Trains and Cacti

This morning, I woke up and cooked the chicken that I had left to thaw from the night before. Once the chicken was cooked and cooled, I separated all of the vegetables, cheese, eggs and meat into individual meals and put each each meal into a tupperware container.  I had six meals ready to go.

While I was working in the kitchen, I saw the woman that asked me for money. She pulled up in her car with the kids in the back. When she saw me looking at the window at her, she waved and smiled and made some circling gesture with her hand that I interpreted as meaning that she was going to drive around and park. I smiled at her and went back to my business. I was thrilled and surprised that she had come back.

After a while, I was done in the kitchen and she hadn’t come by. I took River out for a walk and walked all around the grounds, but couldn’t see her or her car. I was saddened at what her life must be like. I imagined her lying to her kids about why they couldn’t get out of the car and had to take off again. 

Today was a long drive, so as soon as the food was in the cooler, we hit the road.

At one point we were directed off the highway by U.S. Customs making border checks. As I was waiting in the line for my turn to be inspected, I was considering making a little joke about how they had to work but the rest of the government was shut down. I wasn’t sure how to best phrase it, but I was juggling my options. When finally, my turn came, I pulled up and the man in the booth asked me, “Are you a citizen?”. “Yes!” I answered. He gave me less than half a nod and then turned to focus on the car behind me. “That’s it?” I asked? He didn’t answer. I paused... The joke was ready. Then, it didn’t seem funny anymore, so I just drove off.

I must have been passing through train country. Last night, on three separate occasions, I heard a train rumbling by the room, blaring it’s whistle, and it made me think I was in an episode of I Love Lucy. Then, today on our way to Arizona, I saw at least seven trains, not counting the ones I saw that weren’t moving.  One was very colorful and another was only three cars long. One train consisted only of black and white cars, and another kept pace along side of me for about ten minutes.
The black and white train
And here's a video of the shortest train I saw that day. It may be the shortest train I've ever seen.

In a town called Globe, Arizona, we hit the 8000 mile mark for the trip.

We passed through the beautiful Tonto National Forest. Although, why it’s called a forest, I can’t imagine. Certainly not because of the trees. But the rock formations were spectacular. 

I finally spotted one of those tall cactuses that look like fingers. And then I saw a whole field of them. The whole time I was driving through the high desert on my Mountain States Tour, I expected to see some, but it wasn’t to be. It made me happy to see these today.
not the best shot of one, but it's there, off to the left
We stopped at a Rest Area, just before leaving New Mexico, but we didn’t stay long. I wanted to eat one of my premade lunches, but all of the picnic tables were emblazoned with “NO PETS” signs. There was a sign way off in the distance saying, “Please exercise your pets in this area.”  It was all rocks and a few trees. Well, we just did our business and moved on, hoping to find more friendly accommodations.

The welcome to Arizona sign looks like it’s right out of The Electric Company.

I was playing some music for a little while as we drove. River was asleep with his head hanging down off the edge of the seat. During a section featuring a man chanting, River deftly lifted his head, hit the mute button with his nose and plopped back down to sleep in silence. I was laughing so hard. I left the music off after that.


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