“At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep – just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don’t do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life’s length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is.”
-Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk
These were my Dark Ages. Anxious to finish, yet too far to conceptualize the final day, physically exhausted, I roamed across the US. Maybe it wasn’t that drastic. I didn’t journal during this whole time, that’s why it was the Dark Ages. It’s difficult to tell what really happened during this time.
I got a new sleeping bag, then woke up with everything covered in frost while I was toasty warm inside my tent. The coyotes and foxes were screaming in the night while I was camped on the side of the highway.
I stayed in the gospel rescue mission in Las Cruces, NM (which is a homeless shelter). Never want to do that again, super stressful worrying about getting things taken, and the snoring was unbearable. Breakfast wasn’t bad and I did get free coffee and was on the road by 6am though.
Was on the Apache Reservation in Arizona after dark, which apparently can be very sketchy. That was possibly the worst day of riding; with consistent cold headwinds, bumpy road, and thorny trees on the shoulder. I stopped with traffic because there was a car fire and asked a guy in a pick up truck if he could give me a ride to the next town. I got a ride from Darrell who quickly befriended me and fed me pizza, and provided a shower and a couch.
On the 30th I hiked up the Superstition mountains in Lost Dutchman State Park, Apache Junction (outside of Phoenix). They were absolutely stunning! If I had wanted to spend more time there it would have been great to hike around that park for days.
Alpine, TX -> Apache Junction, AZ = 667 miles
“Riding days average” = 66 miles/day
- 11/19: Alpine, TX -> Lawrence E. Wood Picnic Area = 48 miles
- 11/20: –> Vanhorn, TX = 78 miles
- 11/21: –> San Elizario (David Cantu’s Warmshower campsite) = 100 miles
- 11/22: –> Las Cruces, NM (Gospel Rescue Mission) = 75 miles
- 11/23: –> Hillsboro, NM (RV park / campground) = 80 miles
- 11/24: –> Silver City, NM (Hilton Inn Express) = 52 miles
- Yes I spent Thanksgiving alone eating ramen, fruit, and microwaveable pizzas in a hotel room, such is life.
- 11/25: –> Silver City, NM (Patricia Gell’s house, Warmshowers) = 5 miles
- 11/26: –> Duncan, AZ (Centennial Park) = 77 miles
- 11/27: –> Safford, AZ (Jay Rasco’s garage, Warmshowers) = 40 miles [15 in a car]
- A guy named Mike really wanted to help me out and give me a ride, I didn’t object because the headwinds were pretty bad.
- 11/28: –> Globe, AZ (Darrell’s house) = 78 [9 in a car]
- 11/29: –> Apache Junction, AZ (Roxanne Heavens, Warmshowers)= 58 miles
- 11/30: “Rest day” hiking up the Siphon Draw trail in the Superstition Mountains.