Last night was so windy. The wind became worse after midnight. We woke a little later at around 4 hoping the wind would die down but probably headed out at around five. The three miles out were all ridge walks with harsh winds. It felt like pins and needles on my legs since I was in shorts. I ran into Nate and Megs on my first break and we finally got to hike a little together.
When we reached the Rodriguez water tank, I got some water and laid out my tent that was wet from condensation earlier today. Took a good long siesta and decided we could maybe try to make it in to Julian at mile 77. We knocked a good 7 miles from camp and had 9 left. The terrain quickly changed to desert. It became drier, brown and all different sorts of cactus starter appearing. I was bound to see a rattler. Apparently, we just now reached the real desert and it's going to be like this for the next 600 miles. I had no idea. The days are quickly becoming harder, longer and more painful. The desert has literally no shade so when we siesta, we just hide under our umbrellas. I heard it just gets worse in Mohave/Death Valley. Just nothing out there with long water carries.
Descending from the mountains, we ran into Eddie from Tri-Cities. He and his wife, Lorrian are hiking together but had to send her ahead to Julian because of a knee injury. He was having issues with his pack and was hurting pretty bad on his hips. There was a long stretch of just flat desert surrounded by giant asparagus to reach the road. There were three men in their 60s from around Encinitas who were on a day hike that offered us a ride to Julian in their large pick up.
The hitch to Julian is 13 miles on a windy mountain road. I felt so car sick because I was so hungry, thirsty, hot and smelly. It was pretty miserable. The 3 men dropped us off at the Julian lodge bed and breakfast. The small touristy town was so cute. We had heard all the lodging would probably be all booked but we had to find out for ourselves. But they were right, no vacancies for the night. All of our shower, laundry and recharging dreams were quickly shot down. So we decided to walk through town to Carmen's. She is a trail angel who owns a restaurant in town who have been graciously letting hikers do laundry and use her backyard for things.
As we were walking through town, all of the well dressed touristy people were staring. I have never felt so out of place. Did I really look like homeless? Was I terribly smelly? I swear I didn't think I smelled that bad. We reached Carmen's and a bunch of hikers were all in the back hanging out and doing town chores. We were welcome by Carmen sitting in the back on her smoke break. She was so sweet and treated us like real people. This has been the first town where people were actually friendly to us and not irritated. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and looked into the mirror for the first time. I had dirt all over my face, no wonder people were staring at me.
It's weird when you get into town because there are a million things on your mind and things you need to get done but not sure where or how to do them. At the same time, you're starving, dirty and want to find an outlet. We started a load of laundry and ordered some food. My burrito was the size of my head, I just couldn't finish it. The rest of our wave were all in town so it was great to see them. We talked to some people and they were able to find an open room three miles out. We decided to split it with some others since we needed a shower bad.
There was another man named Odie that was letting hikers camp out on his lawn, so I walked over there with Nate and Meg to check it out. He owned a cute little shop next to his lawn and giant RV and was setting up a campfire for hikers. His grass so lush and green and it was just like Heaven. Nate went and set up their tent and Meg and I walked to the store. The man inside was super friendly as we walked through each aisle searching for possible resupply snacks for Meg. I didn't need anything, I just wanted to see what my options would be in the future.
At the end of the night, we waited until Chrissy was finished with work. She graciously was giving us all a ride to our motel three miles outside of town. The 8 of us: Kristen, Eddie, Lorian, Rosco, Gary, Domingo, Ryan and I stayed the night in a room and took my first real shower. We were all like sardines in the room. Eddie and Lorian on one bed and I took the other since my sciatica was hurting pretty bad. Before we went to bed, we all talked about how thankful we are for just the small things in life: laundry, shower and pavement. Life is too good to live in luxury all the time. We all got to sleep in comfort for the night, falling asleep to snores, farts and the muted sound of the television.