Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lindsey Checks In

Hello all, this is Lindsey, one of Cody's other sisters, finally posting a bit about my trip to see Cody last weekend. First of all, I would like to say it is a good thing that Clover updates the blog as obviously I am not very prompt. Also I am trying to upload some pictures but I am at Mom and Dad's which is still in dial-up world. (Not their fault really, somehow there are no DSL or cable internet options available to them out here on the farm) So I waited forever for the pictures to load and some of them did but some didn't and I really don't get it. It said they loaded but I can't see them so... A few pictures seem to have worked but they really weren't the interesting ones.

So just a few weeks ago my friend, Larae and I decided we should go find Cody and take him some cookies. Obviously we could have mailed them but the hand delivery sounded like more fun from our end. So we decided to meet up in Las Vegas and take a little road trip. It was a spur of the moment decision and perhaps not very well thought out since we had not idea where Cody would be by the time we got there.
Larae grew up in Alaska and lived there when I first moved up. She later moved to Bend, OR and Cody hung out with her a bit when he was working in the area. She is always up for a good time and she has been following Cody's walk closely.

So I flew to Las Vegas on Thursday night and did some hiking at Red Rock Canyon on Friday and LaRae arrived in Las Vegas Saturday morning. We had a 760 mile drive ahead of us. After getting out of the city and getting some breakfast we were ready to hit the road around 11:00. That meant with pretty steady driving, we got to Alamogordo just a little after midnight. Driving that far through the southwestern landscape definitely gives you some perspective on just how big a job Cody is undertaking. Even with only a 75 MPH speed limit to slow you down, the scenery seems fairly monotonous and unchanging. It is beautiful and impressive but also stark and inhospitable. At least with the two of us we could talk to pass the time. It would have been pretty lonely by yourself. I am sure in the wide open areas, at 3-4 miles per hour you could walk for several hours and still see essentially all the same landmarks in most directions. It would be hard to convince yourself you were really making progress.
We called Cody as we were getting into town and I could hear sirens in the background. It seemed almost fitting considering his many previous encounters with the law. Anyway, the flashing lights were a nice help so we knew we were getting close. Of course, Cody was not in anyway involved in what ever was going on but they were just across the street from him.

It was really good to see Cody again. We can't help worrying a bit now and then so it was good to have living proof that he really was alive and well. He was looking rather tired and I felt bad having kept him up so late. For the record, we had offered to pick him up wherever he was on his way to Cloudcroft but he had assured me he could hitch a ride back to town no problem. When I heard he had walked back about 8 of the 13 miles he had covered that day I felt pretty sorry for him.

We stayed in a motel in town there and although Cody had insisted mightily that he would just sleep on the floor, after flopping down on the bed when he walked in the door it wasn't too hard to convince him he should take advantage of the situation and have a comfortable night. Cody says it is harder to get comfortable on the ground in the cold weather because you instinctively want to curl up to stay warm but it is very uncomfortable laying on your side on the hard ground. Having done a bit of cold weather camping in the southwest last spring myself I could commiserate a little bit. Of course since we were in a car we had piles of gear to make the camping more comfortable but I never had a good night sleep until I discovered how nice foot warmer and hand warmers were inside a cold sleeping bag. I bought Cody a bunch before I left him so I am hoping he will try it out.

On Sunday morning we drove up to Ruidoso for a meeting. It was nice to meet some great folks there. Cody's fame had preceded him as the people he had meet with Wednesday night had called the folks in Ruidoso and told them to expect him. Afterwards we were all invited to stay for Sunday dinner. It was a delectable ham dinner with all the fixings including quite possibly the best corn bread we had ever had. Cody was definitely enjoying good home cooking. Our hosts were Glenn and Becky and their children; a great family. They were very interested in Cody's unusual adventure and enjoyed hearing some of his stories from the road. Walking across country is a great conversation starter. No one passes up the chance to ask more questions once they hear what he is doing.
When we were ready to leave Becky packed up the leftovers and sent them along with us. Cody was had told me before we got there that he just wanted to feel full again and I think we achieved that goal. Between Clover's gingersnaps and peanut butter cookies and Larae's fudge and almond roca and generous amounts of assorted junk food and then a marvelous ham dinner and leftovers Cody was full to the gills.
When we first arrived in Alamogordo we told Cody that we really wanted to go for a hike Sunday afternoon and then maybe camp out! Although we tried to keep a straight face we just couldn't do it. For some reason that didn't sound like a relaxing day to Cody:)

