Day 118–south of Hemet

Eric dropped me out at 8 a.m.  I had decided to do today with the pack and no crew.  There would be the cities of Banning and Beaumont to do the first 10 miles, then a 12 mile open country section, and then 2 more towns.  Crewing in towns with lots of traffic is hard on a crew and just not necessary unless there are lots of  turns.   Also the first two miles were between the railroad and interstate and not good for a car.  Then there was a right and a left turn to reach Ramsey street.  Ramsey Street took me through the first 2 towns and there were only two more turns the entire day.  I carried water and stopped for food  along the way.  The first few miles out of Beaumont were open hilly country and the desert was gone.  There were a few cactus but mostly there were lots of grasses and other greenery.   A few miles later I was in the flat again and agriculture was back.  The first thing I saw entering the flat was a huge sod farm.  It was irrigated by treated but not potable water and the “aroma” reminded me of the “biosilage” hauled from Rockingham to the game lands where I work.  After the sod farm there were just flat open grassy areas for a couple of miles.  I entered another town and stopped at Jack in the Box for a coke.  The break was nice and the clerk was really interested in my trip.  He took a picture of me by the coke machine and said he could not wait to tell his parents about me.  About 3:45 I passed a Dairy Queen and did not stop.  Eric was suppose to pick me up at 4 and I did not want to miss him.  I went another few miles and met him about 4:30.  He brought me a sandwich and milk.  I had a total of 26 miles for the day.

We were suppose to meet his running club (the Temecula Trotters) at 6:30.  The meet Wednesdays for a group run and pizza.  Before we turned around, I told Eric this was the first DQ I had missed since the beginning.  He promptly drove me there for a cone so I did not miss it.  Then we hurried off home for a my shower and then to the meeting.  While they went for a run I waited in a nearby coffee shop.  Then we met for pizza and their meeting.  I was the entertainment for the evening.  I did an overview of my journey and then answered questions.  It was a lot of fun.  I have not shaved or had a haircut in a while and was compaired to Forrest Gump, a comparison I do not mind.

I met Andy Roy, trail name Boston Andy, on the Appalachian Trail (AT)  in 1989.  He was 24 and I was 37.  We met just south of Hot Springs, N.C. and only had a couple of days hiking together.  Nevertheless, by trips end, we had a beginning friendship.  In 1990, we met up for another segment of the AT.  More AT trips followed.  We have gotton to know each other very well.  We have shared a one-man tent.  We both needed a shower on one trip and the coin-operated showers cost 50 cents.  We both had one quarter.  We have discussed everything from ice cream to Stephen Hawking’s theories about time.  He crewed for me at both my 100 mile run finishes.  Most recently, he and his friend, Jennifer Kline, crewed for me when I passed through Phoenix on this journey.  During all this time, he has remained my steadfast friend.  Sometimes we have no reason to talk for a few weeks or months.  But when we connect by phone it is like yesterday.  I am honored and humbled to have such a friend as Andy. 

Andy, you are the best.  I could not ask for or expect to have a better friend.

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