I looked on my map while still curled up in my sleeping bag, waiting for it to get warmer. I noticed that in 6 miles was a RV campground and restaurant. There was a chance that the restaurant would not be opened but I knew that I would most likely be able to use the restroom at the campground. A toilet is a lovely gift when walking through long stretches between towns. I figured it would be worth it to hold my daily duty and hurry to the campground to take advantage of the facilities. It was a close call but got there just in time.
The restaurant in front was only 45 minutes until it opened. I decided to wait. I found a picnic bench and did some reflecting. I came to tears a few times thinking of all that has happened in the last few months. I wondered if I was the only grown man to ever cry while sitting at that particular picnic table. Then the restaurant opened up. I got my shit together and went in for lunch. Great people inside. I very cool place too. It’s called Cold Springs. Originally, an old stagecoach stop and then transformed over the years to keep up with the times. It is a little oasis in the desert. The guys inside offered fresh fruit grown on the property (which I can’t eat of course) and were really nice and supportive of my walk. They also joked about how quickly I ran into the bathroom earlier.
I looked up my map again and it was all downhill for 14 miles to the next stop. A place similar to this one. Called Middlegate. I asked the guys about it and they said I should definitely stop there. I got back on the road. Two jets flew by low and I did my Maverick motorcycle scene fist pump.
I got to Middlegate after a fairly easy downhill stretch. On the door was a sign that declared the place, “the middle of nowhere”. I walked in and let them know I was a walker. The woman, Dede, screamed out, “we have a walker!” I thought clowns were gonna come running out and start messing with me or something. Nothing happened though. She said that people thought that she was crazy but the SHE thought that all the walkers that come through there are crazy. I agreed. I asked about camping and showers and everything else. She said for $3 I could have a shower, do laundry, and camp. Ring me up!!
She walked outside with me to show me around and where to set up my tent. She asked about the cause of my walk and she knew the feeling of losing a sibling. We had an instant bond. She showed me around this amazing place in the desert. The restaurant being the center with RV hookups and shower houses surrounding. Tents could go anywhere that you could squeeze them in. There were a few people already there and Dede said that a group of 30 geologist students were arriving soon and I was probably better off to get everything done before they got there.
I set up my tent, took a shower, and started laundry all before the 2 motorcyclists who arrived when I did finished setting their tents up. I went inside for dinner and decided on a beer. You know, for extra carbs haha. They had all you can eat tacos that night. Part of the strategy to handle the large amount of people they were expecting. All you can eat tacos, rice, and beans for $6.95. I took full advantage. I was lucky enough to have found a seat as it was standing room only for a little while. I stayed there and Dede kept refilling my glass. I wasn’t sure if she was keeping track or not. I sure wasn’t.
A woman approached the bar to order two drinks and we started talking. Sure enough, she is riding a horse around the freaking world. I mean come on!!! I am in a place literally called “the middle of nowhere” and I run into 2 women on an incredible journey. I went to go talk to them. Megan, from Wales, was the brains and main rider and Rowena, from England, was joining her for this segment. There was also a woman from Sacramento that was helping them with food and water support while the were going through the desert. What a blast. They were so fun. We talked about our journeys for a while and they decided to turn in. I went back to the bar. More seats available now as most people were smart enough to get out of there.
I fell victim. I started talking to two guys at the bar and one of them is from Decatur GA and his mom went to Tucker High School, the school that both of my parents went to. Middle of Nowhere. We talked about Georgia and about whatever else came up. Bar talk. There was a local guy there who had a lot of things to drive the conversation. Mostly, things to bitch about. He was going off about the Navy trying to take over all of the public land or something when I noticed Dede motioning for me to follow her. I didn’t know what I was getting into but I grabbed my beer and ran outside to see what she wanted. She was on a golf cart with 4 other people and told me to get on. All that was left was a place to put my foot.
I stood on the back with one hand holding the roof and the other holding my beer. She took a very curvy route through the open parking lot. Wasn’t sure if she was trying to make it fun or if she had been drinking herself. Either way, I was holding on tight. We came to a stop and everyone jumped off. I literally jumped off. I was hoping this wasn’t a smoking weed thing that I was getting into. She opened up a door with a key and we all walked in. It was a rock shop. Nothing suspicious at all. I was relieved. There were some beautiful artifacts that were all found in the area. Even a mammoth tooth. I didn’t know much about the different types of rocks but you could tell that it was good stuff.
We all got back on the golf cart and swerved back to the bar. The last place I needed to be. It was a great crowd though. Strangers from all over the world all getting along with each other and having conversations that they wouldn’t remember tomorrow. I was among the last ones to leave the place. It was around 1 am. I am surprised I found my tent. I was asleep in a matter of seconds.
My “middle of nowhere” experience…