Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bouse Wash Rest Area, AZ: Mojave? I said LESS jave.

Miles since last blog: 43.0
Miles Total: 3472.2

Route (unable to map)

I know I've said this before, and at the risk of being redundant or whiny, it's effin' hot out here. I have never been so hot in all my pathetic little life, and I don't enjoy it. Let's go back to when I was happy and naked (cue wavy image and flashback music).

Waking up after a full nights sleep in the shade with just my little snow white feet in the sun put me in a pretty good mood. I cleared myself to go get some food and then take photos and video of the Hot Springs, things were going well and I was tempted to stay an extra day to take advantage of a sign I saw saying they might trade work for board. I thought it would make good video and experience but opted instead to keep moving and maintain what little momentum I had mustered.

I started off on the dirt roads I've become so used to. It was a little bit longer to get the next interstate crossover but it kept me off the roads and the radar of the highway patrol for a bit. It wasn't so bad, the dust isn't as refractive as the asphalt so it actually kept me a little cooler while it was smooth and even later on I set off route on a trail beside an aqueduct (which I swam in a number of times to cool off during the day).

The allure of my off route swim lane kept me off route at the fork in the road. I had two choices, a) the walking route provided by my navigator which was 9 miles longer but kept me off the interstate, or b) the interstate which was shorter but illegal. As is my nature, and that of Captain James T. Kirk (whom a facebook quiz told me I was), I chose option C. Jumping fences and heading out on the desert through private land where there were no roads but maintaining visual with the interstate and my swimming fun. This lasted for about ten miles before I came to an overpass.

I suppose you could call it a bridge, a bridge to nowhere, and after hanging out on one of these for a few hours I don't really see what all that election fuss was about. The overpass did indeed pass over the interstate, but there were no on or off ramps and the road terminated into dirt which seemed to go nowhere on either side. I decided to sit over the highway, eat dinner in the middle of the street and watch internet television until my battery died, then I peed off the overpass. You can blame my dad for that.

By then it was dark and although my plan had been to join the interstate and head down that for the first time, the thought of jumping several barbed wire fences in the dark didn't appeal to me much and I headed off into the dirt to find another way. It's only once it gets dark that the temperature is bearable, pleasant even, the kind of weather you might happily walk in and would be smart to do so. The only problems with this is that in the dark and dirt you can't see much so it's harder, the day is so impossibly hot that you can't sleep in it and once it cools off you are so drained it's all your body wants to do. I tried to walk, I really really did. You have no idea how much I want to be out of this desert but the curse of it is that I have rarely had a more than 20 mile day due to it's stifling-ness. I set up camp a scant 3 miles later.

As little control as you have with sleep, you have just as little over waking up unless you find a way to shade yourself. The sun comes up early and though the light isn't a factor every morning at 7 am a piping hot Skip is served from his easy bake tent. Last night I had gotten almost 8 hours of sleep but I felt more tired than ever. I had set up camp at first under some power lines, but the buzzing and the vibrating tent poles that glowed blue sparks when the touched each other or my sign which I usually lean against the tent convinced me of two things: a) I should move my tent or face the possibility of waking up in blue flames, and b) I should come back when I understand physics better to do some boss experiments.

I moved my tent until the poles stopped vibrating on their own and went to sleep postulating designs for a perpetual momentum device and puzzling over how motion is turned into energy and wondering if I could wake up: a superhero, with cancer, or at least a burst of energy. Sadly, I was as I said only super tired, I blame the power lines.

I woke up and went directly to the aqueduct. The sides were steep and cement and there was a tall fence all around. I hop fences for breakfast, and on at least this case that is a literal statement. While I thought about whether or not to get in or just dunk my clothes the decision was made for me and I slid with a momentary flail and the a commitment into the water. Getting out was no less graceful as I ripped up several riverside plants in my efforts to climb the algae covered bank. For a moment I considered that my cart would be stolen and I would just have to drift 20 miles down the duct in search of a way to get out only to walk barefoot to the interstate where someone besides me would gain quite a story out of the situation and for a fraction of the price.

Eventually I made it out and onto my foray in interstate walking. The highway patrolman on duty did his best to ignore me, he told me this later when he stopped me. Someone had called about, "a guy walking down the interstate with a stroller." He was very nice and friendly and informed me that it was illegal to walk on the interstate but okay to bike, I knew this already and was prepared if necessary to dazzle him with an argument on why I am really much more like a bicycle than a normal guy. The argument was mostly show though and thankfully I didn't need it, the officer told me all the things he should do and then slowly talked himself out of each of them. I could see this was really more of the argument that he'd be making to his superiors on my behalf and that from the beginning he had wanted to let me keep walking but had to at least check things out since he'd gotten a call. He let me go on and said that he'd only have to come back if they kept getting calls but he'd only gotten one so far.

I continued on still. And the heat, this is what it is all about, the heat. My mind doesn't work out here. I catch moments of thought, literally moments, like, " . . . when I get there . . . " and " . . . 10 . . ." and " . . . not an animal . . " These things by themselves mean absolutely nothing on their own and the fact that they were coming out of my brain would have worried me could I muster the emotion. My watch said 1:15 at one point and my brain naturally assumed that it was the temperature. I can't even think, that's how hot it is, I can't listen to music or podcasts, listening is too much for my poor brain to do in this heat. It's too hot to do anything, including walk, but that's what I have to do and really my only option. One of the only things keeping me going, the new advent of signs for Los Angeles, which was exciting for several minutes before the excitement melted and got my hands all sticky, no wait, that was my brain that melted. In any case, I've made it to a rest area as you may have guessed and though I do plan to walk more today, not for a while, not until I use all my change on the vending machines, charge my laptop and the sun de-lightens up a bit.

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1 comment:

Dixxe's Doodles said...

You would do really well with stand up! I'm still laughing~ not at you, with you! If you had one of those inflatables you could have done a lazy river float to where ever those aqueducts flow, and if you sat in the stroller technically its a tricycle! And Im a little concerned about the advice of your Dad just in case the highway patrolman should look up!