Nevada Highlights Part 2

In order to save time in the morning, I began to skip breakfast and eat either granola bars or spam as I began walking. When I got to the next town, Battle Mountain, I began seeing state troopers again and got excited. When were they going to stop and talk to me? One passed slowly and read the sign on my cart and the rest I waved to. As I got to the downtown exit I saw one pull onto the shoulder of the exit ramp and I wondered if he wanted to talk to me. Maybe he thought I was going to exit? So, I went out of my way to walk towards the state trooper but when I approached his vehicle all he did was wave back at me. I didn’t even get a window rolled down. I reached the town limit and saw a sheriff’s vehicle hiding in a shady spot in the median, waiting for speeders. As I walked by I waved, called “hello,” and waved again. He clearly looked at me but ignored me. I became a bit discouraged after that. The law enforcement had become one of my sources of entertainment and socialization. I was walking when their shift began and ended and as I crossed into different counties the officers changed. There was a state trooper further out that was driving loops on his route and I found it humorous that each time he drove by he obliged in waving back to me. I’m assuming it was the same officer anyways. I felt like that friend that decides that they’re your friend before you know they even exist. When I wasn’t waving to strangers, I was completely spaced out. One of my main thoughts was, “Life is a dream.” I began to feel a rush to finish the walk yet I no longer knew what my reality was. As I began to think about finishing I became incredibly overwhelmed. How do I even get through tomorrow?

I woke up in the dirt under a bridge at my usual 4:30am. My circadian rhythm had adjusted to this yet my body continued to fight it. As I finally began to move, a truck pulled into the dirt parking area next to the construction equipment. He must’ve gotten to the job site early. I threw my things together and rushed to get to my cart, which was hidden behind the construction equipment. As I took the entrance ramp back onto the interstate, I tried to pretend that it was perfectly normal for someone to pop out of nowhere and start pushing a cart on the interstate at 5am. Several hours later, I met Damion. The alternator on his RV had gone out and this time he couldn’t fix it. I offered the use of my phone but he had no one to call. I asked if he had food and water and he did. He was well prepared for his desert travels, apart from having unreliable transportation. His elderly dad was still in the vehicle and I hoped that they’d be able to get their RV fixed before it got 100°F. They were on a road trip to visit his father’s school friend and to bond. Despite being no use to his vehicle situation, Damion thanked me for the conversation and I continued. I passed a state trooper that had a car pulled over on the side of the road and he asked me if I needed water. As I walked by the car receiving the ticket, I could see the inhabitants staring at me and grinning. I wanted to talk to them but I didn’t think the officer would’ve appreciated that. My last three miles of the day were the worst. A storm rolled in and the wind gusts blew sand and dirt into the sky. I kept my head down and tried to push my cart uphill. It looked like I was walking into a wall of darkness. The visibility decreased  and the brightness from car headlights were the only hint that vehicles were still on the road. Despite these conditions I needed to continue. I was so close to my end point! The bright side to this situation was that the dirt flying in my face distracted me from the pain in my joints. As I reached the bridge, I found out that I was at an exit for a prison. No one was going to stop to talk to me here but I wondered if people would call the police. This bridge was exposed and there was no where to sleep. I knew with my limited options I’d have to continue to find shelter. It was suppose to start drizzling. I’d seen a few culverts and hoped I’d find one suitable to sleep in. About a 1/2 mile further, I discovered one hidden by the tall, yellow foliage. I was excited about the shelter but I prayed that it wasn’t raining harder elsewhere because then I’d be flooded out.

