Well, I have made it to California! I think I have made it through the heat. Arizona was very hot, had a lot of desert to walk through, and I am now in the desert of Southern California where two days ago, I had to spend the entire afternoon under a small bush with Xena because it was too hot for either of us to walk. I spread my rain poncho over the top of the bush for some shade and we lay there for four hours.
Today I head up through the Anza-Borrego desert state forest. It is a gradually increasing slope up and over a mountain that has to be crossed in order to get to the West Coast. Only about 100 miles now, but I have that one more challenge to get over this mountain, and I understand from other people that it is no joke. Bicyclists push their bikes up over. So I’ve got about three or four days until I reach the town of Julian, which is at the top. From there it is only about 35 miles to the ocean!!! I’m a little concerned about the climb, but at this point, I must keep going.
Thanks for being there with me, I’ll probably blog again before I get to the top. Bye.
Time to update my blog. It’s been a while because of two things. First, we’ve all been focusing on how my brother-in-law has been doing. He is recuperating from serious surgery and I’m glad to say he’s out of the hospital now and making good progress. Second, Arizona has been tough. The wind was bad in New Mexico and continued to Tucson. Gusts up to 60 miles per hour forced me to accept a short ride to Wilcox after struggling all day along the interstate.
Two days later, 32 miles from Tucson, a state trooper informed me in no uncertain terms that I would no longer walk along the interstate. It seems that they allow bicycles but no pedestrians. It’s rough walking the superhighway, traffic is intense. Someone called me in to 911; someone looking out for me or someone annoyed at me. I don’t know but I’m glad they called. I have picked a new, slightly longer route, through Arizona.
I had a wonderful visit with a friend who lives in Casa Grande for two days of bad weather. He is truly an artist in every sense of the word. We’re leaving there feeling rejuvenated. Now I’m in Gila Bend with one 100 mile stretch of back road to Yuma on the California border. I just went through The beautiful Sonoran Desert National Monument area. A 40 mile stretch, of Saguaro and mountains. Very quiet with no trains or traffic.
Ahead are concerns with heat with border issues and urban areas, rattlesnakes and scorpions and centipedes are out there. But at least at night they can’t get through the new zipper in my tent. I don’t know if mountain lions may be a factor when I go through the desert state forests in California. I’ll get some info on that, I guess. Thank goodness, Xena would warn me at least.
I broke the front wheel on my cart today, lucky I’m in a town. Maybe I can get it fixed tomorrow. I can’t go on without it. Stay with me, it’s not far now! 320 miles.
Wednesday, March 7th. It’s been exactly 6 months since I started, on September 7th.
Thursday, March 8. My brother-in-law, David had to have emergency surgery, in Pittsburgh. I spent the whole day in the motel, waiting until I hear how he’s doing.
Friday, March 9th. David made it through the surgery and is recuperating. I resume my wall today.
Go David! I’m dedicating the rest of my walk to you.
March 5th, before noon. Arizona. Mile Marker 390. I stayed in a motel last night and entering Arizona clean and well fed.
Sunday, March 4th. What a difference a day makes (Or should I say NO WIND makes!), that horrible, punishing wind that blew 30 to 40 miles per hour in my face for most of the time here in New Mexico. The dirt and gravel frontage roads that were so hard to navigate were bad enough but the wind, especially, took all the fun out of the walk for 4 or 5 days. Yesterday, finally, there was no wind. My left ankle, which I thought might be sprained, seemed to heal up and didn’t bother me. I guess it was just another muscle pull.
So last night, with the sun setting 15 miles in front of me, over the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona, I put up my tent along the interstate, here in New Mexico, and went to bed grateful for a good day walking.
Xena is doing fine, very well behaved along the interstate. Troopers and Sheriffs have just driven by, no hassle at all. 550 Miles to go.
I want to thank my sister in law, Jean (Lewis) for setting up my blogs or her phone where I call it in and it appears to her in print. What a blessing to not have to type it. She emails it to Lucy to edit it and post it. Thanks so much, Jean and Lucy. And thanks to my son Isaac, who has helped so much ever since Mississippi with the route Information, and couch surfing contacts, especially here in the West. And to Margaret for all the weather information. I do not travel alone.
This is an add-on to today’s blog. It’s March 1st, I made it through February! It’s been cold at night and my water froze again last night. I hope it will warm up again, at least a LITTLE and not to fast! I made 15 miles today even against the wind.
I should be in Arizona by Sunday. I was telling you about the dirt road I was on this morning. I finally came to the paved frontage road; the barbed wire fence had to be crossed. It took me a half hour to un-pack the cart, get everything over the fence and then repack. Then, a quarter of a mile further, there was a gate with just a chain on it! I could have walked right through!!!!
Later, I crossed the continental divide. That’s the dividing line for all rainfall, where it either goes to the Atlantic ocean or the Pacific ocean. A big milestone!! Maybe it will be more downhill from here?
Back in El Paso, I got to spend some time with John Sproul, a volunteer from Audubon. He is working on restoring some wetlands that have been affected heavily from the drought and all the agricultural use of water in the El Paso area, namely a 15 mile concrete canal which prevents the Rio Grande water from seeping into the ground along the course of the river. It’s amazing what Audubon volunteers and professional staff do every day to try to stem the tide of habitat destruction so that our wildlife stand a fighting chance.
I hope that any of you following my walk will consider donating something in my name to Audubon, even $5. It would mean a lot to me and go a long way to help our feathered and furry friends. Thanks
I have several blogs coming up today.
As some of you know, a very close relative has been in the hospital, and I have been part of the team of people caring for him and shuttling family members, etc…
It is a long haul, but I have FINALLY found some time to clean up the stack of blogs that has been waiting for me since the beginning of the month!
Please enjoy, comment, and be sure to donate to Audubon!
Contact me any time if you have questions :)