Different POV: The last 1.5 weeks have been ridiculous. My friend Alex Christiansen from WI came down and walked with Bryan and I through AZ and NM. TO give you a different Point of View I asked him to blog his experience for you… Enjoy
Monday January 19 – Friday January 30, 2009
Globe, AZ – Alamogordo, NM
What a vacation? This is my two week break from single digit and negative temperatures, and feet of snow, and a day-to-day that was growing old. I arrived in Phoenix to a winter day that was better than any summer day in Wisconsin. I’ve since covered more miles than I had in the last two months, had more free meal and places to stay than I can remember, and have more severe blisters than I have ever encountered in my life of distance running. I have seen a different world right here in the states; a way of life and living conditions completely foreign to mine.I have been given the opportunity to experience the Earth Expedition; for two weeks I am part of something bigger than myself, something that is doing something bigger than itself.I have surrendered the physical comforts of home while pushing my body to new levels, surrendered home cooked meals for PB&Js and water.Through all of this I have found beauty in total desolation; stretches of pavement that covers great distances and even greater vastness. I have loved being in the middle of nowhere; not a crossroad or a passing car for miles and miles, just the occasional herd of cattle that stares until you crest the next hill. I have never felt more hardcore than running in the rain on a seemingly forgotten swath of highway through the mountains of eastern Arizona; when the few cars passed I would wonder what they were saying to each other in side their warm and dry RVs, “What are those crazy people doing in the rain, way out here“, knowing there are no towns for miles in either direction. Some vacations are spent on pristine beaches others on snowy slopes, mine was spent on U.S. highway between Phoenix and El Paso.
1.26.09 Deming, NM-Hatch, NM
Windy Day: Today was an unmotivated day….Bryan and I have been doing 40 mile days for about 7 days straight now and it is taking its toll on the body and mind. It was hard to get up at the hotel that was donated to us and get going… all I wanted to do was sleep the day away. It was about 65 degrees today and it was the windiest day since Mt.Washington. There were times where the wind was pushing me off the road. The good thing is that the wind was at my back and off to the side the whole day. It would have been awful if we had to walk against the wind.
Middle of Nowhere: We are in the middle of nowhere…literally today I saw a Café and Bar that was titled “Middle of Nowhere Bar and Café” It was kind of depressing. The roads today were straight for about 40 miles. It felt like eternity to finish the day.
Hatch: Today we rolled into Hatch, NM… I guess they are famous for their famous Hot Chili’s. The whole town is filled with pepper this and chili that. I am not a big fan of the town but we did find some luck here. When we sat down for some dinner at the Travel Center (Subway) we got to talking to the subway guy about what we are doing. He ended up giving us a deal on the subs! Then the other worker gave us the number to the fire station and local parish. They both turned out to be dead ends but then someone overheard us and offered his camper to us for the night. His name was Willy! We thanked him and that is where we are all right now. Sitting in Willy’s Camper with no electric JIt is all good though…. The three of us ended up sitting outside for about an hour just staring at the stars and talking about life and the vastness of space. I haven’t seen stars like tonight since Maine. Gorgeous!
“Mick”: I am excited to meet my new friend “Mick” real name “Michelle” in Las Cruces. She is part of the Couch Surfing Community and she agreed to have us stay at her place tomorrow in Las Cruces. So that is always a good time!
Once again I am beat….Bryan and I rocked out 46.5 miles between the two us today. That was a record and I am sure I will pay for it tomorrow morning!
“Life to the Fullest” Daren
Today was my day. I don’t know if it was Alex’s encouraging words or the vitamins that I took or just the fact that I don’t want to be in
New Mexico anymore that got me as far as I did today. For my afternoon leg I ended up running most of the way and did 3.5 extra miles, which is a total of 23.5 miles for the day. Oh yeah, and today was my first day of walking through a dust storm. Actually…that’s why I ran so much, because I didn’t want to turn into a Tusken Raider. So we made all the way into Hatch today all the way from Deming. Good stuff…
Then I just really didn’t want to sleep in the car again so I just started talking really loud about finding a place to stay and a woman asked what we were talking about. It was gutsy but I did it anyway. I then pitched to her my usual need of finding a place to stay and she found us one! One of her friends, Willie Herrera, let us stay in his old camper. It was very comfy. God bless him! Overall, a good day in the sense of accomplishing our goals, but I pretty much feel like I was thrown out of a fast-moving car. But…like they always say…Another day, another dog biscuit!
Album of the Day – “I am Hollywood” by He Is Legend
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I am paying for what I did yesterday. I am sooooo sore. A car full of kids tried to run me off the road for fun today. How exciting…I wanted to throw a rock through their window. But then I would go to jail, therefore concluding the Earth Expedition. Daren convinced me not to. The afternoon leg was worse. I enjoy the feeling that I am advancing to a nearby big city, like
Las Cruces , but I hate walking through cities. It slows you down from the traffic, intersections, waiting for lights, and getting lost of course. Well, I didn’t get lost; I just looked at the map wrong. But I asked someone and I wasn’t too far off. But the wind this time was in my face and the hills were crazy on the highway and from the soreness caused by yesterday’s triumph I had to stop two miles before my mark. So I only did 18 miles today. I was beat.
But then our contact met us at a truck stop and saved us once again from sleeping in the blazer. She was soooo hospitable. She fed us dinner, let us use her shower, and stay in her very small apartment. I felt bad because we took up about as much room as possible since there are three of us. She is in college at
University so it’s typical to have a small apartment. But she was awesome. Thanks Mic! I got to meet some of her cool friends who are very funny. I love meeting people that give me some comic relief every once in a while. Though Daren and Alex together are pretty ridiculous. I’m done for now. Have a good night everyone.
