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For whatever combination of reasons, last night I slept better than I have for weeks—in Jerry and Ed’s shed! Their hospitality and our lively conversation relaxed me, and I was wonderfully comfortable.

This morning I said goodbye to my new friends, took the fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and yogurt Jerry gifted me, and was on Hwy 54 heading north at 7:45 am. Tularosa is a quaint (but not artsy) little town. I miss it already.

The traffic on Hwy 54 is not excessive, the shoulder is good, and there’s no significant rise in elevation for a long time yet. I’m headed toward Carrizozo, about 45 miles distance, so I had a choice to make: two 22.5 mile days or three 15 mile days. I chose the latter, which I’m sure many will agree was the wise choice. In the end, I wound up walking 17 miles.

When there are no services on the road, meals can be a challenge. But today I had a great breakfast: blueberry yogurt with peanuts, raisins, almonds, dried apricots, and Triscuits. For lunch: hard-boiled egg, Swiss cheese, more Triscuits, pistachio nuts, and chocolate covered Hostess mini-donuts (which I’ve loved my whole life). Dinner was a 2-serving can of Progresso Classic Chicken Noodle Soup (straight out of the can—I used my spoon), an apple, even more Triscuits, and a few more donuts. I drank water all day. (Disclosure: I had a Dr Pepper yesterday. Mmmmm.)

Album of the day: The Legendary João Gilberto: The Original Bossa Nova Recordings (1958-1961). While his then–wife Astrud ended up becoming more famous and popular in the US because of her recording in English of The Girl From Ipanema, he was the real talent. (Personally, I always felt her singing left a lot to be desired; this was confirmed in a recent autobiography by Gary Burton, one of the foremost vibes players, who traveled with Stan Getz and Astrud.)

I also enjoyed listening to the Brandenburg Concertos 3-5, and more.

Once the sun sets out here, it gets cold fast! So, time to burrow into the Kelty.

@ Highway 54 New Mexico

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