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No way could I keep up the 20 miles per day pace given the temperature of over 102°F. The desert is unforgiving.

I was on the road at 6:10 am, already tired from the push yesterday. My goal was Amboy and Roy’s Motel and Café—a modest 9 miles. As I approached a ridiculously wide turn to bring me to the town center, who should pull up in her little white car other than my favorite angel, Linda (think: a voluble, blonde Mama Cass in a floppy leather hat and an extra large leopard skin print mumu top. No shoes). She came bearing more tangerines, carrots, two water bottles, and a green pepper that I declined (I try to avoid foods from the deadly Nightshade family). Now I have more than I can consume before it all spoils in the desert heat.

At 11 am, I arrived at Roy’s, took the obligatory photo, and bought a Route 66 Root Beer, which was terrific (made in Chicago using pure cane sugar), and a Snickers. I asked the guy behind the counter (not Roy, RIP) if it would be okay if I sat on a bench in the shade in front of the building. I proceeded to sit there for six long hours. During that time I had wonderful conversations with French-Canadians, Brits, Germans, and a Swiss guy who helped me reboot my iPhone when it got stuck. Virginia, living in Norway by way of Buffalo, Harvard, and other exotic locales, was a fascinating talker, and I would not be surprised if someday I visited her and her husband, Kjell Arne, on their farm. Tom from San Diego showed me on his map what he thought was the best route to Flagstaff, and Zach told me about visiting the nearby Amboy Crater as a teenager and buying a Coke at Roy’s for a nickel.

I left Roy’s at 5:15 pm, walked about a mile, and that was it for the day. The heat done me in. I managed to set up my Kelty tent, take a photo of the sunset, and eat some supper. Ten hot miles for today.

@ Amboy, California

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