Day 180

Day 180
I awoke just before sunrise.


I rolled up my sleeping bag and repacked the buggy. I eased down Sunrise Road to the base of the mountains. I rejoined Highway 62 west.


The sun rose.

I started putting in the miles.


I made it to Joshua Tree!


I kept moving.


And then I found Daniel sitting along the road with no shoes. He was really dehydrated, I could tell. He was just sitting there staring into the sun. I offered him my help.
I gave Daniel some water and gatorade, and some light snacks. I asked him what he needed, and he told me ice if I could. So I hiked into town and got him some. I also bought him a coconut water. He was really thankful.


I knew he needed to get out of the sun, and long story short, Daniel let me call him ambulance. He was really polite and thankful. I’m happy he decided to let me help him! 
I made it to town. I was hungry! I stopped at a really cool pizza place and had a great meal!


A “Buffalo Soldier” calzone and a rootbeer. It was really pricy, but I always enjoy a sit down meal. It was good! 
I headed over to the library and met a man who looked like he was homeless. I offered him my left overs, and wished I could have given him a full meal, but he accepted! He was really thankful too! 

I went to the library to catch up on journaling, but I was tired. High noon is usually my siesta time, I couldn’t find the strength to journal. I hung out, listened to music, and relaxed. After a couple hours, I rejoined the road.


I chipped away.

From left to right: Kristen, Gisela, and Rachel


Gisela, and her two daughters, Kristen, and Rachel, pulled over to check on me! They are friends of Philip and Shannon’s! They also mentioned they saw me at Mass on Sunday. They were so nice, and gave me a gallon of water, and a gift card to starbucks! They told me they knew I needed somewhere with wifi to catch up on journaling, haha! We parted ways.


So I went to Starbucks! And ordered a big frappuccino. It was great! I powered through all the pictures I had taken. It took sucha long time. I took hundreds back kn the Mojave! 


It started to grow dark, and I didnt want to be on the streets at night, so I hit sidewalk. I was hoping to get just outside town to find somewhere to camp.

From left to right: Roy, Flannery, and Jared. and Jesse too!


I met Roy, Flannery, and Jared! Their dogs name is Jesse. They were hungry, so I was able to help them out with some food! I gave them some bags of trail mix, some crackers, and a couple cans of chef boyardee. They were really thankful. We parted ways.


I traveled sidewalk into the night. A little road too, but the shoulder was extremely wide. I cracked a glow stick for good measure.

Eventually, I found myself on the far outskirts of Yucca Valley. I climbed a hill along the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve. I found a great place to set up my hammock between a few trees. Stars above, I slept great!

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Day 179

Day 179
I awoke at sunrise in the open desert just outside Twentynine Palms, CA.


It was cloudy, but I caught a glimpse of the sun!


I started moving towards town.


I met Dan! His dogs were barking at me as I passed his house. He gave me a couple bottles of water! He told me that 18 people have died in car accidents coming around the bend by his house 😦 We parted ways.


David pulled over to check on me again! I had met him the day before. He told me that he was heading to pick me up out of the desert, but saw that I had made it much further than he thought I would. I was just a couple miles from town! He gave me another donation and wished me the best. He was a great guy!


I made it to Twentynine Palms! 


With a quick look over my shoulder, I suddenly realized how far I had come. What a trek!


I put in a couple more miles and made it to the Joshua Tree visitors center. I washed up real quick and changed into clothes. 


Blessed Sacrament was right across the street. I got ready for Sunday Mass!

I entered within.

After Mass, there were refreshments for everyone to enjoy. The priest blessed the food, and we all dug in!

I was expecting donuts and coffee, but there was pasta, sandwiches, and all kinds of food! I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I started eating. 


Everyone at Blessed Sacrament was so nice and welcoming to me! A few people asked about my travels, and they wished me the best. They also invited me to take some food with me!


Just past noon, I headed back across the street to the Joshua Tree Visitor’s Center. I was tired! I hung my hammock beneath a tree and passed out. I was exhausted! An hour or so passed. It was a quick siesta.


Around 1:30 p.m., I hit sidewalk and made my way across town.