Album of the Day – “ A Rush of Blood to the Head” by Coldplay
1.28.09 Las Cruces
Last 2 Days: The last two days have been pretty good. We have been doing 40+ miles for 9 days straight now and we are excited to have a half day tomorrow! We are going to take Alex down to El Paso for he is flying back home to WI on Friday. I keep reminding him that there is a 60 degree difference between south NM and WI…lol. The last couple of days have beenvery windy… I felt like I got mugged by the wind for 8 hours….not fun.Today we walked through a missile testing site that is between Las Cruces and Alamogordo. The sky was filled with Jets and Heli’s but no explosions today… It was just 40 miles of barbed wire with signs that said “Warning do not enter” but I can’t complain for the day was beautiful!
CouchSurfing: Alex, Bryan, and I are all couchsurfing right now at our new friends house!Mick let us stay here for 2 nights and made us some pretty sweet chicken breast and homemade fettuccini alfredo! Sooo good! I love Couchsurfing!
Sleeping in: I am pretty excited that we are doing a half day tomorrow. We get to sleep in for a little bit…even though I will probably get up at 7:00 anyways. Oh well.. Ok.. I am tired…. Going to bed!
Today’s conditions were a lot better than yesterday. Daren and I both did 21 miles each. The cool thing was not how much we walked today but where we walked. We went directly through the
Range on Highway 70. It was such a cool feeling to know that any minute now a bomb could go off a mile away from me. But it’s a little more structured than that. If a missile is about to be tested, they block off the roads and wait about 45 minutes for both directions to drive out and then they test it. The people who are stopped have to wait at least an hour. The funny thing is, it took us six hours to get through the missile range so if they would have tested a missile, we would have no way to get out. But along the way there are random phones on the side of the highway that you can call to the outside world to let them know you’re about to die. It’s pretty interesting. The dang range was forty miles long! I had a walking dream about that. It was crazy. You should have been there. Don’t worry though. I survived. Lots of little sentences. Kind of annoying. Stop it. Now. Ok.
We were blessed with another night to stay with Mic because she is awesome! She fed us a huge pasta dinner and nice brownie sundae dessert. Dessert in the desert. A very good combination. We have a half day tomorrow because we have to go to
El Paso to drop Alex off at the airport. But I’m still tired, so I’m going to bed. Goodnight.
Album of the Day – “Identity Crisis” by Thrice
Thursday, January 29, 2009
So we have officially made it to
Alamogordo through the
Range . Thank God that’s over. I didn’t want to get nuked. I only had to walk 10 miles today! Woohoo! We headed off to
El Paso by about 1:00 P.M. We camped out at a starbuck’s until our
El Paso contact got home. It’s the same people we saw when we came through
El Paso before the walk. Michael and Jackie Williamson!! Yay! But while we were taking it easy at Starbuck’s we met a group of guys who are in a band. They are playing a show tonight in
Las Cruces . One of the guys owns his own company in event planning and he said he could help us with some sponsorship possibly. That would be really awesome. He also just happens to live in one of the small towns that we walk through so we now have a place to stay when we go that way! What are the odds?!?! I love this world. So tomorrow we get a day off because we have to take Alex to the airport. That will be good. We walked for ten days straight. Wow. This is going great.
Album of the Day – “And Justive For All” by Metallica
1.30.09 El Paso, TX
Texas?: Ok Bryan and I are not “walking wise” in Texas but we did just drop Alex off at the airport this morning.Yesterday Bryan and I walked a half day and then drove down to El Paso to stay with friends in El Paso.Tomorrow we are heading back out to Alamogordo, NM where it will take us 2.5 days to get to Roswell, NM. Then before we know it we will be in Bryans Home state… which he is really excited about.But today is going to be a “0” day. We have been walking 40+ miles for 9 days straight!
Buffet: Last night Alex, Bryan, and I rocked out a CiCi’s Pizza Buffet! The owners were crying by the time we left.
Momentum and 50 mile days:Bryan and I are excited about the next couple weeks. We have some Interview lined up as well as some speaking engagements which always lifts our spirits. We are also getting ready to move our average up to 50 miles a day. It is only 5 more miles each day but I know how I feel after 20 but pain is just weakness leaving the body right! Sometimes I feel like a closet masochist.
Weather: Ok… I am not the biggest fan of being cold… and I was watching the weather forecast for the next 7 days and the lows were below freezing. The motivation to get out of the sleeping bag and Blazer is not too high when there is frost on the windows! But hey… there are worst things than cold weather right… for example… drinking water that has diseases in it because there is no other choice. Then I get out of my sleeping bag and talk to my doctor (Dr. Suckitup) and he writes me a prescription for the day.
Route: If you are anywhere close to the route we would love to meet you! ROUTE INFO
Bryan’s Blog Off days are amazing. I feel regenerated and ready to start another long stretch of walking. We are going to start walking 50 miles a day now. That will be interesting, but I think we can do it. We are manly men. We dropped off Alex at the airport today. We are sad to see him go. He was our comic relief. What a funny man. He is the ultimate one-line quoter. I love it. I have a whole new routine of things to say! Thanks Al! Not much else happened today meaning this blog will be short. So have a good weekend everyone! We are going to walk all weekend. Yippee!
Album of the Day – “Speak For Yourself” by Imogen Heap