3,000 miles of Livin' on the Edge. Days 98-99

Hangover or no hangover...drumroll...no hangover! Just the long drive back to where I'd been forced to chuck in the towel yesterday. This was followed by a trek past the tens of RV Parks that had knocked us back yesterday as they only cater to over-55's. We had to beg to get a space in the KOA which was full to the brim. I past the sign signifying the start/end of Apache Junction and got onto Highway 60 again, which would take us up into the mountains before dropping us onto the 70 for our entry (re-entry!) into New Mexico. I often pass things I wish I had more time for and today it was a local gas station that had a 10 tap craft beer filling station – buy a container and off you go. Wonderful idea…

The terrain was mostly open desert and scrub to begin with though as we climbed into the mountains and the Tonto National Forest (The largest National Forest in Arizona and named, reputedly, after a splinter group of Apaches who were deemed foolish for living in such a remote location, away from trading routes), it became quite spectacular with valleys and peaks, dotted with Saguaros and Palo Verdes. I managed to sneak onto another road construction site which is nice to switch off from traffic and have a slightly softer surface underfoot all the way into the last town of the day – a little place called Superior with a littler museum – the World's Smallest Museum, apparently. It was unfortunately closed, but you could make out some of the artefacts of daily life that it contained. I wasn't too upset as I'd had another point of focus occupying my mind all day. This was the day we would pass the 3,000 mile total at a lay-by a further climb up from the town. Nads was waiting and filming as I unfurled my banner stating the achievement and it was great to have it right at the end of the day as it was met with relief, as much as anything. While we were mucking about taking photos, a couple of cars pulled up to see if we were OK. The drivers were Kenny and Sheba, a local couple who'd had quite an eventful day themselves involving a detour, corn on the cob and a breakdown. You can make up your own version of events! They were very excited and glad they'd stopped, offering dinner at theirs, water for now, a lift if we needed it...the moon on a stick. We explained that we were OK, Kenny grabbed a photo and they promised to follow the journey...would they?

Start: Dutton Family Theatre, Mesa. Finish: Highway 60, 1.5 miles north of Superior. 39.5 miles. Day 98 Tune of the Day: Alice Cooper – Poison. Phoenix http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq4j1LtCdww

Well the answer to that question was a resounding yes! Sheba messaged me first thing to see what are whereabouts were going to be as she wanted to grab a photo, as she didn't the previous night, buy us lunch and possibly bring her Aunt along too! This was fine with us and we agreed to meet her in Globe about 25 miles in. First of all I had to negotiate a reportedly dangerous tunnel and a tough first few miles, with a 1500 foot climb on the cards. On the approach to the tunnel, there was an unusual, but poignant sign. The words were “The consequences of jumping from this bridge are FATAL AND TRAGIC”. Above it there was a number for a crisis hotline. This makes you take a step back and contemplate a lot of stuff, when you wonder what sort of turmoil people have gone through to find themselves requiring the info from these signs. I hope the hotline is the decision people would take. I looked over the edge. I started running again. Quickly. The tunnel wasn't so bad and to be honest, the hill felt fine and I met Nads at a place aptly named “Top-of-the World” and onto Miami – the Copper Capital of the World, apparently, complete with ugly scarred hillsides where mountains are reduced bit by bit to nothing. I didn't get to see the historic centre, but it was a sad sight from the 60, with most businesses closed and it resembling more of a ghost city in this part of town. I hope that once the mining companies have finished here they do something to help the town, but we all know how those things usually go, hey? I chuckled as I saw the most bizarre sight of a herd of cows grazing hay on a 60 degree slope, more suited to mountain goats, or the Bighorn sheep that roam these parts. Apparently it is to encourage vegetation on the slopes to try and make these spoil heaps a bit more attractive. Globe was a much bigger place and seemed to go on forever...but most places seem like that to me before lunch. We met Sheba, though her aunt couldn't make it and she was true to her word, buying us lunch, regaling us of tales of the area, how many people she'd told about the run and the full story about the corn on the cob incident. I'd met Sheba on the road, prior to lunch, with her whooping from the car window, then filming me on the approach! We were chatting away so much, I was now getting behind, so we tore ourselves away, but not before she'd given me two very kind gifts, a type of stone called an Apache Tear and also an amethyst, polished by her dad, who unfortunately isn't around anymore. I found it hard to accept as it meant a lot to her, but she wanted me to have it to help relieve stress and that's what it'll do! II couldn't help but be in a good mood after that and I was also pretty well rested, so the privilege of then being able to run through the San Carlos Apache Reservation was really something else. I'm not one for being all new-age, but I felt that I had some sort of connection with...something...the history, the land, the people...I don't know. What I do know is that it was a really uplifting experience and listening to the Tune of the Day made we wonder whether we can arrest the slide this world seems to be in… DEEP. Lucky Nads was up the road to take me back to the RV Park and get me out of this contented melancholy. I was probably hungry.

Start: Highway 60, 1.5 miles north of Superior. Finish: Highway 70, 9.5 miles east of Apache Gold Casino RV resort. 41.0 miles. Day 99 Tune of the Day: Aerosmith – Livin' on the Edge. The lyrics seemed very prescient, 25 years after they were written and this came on as I was running through some amazing scenery in the Apache Reservation. It made me want to hug my two charities for the work they're doing. I am of course, always Livin' on the Edge currently… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7nqcL0mjMjw

Total: 3041.72 miles