King(man) of the Road. Days 91-92

The shorter day yesterday yielded a fairly respectable 30 miles, but I wanted more. After being emboldened by a nice, quiet, overnighter and reviewing advice I'd received on the first leg of the trip from Chris Finnill, I decided to introduce what I'll call my 4-2-1 strategy. The numbers apply to the miles run in a single effort, with a much slower effort for half a mile, coming up with a total of 8 miles. Obviously there's some flexibility in this, but do this 5 times in a day and we have 40 miles. This also allows me to run at a pace I feel is decent enough, without prolonged, unabated trauma to the muscles/joints. It seemed to work as I got to the 500 mile marker of this leg without even realising it and past the always annoying “run past where you stayed last night and had to drive 10 miles back from” marker. I got to run past some cool old deserted buildings and we had lunch at a place called “Santa Claus”, a settlement named after what must have been a permanent Santa's grotto, that had now fallen into heavy disrepair and was up for sale. This made me sad, as the sort of people who would run something like this, would, I imagine, be full of fun and enthusiasm and probably put everything they had financially and spiritually and to see it not succeed must have been a heartbreaker. I guess that's the risk in opening something so far from a big population centre and relying on through trade, a nod to the lack of apparent permanence in places I've felt, like Dolan Springs, which seems more permanent than many places I've been!

Our day's end lay in Kingman, a town famous for being on the junction of Route 66 and one of the few places where it is still intact and not replaced by an interstate. We had a bit of a bad time at the truck stop where we stayed as first of all, the generator which was supposed to have been in tip top condition now, had conked out again. Soul destroying. Secondly, we were woken up by a very rude truck driver (the only rude one I've met so far!) who demanded (not a hint of asking) we moved and let him park where we were (even though we had permission to park there and there were tons of spaces left). He had the archetypal small man syndrome and was a real bully. As the unwritten rule of parking in a truck stop is to not upset truckies (fair enough) I admitted defeat, but not before winding him up to the point of almost seeing steam come from his ears and we moved to a different stop, as he looked the type to not let things go quietly. Jenny wouldn't start. If she hadn't done this a few times in the last week, I'd have thought she was telling me to stand my ground, but this was another problem that needed sorting. The emergency starter saved us embarrassment. Another incident that evening ensured we didn't get to bed until after 1am. Tomorrow was going to hurt. Looking for positives, we had found a specialist RV garage in town that could fit us in and look at the generator. We hoped this was going to be more fruitful than last time.

Start: 2.6 miles after Rosie's Den Cafe on Highway 93. Finish: TA Kingman Truck Stop. 41.0 miles. Day 91 Tune of the Day: The Beatles – Don't Let Me Down. This was my overriding feeling when we booked Jenny in for her second medical in the space of a week.

What do we like after a late night? An early morning phone call. However, I couldn't complain, as it was Aaron, a reporter from the Kingman Daily Miner, whom we'd spoken to yesterday. He wasn't to know about our night-time dramas so we didn't hold it against him. He drove me into town to do some photos near the regenerated Powerhouse and rail locomotives that are part of the recent drive to make the most of Kingman's heritage. Aaron was a great guy and the interview was more of a long chat, which wasn't a concern, time-wise as we were only able to drop Jenny off after lunch. There is always a fine balancing act between what Nads and I want when things go wrong, with me always having one eye on the mile count and Nads not wanting to be left with all the work to do. Last night was so stressful, it was left in no doubt that if I wasn't going to filed under “asshole” I would have to the decent thing and take a drastically chopped distance for the day. Which, when I stepped out of my bubble was the obvious thing to do. I trundled from the truck stop to the garage, taking the opportunity to do my own Route 66 roadtrip. It was hardly Billy Connolly on a trike, but fun nonetheless. It did make me think I'd like to try and do the whole thing one day. Having been at the start, in Santa Monica and hopefully getting to the end, in Chicago, in June, I'll have to fill in some blanks.

Now going to a mechanic is, to me, like what I imagine going to the vets is like for most people. You sort of know a bit, but haven't really got the first idea, or the tools how to do most things. Now with a good service, there is usually a cost and of course this is the scary bit, especially when you've had some bad experiences. You sort of hope for the best, go on some reviews (disregarding any ones that sound a bit too similar!) and hope for the best, again. The guys at Russel's RV were super friendly, obviously wanted to help and when we asked about a job that we were told was dealer only previously simply said “Yeah, we'll take a look”. This was all too easy and I felt like there was going to be a catch. The only catch was discussing the run with John, one of the guys there, as he'd seen me running from Vegas a couple of days earlier with his wife! As you can tell, this wasn't really a catch and I was more than happy to. Big country, small world. After a couple of hours, our broken window mechanism was fixed, a new battery and the generator was sorted. I'm pretty sure the bill we got was them keeping things as low as they could too. Thanks guys.

This mini-success meant I could try and smash out the 16 miles or so to the truck stop on the other side of town, though time meant it was going to have to be in one hit. A couple of miles on tarmac segued into gravel, then sand, undulating 30ft or so at a time and it was like this for a good bit of the run. A real leg sapper. The total distance may not have been much, but circumstances meant this was a really hard run, so when I got to the truck stop and saw they had a Dunkin' Donuts, there would be no mercy. I bumped into a group of travellers that had been admiring my neon Pegasus Unlimited shoes (same as Sir Mo's!) and shared a few jokes with them, including my terrible Ringo Starr impression that I like to do when someone says they recognise my accent. It's funny how a day can be rescued by just a couple of things going right.

Start: TA Kingman Truck Stop. Finish: Petro Truck Stop, Kingman. 22.22 miles. Day 92 Tune of the Day: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Jack the Ripper. This is a brilliant, typical Cave tune that came on as I was cursing the sand hills. “I got a woman...she rules my house with an iron fist. Yeah, yeah yeah!”. Now I'm not saying Nads does that...but I know who's boss! Mostly because she talks sense.

Total: 2,768.32 miles (538.68 miles this leg).