After stepping off the train in La Junta I found a place to sleep for the night. The next morning I took off East on Highway 50. I was making good time, stopping every 15-20 miles to get a cold drink and made it to Lamar, CO around 5:00 that afternoon. I had an early dinner at a park along the Arkansas River. I sat down in the ankle high water to cool off and couldn’t help but think about my plans to float the Arkansas from Colorado to Arkansas, uncertain what kind of boat I could get in this shallow water.
From being in the sun all day I could feel my stomach churning the way it does from heat stress. I had already picked out a place along the river to set up camp, but opted for a motel instead. I chose the nicest cheap motel in town. The owners were very friendly. They greeted me with cold water and fruit and when booking my room gave me $10 off the already low price, because of my handsome looks and blue eyes.
The next morning I got a late start and only made it 20 miles down the road before filling up again on water. I went to a local park to hide from the already 97 degree heat. In the back of my mind I have debated going home for a few days. The desert really did a number on me. It sucked the water and will from my body. This morning I had already decided to scratch going North and head straight back to Arkansas. It is only 700 miles away, so about 2 weeks ride. After sitting in the park for an hour, I decided I was finished.
I started looking for ways to get back home. First, the river! Could I find a canoe or kayak that would hold me and my bike? I had been searching for one on different online markets ever since boarding the train. The best I could do is an inflatable raft from Walmart. Next, jump back on Amtrak. Unfortunately I would have to wait nearly two weeks to be able to get the bike on the train. Something about all of the cargo space being taken. Next option is to ship the bike and hop the train. Closest shipping center is 100 miles away. Not too bad. Another option would be renting a car. Nearest rental service is 100 miles away and would cost about $400. Last option is buying a van.
I have been wanting a van for some time. When I first moved aboard the boat I was considering buying a van instead. When I bought my new car, I was considering buying a van instead. I could buy a van here and simply drive back. It would save me at the minimum $200.
On the train ride I finished listening to “Into the Wild”, by Jon Krakauer. Anybody who has ever gone off on their own has probably been compared to Chris Mccandless. The book, unlike the movie, is the author’s investigation into Mccandless’ life. The author compares Mccandless to himself and other adventurer types. Mccandless spent a lot of time in southern California and in the same territory that I crossed. Reading (listening) to the book as I traversed it made me feel more connected to his story. There are many paralells between Mccandless and myself. If you are familiar with the book, I will let you draw your own conclusions. However, the most important difference is our relationships with our families. It is that relationship that I think sent him over the edge. When my dad offered to come get me, a 21 hour trip, I accepted.
It is over for now. My body and mind need rest and A/C before I take off again.