I no longer can tolerate the taste or smell of oatmeal and I don’t have the time in the mornings to force feed myself. The result, I eat cold spam and poptarts as I walked my first mile. My fatigue only grew worse and after seven miles I needed a new game plan. I put in my earbuds and began jamming to the band, “Rainbow Kitten Surprise.” The beats were uplifting and it altered the wavelengths in my brain to help me see the world more positively. My pace quickened and eased my discomfort. Walking was once again bearable. My first motorcycle state trooper stopped to talk to me but his questions didn’t seem like they came from a place of curiosity but rather inquisitive to see if I was a person of concern. Throughout the day, him and the other state troopers did oblige in waving to me as they passed and of course I appreciated each acknowledgement. With a few miles left, a woman called Marebear stopped to offer me food. She talked to me, gave me gatorade and a peach, and then a hug. My energy level spiked after meeting her. She was on her way home after spending at least a week in the desert at the Burning Man festival. Finally, I ended up at a rest stop except they aren’t what they are in Utah. There was a giant building that had pit toilets room after room and they smelled horrendous. Not to mention, you thought you’d be consumed by the flies. I walked up to the signs that talked about the history of the California Trail and then I heard, “Where are you going?” The voice came from Gary, a retired history teacher that was on his bucket list trip. He’d seen me out of the corner of his eye as he was driving away from the rest stop and something told him to turn around. When I told him my name was Amanda his grin, which I didn’t think could get bigger, doubled in size. “You’re kidding?! Amanda means worthy of love” he said. Gary’s mother, daughter, and cousin were all named Amanda and now he discovered another one! He worked with an organization, Students Against Violence Everywhere, and gave me a copy of his book. I loved listening to his stories and how excited he was about telling them but my body was exhausted. I was standing and could feel the blood flush from my face. I had to sit down or I’d pass out. I attempted to keep my cool and sit while I grabbed a fun sized snickers to eat. He could see the color change in my face and encouraged me to do what I needed to do. Before he left he told me that he’d “adopted me into his heart.”

35 miles down the road, my longest day, and after walking 10 plus miles in a construction zone ( a good thing, I had a full lane to myself) I ended up in the home of Alex and Lisa. They were my hosts for the night and they made tacos! I was excited to see how excited they were to host me. It was wonderful and exactly what I needed. They convinced me to stay a day and took me to North Lake Tahoe to experience the beach. I couldn’t believe the beauty or the peacefullness. I floated on a floatie  for a few minutes but feared being taken away by the current. My arms were too short to effectively paddle in any direction so I stayed close to shore. When we returned to their home they pointed out wild horses to me. My mind was blown! Alex described to me that they’ll sometimes roam through the neighborhood and eat the grass off of people’s lawns. Which eventually leads to them pooping there too. As I got ready for the following day, Alex made me a map that showed the bike route that went through Reno. The bike route itself had a few signs but they weren’t easy to see and could be misleading.

I ditched my jogging stroller and began backpacking once again. I not only didn’t want to have to push that thing over the Sierra mountains but my resources (food and water) were no longer 100 miles apart. Alex warned me that I’d see homeless people along the bike route but it wasn’t what I expected. When I thought of homeless people in the middle of a city I thought of mentally ill and unpredictable. There were makeshift shelters hidden in the trees and tall grass but most were tents. In the early morning, the owners of them were breaking camp and getting ready for their day. It was strange for me because I was no different from them in that instance. The fact that they were putting their tents up gave me the impression that they cared about their belongings and themselves. I didn’t know their situation but I saw the humanity behind their actions. They were just trying to do the best they could. When I walked past some of them I made sure to say “hello” and their “hello” back would be filled with enthusiasm and then they’d ask, “How are you?” A few individuals did look concerning yet I had no problems with them. There was one man sleeping on steps and he looked severely uncomfortable. Couples were outstretched on the grass in between layers of blankets. I wanted to talk to them to learn and better understand but I refrained. They were just trying to get through each day like I was. I continued to follow the bike route through various neighborhoods and the signage was confusing. I definitely would’ve gotten lost if it was not for the map Alex made me. I walked past a man and his dog standing outside their  home and the dog wanted to say hello. When the man called back his dog the dog looked distressed. He looked torn between listening to his owner and investigating me so I asked the man if I could pet his dog. The man, Phillip, asked if I needed water and even though I still had 2 liters, it never hurt to top it off. He thought I was just a random walker but when I explained what I was doing he became enthralled. He gave me a bag of doritos and a chair to sit in while we exchanged stories. He grew up in California in a rough neighborhood and in order to break the poverty cycle his mother told him that he had to be smarter than she was and his kids had to be smarter than him. He shared with me how proud he was to be paying his bills himself, unassisted, and that his kids are doing well. He really had no interest going on a grand adventure like I was because he was happy working so that his children could have the opportunity to do whatever they wanted. It was another beautiful perspective on life, one of love and self-sacrifice.

