Yesterday was difficult. 82 miles, 90 degrees, 90% humidity, 20 MPH wind, no shade anywhere and only a single gas station in the entire 10 hour ride. I drank 7 liters of water over the course of the day, refilling my bottles from farmers taps.
At one point, there was an oasis of shade trees and long grass and flowers (in the pictures below). I stopped there to rest. As I was chewing some trail mix, I noticed a small bug climbing one of the stalks of grass near my leg. There was another bug climbing another stalk near him, and another near that one. Ticks! They were everywhere, including on me. I picked off the ones I could see, and left as fast as I could.
As the long day went on, exhaustion forced me to stop with increasing frequency, eventually every 3 or 4 miles. Demoralizing delays that pushed the end of the ride farther into the future.
At the height of my discouragement, I saw a someone walking along the shoulder of the road, pulling a bike trailer like a wagon behind him. He was 20 years old, had left Delaware in February and was crossing the US on foot, walking not hitchhiking, headed toward San Francisco.
I'm proud of SF sometimes, which offers all the world's misfits a home, and encouraged that they are still making their way there, even on foot.