Today’s distance / ???????: 30 miles / 49km
Average speed / ????: 8.6mph / 13.8km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 3h 30m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 3340mi plus 280mi (?) / 5376km plus 450km (?)
Ascent / ??: 120m
Descent / ??: 50m
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N126.96.36.199, W188.8.131.52
I didn’t get away from Deming until about 1pm today. Keith and his wife are a great couple and a pleasure to stay with. “No one leaves our place early,” Keith said, referring to other travelers that have stayed.
Keith is a Vietnam Vet, and still suffers from the effects of Agent Orange poisoning while on tour in Vietnam. He has extensive nerve end damage, including the soles of his feet, causing occasional falls. His hands shake uncontrollably when doing anything that requires a steady hand – writing, eating, drinking coffee. “Hey Rob, you want to see something?” Keith called out to me as I was working on his computer, uploading some photos.
I went to the kitchen, and he was holding a handful of pills out to show the amount of medication he was taking daily. He held his hands steady by gripping the unsteady hand with the other not-so-unsteady hand tightly.
Keith dropped me off at the WalMart where his wife, Mary works. I loaded up with food and water for the 58 mile skate to Lordsburg across more desert. I was hoping to find some source of water along the way, as I only carried 4.5 litres with me from Deming. I was feeling the weight of the pack as I rolled out of Deming.
About 15 miles out of Deming, I noticed a vehicle stopped on the side of the highway, just off the shoulder.
Three guys, one with a camera, one with a scooter, and one with a white piece of paper. As chance would have it, they were three students from Florida State University in Tallahassee, on a cross-US road trip, filming two separate documentaries, one serious, and one not so serious.
In any case, they were amazed to see me out on the highway in the middle of nowhere, and stopped to ask what I was doing. I gave them the usual run down, and suggested that they head to Mile Marker 54, about 15 miles away. I told them that I would be there in about two hours, and they could get some footage of someone breaking a world record. It didn’t take them long to accept, and I arranged to meet them up the road.
It took a little longer than two hours to get to Mile Marker 54. The slight tailwind that I had been enjoying turned on me again this afternoon and I pushed my way towards MM54 into a slight headwind.
As promised, the guys were there to see the event.
Just up the road was a rest area, where they had taken over a sheltered picnic shelter to interview me about my journey. Talk about good timing. We chatted about the journey, and they filmed the whole interview. They were amused that one of their documentaries was about one of the guys traveling across the US on his scooter (they were acting the whole thing, just riding the scooter occasionally), and here was a guy actually skateboarding across the US.
They left me with a gallon of water, and a few snack bars. Stoked. I was getting low on water, so the extra water would be essential for the remaining 30 miles to Lordsburg.
There would be no more skating today however, and I set up in the picnic area and took the rest of the afternoon off.
Thoughts on breaking the world record (Longest Journey by Skateboard – 3,615 miles):
There was no feeling of great relief or joy upon equaling the world record. No out of the ordinary emotion at all, really. Comparing this event with finally arriving at the North Sea coast in The Netherlands (Holland), I felt much more emotional at the North Sea coast.
I think this has something to do with the fact that this journey has never been about distances or records. Even though I may try to sell the world record aspect of the journey more heavily to media and potential sponsors (because it sounds good), this journey is still about traveling in unique, close-to-the-environment, human powered ways. No matter what form of human powered transport, crossing a continent by human power is a thrill that no intermediate record achieved in the interim can surpass.
As stoked as I am that I have this icing on the cake, a swim in the Pacific Ocean on the west coast of the US is something that I am looking forward to very much indeed.