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!