I have no clue how I keep messing my days up but someone told me that I am on day 200 today. woohoo.
I decided to stay another night thanks to the gift of a friend and have been kicking butt all day. I had a lot of things I needed to do to start getting ready to finish this walk and went ahead and did a bunch of those errands and phone calls. I also have now officially caught up on my blog. I am going to go eat and relax now and then get ready for 4 more days in the desert with 3 mountains between here and the next town. Yay.
Slept great and was thankful that I found such a good spot. Packed up and was ready for a 17 mile day into town where I had a hotel room waiting for me. Unfortunately, traffic became the whole day for me. It was all I could think about as I walked. People were just not giving a crap about me and for some reason, thought that it was ok to fly by me in the same lane when there was a whole empty lane next to them. Dashed line and a clear view for miles. I have no clue why people woudlnt get over. I spent all day trying to figure out how they were justifying their choices and I never could figure it out. They are just some true assholes. That’s all there is to it.
I made it into town thankfully, and went to a store to pick up resupply food for my next stretch into the desert. I stopped into a hardware store to pick up some tent stakes. Utah and Nevada have been hell on trying to keep tent stakes from bending. I’ve basically been on one huge rock since the Rocky mountains. They didn’t have any though. He told me where I could probably find some while I’m in town and figured id get to thet later. I went to the hotel and wow. Its nice. I ordered food and that was that. The Revenant was on HBO and I caught it right when it started. That was my night.
I was planning on leaving today and walking again but Domino still couldn’t stand. I realized that this was just too much on her. Without being conditioned to be out here, she just wasn’t going to make it. I had to ask facebook for help with her. It was incredible how many people came through to help me and her out. We ended up finding an awesome woman from the group called Covered With Love. They like to reach out to people in need and do exactly what their name implies. She happens to live on my route and I will be able to see Domino a few times as I progress. Her daughter and son-in-law came down to pick Domino up and keep her for a while until Denise can pick her up and get her to her place. I can’t really describe how perfect this is but it is exactly what we both needed. I had to take the whole day off to get all of this together was it was definitely worth it. I feel so much better knowing that Domino will be ok until I get done. Which isn’t that much longer.
I hung out with some of the staff at the Border Inn and left my impression on the place. Had a great time and met some great people. Then it was time to roll on…
It didn’t take long to make the choice to take the day off. We both needed it. Domino couldn’t even stand up. I had to carry her to the grassy area for her to do her business and then carry her back to the room where she just jumped on the bed and curled up.
I had one thing to look forward to today. My friend Frank, who I stayed with on my first night of my walk, was nearby on an adventure of his own. He is traveling North America via motorcycle and was going to come by to hang out for a while. It went great. It was good to talk to another traveler and friend. Seeing him reminded me of the first day. wow. I’ve come so far!! We hung out and talked for a few hours and then I went back to my room and watched movies until I fell asleep that night. Total relax mode.
I survived some rain last night and my tent and tarp around LT Dan held up great. The rain clouds in the distance were beautiful but scary. Something big was brewing. I still had a full day of walking. I was scheduled to arrive at the hotel on the Utah/Nevada border this evening. Little did I know that this would turn out to me the hardest day of my whole walk.
High winds and scary clouds all damn day. Not to mention more hills that I wasn’t expecting. Domino was dragging and so was I. I knew that we would both be able to recover though, once we got to this place. I pushed and pushed and tried to hold it together.
I walked through this weird town called Eskdale. It was more of a commune than a town really. I have a feeling that it’s probably a polygamist camp. I wouldn’t know though. I didn’t see anyone. I just walked right through it. The wind kicking my ass and driving me bonkers. The last 8 miles were literally the hardest of the whole trip. A huge storm was coming and I knew that my best choice was to just keep going. I was probably only moving at 1 mph because of the wind. It was long and difficult but I finally made it.
I went in and was breathing hard and realized that I as yelling as I was talking to the owner of the establishment. She was used to travelers coming in tired off the road though. In fact, that was her main business. I booked a room for one night and told her I’d probably stay for another. She told me that it was a good thing that I made it when I did because there was a flash flood warning in the area and it was about to get nailed. She didn’t me to tell me as I was staring at the storm all day trying my hardest to beat it.
I got into the room and shook all off the last few days struggles off while Domino laid in bed with me.
Beautiful morning! I mean like REALLY beautiful. I stood around in awe for a while. The weather was nice and it was only slight uphill for a while before it got steep. Domino was doing ok. Not as good as I wanted her to be but she would be ok to go for a while. I could see for miles in both directions and no one else was around. I figured that I may never have another chance to ever do this in my life so I went for it. I stripped down to my shoes and my hat and walked naked hahahaha. I hung in there for about 10 minutes before freaking out and throwing my clothes back on. One of those just had to do it kind of things. For once, I wasn’t mad at the wind lol.
