Day 167

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. 

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Day 166

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!

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Day 165

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!

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Day 164

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!

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Day 163

Day 163
I awoke at 5:30 a.m., just before sun rise. I broke camp and repacked the buggy. I started moving.


I watched the sun rise.


I made it to a Mcdonalds and ate a Mcgriddle and drank powerade. I hung out for a little bit. I was waiting for the Family Dollar to open down the road. I needed to stock up on food for the road north.


So I did! I bought a a few more liters of water, a pack of powerades, a few cans of chef boyardee, pop tarts, and some oreos. Family dollar isnt exactly the best place to go food shopping, but it was the only place in town.


I hit the road. Frontage road. The only problem was, there were two roads on each side of the interstate. I took the wrong one. I ended up reaching a dead end after a few miles. : (


It was a tough blow. I thought about crossing through the cattle guard and over the interstate, but there was just too much traffic. I doubled back to town. It cost me about 5 miles, and an hour and a half of time. It was late in the morning. 


By the time I made it back to town it was hot! I crossed under the interstate and found the right road. Plenty of shade. I started chipping.


Just past 11 a.m., I stopped for a siesta. I set up my hammock between some thinly shaded trees. I used a tarp to reinforce the shade. It worked great!


Time passed.


Just passed 2 p.m., I hit the road. It was cloudy. The shade was nice.


It started to storm just up the road! Fortunately, it was ahead of me, and was headed northwest at a much faster pace than me. I watched the lightening and the dust clouds from a safe distance. I kept moving.


It cleared, and I kept chipping away:


I made it to a truck stop and and watched the sun set. It looked beautiful all around:


I ate a sandwich at a DQ and drank some lemonade. 

Fueled up, I headed off into the night.


Around 11:30 p.m., I found a couple of trees 50 yards or so off the frontage road. I set up camp. Mosquitos woke me up off and on throughout the night. There must have been an irrigation channel or something around.
The milky way was above me! I haven’t seen it much since western Texas. I was just far enough from both Tucson and Phoenix to get a great view.

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Day 162

Day 162
I slept in! I met up with Roger and we checked out of the hotel. We made our way to the Cathedral of St. Augustine for mid-day Mass.

Cathedral of St. Augustine, Tucson, AZ


We arrived a little early, and passed through the Holy Door of Mercy together. There was a funeral going on inside. Roger had to make a few phone calls outside, I decided to attend the rest of the funeral Mass. I sat in the back.


After the funeral, I spoke to the priest and went to confession! I wandered around, said some prayers, and took a few pictures. 


Roger and I attended Mass at noon! 

me (left) and Roger (right)


And then, we parted ways. Roger had helped me out so much! Food, shelter, clothing, and donations! He headed off to the airport, and I headed northbound.

Willie


I met Willie by the bus station! He was hungry, and I was able to give him some leftovers from dinner the night before, and a bag of peanuts. We chatted for a few minutes. Willie used to be a bus driver for 30 years or so. We parted ways.


I followed sidewalk through the north side of town. 

Tesa (left) and Eric (right)


I met Eric and Tesa! They had a little homeless camp, and were having a yard sale! I bought an umbrella from them. I figured it might come in handy for UV protection in an emergency. They were really nice and thankful. I was also able to help them out with a little more money.


I stopped at a Jack in the Box and ate a burger. I hit the road.


Frontage road! Right along the interstate. But thankfully, the frontage road led north for miles and miles. I wouldnt have to step foot on I-10!


I kept moving.


And watched the sun set.


There wasn’t much traffic at all along the frontage roads. I kept moving through the dark. I chipped away at the miles:


Just before 11 p.m., I found a grove of trees right along the frontage road. I was just inside Marana, AZ. 


I set up my hammock and fell fast asleep.

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Day 161

Day 161
Day of Rest

Roger (left) and Ken (right)


Roger and I got breakfast early that morning. His boss Ken gave me a portable charger for my phone! It was really nice, and would help me keep my phone charged if it was cloudy, or through vast distances. What a great guy!

I hung around the hotel for most of the day. I napped by the pool, did laundry, and caught up on the rest of journaling.


Roger took me to an REI and bought me some things: a UV protective shirt, two water sacks, iodine tablets, and a hoo rag. Wow!

me (left) and Roger (right)


We also went out to eat at a local middle eastern restaurant. It was a fun time, we played backgammon! 


It had been a long time since I had a full day of rest. I fell asleep thankful, and ready for the road ahead. 

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