Nevada Highlights Part 1

I felt lethargic but I refused to let that get the best of me. I stopped looking at the time and didn’t want to know the mileage; instead, I began the reflect on my life. The person that I have become is not who I was. I may look the same but my mind is far more inquisitive and free. I snapped out of my reflection to see a state trooper pass me slowly. A bit later he stopped and asked if I needed any help. He asked if the car on the side of the road was mine but I didn’t recall seeing one to begin with (I had been in deeper reflection than I’d thought). As he headed back to his vehicle I told him I was walking across the country and although he didn’t seem too interested I saw amusement in his face. At the end of my walking day, right before I entered Wells, he popped up again and asked, “Still don’t need any help?” I was surprised to see him again. State troopers infrequently stop to talk to me nonetheless stop again after they’ve already investigated me. I concluded he must’ve been bored. Before he left I asked about camping in the town park but he didn’t know for sure, that was a question for the town police. At the park, I realized that it wasn’t the loneliness that got to me but the fear of being judged. The difference between being in solitude in the wilderness verses a park was my expectation. In the wilderness, you are alone but in parks there is a stigma of fun, joy, and a place to socialize. As I sat at the picnic table two adolescents (a girl and a boy) walked near me and said, “Hello! You look wildernessie.” It was everything against what I expected yet I had noticed them scoping me out from afar. They were fun to talk to and it made me feel a little bit more welcome in the town. As evening grew near I began looking for a nook in the park to sleep in. My previous experiences sleeping in parks had turned me off of setting my tent up. I had decided too that I didn’t really want people to know that I was there. So, I went to the baseball dugout. It was away from the road and I figured was far away enough from sprinklers (my judgment was based off of how green the grass was). Well, as soon as I was about to jump in my sleeping bag they turned on. Turned out, I couldn’t escape them. I maneuvered to the middle of the dugout but a few hours later more turned on. I was being minimally sprayed and my only concern was to keep my down sleeping bag dry. I was irritated. I grabbed my umbrella and tried to stick it in the chain-link fence to protect me but it wouldn’t stay upright. In that process, the sprinklers surprise attacked me and soaked my clothes. I was completely fed up. I grabbed the umbrella and went back to my sleeping bag. I pinned the handle of the umbrella against the wall with my legs and kept it there the remainder of the night. The umbrella protected my sleeping bag; however, every few minutes my face would get hit with a few sprinkles. All I had wanted was a good nights rest..

I woke up at 4:30am and was completely done with that park and their sprinklers. I got back on the road at day break just in time to witness the fleet of state troopers driving to their assigned routes. One of the four vehicles beeped as they passed and I wondered if it was the officer from the day before. I was only starting my day and the fatigue in my body already had me questioning my ability to make it the thirty miles. The sky behind me glowed bright red behind a mountain, a beautiful sunrise, yet I worried it was caused by a wildfire. Turned out the smoke from the wildfires in Montana caused the immensely beautiful sky coloration. About mid-day, the same officer pulled over and asked if I’d seen someone else walking. Nope, I was definitely the only person out there. He told me there had been another call except the description was different, a woman wearing a white tank top. The description matched my white safety vest but I’d taken that off hours before. Before he left, I took the opportunity to share with him that if he really wanted to help he could bring me pizza. He just shook his head and laughed before saying, “That may be doable.” He had to head back west at the end of the day so I shared what exit number I’d be stopping at and what bridge I’d be under. It sounded like a plan and I was stoked. The whole situation was hilarious! The idea of pizza at the end of the day helped keep me going through the pain and I told myself that I had to get to the bridge or I wouldn’t get pizza. Pizza was my motivation but a small part of me held doubt. On my last mile, I began to see the state troopers heading home for the evening. One of the vehicles let out a beep and I knew then that I wasn’t getting pizza. When I got to the bridge it wasn’t what I’d hoped for at all. There was loose dirt that created a steep ramp to the top and none of it was flat. I pushed my cart as to get it out of the road as best as possible and then sat in the loose dirt. I didn’t want to give up on the pizza idea so I told myself I’d wait thirty minutes out in the open and then hide. I sat in the dirt and felt judgmental looks from the few cars that drove by. I began to battle my thoughts on my self-worth. The people that drove past most likely weren’t thinking negatively towards me yet that’s how I perceived it in my state of mind. The loose dirt kicked up a cloud of dust whenever I moved and I felt filthy. Rabbit holes were everywhere and I even spotted a few carcasses. In those moments, I felt exposed and impressionable and honestly, I didn’t view myself as much. After the thirty minutes, I scouted out a flat spot hidden from the road and away from the interstate. That’s where I remained for the rest of the evening.

Every day finding my motivation for waking up at 4:30am, or at all, was increasingly difficult. My body hurt and my first thought of the day became, “I don’t want to get up.” I knew that wasn’t an option though. I forced myself to have something to look forward to and for this day it was seeing the state trooper, a familiar face and friend in my highly erratic world. Like the day before, at day break the state troopers drove in a mass to start their day but this time none of them beeped. Did the officer have the day off? I continued in my tired and worn state knowing that I needed to get into town and find my host family, it’d been about two weeks since I had a full rest day. I focused on the ground and mindlessly walked until a vehicle pulled over in front of me. I looked up and it was the state trooper! He got out of the vehicle with an enthusiastic “Good morning!” He could tell I was tired and gave me an encouraging, “One more state.” He proceeded to tell me that I wouldn’t see him again and that I would be leaving his jurisdiction soon. I don’t think he knew how much I appreciated him telling me that. It was a sort of goodbye, one that I knew was coming. He explained the pizza situation too. It turned out there wasn’t a pizza place near the route he drove. He then left me with a warning about an upcoming tunnel, the Carlin Tunnel. There was no shoulder in it and “strange things” happen. Apparently people like to close their eyes when they’re driving through and others take their hands off the steering wheel. He told me there was a two mile detour that I should take and told me to be safe before he left. I wanted to give him a hug goodbye but I didn’t know what the boundaries were for a law enforcement officer. I watched him drive off and began to mentally start kicking myself because I never learned his name. I made slow progress as I kept walking due to my lack of consistency. I’d walk a mile and sit on my cart. Before I started again, I’d walk around the cart and inspect the tires. I’d start walking again and then decide I had to pee. It was this weird, twisted form of procrastination. I was tired of walking so instead I just wasted time which didn’t help me at all!

I took a rest day in Elko and met the most amazing locals at the family restaurant, “Coffee Mug.” While I was there eating lunch, four state troopers came in to eat (none of them were the one I knew). The host encouraged me to talk to them when I went up to pay (she knew what I was doing and I guess mentioned it to them) so for my own amusement I did. In the most awkward way possible I approached the table of four and said, “Hi, I’m the one you’ve been getting all the calls about. Just wanted to put a face to the calls.” While I was saying this I was naturally in the way of everyone around me and had to keep maneuvering out of the way. All but one knew what I was talking about and they asked a few questions about why I was walking. At this point though, I didn’t know why. It was just what I was doing. I guess it had become more of a finish to what I started. Overall, it was a good day. Besides the milkshake I had at Coffee Mug, I think I was most excited about being able to wear clean clothes.

I walked with the warning about the Carlin Tunnel on the forefront of my mind. It would be an obstacle that I’d have to tackle. I knew there was the road that detoured around but I needed to make sure I’d be able to access it. The road was only accessible on the west bound side and I normally walked on the east bound (against traffic). The hurtle was that there is a concrete barrier dividing the interstate and I wouldn’t be able to lift my cart over it if I missed the opportunity to switch sides. Everything went smoothly until I reached the tunnel. The road detouring around the tunnel was blocked off with cement barriers. Not only that, but there was a cattle guard with a barbed wire fence elongating away from it. “You have to be kidding me?! I said with frustration. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem but I wouldn’t be able to get my cart through that. I tried anyways. I pushed and tugged the cart through the sage brush towards the small opening between the concrete barrier and barbed wire fence. I tried lifting and pushing the cart through the small opening but it wasn’t wide enough and the front wheel wasn’t sturdy enough to take the whole weight of the cart. “This is ridiculous.” A mile or so before I reached the tunnel a semi-truck had pulled over to see if I needed any help. The man wore a dastaar (turban), which told me he was a Sikh, and that explained why he stopped out of all the other hundreds of vehicles. I’d been told that Sikhs protect woman and children and overall serve their communities. He wanted to know where I needed a ride to and if I wanted a ride through the tunnel. When I told him I was walking on purpose though, he interpreted that as I didn’t need any help and headed back to his truck. I let the miscommunication go because I knew there was a road that detoured around. Now, I was mentally kicking myself. This whole situation could’ve been avoided. My logic turned to, “If one person stopped for me maybe someone else will.” I pushed my cart to the side of the interstate (thank you to Dawn for creating a “Walking Across America” sign for my cart) and made the sign visible while I stood next to the “no walk” sign. As each vehicle drove by I pointed to my sign, the tunnel, and then the “no walk” sign. Someone must’ve understood what I was trying to say! I gave myself thirty minutes to wait for someone to stop and then I’d have to take drastic measures. As I stood there looking foolish a few vehicles honked which peeved me. “Your honk does nothing for me!” I thought as my irritation grew. I hoped someone at least called the police on me. That way they could at least help me when I needed it. The thirty minutes came and went and I was upset and stressed. In  my mind I worked up the idea that my only option left was to run through the tunnel. I put my safety vest on and boldly began to push my cart towards the end of the road shoulder. I counted how many seconds it took a vehicle going 80mph to get through the tunnel and it was 11 seconds. I didn’t bother doing the math but I knew the odds weren’t in my favor at 3mph. I hoped vehicles would give me a lane or someone would slow down and let me walk in front of them but they didn’t. I reached the end of the shoulder and a semi-truck going 80mph blasted past me only inches away. “Nope, nope, can’t do it!” I frantically told myself as I retreated. Cuss words flung from my mouth as I mildly freaked out. Finally, I called the police department and after three transfers I got a hold of the highway patrol dispatch. An officer was already heading in my direction so I sat on my cart, pulled out my umbrella, and ate an apple while waited. I figured the odds were that the state trooper would be one I already had met. As I sat there, I saw the state trooper drive past me. Apparently he was responding to a woman’s car being broken down on the other side of the tunnel. Several minutes later, he pulled over next to me. He wasn’t someone I knew. “Hi, I need help across the tunnel.” I said politely despite being frustrated. “What do you want me to do about?” he replied. Mentally, I was floored. “Are you kidding me?!?!” I thought. This is how the conversation went. Me: Can I put my cart in the back of your vehicle? Officer: No, I have stuff back there. There’s a road that goes around the tunnel. Me: I know, I can’t get through the concrete barrier. Officer: What do you want me to do about it? Me: I need help across the tunnel. Can you drive slow behind me and I’ll run through? Officer: I can do that, or we can do the other option. Me: What’s the other option? Officer: I can help you lift your cart over the concrete barrier.. but there’s another one at the other end. Me: That’s what I figured. So, can you drive behind me as I go through? Officer: Okay. The entire conversation I wanted to scream and pull my hair out. The conversation just kept going in a circle. I started walking and he followed but then a police truck showed up. I could put my cart in the bed of the truck and he’d drive me across. My frustration led me to the verge of tears. The police officer had me get into the caged area of the truck, which I’ve done before when officers have helped me, but before that he asked if I had any weapons. The conversation that I had in my head was, “Are you kidding me? I need help. I’m trying to get you guys to help me. I’m not a bad person!” Out of all the police vehicles I’d gotten into across the country none of them asked me about weapons before I got in. Now, I understand his approach to the situation and I get it, I do. He deals with a lot of people with unknown motives. Without hesitation I responded to his question, “I have a small knife. Do you want it?” I handed him my pathetic looking multi-tool that has a knife and he drove me through the tunnel. I tried to talk to him in the truck but he either ignored me or couldn’t hear me. On the other side of the tunnel, I thanked him and began walking again. I felt defeated and started crying. All I could do was keep walking and tell myself, “You’re doing the best that you can.” I realized too that the idea of having law enforcement officers help me wouldn’t have occurred if it hadn’t been for the state trooper I’d interacted with the previous days. He’d built rapport with me and it changed the way I viewed the officers. Instead, of seeing them as trying to protect society from me (crazy person walking) I began to see them as people that could help me in my journey. The ordeal put me several hours behind but I still needed to get to the same destination. I had no more time to waste. As I continued, I saw two men standing on the bridge above me. I looked up and waved. They started shouting down questions at me but I couldn’t hear them so I climbed up the dirt hill to talk to them. They were two UPS drivers that had heard about me over the course of the past week from their opposite driver. Apparently, their opposite had been tracking me each day along his route and tried to guess where I’d be the following day. These two guys were taking their break time to talk to me and were incredibly excited to finally see me! It was so meaningful that they wanted to stop and talk! Looking back, I only met them because I couldn’t get through the tunnel.

Utah Highlights Part 2

After 15 miles, I reached the rest stop along the interstate and sat at a shaded picnic table under an awning. I watched people come and go in their vehicles and wondered where they were going and what their stories were. One man stood out to me, he had a beat up RV and was traveling alone. His body language told me that he was looking for something and when he noticed me sitting alone I picked up on what it was. He was lonely and wanted someone to interact with. He approached me and asked if I wanted any cereal, the only thing he had to share. Having just eaten my oatmeal, I declined yet I wanted to talk to him and free him from his solidarity. He was searching for human connection, something I was far too familiar with, but I was about to leave and I had gathered the vibe that if I interacted with him he’d become clingy. He left to another picnic table but appeared a few minutes later and asked if I wanted any smokes. I empathized with his attempts to interact and although I couldn’t give him conversation, I tried to be polite and genuine. As I continued walking I told him to “Have a wonderful day,” and disappeared into the distance. I eventually reached my destination and was quite happy with it. It was a bridge perpendicular to the interstate below it and had cement barriers I was able to hide my cart behind. The vehicles zoomed past me unknowing of my existence. As the sun began to set a desert storm began to rally and the harsh winds raised unease within me. Lightning flashed across the sky and caused my thoughts to run wild. “Do bridges work the same as caves when it comes to conductivity?” I didn’t know the science behind it but I determined that having shelter above me was better than being exposed to the elements. My perceived danger was high and I fought to keep calm. Time was my only salvation so I walked up the ramp to the small, flat space under the bridge and prepared for a restless night. The concrete was stained with layers of bird poop so I used my rain fly as a ground cloth. The bridge amplified the sounds of the semi-trucks racing by and that became my terror for the night. No headphones and no music could’ve drowned out that alarming sound but I tried anyway. An attempt to save my sanity. That evening I prayed for my safety from the lightning and then as I stared into the darkness I prayed that morning would come sooner rather than later. The lightning eventually stopped but the roaring of the semi-trucks never ceased.

The terrain drastically changed to the salty wonderland known as the salt flats. It was an exciting day for me, I would see the “Tree of Life” (a giant metal tree sculpture along the interstate) and reach the Bonneville Salt Flats (where the land speed record was broken). I made my way to the Bonneville Rest Stop and as I entered the parking lot a man stood by his car waiting for me. He greeted me with enthusiasm and told me he was an artist/photographer and had seen me as he traveled east three hours before. He shared his stories with me and although I was excited to talk to him my body was weak with dehydration. I had to steady myself with my cart. I walked towards the picnic tables and a woman popped her head from around the corner. “Are you walking? Do you want tea or water or both? Do you need money?” She handed me ice cold tea and water and scavenged a few dollars from her family in the car. The woman’s teenage daughter donated a few dollars from her personal stash and that meant so much to me. It was one of the moments where I felt like I was able to empower and inspire a young woman to face the world and follow her dreams. After that, my world was quiet again and I observed. Families ran and bicycled along the salt flats and couples took pictures together. Individuals heading to Burning Man (artistic festival of self-expression in Nevada) danced in the salt and I admired their kindred spirits. I began to feel a slight longing to share the beautiful landscape with my loved ones yet despite this, there was bliss in the air. The salt flats held a familiarity to me but I wasn’t sure if it was simply from a movie I’d seen or the stories my dad had shared with me from when he traveled on his motorcycle through the areas I was now walking. Regardless, it felt right to be there and I knew one thing: I had to sleep on the salt. As dusk approached I did exactly that, I stepped into the ocean of salt. “How far should I go?” I wondered to myself. I observed car tracks embedded into the salt and I began to fear a car running over me in the middle of the night. I walked for twenty minutes and deemed the spot no better or worse than the rest of the exposed terrain around me. I laid reflectors around my sleeping area hoping any roaming cars would avoid them. Even in this peaceful place I couldn’t avoid deadly thoughts. After all, every night I discover something new that could possibly kill me. I stared at the Milky Way above me and wondered my place in the universe. “How have I made it this far in life?” The stars glittered the sky and the crescent moon maneuvered across the sky as time passed. I let go of my worries while the sound of the interstate became white noise and peace fell over me.

After my first 100 mile stretch without any towns, I finally made it to Wendover. During the twelve miles, I was terribly unfocused and the walking took forever (shocker right?). When I got there I received an email from a gentleman that I’d met a few days prior. He told me he’d found me a place to stay and within the email were instructions. I’d met him when I walked under a bridge and noticed a man taking pictures of me on the road above. I waved hello and he walked down to talk to me. “Are you walking across the country?” he asked. I was extremely excited to have him know what I was doing rather than him thinking I was a stranded woman with a baby. Anyways, the instructions on how to get to the place and find the keys were like a scavenger hunt. Despite the heat, I was excited. I found myself in a part of town at the edge of a small airfield walking past historic hangers where pilots were trained to deliver the atomic bomb. The building that I’d be staying in was an office trailer that had been renovated into a retro living unit. It may have been one of the coolest interiors I’d ever seen. It was a work of art. I took the afternoon to rest and stretch out my muscles. I was at the Nevada state line and knew that I’d have to push myself physically further than I’d ever had before.