I stopped at a Jack in the Box and ate a burger. I needed calories, even after lunch at Blessed Sacrament. I hung outside and charged my phone. I also chatted with a few friends on the phone. At 4:30 p.m., I was back on track. Sidewalk.

Ruben

I met Ruben! He was cooling off at a water spicket at an auto shop. I cooled off too! We chatted for a bit. Ruben was in the military. We talked about LA, and he told me it is a whole other world. I was able to help Ruben out with some money. He was really thankful and actually gave me some of it back! We parted ways. 


I kept moving. Through town.

From left to right: Shannon, Sophia, Dominic, and Philip!


And then Philip picked me up! He is a marine who currently works for the Joshua Tree National Park. I had met him after Mass at Blessed Sacrament. He invited me back to his house for dinner with his wife Shannon and their children Sophia and Dominic!
It was overwhelming in a good way. His wife Shannon told me they had googled me and read my blog, haha! They gave me access to a hot shower, did my laundry, and fed me dinner! Shannon had made a really great meal. Steak, rice, peppers, onions, and an ice cold can of coke. Wow! 
I hung out with them at their house for a while. We even watched a little bit of the Olympics! It always amazes me when a family welcomes me into their home. I had such a great time! 

From left to right: Philip, Dominic, Shannon, and Sophia!


Sophia gave me a rosary decade that she made for the American Heritage Girls! Dominic gave me some tactical glow sticks to put on the buggy at night!The family sent me off with a big bag of snacks! They also gave me aaa batteries for my head lamp, and a stuff bag for my sleeping bag! 


It was so overwhelming. One moment Im walking down the sidewalk not knowing what the next corner will bring, and the next I’m eating dinner with new friends! Wow! And just like that, Philip dropped me off where he had picked me up per my request. We parted ways. What a great family!

me

Washed up, filled up, and geared up, I hit sidewalk out of town.


I had planned on traveling to Joshua Tree that night, but I decided to call it a day early. With all the traffic in town, traveling at night wasnt a good idea. 


I found a street named Sunrise, and thought it would be a great place to watch the sunrise the next morning, so I hiked up!


I found a church up there on the hill. A great view! No one was around, so I didnt have permission to camp. I found a little palm grove and laid my sleeping bag on the desert floor by the parking lot. I fell asleep beneath the stars. 


The moon rose.

 

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Day 178

Day 178
I awoke at dawn in the Mojave along Highway 62 in California.


I broke camp and repacked the buggy. 


I hit the road:


A man named David stopped to check on me! He offered me a ride. I thought about it, but told him that I thought I would be able to make it to 29 Palms. He couldn’t really understand why I wouldn’t accept a ride. He was a really nice man, and even gave me a donation to get to Los Angeles! We parted ways.


Desert miles. Isolation:

I was high up in the mountains. It was a little bit cooler way up there. I had been climbing all day. 


Just before 11 a.m., I set up camp for a siesta in the open desert. I found a gate about 75 yards from the road. I hadn’t seen any shade in a day or so, but I was able to make some decent shelter. I even hung my hammock!


Time passed. I sweat some and drank a lot of fluids. I ate some bagels that St. Vincent de Paul had given me back in Parker, AZ. 

At 3 p.m., I emerged from my desert dwelling. 


I made my way back up to the road.

I started moving.


A woman pulled over and gave me peanut m&ms and a cold water. Then she turned around and went back the way she came from. Wow! What a treat!
Miles. Mountains and road. Desert:


The sun hung low and began to set. I could see 29 Palms off in the far distance! I began the descent:


Into the night. Beneath the Milky Way.


I kept moving through the night. I eventually found myself in a residential area a few short miles from 29 Palms. I kept scouting locations to camp, but couldn’t really find anywhere. I was so tired!


So I laid my sleeping bag down on tarp in the open desert. I slept beneath the moon and stars. A pack of dogs fought a coyote somewhere near my camp. I think the dogs won. I fell fast asleep.

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Day 177

Day 177
I awoke beneath a railroad bridge in the Mojave Desert.


I retrieved the buggy and brought itback down from high ground.


I broke camp and repacked the Mojave rover.


And hit the road.


The sun rose.


The moon set.

I started chipping away.

Clyde and Wilma stopped to check on me! 

They gave me two bottles of water and a donation! They also offered me a ride. I stopped and considered it, but decided to keep moving. They were heading to 29 Palms too! We parted ways.

