Tuesday, January 7, 2014

December 28th, Day 58: John

John rose first at 6:30 a.m. to build a fire. The night had been cold and his bag didn't take all the edge off. I rolled out to a teepee of flames standing in the space dish where last night a fire had kept an audience warm. The Lawn Gnome stage was empty and non-descript, no longer alive with bands like Dogbreth and Drive By Dunk. 15 minutes later John left to pick up food and I broke camp. Over my cup of oatmeal and coffee I thought about John and what sort of person he was that he would be ready to skip town at a moment's notice. I admit to little trepidation, only curiosity.

A quick review of the map told me we would have a hard walk [out of Phoenix] and it was. We took the light rail to the edge of Mesa, as far east as it could take us. There was still 23 miles to the edge of town so we had to push in order to find a camp spot. At the same time, John was still figuring out how his gear system worked. We cut some cord from a construction site which he used to hold the gallon jug of water he carries. It broke open once and we stopped to replace it. He sports a beat up pair of Chuck Taylors, a small navy backpack and a skateboard. I'm smiling as I describe him because I know he's going to have a rough intro to the road but I also admire his willingness to put himself through hardship. This isn't his first time roughing it either so I expect after the initial week he'll be good to roll.

We chomped through 20 miles of sidewalk. On all sides were shopping centers, swapmeets, RV parks, and trading posts expelling every conceivable product made by humans. It seems the entire purpose of Mesa is to serve the needs of Phoenix, an ancillary neighborhood to prop up its better looking neighbor. Luckily, John and I were both fresh and made it close enough to the outer orbit of urbanized area where we encountered a vacant property lot with plenty of palo verde trees and creosote bushes to conceal us from the main thoroughfare.

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