Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and it’s gonna be cold.
It was freezing this morning. I had on everything when I got on my bike at 7:10. Wool underwear, wool cycling sweater, wool coat, wool hat, wool mittens, wool socks, and pants.
I was still so fucking cold.
Jared and I weren’t leaving together; I’m an early riser and he is young. We figured we’d cross paths later in the day.
I went by his tent, which is mesh. “No fly?” I asked him the night before.
“Nah. Not cold enough.”
I wondered how cold it would have to be. My hands got metal burns breaking down the aluminum tent stakes. The nylon was so cold that cramming the tent into the bags was like rasping your hands over a hot cheese grater.
After an hour or so I was overdressed. The rest of the day was gorgeous, mostly downhill, with one bitter five-mile climb.
In Globe I stopped for lunch and groceries. A homeless guy named Bert was on the bench. “Where you going?” he asked.
“How you getting there?”
“Hitchhiking which means walking. Ain’t nobody picking anybody up anymore.”
“How far do you walk in a day?”
I looked to see if he was joking. He wasn’t. But I didn’t mind. “How old are you?”
“You don’t look it.”
“That’s because I exercise every day.”
“That’s right. 150 miles a day.”
“How are you for cash?”
“I could use 2-3 dollars if you got ’em.” I gave him ten. “Well hell, thank you!” he said.
I rode ten miles outside of Globe and pulled over in a wash on the Apache reservation. A few minutes later Jared came whizzing by.
“Jared!” I yelled. He went down to the end of the guardrail and climbed down into the ditch.
We cooked dinner, drank coffee, and talked over the day. Tomorrow would be the first Thanksgiving of my life I’d spent without family. Didn’t feel so bad in the ditch with a buddy, watching the sunset.
I thought about all the “thanks” I’d heard from down and out people on this trip. I reckoned that was thankgiving enough.