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At about 6 pm the downpour started, preceded by thunder and lightning.

Clayton asked, “Aren’t you glad you’re not out in your tent?” I laughed, but inside me I wished I was in the tent, 100 miles further down the road.

Thinking about all this, I have mixed feelings. I know I could not have continued my walk the way things were going. But I do feel disappointment and sadness. And I know I will, for however long it takes me to work through it.

Dinner last night was an amazing stuffed pepper with asparagus and other side dishes. Breakfast this morning was steel-cut oats and fruit. I’m so spoiled here!

At 10 am we drove to the shipping store in nearby Safford, where I left Walker and my credit card information. It felt like more of an abandonment than anything else.

Then it was my great pleasure to treat Deborah and Clayton to a vegetarian sushi lunch, after which I followed them around as they went shopping at a variety of shops for antiques, cement, and groceries.

And then for “tractor supplies.” Not really. It’s just a big hardware store where they bought the store-brand canned cat food they prefer—the label includes ingredients such as chicory root, blueberries, kelp, and barley. My cat doesn’t eat that well, trust me!

As soon as we got back to Duncan and brought all the bags in from the car, it started raining, and didn’t stop for 2 hours. Tomorrow morning I catch the Greyhound to Mesa, and then a plane from Mesa airport to Oakland.

I am grateful for the days I was able to spend here at the Simpson, and make new friends who cared enough to help me recover from a challenging 40 days on the road. The blessings I’ve received along the way apparently helped.

Bus and plane reservations have been made, and tickets and boarding passes printed by Deborah. I feel a tremendous sense of loss.

@ Simpson Hotel, Duncan, Arizona

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