Well, it turned to downhill at last. Just past mile marker 30. About fucking time. Now let's recap the last day or so: I made it to the rest stop with some water left, but hungry as hell and no ones, just some chump change. I didn't see a snack machine, just the soda machines and the overpriced candy machine. Damn. And of course none of them accept $5's, only $1's. That's what happens when you give someone a monopoly (in this case the Department of Blind Services), they don't give a damn about service, you have to use them or go fuck yourself. And it shows. I didn't lose any money in them myself, but I saw someone else lose a dollar.

Riding during the day has one distinct advantage; you find money on the side of the road. No bills yet, unfortunately, but plenty of dimes and quarters; I collected 75 cents yesterday and about a dollar today. Every little supplement helps when you're on such a strict budget. But riding at night under the moonlight is sublime. Too bad the moon rose so late tonight, it won't do me any good; there's already enough light coming from Blythe, CA to light the rest of the way. Lack of light didn't stop me from taking the free ride downhill though, I just went a lot slower.

Anyway, getting back to the previous rest area: I was looking under the machines for change and only found some pennies. Damn. But then I looked again at the machines themselves, and found the snack machine! It was so poorly lit compared to the others I hadn't noticed it before. And there were some items for 75 cents! I plunked in the most beat-up of the 3 quarters I had found, and it took it! 2 more and I had a 1-and-a-quarter-ounce bag of corn chips in my grubby paws. I wolfed them down, aflatoxins and all, savoring every last bit of salt on my favorite substrate. Then a cute little black girl handed me almost another dollar in change (very likely sent by her mama, who had said hello to me earlier), and I bought a bag of peanuts with that. That combination of forbidden fruits (according to the Neanderthin diet) gave me enough energy to get to the truck stop, about 5 more miles down the road. Or 7 or 8, can't remember. Anyway, since it was already way past midnight (about 4 AM), I cracked open another $10 and bought a chocolate bar and some cashews, more forbidden fruit, and wolfed it down too; I was still very hungry. Then a few minutes later the restaurant next door opened, and I ordered the special for $3.99 which included coffee; not a good deal, just one egg scrambled with ham, and a biscuit with gravy. I had to take it easy on the coffee too, because it was almost bedtime. As I was leaving, Nature called and I went back in and left a donation in the city sewer system.

There was no rest area nearby without backtracking (and I just don't do that for any reason), so I just crashed by the side of the entry ramp leading back onto I-10. Woke up several times, but finally dragged my ass back onto the road about 9-ish. Rode until the sun was beating down too furiously, and stopped under an overpass, climbed up the 45-degree concrete to the shelf just under the road above, and tried to get some more sleep. It wasn't easy; I couldn't stretch myself out straight along the ledge without risk of rolling down the embankment, so I had my legs on the downslope. This wasn't comfortable and after a few hours I reverse-crabwalked down the embankment and sat there next to my bike, alternately lying backwards against the slope, and resting forwards against my knees. After a while, trouble. A cop. He pulled up right in front of me, and rolled down the window. It looked almost like the same cop trooper who had given me the hard time the day before, but I hoped it wasn't, and smiled and waved. He said "how ya doin'?" in a friendly voice, so I knew it wasn't the same guy. An ambulance showed up too. Turns out someone had seen me there and called 9-1-1 thinking I had passed out. Idiots. Wasted taxpayer money because they're too damn lazy or scared to pull over themselves and ask. Anyway, the paramedics gave me a couple bottles of water, which I really didn't need but what the hell, it was better tasting than the city water I had, and it was cold. I had to give my ID to the cop and wait till he had called it in, as usual, but it wasn't long before he wished me well and went on his merry way. At least one of the Arizona state troopers isn't an asshole. Nice to know.

Well, after that I tried resting some more but was getting tired of resting (!) and, though it was still early, 3 PM-ish, I figured I'd head on down the road. I was already starting to feel hungry again, since that breakfast wasn't all that substantial for the money. The town of Quartzsite was ahead at about mile marker 19. Several hours of uphill, then a steep uphill slope that had me buck down to first gear for the first time since I first entered Arizona (almost always I keep the front gear in high, and just cycle through gears 11 through 15 on the rear axle), and then about halfway between 30 and 29 began the downhill. I coasted into Quartzsite, took the first exit, and went into the General Store, a friendly little place, and bought about a pound of bananas at 49c/lb, more peanuts, a bag for 99c, and a Little Debbie brownie for a quarter. I asked if the town had a McDonald's and the girl said yes, at the other end of town. Great! I just sat outside and ate the two bananas and half the peanuts. And of course I had to eat the brownie, it wasn't good but for 25 cents who's complaining.

About 2 miles down the street I stopped at McD's, where I spent the rest of the daylight hours. I got my dollar double cheeseburger without ketchup or mustard (the two biggest sources of carbs besides the bun) and a coffee which I had refilled twice; not sure if that's allowed but I asked and I received. Then about 8PM-ish I went and bought another burger; apparently they failed to see the special order at first so I got two burgers for the price of 1! And that with money found on the roadside! I ended up overeating. But that's to be expected after being hungry so long. I was getting ready to go back onto I-10, just a block away, when Nature called again with a vengeance. Probably the hull of that Yucca fruit from the day before. There was a convenience store/Burger King handy, so I ducked in and used the facilities. I don't like to do that without paying, so I found something for 50 cents, a small bag of hot (spicy) peanuts, and bought it. It was a good idea, then I had some change for the next rest area (where I am now, typing this in).

There's construction going on for about 10 miles past Quartzsite, and I was afraid of having to deal with a narrow shoulder, but it didn't happen; just the usual hazards of tire treads and other crap, and in addition the bases of the hazard lights. But overall no big problems, just the lack of light previously mentioned kept me going slow except when traffic in my direction lit the way for me. Maybe someday I'll buy a decent headlight. But for now, if and when I save up enough money I need a new rear tire, it keeps deflating every few miles and I haven't been having much luck patching the damned things. I'll get another bulletproof tube like I have for the front tire, about $16.

So anyway, here I am at about mile marker 4, and have the rest of the night to bike into Blythe, CA, my goal for breakfast, less than 10 miles away and it's only about 2:30 AM now. So I'm doing good; kept my $8-a-day budget (with aforementioned additions) for two days, and saved $4 for the domain renewal coming up. Hoping Blythe has a Kinko's so I can move some money into my PayPal account in time. Then, LA here I come!

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last updated 2013-01-10 20:24:09. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com