Day Seven: We woke up at 4am and rode 30 miles into Heber, a small city outside of El Centro. There we met our savior from the heat - Grandma Margaret. We met Margaret through her granddaughter, Diana from couchsurfing.org. Margaret welcomed us into her beautiful home, fed us, gave us clean towels, warm showers, comfortable beds, and wonderful company. Meeting Margaret and her family was truly a blessing. I have never met such a loving, kind, and hospitable group before. They take in weary travelers on a regular basis and treat them like family. On our last night there, Corey, Diana's boyfriend treated us out to dinner.
We spent the morning before we left jamming out to Guitar Hero with Irie, (one of Margaret's many grandchildren). We had so much fun hanging out with the family it made me sad to leave. We send out enormous gratitude to Margaret and her family for putting us up. It was truly a wonderful experience. Irie's parting wish to us was for our bus to breakdown so that we could stay longer with them....
Back up the story to the night before.... Debbie and I went through our first disagreement on this trip. Girls Gone Wildlife was facing a major dilemma on how we were going to cross the treacherous barren desert during a major heat wave. The temperature was at a 120 degree high during the day, the route had no water, food, or towns for 100 miles. We were going to have to carry at least 2 days supply of water and food and travel on uphill terrain. We were warned by pretty much every person we encountered.
The days leading up to our departure I was secretly scared shitless. I didn't want to be too vocal about it and bring down the morale. But seriously, I did not think I was mentally or physically prepared for this desert journey. Yes, yes I know the trip is about challenging myself mentally and physically, but it wasn't worth it in my mind to endanger my life and turn myself into vulture food. So on the last evening in El Centro I decided to check out bus routes and rates. I found inexpensive tickets on the Greyhound bus and suggested it as an option to Debbie. I had a horrible gut feeling that crossing the desert on bikes was not the right path for us. The feeling started to manifest itself physically the evening we were going to leave, when I suddenly felt sick and dizzy, my body just didn't want to leave. I promise I'm not being dramatic, there was definitely something outside of myself I couldn't control that was preventing me from leaving El Centro on a bike. I put my ego aside, allowed myself to be vulnerable and admitted that I am not capable of this challenge. I am thankful for my partner, Debbie for understanding and compromising on this with me. The next morning we left on our bikes and headed to the Greyhound bus station.
We had a blast at Grandma Margarita's house. It was lovely and comfortable, but I was anxious to keep moving. The next few panels on the map were going to be hot and difficult, but I had faith that we were capable. Before we crossed the mountain we were both scared as hell about how hard it would be going up, then even more scared about the dangers of going down, but when we did it we felt so incredible for having been able to conquer it. I felt that this next part would be the same way. Plus, I was excited about the challenge. We had planned to leave after dinner, but when we got home Karin started freaking out and saying that she wasn't feeling well. I told her to take a nap, and that we could leave when she woke up. I was a little annoyed, at first, because I knew that she was scared. However, while she slept, I started to get this splitting headache. Also, my mom started texting me messages filled with a sense of panic and worry. Then I started to think about how our plan to bike all night was not completely fool-proof since we would still have to stop and sleep outside in the 120 degree heat of the day, and only have as much water as we could carry. By the time Karin woke up, I realized that she was just being smart and not wussy and told her that I was open to taking the bus. Part of me felt like we were cheating, and that we would dissapoint everyone that was rooting for us. Not to mention that the other biker we met had just come from there and seemed to have made it okay. But he was a pro, 120 degrees in the desert is no joke, and if we got sick or heat stroke, we wouldn't be able to finish the ride anyway.
The Greyhound Bus we were supposed to take to Phoenix broke down before it even arrived to the El Centro bus station. Thanks a lot Irie! A corrections officer transporting inmates suggested that we try our luck hitchhiking by the freeway. Everyone in El Centro drives a pickup truck. We spent the first 30 minutes in the hot sun shouting at trucks driving by.
We had codes worked out in case we got into a car with crazies:
"5 minutes to crazytown" meant one of us would say we had diarrhea and had to stop immediately where we would get our stuff off the truck and get out.
"SS crazytown" meant SPRAY, STAB, and roll out of the car.
but no one stopped. no one! did WE look crazy?
A homeless guy walked over to our corner. "This is our corner! Back off!" But then he handed us a piece of cardboard and a marker and said, "No one's gonna stop if they don't know where you are going." Thanks, Wolf! It's funny how help comes in the most unexpected forms sometimes. We cheered, we danced, we tried everything, but still no one stopped. It was about 1pm and hot as hell, so we went to go get a milkshake.
While we were sipping on our shakes, we told our story to the guy sitting next to us, who suggested we try the truck stop nearby. The first people to pull in for gas were two pickup trucks full of PYTs. Karin asked them for a ride and behold our saviors for the day who drove us all the way to Phoenix! (and they were fun!) Thanks, guys!!!
(D: we are SO SO SO lucky. That we met great people who helped us out. There was only one moment when I secretly wished we were on our bikes: driving by these gorgeous sand dunes)
They had all just come from a weekend in San Diego where they celebrated Jake's 21st birthday.
We hung out with our new friends into the evening, then we got back on our bikes and rode to Janie's (Grant's mom's) house. She is a sweet lady with a positive attitude towards life. We've been here hanging out for a few days relaxing.
Sha-na-na-na! Life is good. Tomorrow we go back to the Wildlife... We are headed towards the Grand Canyon next!
Miss you, love you, dear friends and family. We look forward to reading your comments. XXOO