The hills were getting steeper and I was just going slowly up it. This was one of my favorite mornings so far. Not just the whole naked thing, but it was seriously amazing. Totally liberating and beautiful. A fighter jet came whizzing by too quick for me to grab a photo. Then the sound followed. I was pretty sure that the government saw my booty from a drone and they sent out Maverick to come tell me to keep my clothes on. That’s my analysis anyways.
Once I got over the hill the wind picked up. I put Domino in the stroller and let her ride. It was exactly downhill on the other side. It was like rolling hills that slowly got lower and lower. It was ok though. The wind was bothering me now but I just went with it. I was still in a good mood and the day was winding down anyways. I knew that I would have to set my tent up in the wind and that would be interesting. I found a huge pile of gravel and walked to the opposite side of the wind and sure enough, it served as a barrier. I set my tent up on the other side. The wind was still blowing from both sides but not nearly as hard as if I was not behind the pile of rocks. Unfortunately, I could not get my tent stakes into the ground. I had to move spots and just deal with the wind.
I went across the road and found a spot in the sand. The wind was blowing very hard but from only one direction. So I set up the back of the tent against the wind. I have the best protection that way. I cooked and ate my dinner inside my tent because the wind was too strong to boil water from my stove outside. I cleaned it out and then placed everything back in the stroller and got read for bed. My tent held up great and served as shelter from the wind and some rain that night also.
The first night in my new sleeping bag went great! It was a good purchase. It was a beautiful morning. I packed up my things and then tended to Domino and made sure here paws were cleaned and well taken care of before getting started. She was feeling better this morning. It was still hard on her but she knew I’d take care of her. She was having fun out there. We had total freedom. Shortly after we started walking a truck drove by. About 10 minutes later it came back and they asked about us and if we were ok. We talked about the walk and the cause and they gave us some snacks. Domino was excited to see them and also to see their two dogs that were in the truck also. They offered to have us ride in the back for a while and I accepted. I wanted to get to a fork in the road that I remembered from going through their on the water drop trip. It was only a few miles ahead and this would put us in a better situation for Domino.
We hopped in the back and rode to the spot. It was actually a lot longer than I had thought it was going to be. It ended up being close to 18 miles, which is almost like getting a free day. It felt like cheating but Jill and George told me not to worry about it and Domino definitely needed the extra push. They were amazing people. I enjoyed meeting them and I am glad they stopped. They were out there to go pick pine nuts. They went their way and me and Domino went ours.
It was uphill from there. A huge climb that took us a while on the gravel road. But oh em gee it was so beautiful!! We came to the water that I had stored and filled up what I needed and left the rest for another helpless victim of the desert. I looked up and saw a cave. Had to check it out of course. I threw a couple of rocks into it and yelled to see if a mountain lion was going to come pouncing out of it. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. I climbed up to it and went it slowly. I had my flashlight in one hand, a big rock in the other, and a can of bear spray in my back pocket. I was ready for war. I went in and looked around. It was scary but once I realized there was no creepy animals in it I relaxed. I climbed up into this opening and left one of my cards where a few others had tagged their presence before. I found a cool rock and kept it as a souvenir.
I got back down and Domino was still waiting in the shade. Poor thing didn’t even want to come play in the caves with me. I knew she was in pain. I let her ride in the stroller the rest of the day and we found a great spot to camp on the other side of the valley. Meaning that we had to walk up another mountain tomorrow. I can’t push her uphill in the stroller so I wanted to make sure to get her some recovery time in so that she could at least make it to the top and then ride down the other side tomorrow. I broke out the first aid kit and went to work on her feet. She got some rest and stayed up because I wanted to hang out with the stars for a while before going to bed. An experience I’ll never forget. If I ever fall in love, I hope to bring that person with me out here and share the experience of sleeping under these stars with them.
Back to the walk. With Domino!
We stopped at a McDonald’s on the way out of town because I knew it would be a very long time that I ate a meal that wasn’t a clif bar or ramen noodles lol. People were very nice to me there. Got a lot of attention and someone even bought my breakfast. I was able to tell one couple about the drug epidemic who was completely shocked by the numbers. They had no idea. Now they do.
Domino didn’t miss a beat. She remembered where to walk and all of the commands. There was quite a bit of traffic until we got out of town. It slowed down a little then. Domino was having some feet issues. I was thinking that it was all that climbing on the sharp rocks yesterday. I put her shoes on her and hoped that would help. Her feet were built for anything before she went back to Georgia. But she got soft in the few weeks that she was there being loved on and spoiled by my aunt and cousins. I had no choice but to keep pushing her as I was on limited supplies with a very long stretch to the next resting place. It’s Domino! She is a warrior. She can handle it! That’s what I thought anyways…
We came upon a shoe tree. Yes, a tree with shoes all on it. I didn’t have a pair that I could spare for it and was bummed because I wanted to. I left a note on the tree though saying that I owed it a pair. Domino didn’t care about the tree. She just used it for shade haha. Poor thing. She isn’t conditioned for this at all anymore. I knew I’d have to make sure to not push her too hard but still make good time.
