Day 4… one I won’t soon forget! It was tough, it was really tough. but all is well that ends well! About four hours ago I was just going to send an email… no blog tonight, writer beat! Started at sunrise, left my little town of Taylor and headed to Thrall, relatively easy 9 miles, it was still morning cool. Got to the gas station pleased that there were some tables and chairs, so I took my pack off and turned towards the Gatorades! As I did, a nice gentleman that was having lunch with his Dad got up and asked “are, are you the guy that’s walking to New York?” I laughed and asked “how do you know?” He told me they were all watching the news when his mother said “look at this crazy (bleep) who’s walking to New York”… had to laugh, but Denton, his Dad and I spent about half an hour together, chatting. Thank you Denton’s Dad for the Gatorades! Never tasted better, and a welcome rest. Took our pictures, and off I went to the next town.
I mean… what are the chances? To which I say… nothing is by chance. So enjoyed meeting and talking to these gentlemen. Very cool.
So quite stoked… I walked on towards on to Thorndale… a few miles into it, a nice guy slowed down and asked if I needed a ride, to which I confidently told him I was walking to New York.. his response was simply “holy crap”!! I’ve started a list of reactions, that range from Wow to get the F*** outta here, and everything in between!!
On arrival to Thorndale, I was on the phone my dear uncle Peter. Slipped in to a donut shop, stole a booth for while to finish my conversation, and bought a kolache from Donal, originally from Guatemala. Cool guy. Then the corner store, where a couple of guys warned my about wild hogs in Arkansas - said they’d eat me up and spit out the splinters! And the sweet cashier that begged me to be careful… I promise I will. People, again. By now I had about 15 miles behind me… 9 to go, it was getting hot, but off I went…
About three miles into the leg, I stopped for a rest under a tree, one of a very few along the road today. In the midst of uploading a video to Instagram, my phone died. So I connected battery as designed, but it was too damn hot for it to charge! The video was about people, and how it is the people that are making this walk so special already! And what ensued was proof!
So without phone, I kept going, Had plenty of water, had been drinking a lot of fluid, but I could tell my body was beginning to feel the heat, and early signs of heat stroke had started. But I was OK.. my new friend Daryl turned his truck around, came up to me and asked if I needed a ride or some water, to which I thanked him, great but walked on… Stopped every few minutes to get some shade and drink. On one stop, another very nice man gave me some more water, which I drank happily. About 45 minutes later, I hit the wall. First time ever, but I admit, I was kinda trying to find it, and I have, and I’m not going back there again, it’s not fun. And I agree, this is no time to start looking for my wall - instead, I’ll keep well away from it. This heat is just too high to walk more than 20 miles. So about half an hour later, walking again, I was exhausted. I was lightheaded and the heat stroke clamminess had started, admit I got a little worried. Saw a sign for a Picnic Area in one mile which lifted my spirits, so on I went. When I arrived I was tired, figured I could rest, cool off as best you can in 95 degree weather, and go on. Instead I met today’s angel, and my namesake.
Pedro was loading his riding motor on a trailer when I arrived, and I was really really hoping he was going my way. We small talked a little about his newly purchased mower, my walk, he couldn’t believe I was from Mexico, and I asked him for a ride into town, 2 or so miles to the hotel. He of course said yes, but instead of going directly to the hotel, we stopped at Helen’s Sno Cones! I haven’t had a sno-cone in years, but much to my surprise, the had pickle juice sno-cones!! And for a bit more, chopped pickles! So for those that may not know, pickle juice is really good for cramping muscles, and exactly what this old body needed. And thanks to the pretty young lady that put my phone next to the freezer so it could regain its senses - came back in about 10 minutes. So Pedro and I sat at a picnic table outside Helen’s for quite a while, talking, and he told me about his walk.
I’ll preempt this by saying that today Pedro had a smile on his face, but I think I can safely say that this wasn’t always the case. He told me his story about the three punks in Los Angeles that accosted him in a convenience store. He tried to defend himself, but one of the kids hit him in the left eye, shattering his eye socket. After a month in the hospital, there was a slight possibility of him regaining some sight in the eye, but that never happened. Then, life circumstances forced him to leave Cameron, TX, and walk to Temple, also Texas. But his walk had nothing to do with writing a story, his was about survival. After six months of living in a storage room, one of his angels offered him shelter, a home in which to live in exchange for some work. Fast forward a few years, and Pedro now has his own mowing/landscaping business, is a year away from paying off his own house, has a heart the size of Texas (which I am finally appreciating!), and is amazing. Thank you friend. You made my day.
Many lessons learned today, on all levels, least of which is dealing with this heat. I overdid it, I admit, and won’t again. Was very uncomfortable only because I took too big a bite (of elephant :-). Tomorrow is another day. Peace.
And the daily visuals, which tonight I am too tired to talk about! But I saw these really big white things in the sky I hadn’t seen before, a piece of rainbow telling me everything will be alright, and lots of beautiful farmland.