Part III: The Lost Day at Joshua Tree National Park

Maybe I slept so well all day due to the zen raking someone had done.

Maybe I slept so well all day due to the zen raking someone had done.

It’s so bright.

I must be dead.

Oh wait…there’s a drool puddle.

Does that mean I went to hell?

As my eyes adjust to the sun lighting my tent up, my body yells profanities in protest of even moving an inch. I awoke in the same position as I had fallen asleep. Screw the rangers. I’m not getting up until I have to.

When we last left our heroine, she had set her tent up in the picnic area and fallen asleep around 11:38pm.

Time was irrelevant. All I knew was my body hurt like nothing I had known before. When I say body, I mean my whole body, toes to top. I fell in and out of sleep a bunch of times until I finally decided that I should go pee. Putting my sneakers on when I’m trashed is much easier than it was that morning. Nothing wanted to work. I wondered if babies learning how to walk felt the way I did those first few steps.

Once I gathered myself a bit, the hard decision of packing it all up and searching out the actual campground was made. I sat on my packed up bike for about 20 minutes debating how much I had in my legs and if it was enough. As it turned out, the campground entrance was about 300 feet from where I was. Doh…

The campsite I picked was right across from an older couple that were also bike touring. They had been on the road since last June and biked from Maine. Since the weather wasn’t warm enough yet to head back, they were just burning some time in the lower parts of California. Their plan was to eventually head north and cut across Utah so they could visit Salt Lake City. They asked what the road was like coming in (they were leaving that way) and wished me well with, “Be careful. There’s not a lot of us out there touring.”

After setting up my tent, I go against every muscular fiber in my body and head to the ranger station to check in. Why am I abusing myself like this? I could have just paid for my campsite and then tomorrow when I’m on my way to the rest of the park, stop in and get my park pass. NOOOOooooo…I just have to do what’s right. My body hates me. It really does.

I peddled all the way there and back (about 2/3 mile) in the absolute lowest gear I had. My legs almost didn’t make it back to the campsite. The promise of sleeping for the rest of the day was the only motivation.

Which is all I did that day besides eat, drink water, and get up twice. One trip to pee and the other to pee and brush my teeth. The latter was around 8pm but it was worth every achy step.

As I stood outside the bathroom, brushing my teeth and staring at the night sky, a big, bold shooting star goes streaking across the darkness. It wasn’t one of those quick flash ones. It went slow and had a sparkly trail. I took this beautiful occurrence as a good omen for the rest of my trip.

It better be a good omen.

I’m going back to sleep.

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