The morning was freezing; I was exhausted. I had gotten less than an hour of sleep the night before. I ate a quick breakfast and then left the Chaco Wash and rode back onto highway 197. I was praying the wind would leave me alone that day. The wind is usually not too bad in the morning hours, but, that isn’t the case every day and the wind was definitely waiting for me. I knew the 65 miles into Grants was going to be rough. I was too tired to fight it. My body was tired. My heart was tired. My brain was tired. Thank goodness the riding was easy, only a few minor little ups, but, most of it was smooth riding, except of course for the wind. I enjoyed the desert/New Mexican landscape that surrounded me. It made me long to be back in Arizona, back home. The random horses on the side of the highway made me smile, made my heart happy. There wasn’t much traffic, I felt pretty lonely that day, pretty broken and everything about my sister’s passing and my marriage came crashing onto me. As I rode, every mile seemed to toss something else at me, it would twist and turn my emotions and throw me into a state of deep sadness. I was struggling a lot emotionally during those miles and as the day continued the wind picked up, my inner frustrations picked up too. I was so irritated. At White Horse I turned left onto highway 509 towards the little community of Hospah. A few miles later this car drove up next to me and offered me water, I gladly accepted the offer. It turned out to be one of the guys I had met the day before at Chaco Wash and he lived nearby. We spent about 15 minutes talking before we went our separate ways.
I have probably said it before, but, I’ll say it again. I am so humbled and grateful for all of the random acts of kindness I was shown on my journey, it truly made a world of difference to me and it was those acts of kindness that got me through so many hard days out there. A bottle of water, a Coke, a smile, a candy bar or just stopping to talk to me, doesn’t sound like much, but, those moments with those strangers, those encounters are what kept me going. From the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of you. As I write this, it brings me to tears to remember all of the kind and amazing people that showed up on my hardest days, hardest moments and became a crucial part of my story because it gave me the strength to keep riding. In many ways the people I met are the most beautiful part of my story on the Divide. I was really homesick that day and my emotions were everywhere, being extremely fatigued didn’t help. I listened to music for the rest of the day, I had to get out of my own head and just focus on getting into Grants. Eventually, I could see Mt Taylor in the distance, it was a beautiful view, six miles later I turned onto highway 605. I stayed on that highway until I turned onto Route 66, (which really made me miss Flagstaff) and rode that for three miles into downtown Grants. I passed all of these cute stores and yummy looking restaurants, but, I was too tired to stop. I got a motel room, took a bath, ordered pizza and fell asleep. I slept well that night. I remember the next morning, the desire to quit and to go home started to become very intense. Very intense. I had had enough. I wanted to go home. I was done. I was tired of being alone, tired of being tired, tired of being gone, tired of exploring the depths of my own mind. Homesickness overcame me and it took everything I had to stay in Grants and decide to just take a day off and not go home. This is where the Divide really started to become a mental game for me. I didn’t quit though. To be continued!!