This is a story of learning …A lesson in eating humble pie.
Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. 93 miles through the desert with in retrospect a 1500 foot climb in the most desolate, exposed area of the wasteland up to a pass through the Chocolate Mountains.
In reality it is difficult to give that honorary characteristic to any one area of the 93 miles…it is all “ most desolate”.
I would guess that there were 200 yards of scattered shade over that 93 miles. The shade is in fact so rare I remembered at one point a spot a mile ahead in a washed out gully with a scraggly bush overhead. My partner for the day was astonished I remembered this shade in the desert from 2 years before…. I think it’s called survival.
I was exhausted when I arrived in Blythe at a tiny run down 2 room church with a broken bathroom and a small kitchen cement floor for all of us to pitch camp…maybe 20 ft by 20 ft at the most.
Immediately thoughts went to motels and two left to find a room, along with two route leaders, a rare occurrence on these rides. I was just too tired to even think about getting a room and decided to pitch a tent outside in the shade of 104 F.
I lay down in the grass to sleep off a very foul mood at the accommodations after such a grueling trek only to be waken by another rider yelling out that he had red army ants on his legs and that the church yard was full of their nests.
I hopped up quickly and checked first my body and then my site…lucky me, nearby were Angel and Flossie beating at them with palm branches blocking the path to my plump juicy tired legs.
I grumpily nodded a thanks to them and headed into the kitchen area to try to find a spot.
A square on the floor was offered to me, I put out my mattress and went out into the heat to pack up my tent.
After showering outside I lay down to sleep amongst the noise of the group in the tiny room.
Not able to sleep due to the noise my anger simmered at the situation but finally I nodded out.
The two in the motel texted me to join them in a restaurant for dinner and offered the floor of their air conditioned room for the night. I was so exhausted I could barely move so I didn’t answer them.
An hour later another text…the church folk had bought us fried chicken for dinner…I got up and ate a breast and 2 potato wedges and immediately fell back asleep.
2 hours later I was waken… music from the room next door, the only other room beside the broken bathrooms…a church service was in play.
I went outside to find that the bathroom had been fixed and was able finally to pass water after much drinking to rehydrate myself.
Still in a foul mood I exited the bathroom to see an 8 year old girl in beautiful Hispanic Indian dress contrasting her golden brown skin, long jet black hair and huge Madonna like brown cow eyes.
She was practicing singing for the service by herself outside.
I was taken aback at her angelic beauty and pure toned voice.
Suddenly I felt very humbled.
Confused and still very very tired I made my way back to the kitchen floor to sleep.
Before fading out I got a text saying we would have a pancake breakfast offered by the church at 6 AM… still in a very foul mood I thought “great out of here by by 5:30 AM”.
I woke at 5:15 and actually felt much relieved at a good night’s sleep.
I took an outside shower, dressed, and packed up my stuff.
At 6 am a small plainly dressed Hispanic Indian woman with her 18 year old son showed up with 100 hot pancakes, butter, syrup and a gallon of milk.
Looking at their anxious faces, so much wishing to please us, I realized these church people probably had nothing beyond their daily needs.
Yet they had taken us in when no one else would.
The church was tiny, poor, disheveled, with a broken toilets, a fire ant infested yard and a small cement floor… yet these people had opened their hearts to travelers with a safe place to stay, an evening meal, and now breakfast.
I thought back to the little girl from the night before in her beautiful clothes, probably the best she owned and I felt ashamed, very ashamed at my foul mood from the day before.
Here were folk with next to nothing offering everything to strangers.
My frustration had been kept in check , probably due to my exhaustion and probably with a little help from Angel and Flossie hanging nearby.
I had come so close to showing my
On pondering these events I hope that I have learned a lesson.
As for today..
60 miles though the desert with 5000 feet of climbing to a plateau in the lowlands of Arizona.
Here is the end of California
the Colorado River that looks like the Nile.
No need to show any pictures of me…just gaze on the pear from yesterday…me looking at myself in the mirror.