Checking in from Overgaard, AZ …
While in Show Low, Arizona, we stayed in an “age qualified” RV park. That means you have to be over 55 years of age to stay in the park. This was perhaps the nicest park we have visited to date, but for me it was depressing. The average age seemed to be approaching 80. I’ve never seen so much white and blue hair in my life. Don’t get me wrong—these were very nice people, and they seemed to really enjoy the community. I was the one out of place. I’m just not ready for bingo, shuffleboard, bridge games and square dance lessons. I’m sure my sons and many others would agree that if I want to see old people, all I have to do is look in the mirror. Just don’t make everyone around me look like the guy in the mirror.
While Show Low is a very pretty and apparently affluent resort town, it does have a downside that was particularly frustrating for Brenda, who logs many miles ferrying me to and from starting and ending points for my walks. The town is an absolute speed trap. We had been forewarned that traffic cameras were everywhere and that speed limits changed frequently with no logical reason for the changes with many of the cameras located on pretty steep downslopes. No tolerance – one mile over, you get ticketed. So we crept through town watching very little other than how fast we were going. Who needs that stress? Apparently, Arizona drivers feel the same way since once outside the city, they drive like there is no speed limit. Something about those “A” states—worse drivers to date have been in Alabama and Arizona.
I get questioned frequently about how many pairs of shoes I am using on this walk across the continent. I started with seven pairs, two of which were used in training. I wear support/comfort running shoes which have a life of three to four hundred miles before the midsoles are so compressed that they no longer offer either support or comfort. This generally happens long before the outsoles are worn though. So after having logged 2,600 miles, you can imagine that my shoes are on their last legs. So my friends, Lauren and Allee at the Triangle American Heart Association, have come to my rescue. They approached Amanda at Raleigh’s Fleet Feet Store and brought her up to date on my trek. Amanda generously has donated a pair of my brand of shoes, Asics Kayanos, plus a shirt and some electrolyte tablets which are being shipped to Phoenix for me to pick-up. Now I won’t have to walk into Santa Monica in my flip flops. Thanks, Lauren, Allee and Amanda. For my hometown Raleigh friends, please visit Fleet Feet at the corner of Wade Avenue and Ridge Road. Fleet Feet is the premier running/walking store in the area and a big proponent of cardiovascular health.
Brenda and I have been on the road for 136 days, of which 130 have been spent in the RV (the other six were in the homes of friends and family). While the RV is nice enough, it gets a little old after a while. So our friend Kelly Hurter, formerly with the American Heart Association, decided that we needed a night of luxury. When we reach the Phoenix area, she has arranged for us to stay for a night at the fabulous five-star Phoenician Hotel in Scottsdale. She even talked them into letting Zuzu go with us. Kelly, we really appreciate your thoughtfulness and look forward to a escaping the RV and enjoying our night at the Phoenician.
As we plan for the end of my walk, we are having trouble finding an affordable hotel to house ourselves, friends and family who want to help us celebrate the completion of this journey. Also, we need a safe place to park the RV for the last couple of days. Since my walk will be finished on Labor Day weekend, RV parks are booked and hotels have jacked rates. If anyone has a suggestion or contacts in the Santa Monica area, we would greatly appreciate any guidance or assistance.
Over the next week or so, I will be walking on Hwy 260 to Payson, AZ and then on Hwy 87 to Mesa in the Phoenix area. Hope to see you along the way.