Thursday, I set out from Yuma, AZ towards San Diego, CA. I crossed the Colorado River, and rested under the shade of a bridge along the highway before I stepped back out into the 100°F sunshine, into California.
I was out of water not a mile down the road. I had placed my gallon down on glass or something. With an arm accustomed to the weight, and the setting sun in my eyes as I followed the Kumeyaay Highway, I hadn’t noticed my water was nearly gone.
A sip here, and another sip of hot water after a couple more feet, there wasn’t much liquid left to leak through the accidental spigot. The universe, God, luck, whatever, was on my side. Up the road a white pickup was in the shoulder with its hazards blinking.
An El Centro amateur local historian, and heir to the family paint business, had pulled over. Under normal conditions, I wouldn’t have accepted a ride, but the nearest stop for water was behind me by a couple of miles, to return to the same stretch of desert, and I was too stubborn for that noise. The way he introduced himself was far classier than most male passersby, too so he must’ve been some sort of angel.
“You shouldn’t walk along the highway, it’s dangerous!”
“I’ve been walking since El Paso, I’m pretty used to it.”
“Where are you going?”
“I can take you as far as El Centro.”
As we passed strange landmarks, such as the so-called “Center of The World” and stretches of sand dunes, he had knowledge for every mile.
“That’s an original staircase from the Eiffel Tower,and the guy that made this place is still alive around here somewhere. At least I didn’t hear that he passed.”
It looked like some sort of bunker or haven for the rich that you would see in an Illuminati conspiracy documentary. From the pyramid building, to the name, to the Google Maps image it had with its Church on the Hill, it gave me the jeebies.
What an auspicious name. And so close to Easter and Passover. Fun creepy stuff is easily imaginable. Apparently there’s a maze up there too? Not for me!
Then there were the sand dunes. My new historian friend informed me of all the celebrities who filmed there. This, of course, included the iconic scenes from Star Wars on the planet Tatooine.
When we landed in El Centro, we said our greetings goodbye and we went our separate, merry ways. Thanks dude.
The excitement didn’t end there however. The next day, yesterday, I had met a couple and their adorable baby dog, Baby.
The couple had been traveling for years, from the East coast, and had settled for a spell in El Centro after receiving cancer treatment in California. They also were gifted a baby, not suited yet for travel, I’m the worst way.
Baby was a rescue. Barely a pocketful, someone had asked if they wanted a puppy, and without stopping his car, the man had thrown the newborn to them from his car. Ever since, Baby has been cherished and protected by these young nomadic millennials in their late twenties and early thirties.
The good ones too often have little, while those that have a lot tend to be blissfully unaware and without generosity. Here is an example of what I mean:
I’ve been traveling for miles and the few people to offer food always had little. Yesterday, a man from the street pushed his cart up to where Baby and the gang plus me were seated and chatting. Someone with a heart had given the man from the street more food than he could eat, so he offered it to us.
While I wrote that beggars must be choosers and while I may be vegan, if someone were to offer me the fruits of their labor in say a dish with meat, I would oblige them insofar as to acknowledge the value of the cost and labor involved. In this case, a man from the street was sharing his dinner; I could not deny it knowing that it would go to waste.
Needless to say, it was the most I’d eaten in about a week or more, and definitely allowed me a pleasant rest. I thanked the innumerable lives paid for that meal, and slept well in knowing that they were not given without due respect in spirit.
Today, I travel on to as close to San Diego as I can get, still a hundred miles away.