now and then. As long as I am safe and prepared:


I made it to a little gated community at the intersection of a east-west major road. I sat along the wall behind a bush in the shade. I was tired. 

I reached some agricultural fields. I downed a coconut water and kept moving.
I watched the sun go down. I got a phonecall from Doug back in Jacksonville. It was great touching base!

I kept moving.

I made it to the water source for the fields. There was rushing, flowing, cold water! It wasn’t drinkable, and I was low on water. I did have iodine tablets, but planned on saving them for a true emergency. I dipped my arms in the water to rush the cold through my bloodstream. I also cooled my skull.

As it grew dark, I made my way north out of the agricultural fields I had traveled through.

I passed some sort of dairy.

I came to the intersection of Highway 87. I took a few moments and contemplated my next move. The cars going by were going pretty fast, but there weren’t many of them. They came in pockets every few minutes. I usually don’t like to travel on main highways at night, but the shoulder was really big. Atleast 10 feet wide. I was also low on water. I decked reflective gear and a head lamp. I started chipping.


I stumbled onto the Gila River Indian Reservation! I wasn’t sure the laws on the reservation, but I kept moving through the night:


A drill site. The milky way above me and a crescent moon hanging low on the horizon. Mountain walls and silhouetted cacti.The glow of a metropolis off on the distance. I kept moving.


Just before 11 p.m., I found a drainage culvert. I set up my hammock down beneath the road. I fell asleep thinking about the land I now found myself in. I slept great!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28 other followers

%d bloggers like this: