I woke up at my usual seven in the morning. Today, however, I had decided to take a rest day. I am still two days ahead of schedule, and since Casa Grande is a bigger city, I was hoping to find some things to do.

First thing I did: I went back to sleep. I did not mean to, but I slept until sometime around eleven. I was sticky with sweat when I woke up, and the buzzing of flies was intense. There were swarms of them outside of my tent. Though I did try to prevent them from coming inside my tent once I unzipped it, a few  made their way inside anyway. Since I was packing up anyway, it did not matter too much.

My plan was simple: first, wash up. The Target was a good place for that, and so I took my hobo bath and washed my shorts and socks without anyone saying a word to me. I was trying to at least be a little discreet, as to not dismay these poor defenseless shoppers.

My next stop was to be the Cracker Barrel. Not to eat there, but because I have a deep-seeded weakness for maple sugar candy and I know they sell it in their gift shop. I have little willpower when it comes to that stuff – it is my own personal crack, and the knowledge that I could get it here was overpowering. So I made that stop. I’m glad the stuff is so expensive (I do believe it is more costly than actual crack), otherwise I would be in some serious trouble.

Next stop: post office. I overshot it by about three miles, but I was trying to multi-task and also look for a new spot to sleep for this evening. I found nothing. I then went to the library, surprised to find that it was already three. I was  slightly disturbed that I had to not only sign up for a library card in order to use their wireless, but I also was charged two dollars. They said my card was good for a year, and that was the only time I would need to pay for the life of that card. This was despite the fact that I insisted they ought to have a card for people to borrow like myself. The explanation I got for why they need to charge was not a suitable one, but I forked over the money. At least it is going to the library and not some dumb travel center. I only had two hours to use it before I would need to leave to find my home for the night. I returned the card as I was leaving and asked them to please let someone else use it. They told me that was against the rules. Bah to that rule, I say.

I had a very difficult time finding a new camping spot. I did not want to return to the same place I stayed last night, since I would need to go back ten miles. I wanted to be closer to where I would need to leave from in the morning anyway. So, I found a potential spot and bookmarked in my brain. I went through this field, and when I got to the other side, I saw a beam of a flashlight coming from a car. As I turned onto the road, I saw another car scanning a flashlight over that field. Police. I guess they were looking for people like myself, camping where they ought not to. Or, maybe they were looking for a criminal. Either way, it was not looking good for me.

So, I went back to the bookmarked spot. It was dark, and as I unloaded my bike, I went back to the tucked away spot and saw that it was already occupied. A sleeping bag and some other items, including an open book, indicated that someone was going to come back that evening. Darn. I left my stuff there temporarily and walked to see if I could find something else. Not having much luck, I returned to my stuff and heard a rustle in the leaves. “Hello?” I called out. “Hello.” An older man came out of the bushes. “Just looking for a spot to crash, I see you already have this spot,” I told the man. “Yep,” he said, with the confidence of a homeless man who was not in any trouble by me. “Have a good night,” I said as I packed up my stuff. He said nothing more.

I went to the worst spot I have camped at yet. There was a small bundle of trunks and trees that I could tuck inside of, but the ground was curved and not very hidden. If a flashlight scanned there, I would have been found in a heartbeat. But I decided not to worry about it. My other options were nil. I could have asked at the police station, which was right next to the library. But, cities like this tend to be less helpful when it comes to helping me find a spot to camp. Next time, I’ll try my luck with the police. It’s better to expose myself in these situations than to hide.

I cooked with my stove in those trees, turning off my light when cars infrequently drove by, and hoping the flames were not visible to them. The road was a dirt one, so only ten cars passed all night. I was grateful that if anyone had seen me, they paid me no mind.

I read and was glad to fall asleep at a reasonable time, despite all that sleeping I had done earlier in the day. Today was a bit of a waste of a day off. A small town day off would have been better.

Day 72 - Looks more tucked away than I actually am

It looks like I am more tucked away than I actually am

While I was still asleep, Mr. Chile had noticed the slow leak in my rear tire. I was pretty sure I had a slow leak, but the previous day it seemed fine, so I thought I was being paranoid. He patched it. There was also still a slow leak in my sleeping mat, which he checked for as well without luck. Boo. I will have to deal with it for now.

I ate a hearty bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and some tea. I got everything packed up and ready, and had been given good directions to get to the road that parallels I 10. I was on my way.

I followed my directions to the dead end of the road to get on the river path, but it was unclear where to access it. There was a park under construction. I turned around to see if I missed something, and saw three bikers headed toward me. I asked them if they knew where the path was, and they were headed to it, so I followed the friendly Europeans. We had to walk our bikes across some sand to get to it. That’s better!

I  moved a bit slow, enjoying my surroundings and soaking up the bike lanes while they lasted. I made it to where the road I needed to get to was supposed to be, but I felt like I had gone too far south. I made a right onto Silverbell Avenue and followed it. I saw a bunch of bikers heading in the opposite direction I was moving, and was really happy. Bikers in droves appeared as I continued, and then I figured it was the people training for the big Arizona ride that the Chile’s had been talking about. But then it seemed like they were maybe racing, and I saw signs that read, “GABA,” and I put two and two together that this was an actual race. Awesome!

Once the road winded and narrowed and the bike path disintegrated, when riders in packs went by me, they cheered at me. I cheered back. I waved to many, many people today. I finally took out my GPS to see where I could find my way back and wound my way to where I needed to be. I was now in Marana, which I supposed was a suburb of Tucson.

I found Frontage road and stopped to replenish my water at a gas station. I talked with a clerk on her smoke break while I ate my lunch, who was very friendly and did not ask me anything about my bike. She just wanted to talk about other stuff. Then the owner of a red motorcycle, John, came to talk to me. He was excited as people tend to be for me, and has done a lot of traveling on his cycle. He was a super nice guy.

I hopped on Frontage Road, and about a mile down the way a white truck driven by a guy in mis mid-thirties who had been talking to the store clerk at the gas station pulled alongside me. He talked to me as I rode, and was nice at first, and told me that if I intended to ride Frontage road west, I needed to be on the other Frontage road on the other side of the interstate, so I would need to turn around, as this road would end. Thank you! Why not call it a different road, people? But then was persistent that we “hang out” for the remainder of the day. “I’m busy.” He annoyed me for a bit and said some crude things as I tried to turn around, insisting that he could drop me off in Casa Grande. “My boyfriend is meeting me there.” I said, as short as possible, in an attempt to shake him. He had the nerve to then say, “Well you don’t have to tell him anything.” What is wrong with guys?

I was happy as a clam in the deep abyss of the sea when I got on Frontage road finally. I had gone an extra five miles out of my way, but it was worth it to see that race! And then, one of my day fantasies came true. I saw a roadrunner! It was running alongside me and I was out-biking him. Plus, the Flaming Lips song Race for the Prize was playing. It was so cool! I stopped to see if I could take a picture, but then he went north and I couldn’t get him. Still, I was giddy about this for miles. I am such a dork.

The road turned into another road that looked like it might take me in the wrong direction, so just in case, I jumped back on the interstate. I saw no signs that said I couldn’t. Even though the traffic was noticeable heavier at this time than I have experienced, I figured it was fine once I saw highway patrol cars passing me by. That is, until I came to the exit I needed to take t get into Casa Grande. Spinning lights that were waiting for me. Drats. The officer got out of his vehicle and I played dumb. I really did not see signs, so I didn’t have to lie. I was polite and let him know that I was on the side road but was not sure where it would take me, and he dropped his authoritative guard. He basically admitted he pulled me over because he wanted to know where I was traveling to and wanted to talk to me. He still gave me a written warning, but then commenced trying to have a conversation with me. I was a bit annoyed, even though he was nice. The sun was setting, and I was going into a city, so finding camping was not going to be a quick thing.

Officer Martin also told me “You’re not allowed,” (wink wink), “to ride your bike,” (wink wink), “on I 8, either.” I stared at him. “So I can or can’t?” I asked him. He winked “You can’t, but no one will give you a hard time. If they do, just tell them Officer Martin cleared you.” Yeah, sure man. Whatever you say. I will ride on I 8, as there is no alternative. So when I get close to cities, I will get off at exits, and feel like I will be fine. As long as I have a reasonable explanation, I feel like I will not get in trouble.

He pulled me over once more to give me lengthy directions to take a road to I 8 I was already planning on taking, and then I really was annoyed. He was trying to continue to converse, and the sun was fading over the horizon. I broke free and rode fast. I rode for quite awhile before I found the perfect spot. Basically, it was a patch of desert near some cotton fields. First time I really was camping in the desert, even though it was in a city. I pitched my tent away from the snake holes and cooked some cornmeal soup and started getting in to my new book, Jailbird, that I picked up in Benson. The prologue was really boring, but the book is peaking my interest. I knew you wouldn’t let me down, Mr. Vonnegut.

I slept in some this morning. I ate the delicious homemade vegan pancakes that Chile prepared for us. I have tried many different vegan pancake recipes, and none have been nearly as tasty as these.

We took the two dogs, Angel and Poli (short for Napolean), for a walk around the neighborhood. Chile and Mr. Chile pointed out many different cactus types and other desert plants. It felt like I had my own personal tour guides. Angel sniffs everything, and Poli is very excited. Both are very well behaved dogs, in my opinion, but Poli is still in obedience school.

The three of us got ready to take a bike ride around Tucson. First stop: the Mesquite Milling and Pancake Festival. This was being held near Arizona University. We were on roads that had bike lanes, but the traffic was very heavy. This was because it was their homecoming weekend, and so the festivities were underway.

The Mesquite Festival was in the community garden, and there were vendors and such. I purchased a Mesquite pancake, even though I had already eaten pancakes before we left. I wanted to see what the Mesquite flour used in the pancakes would taste like. Chile’s pancakes were better.

Then I got to watch people with large buckets filled with their mesquite bean pods grind them into flour using the giant mills. These beans are very tough, and require a special mill to ground them properly, and the flour is more course than some other flours. Mesquite trees are all over Tucson, and are also popular in Arizona in general. They are tasty.

Chile and her husband are a wealth of information not only about this area, but they are Arizona natives and have a great deal to offer on many different topics. I also did not have to worry about trying to find anything, because they knew the best ways around the city. We took the river bike path (which had no river, but when the heavy rains come there is).  I enjoyed a leisure-paced ride to get a feel for what my new tires are like unloaded, and I am pleased.

After our excursion, we stopped to get burritos and took them to the house. Mmm! Then Mr. Chile took my bike to his workshop in the garage and cleaned my chain out. The sand and dirt buildup in my gears was pretty bad, and it turns out that in Arizona, it is better to use a drier lube than the kind I have been using. Good to know!

He also tried to insert some slime into my tubes to toughen them a little, but with the presta valve it was proving to be tricky. It’s fine. These tires will not be nearly as difficult to change flats with. He also tested my pump, and it was working fine for him. I just don’t seem to have the knack for seating it correctly.

Since he had a truing stand, he also trued my front wheel, which was surprisingly in really good shape. One little tweak is all it needed. I was pretty sure they were fine, but it never hurts to check.

Then Chile and I talked for a while about all kinds of things, and gave me a lot of useful tips on cutting corners to save energy and resources. I tried to find the leaks in my sleeping mat, as I had purchased a patch kit to use, but was having trouble. It was team effort to discover where the hole was, and it was very tiny. The patch kit was also tricky to use, and so I don’t know if the patch will hold. We’ll see.

We ate some marvelous soup and salad for dinner, and I reveled in being such a well-fed girl. These little things go a long way, believe me.

I washed my clothes in a bucket and manual agitator, which is like a sturdy plunger, and we dried them in a spin dryer, which is like the spin cycle of the washing machine but actually gets the clothes even dryer. My clothes dried quickly after that.

I sorted out some new directions and did some blog updates, then went to sleep a bit late. It was worth it to spend an extra day here in Tucson for certain.

I got up later than I had anticipated, as my phone needed some charging and I never sleep past seven so I had turned it off. I didn’t wake up until seven thirty. Yikes. I had about two miles to walk, and I walk pretty slow.

I made it to the gas station and used my presta-to-shrader adapter in a hurried fashion so I could fill up my tires with the air compressor in the three minute window. I didn’t make it, and had to insert another seventy-five cents. Boo. I just have trouble getting the compressor head seated right, so I have to unscrew it and re-screw it and it takes time. So much pressure!

I was only able to get sixty pounds in each tire. I don’t know why. I figured it would have to be good enough, since nothing I did seemed to get any more air in them.

I rode out to the Apple Farm for breakfast, a locavore restaurant I had been looking forward to dining at. I ate a chile breakfast burrito which I laboriously ate. It was flavorful and so filling, and made with mostly local ingredients. I had ordered a side of potatoes as well, which I could not have possibly eaten then, so I packed them with me. I also drank a mug of hot apple cider, even though it was going to be another hot day. Hot apple cider is one of my (many) weaknesses. The food was terrific, but the waitstaff was a little on the rude side. I know I look a little dirty, but you try struggling with tires and see how clean you look, ladies. At least Wayne, the dishwasher, was nice, and talked with me outside for a bit on his smoke break.

The entrance to I 10 was on the way out of the restaurant, so I was right back on the freeway. I had just got on when I realized I left my old tires back at the gas station. I had planned on taking them with me to recycle in Tucson, or have in case the new tires just weren’t going to cut it. But the new tires turned out to be pretty great. Very easy to adjust to.

I was about six miles in and stopped at a gas station. Getting back on the freeway, I accidentally got on a side road. “Service roads,” they call them, and I have seen them but never the entrances for them. I found out the reason I don’t find the entrances for them is they do not hook up to the interstate. I had to turn around, and it was very hilly, so a little annoying to have to backtrack. On the way, I looked to my right and saw a – bicycle tourist! One like me. We saw each other, he on the freeway, me on a service road, and we waved. I hurried then. I was pretty determined to catch up with him, but those hills slowed me down. He wouldn’t know I was headed in the same direction as he was because I was going east when he saw me.

I could see him about a mile ahead of me for a bit. I figured we must bike at the same pace. I sped up a bit, and I was able to finally catch up with him. I stayed behind him for a bit because I didn’t want to startle him. I was surprised that I was actually faster than he seemed to go. This made my chest puff up a little with a bit of the old ego.

His name is Marvin, and we ended up riding into Tucson together. He was also headed for San Diego. He was doing the Adventure Cycling route, and this was the third time he had done it. He didn’t have as many stories as I expected him to have, but his tour and mine were different. He was really nice and I liked his riding company. I still don’t understand how he can bike at the same pace as me and get in 80-120 miles days. He did say he rides sunup to sundown, but still. He told me that he actually thought riding with me made him a little faster, and that really surprised me. I think maybe he was confused.

I had hosts for the evening, and he was going to a rest area outside of Tucson, so we parted ways as I rode into the city. I was so very happy to finally meet someone going in my direction! I had heard along my way of people telling me, oh, there’s someone a day or so ago who is headed for CA, but they have been nothing more than phantoms. Stories you tell around a campfire. Marvin was real.

I was thrilled to encounter bike paths on my way to my host’s home. Nice change of pace! Actually, Tucson has more bike lanes than I have ever seen in a city, I found out when I got to my hosts’ home. Mr. Chile greeted me at the door, and we talked for a bit. He used to be a bicycle mechanic and was checking out my bike a bit. We waited for Chile to return from her volunteer stint at the CSA. She has a blog that deals a lot with sustainable living and has so many nifty and thrifty little tricks that she shared with me. I can’t wait until I have more time to check it out myself. I know there are little things I will forget and will need reminding of.

These two are really great. I am learning a lot more about what life is like in Arizona in general, and what a truly sustainable lifestyle entails. So amazing.

They took me to Lovin’ Spoonfuls, the only vegan restaurant in town. I ate a really wonderful Chile Polenta dish with black beans and basil and left stuffed. Back at the Chile abode, Chile made lemon sorbet and let me try some of her pomegranate liqueur. She makes pretty much everything. I was constantly amazed. I ate so very well all day today. That does not happen very often, so I really have come to appreciate when it does.

I was so beat, and I don’t know why, but I started nodding off a little when we were chatting in the evening, so I turned into a pumpkin a little earlier than I would have liked. They were going to let me stay tomorrow so I could take care of some things. Plus, I am way ahead of schedule and am trying to slow down.

I washed up this morning at a gas station and was on the road a little late. I hardly had any miles to cover today, so I was in no rush. Also, the temperature was 86 degrees and so I didn’t want to overexert myself.

Since entering Arizona on the highway, I had seen billboards for The Thing. Miles and miles of billboards, “What is it? Is it man? Beast? Take exit 332 and find out!

I was already going to take the exit for a bathroom break, and made a decision on the road that it made sense for me to participate in at least one tourist trap activity on this trip. Something over-the-top and silly that I could laugh about.

I paid my dollar entrance fee and walked through the doors. I saw – The Thing! It was like a fire hydrant in shape and size and draped with tape and some kind of insulating material. I laughed hysterically. But, after calming down, I realized it was not The Thing. There were yellow footprints I was to follow. I followed the footprints and entered an exhibit. The first thing I saw was an old red tractor. The sign above it said it was The Thing to have once it had been invented and was far superior to the horse-drawn tractors. Other such exhibits were set up along the corridor. It was a really unusual set up that ranged from artifacts to branches of wood that someone (or someThing) had painted to resemble creatures that could have stepped off the set of the Nightmare Before Christmas.

I could tell the older couple in front of me were disappointed by the way they poured over each item in the exhibit. The woman looked at an old iron for a solid ten minutes. This amused me almost as much as the exhibit itself. I’m glad I discovered The Thing (but hope I didn’t ruin it for anyone!).

I roller-coasted a bit today, and I was grateful for it. The downhills were satisfying for a change. Most times when I have had such climbs on my trip, it would then level off or just keep going up. Every now and again I get a grin-inducing downhill, but today I had more of them than I think I have had in one day. I really enjoyed it.

I was in Benson by one, and the first thing I saw was a Visitor’s Center. After so many towns that have failing economies and ghost-like appearances, I almost feel relief when I come across a more touristy town. I wanted to ask where the Post Office was, my first priority. I ended up asking about free camping possibilities, and Kathleen was helpful in locating a few churches for me to call. Her idea. The second one I called, the Pastor answered. He seemed hesitant to the idea at first, but after a few minutes of talking to me seemed almost excited. “Are you Christian?” He asked me at the end of the conversation. What difference does it make? Will you not let me stay if I say I am not? “Yup,” I answered. “Sure am.”

I went to the PO next to pick up my new tires! Jarrid sent them to me via general delivery (I got an awesome discounted price because they were a little older), and I felt like a kid finding a puppy under the Christmas tree. These are Panaracer Pasela Tourguards, very similar to the first set of tires I had except they are 1.25 in width as opposed to 1.5, the wider tires I am so used to riding on. The tread is also a bit different than my old Paselas. But, I am not worried. They are perhaps not as durable as some of the other tire choices available, but I’m not too worried about it. There’s not too many more miles left.

Next I went to the local Mexican restaurant and ate a veggie burrito – a real Mexican burrito. Reasonably priced and so delicious. After I had a full stomach, I had planned on trading out my tires, but it was still so hot I thought better and went to the used bookstore instead. Then to the library. Then I figured I would go find the church and change out my tires once I settled in there, even though it would be getting dark. It would beat changed them in the blazing hot sun.

I found the Grace Chapel church without too much trouble, though it was not where I was told it was exactly. There was a man playing an organ inside, but no Pastor. He had sounded like he was looking forward to talking to me. I set up my tent and changed my tires, and then had some trouble inflating them with my mini pump. I was getting frustrated. Presta valves always give me trouble. I gave up after a while and figured I would just walk to the gas station in the morning instead.

I started my new book and fell asleep after some time on the phone.

Day 67 – Lordsburg, NM to Willcox, AZ– 73 miles

This morning I slept in accidentally. I woke up and stayed awake for periods, so I missed my alarm. I was not concerned, as I knew that even though I would have a lot of miles to cover today, it seemed my good fortune of weather was still in effect. I was right.

I washed up at a gas station and made my way back on the interstate. My friend the tailwind showed up here and there throughout the day. I had a few hills today, which I was grateful for. I start to get bored and feel a little lazy when the road is too flat. Unless, of course, I do have headwind, then it’s a different story.

Another really beautiful day in the eighties. I had a good, steady climb leaving New Mexico. I was at the top, and could see that the mile marker was counting down – only one more mile and I would no longer be in this state. I stayed there for a moment, closing my eyes and soaking in the last bits of that good New Mexico feeling. I opened my eyes, and sailed down into Arizona. It’s not that I wasn’t excited to progress to another state – I just really like the way New Mexico sits with me. Their state slogan is “The Land of Enchantment.” I get it, NM. I get it. Spectacular land, and people, and even the view from the interstate is nice.

As if they knew it, Man Man broke me into Arizona with one of their classic songs. I know the girl that made this video! Sorry the quality is not so good. I was listening to this as I saw my first live snake (I’ve seen a few dead ones). A copperhead! He slinked away from me and I tried not to fall over.

Several miles into AZ, I saw my first bike tourist going in my direction. He was taking the same exit I wanted, so I got behind him. He was hauling a trailer behind him, and going really slow, so I pulled to his left side. “Hello!” I called to him. He turned and grinned at me, displaying all seven of his teeth. I waved and passed him.

Then, at the gas station/souvenir shop, parked outside was another bike tourist. Rob was maybe sixty, and so tan he almost did not look like a white man. He had come from Indiana, and I would have liked to chat with him some more about how on earth he’s been doing riding a Wal Mart bike all this way, but there was a terribly annoying man who wouldn’t stop talking about his cats and how awful the world is. So, I gave my best to Rob, who has not had the greatest luck (he had to sleep outside in the snow, and does not have a tent), and got back on the road.

I was in Willcox by three, after seven hours of biking. I thought with the tailwind I would have made superhero time, but I only made average time.

When I was in Roswell, I planned out the rest of my trip. I know, I know, it’s not like me to plan so far in advance. It’s weird, I do admit, and sometimes I want to forgo my plan. But now I have deadlines, and I want to meet them. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but I will have a travel companion once I reach Yuma, AZ. So, I won’t have many high mileage days. No centuries on this trip. Some other time, when I am biking across Europe.

Willcox was not much to pass through, so I stopped at the library and tried to fix some things with my blog with yet another very slow connection.

I waited a little longer than I meant to leave the library, and the sun was already beginning to set. I didn’t think I would have to much trouble finding a spot to sleep, and I was correct. Back behind the high school area was a place that faced the interstate, but was far enough away from it. It was a warm evening, and I cooked myself Tuscan White Bean soup and dressed it up with some Colby cheese and parmesan goldfish crackers.

The end of my trip is in sight and I think I don’t want it to be. I finished my book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, which was a really beautiful and inspirational book. This book is simple and beautiful and makes it seem like I could bike forever, in limitless glory. It brought a little magic to Arizona that I think I need.

I was out like a light at something like eight.

I was thrilled to wake up for two reasons this morning: one – my tires seemed fine, and two: it was warm enough to just wear my t-shirt and shorts before nine. Dan had pitched his tent last night, so I was free to pack up without waking him this time. It took me awhile to get ready this morning, as I had to do a goat head inspection of everything and carry my bike and all my gear to the road. This way, I wouldn’t gather more on my tires rolling it out.

I was on the road by nine, and could not even believe how fast I was going. Tailwind! I thought I would not see it for the remainder of this trip, and so I beamed at my ability to go twenty miles per hour for a good chunk of the day. I was booking it, and the roads were flat, and the sun was shining, and it could not have been a nicer day.

I saw two hitchhikers on the highway, and three police cars not bother with them. Zane had been right about the attitude on the interstate. The hitchhikers and I exchanged a secret nod as I passed them.

My ride was short, and I arrived in Lordsburg at two in the afternoon. I could not even believe it. I looked for the library, and was disappointed to find out that not only did they not have wireless, they only had one computer and it was booked for the day. Nuts. The librarian told me to try the Arby’s Travel center, which I had passed on the way into town. I am really tired of the libraries getting the shaft to provide services to the public, and the companies getting away with taking over.

So, since I had not updated my blog in several days and know I will not be able to tomorrow, I begrudgingly made my way. A motorcycle rolled beside me, and I thought it was Dan. But I quickly realized it was not. This was  Yannik , who was touring on his motorcycle from Montreal to Argentina. He expects to be in Argentina by May. If you can read French, check out his blog. If you can’t read French, like me, you can still look at the pretty pictures.  They really are fantastic. This is what he posted about me: “Carrie est partie de Pennsylvanie il y a 66 jours et se rend à San Diego avec son vélo.” Basically it says I’ve come from PA and am headed to San Diego and it’s been about 66 days. He had seen me in Deming from his motel window, and was excited to see me again. He was impressed with my progress, which didn’t even make sense to me after he told me about a girl he knows who biked from San Diego to Argentina by herself and it took seventeen months. Come on, my measly trip does not compare.

I found the travel center and paid the $1.99 for an hour of internet usage. But, it was more like a half hour. The connection was so slow! I stayed there until late, right as the sun was beginning to set about 5:15. I had already seen where the campground was, so I thought I was in good shape. I got to the KOA office, and they filled in all my information, only to then tell me that my charge would be $26.95. Um, no thanks, I backed out of the office. I had seen motels rates for that price pre-tax.

I decided to try my luck up the road. This town was not very big, and it seemed to get more quiet the further south I traveled. It was dark by this time, so this was not an easy feat. I had no idea if there would be a lot of cactus, or snake hole, or what. I found the Veteran’s Memorial Park, and there were picnic tables and grills lining the edges of a dirt road. It was set back and remote, and no signs indicated there was to be no camping. So, I pitched my tent and made some dinner, and crawled into my tent. It was much warmer this evening than it has been in a while. I read my book, Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and really got into it. That book speaks to me on many levels.

If my sleeping mat didn’t keep deflating on me, and if a train whistle had not been blowing, I would have gotten a solid night’s sleep. But it wasn’t too bad, as I am pretty used to broken sleep by now.