I kept moving.
At 10:30 a.m., I found the only shade I had seen all morning. A lone tree at the end of the aqueduct. 


I set up camp. I reinforced the shade with my tarp. I set up my hammock.

Time passed. I ate pringles and drank gatorade. I snoozed. Just before 3:30p.m., I emerged from the desert shrubbery.


I hit the road.


Miles.


And then something great happened. A woman pulled over in her car about a quarter mile up the road. She pulled a 24 pack of water from her trunk, placed it on the ground, pointed to it and waved to me, and then got back in her car and drove off. A big win!


I was so happy! Until that point, I hadn’t realized how stressed I was about water. This lady gave me 3 entire gallons of water! It was enough to keep me hydrated for another entire day. I could make it to 29 Palms! A merciful stranger.


I think I smiled and laughed all the way to the 177/Highway 62 split.


And then another great thing happened. A huge majority of the traffic went to and from Highway 177. I was continuing down Highway 62, no more traffic!


It was such a relief. I was right around the halfway mark to 29 Palms. I had plenty of water, and could now travel at night!


I took a water break and consolidated containers. 


The sun hung low.

It set. I headed west climbing.


Into the dark.

At 9 p.m., I decided to call it a day. Traffic was nonexistent, but I had already been fighting all day. I set up my hammock along some poles by a radio tower. Everynow and then a car would go by. I watched the tail lights fade into darkness. Miles and miles. 


It was quiet, the stars were amazing! Then the bright moon rose and illuminated the desert. I fell fast asleep.

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Day 176

Day 176
I awoke beneath a lone tree a mile and a half west of Vidal Junction, CA. 


I watched the sunrise. I broke camp and repacked the buggy. 


I hit the road.


I ate a few cinnamon buns Miss Bonnie had given me for breakfast. They were so good!


I decided not to let the traffic get to me. It came in waves and pockets. It seemed to be worse late afternoon into sunset. I moved off the road when I needed to, kept the best pace I could, drank lots of water, and kept moving.


Just past 10 a.m., I set up my hammock beneath a railroad bridge for a siesta. It was the only shade for miles and miles! 


I made my way up to an aqueduct than ran parallel with Highway 62. I was hoping I would be able to gather water. It was blue and smelled like a swimming pool. It wasn’t drinkable.


Time passed. I reinforced the shade with my tarp. I sweat a lot.


At 2:30 p.m., I ate some coffee cake. 

At 3 p.m., I was back on the road.


I kept moving the best I could.


and then… shoes.

Hundreds of them.
Mountains of them. There in the desert.


I kept moving.


At 7 p.m., the sun set on the Mojave Desert. 

I found another bridge under some rail road tracks. I set up camp.

Storm clouds rolled in from the mountains! They were sent my way!

I moved the buggy to high ground, tied my backpack and gear high up beneath the tracks, and set up my tarp. I waited.


The wind picked up like crazy, and then it rained! I fought hard to keep the tarp steady in the storm, I was trying to catch water. 


It all happened in about 90 seconds, it down poured, then rain cloud blew away, gone. I almost lost it all in the wind, but I was able to gather a gallon of water! It was a little murky because my tarp was dirty, but I had mosquito netting and purification tablets to filter it if need be. I gathered water in the desert! 
It was such a great feeling! Especially after working against traffic and the heat all day. It gave me a lot of motivation. I was down to 4 gallons of water, and this emergency gallon put me at 5. I had been drinking 3 gallons a day. I had enough to make it another day and a half! I had made it 22 miles that day. It was another 70 miles or so to Twentynine Palms.


The full moon rose and beams of light came down from the clouds. Lightening. Then the storm scattered, the wind ceased, and everything got quiet.

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Day 175

Day 175
I awoke to wild burros stampeding through the grove. They were loud!


I broke camp and repacked the buggy. 


I hit the road.


I made it a little ways and stopped to watch the sunrise. I ate a few slices of left over pizza and contemplated my next move. Trucks hauled by. I had to keep moving.


The shoulder for the most part was non existent. The buggy couldnt handle to the dirt along the side of the road either, it was too heavy, and the wheels would lock up.

