It’s 5 pm and I’m settled in my tent behind some bushes off Hwy 70. I can hear the cars and trucks, but I’m used to that. In fact, I miss the freight trains. I walked 25 miles today.
This morning I was out the door of the Motel 6 in Globe at 5 am and then out the door of McDonald’s with my 2 egg McMuffins 15 minutes later. It was a 2 mile walk to the Hwy 70 entrance, and for many miles the shoulder was wide; until (as usual) it wasn’t.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can walk 15 miles without extreme effort. But when you combine a lot of uphill climbs, a hot sun, sore feet, and my desire to go 25 miles, then it’s a greater challenge. There aren’t too many services offered on many of these roads, which pass through an Indian Reservation.
I stopped for lunch at Apache Burger. “Do you have anything that’s not meat or chicken? Like fish?” “We have a fried shrimp combo. Whatever’s on the menu up there.”
The lady pointed behind her, and I finally spied it—the kids grilled cheese meal with fries and a kiddy-sized drink that came in a plastic cup that had a snap-on lid. Not the meal I’d wanted, but I was, after all, at Apache Burger. The sandwich was okay, and I got to keep the cup (which later came in handy in the tent in the middle of the night).
A few miles up the road I saw a large shade tree next to the San Carlos Recreation & Wildlife Center. I sat down on a concrete block under the tree, took off my shoes and socks, and drank water in the shade for an hour. It was still 97° when I got up and walked the final 5 miles of the day—up and down hills; mostly up.
I’d prefer to walk in the early morning for 5 or 6 hours, then several more hours after 5 pm. But there’s really nowhere appropriate to stay in between. (Setting up the tent doesn’t work because I’m stealth camping; and there’s absolutely NO shade anywhere.) So I just finish my walk and then find as private a place as I can off the road and set up my tent. Once the sun is setting and the stars come out, my Kelty tent beats most of the motels I’ve stayed in.
This morning I chatted with a guy who works for ADOT (Arizona Dept. of Transportation). He explained that those bumps on the road next to the shoulder are called “rumble strips.” Then he gave me what seems to be one of the two standard goodbyes: “Be careful.” (The other is, “Be safe.”)
@ San Carlos, Arizona