Well, I miscalculated her toughness. I looked down and could tell she needed a break. I stopped and set up my tarp to provide shade for her. She vomited. Poor thing. I eased her and made sure she was well rested, cooled-down, and hydrated before continuing on. That took a long time but it was life or death. During this time, a group of antelope hunters pulled over and gave us some cold water which was awesome. That perked DOmino up. She loves the cold stuff! They were really nice and one of them had 31 years sober. They knew all about my cause and were thankful that I was out there doing this walk.
We went on a little farther and found a solar power panel which had a shady spot. I decided to break there for a while and let domino cool down again. She was doing ok now but definitely needed to come to an end soon. I needed to go a little farther so we pushed on until we made it to the 20 mileish spot. It was imperative that we did a minimum of 20 miles per day in order to make it to safety without running out of supplies. There was a power house nearby and I walked to it so that I could use the building as shade for Domino while I set everything up. It wasn’t even that hot out. Not for me anyways. But for Domino, who was now used to A/C and is a black furball, it was a scorcher. She laid in the sand and when I took her shoes off, I could tell that her pads were sensitive and needed some healing. fuck. I hoped that between her shoes and riding in the stroller that I could at least get her to the hotel that is on the Nevada state line. We still had 70 miles to go.
As I was sitting out there, enjoying the beautiful sunset, I realized that I was in total silence. I could actually hear the desert. It was beautiful. The silence was loud. I can’t describe that but it was. I could actually HEAR silence. A weird experience. I liked it. I gave Domino a big hearty meal with all kinds of goodies in it. She ate like a champ and I was glad. She needs the protein to help get her through this. We cuddled up and went right to sleep.
I took the day off today for one reason. To do a live video call with TAM at the luncheon before their huge FEDUP rally in Washington D.C. I was looking forward to it and so were they. All I needed was to stay in the hotel one more day because they had the only wifi in about 200 miles lol. Well sure enough, the wifi went out about 2 hours before the scheduled time putting me edge. As the time got closer and closer, there was no sign that it would be working again. I went to the front desk and they were working on it but they said it didn’t look promising for the time I needed it.
I was bummed out about that but I know worse things have happened. I decided not to waste the day completely and asked John if he minded doing one more favor for me. I was about to head into the desert for 90 miles without any services and I asked if he would be ok to drive me to the halfway point and drop some water off there so that I could refill my containers and not have to carry the full 5 day supply of water the whole way. So we went and bought 5 gallons of water and a big bottle of Gatorade and drove out to place it in a good spot.
It was beautiful out there. We had no idea it was going to be so pretty. We dropped the water around the 45 mile point and then decided to do some climbing on the canyons that we were in. We found a great spot and John, me and Domino all climbed to the top and the view was freaking ridiculous. Worth the climb for sure. We found an Altoids container under a pile of rocks at the top and I opended it. There were notes from people who had been there in the past. We left our marks and took some pictures. The ground was very sharp. It was like lava rocky. I was concerned about domino but she seemed to be fine. Having a blast.
We decided to keep driving rather than turning around. We drove all the way to the border so that I saw exactly what I was getting myself into. Then we took the main road going back. Me and John were both trying to figure out why the lake on the side of us was white. We thought it may have been salt or maybe it was dried up. Either way, we had to know. We found a driveway and drove down to the lake. Sure enough, it was a dried up lake. I could see the salt forming on the sand so I knew that it was a salt lake when there was actually water in it. We walked around on it and took pictures. A new experience for me. Kind of cool.
We were pretty tired after all of this and drove back and John took a power nap while I laid in my bed and stared at the TV. He continued on his road trip a while later and I was alone with Domino and facing some intense days ahead…
Sorry guys. I am so far behind on my blog that I have to keep things short and simple to catch up. I want to give a general idea of the events that occurred during the next few days. I’ll go into more detail when I put my book together. It’s just too hard to get it all perfect while I’m out here walking everyday. Thanks for sticking with me. Also, my days are all screwed up somehow. Another thing I’ll try to fix later…
Today was a big day! Domino was scheduled to arrive to rejoin me. My friend John was taking a road trip across the country and volunteered to bring my dog back. Ruth hung around all morning and waited to meet Domino. We set up and made a video of the reunion. Good times. Domino was excited and so was I.
After all the excitement, Ruth left to continue on her mission and John planned to stay to help me out for a day or two. We drove up to Salt Lake City area and went to a few sporting goods stores to pick up some gear that I need for the cooler weather approaching. I got a great deal on a sleeping bag that was on display at Dick’s. The staff was rude there and I almost didn’t buy it just because I didn’t want to support a shitty ran business but the sleeping bag was needed more than my pride. I went ahead and bought it. And let everyone who worked there know how I felt before leaving. It didn’t make a difference though. I was just some crazy guy to them I’m sure. God forbid, they treat me like a customer. That would be unheard of.
Anyways, after getting everything I needed and completely destroying a burrito bowl from Chipotle, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed and watched some TV. I was playing with Domino all night.