It was a slow crawl. The trucks at least gave me some room and moved over during the day. Every now and then I would gain some decent dirt. I slowly chipped away at the miles. Weaving in and out of the pockets:


I made it to Vidal Junction around 11 a.m. A crossroads, and the last stop before 93 miles of open desert to Twentynine Palms. 


I was happy to be off the road. I found an abandoned gas station and set up my hammock in the shade.


Time passed. After a nice long siesta, I headed over to a truck stop and bought a couple gallons of water. I had already drank two gallons since leaving Parker!


I did some maintenance on the buggy. The front tire was not true and created a lot of friction, I used a soda can tab as a washer to hold it in place. It worked!


I was worried about the rear tires. There was no axle, they just popped into the rear frame using a button mechanism. The plastic bearings were broken, the frame bent. I hoped they would hold.

Miss Bonnie


I met Miss Bonnie! She works at the gas station. She was really nice, and let me use some tools from behind the counter to fix the buggy. 

She gave me a big bag of snacks to take with me for the road ahead! She also asked me a few questions about this journey. 


Miss Bonnie told me heading to Twentynine Palms, there was nothing but 93 miles of desert. She told me I would only get one or two vehicles per day out that way. Then she stopped, and said that since they closed the freeway down the day before because of the wild fires out west, I might get a lot more traffic. I wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or not. We parted ways.
At 6 p.m., I rejoined California Highway 62. I was hoping traffic might let up west of Vidal Junction. 


It didn’t. I made it about a mile before I got frustrated. I set up my hammock under a tree about 25 yards from the road. I just needed to think through some things.


Time passed.
I decided to call it a night. I had only made it a few short miles that day. Traveling at night would be too dangerous. I would have to face the heat of the Mojave, and travel during the day. It would be a long and slow crawl through the wilderness to 29 Palms. 


The moon rose on the open desert. It was such a sight. I fell asleep looking forward to a full nights rest.

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Day 174

Day 174
I awoke on the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Parker, Arizona. I was hanging beneath Daniel’s Really Good Fresh Jerky sign.


The sun rose. I took in my surroundings:



And hit the road.


Down into Parker,

And to Sacred Heart church for morning Mass!

Fr. Richard and friends!

Fr. Richard was there! He introduced me to the parish after Mass. Tina, Ann, Edith, and Julie. I answered a lot of questions. Everyone was so nice to me! They gave me donations and told me they would be praying for me.

Julie


Julie works for St. Vincent de Paul. We walked across the street to the warehouse and they were able to help me with some things.


Breakfast, groceries, and bottles of water! I was really thankful, they helped me out so much! Julie gave me directions to the library. I needed to catch up on journaling.


So I did! I was actually there for a long while. I charged my devices and got to work.


Time passed, and around 4:30 p.m., I left the library and crossed town. I went to a lizza hut and bought a pizza for the road. Calories.


Over the Colorado


and into California!

I went live on Facebook, it was such a great time. I chatted with friends and family, both from home and from the road. I did my best to answer everyone’s questions. There was a lot of them!

At 7 p.m., I crossed back into Parker, AZ the sun hung low.

I ran a few errands around town. I needed to make sure I enough food, water, and supplies for many days. It would be a long trek into the Mojave to 29 Palms, the next town, 118 miles away! I would be traveling at night. 


I figured at night time I could keep my water consumption down. I would also be able to cover more ground. Traveling at night meant no siestas, that might give me another 3+ hours of footwork! 

The buggy was so heavy! I had 7 gallons of water plus food and supplies. I was actually worried it might break. I needed to ditch weight, consumption would be the best way to do it. I started fueling. Hydration.

I crossed back over into Califronia. 

I joined Highway 62 west up and out of the Colorado River.


The moon shone down on the Colorado River.


It was such a difficult climb. There were many trucks hauling down those hills and bends. I had very little shoulder to work with. The buggy was so heavy, it was exhausting!


It got to a point were I couldn’t handle it. I was actually yelling at trucks from the side of the road. I realized how dangerous it was fighting tractor trailer traffic. Where was all this traffic coming from? I was supposed to be in the middle of nowhere… 


I decided to call it a night. I found a grove of trees along the Big River a few hundred feet from the road. I set up my hammock. I dozed off as the semis hauled by.

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