Sunday afternoon we went to White Sands National Monument. When Cody had walked past the entrance to the park on Friday he had considered walking in the eight miles to the main attraction, the Heart of the Dunes area. However, I assured him we could go down there and visit it with a car. Somehow the side attractions lose their appeal a bit when they require 16 miles of extra walking. The sand dunes were really amazing. The landscape reminded us of the Yukon in the wintertime. They plow the roads there to get all the sand off the road and it looks just like plowed snow with white hills as far as you can see. It was a strange sensation to get out of the car to warm air. It was a beautiful afternoon with clear blue skies and we soaked it up. Having just come from Alaska, the sun was amazing, bright and warm. We played around a bit, sliding down the slopes and writing in the sand.
Then we headed back to Alamogordo for a lazy evening. Cody did some laundry and we drove around the town exploring a little bit. I think we likely had a lot more fun than it made sense to be having. Larae and I never seem to stop laughing when we get together and when you add Cody to the mix it just gets even more ridiculous. So it didn't take much to keep us entertained. It is usually hard to tell if we are laughing with or at each other but luckily we are good enough friends it doesn't even matter. I have a feeling Cody was usually laugh at us. I think he enjoyed some down time and some human companionship even if it was with his crazy sister and her friend.

Monday morning we drove up the road to Cloudcroft. Cody had stashed his stroller ten miles up the road which was really steep and curvy. We continued past the stroller and scouted out the road the rest of the 6 1/2 miles to the top of the hill. Neither Larae nor I were envying Cody that walk. In Cloudcroft, we mailed some postcards to all Cody's and my adorable nieces and nephews and then returned to the stroller.

Cody had hid the stroller well and the only vandals who had found it were rodents. Cody's loaf of bread and his candy bag were all chewed up. Cody had a whole bag of fireballs in the stroller and the mouse had chewed into several of the balls. The idea of mice getting a taste of red hot fireballs was a small comfort to Cody. Perhaps it taught the mouse that crime really doesn't pay.

We spent some time going through the contents of the stroller cleaning up all the chewed up bits of wrappers and twizzlers. (Cody was quite broke up about throwing away the entire bag of twizzlers but the mouse had made it pretty evident he had sampled each stick individually.) Cody was a bit embarrassed to have us going through the entire stroller. He said it was a bit like having company when your house is a mess! Although Cody really doesn't carry much extra in his stroller, it inevitably gets a bit untidy after a full day or so of walking with out a gas station or somewhere to dispose of the trash.

Also Cody was attempting to downsize a bit. He convinced me against my better judgment to take his lighter jacket and some shorts back home since he was convinced he wouldn't need them. I thought he should keep the extra jacket in case he needed to bundle up but he was certain that his winter coat he just got in a package from home along with all his other clothing was plenty and he wanted to lighten his load. He also sent home his first pair of sneakers. He hated to throw them away since they weren't completely worn out yet. They just weren't suitable for a full day of walking. They were responsible for some pretty horrendous blisters and he had given in and bought a new pair but continued to carry the old pair with him. I wonder how many more pairs of sneakers he will use to get to the east coast.

Larae and I had a loaf of bread in the car that we had got to make some sandwiches for our trip back to Las Vegas so we were more than happy to donate some of the loaf to Cody to replace his chewed up loaf and we also weighted him down with other assorted goodies including a couple diet Pepsis. Cody and I have always been pretty steady diet Pepsi drinkers but he has given it up on this trip since it doesn't fit in his budget and of course just plain water is healthier. I felt a bit bad being a supplier to his habit... But I figure just a drink or two couldn't hurt.... We both quit frequently but since neither of us like any other source of caffeine it is difficult to stay committed.

We were impressed with Cody's stroller system. He has a couple of bungees and a tarp and everything has its place. All his cargo is securely fastened and even somewhat organized. His rubber tires are in very bad repair but he just keeps replacing the tubes and manages to get along.

Once we were sure Cody was in good shape we left him. I think we were both feeling pretty sorry for him at that point; standing on the side of the road on a cold windy morning with 6 1/2 miles of steep hills ahead. We had to remind ourselves that he was there by choice and he was very upbeat about the whole thing so we really didn't need to feel too sorry. However once we had covered well over a hundred miles in our climate controlled, comfy rental car, we realized that he was still likely not finished with that little section of road and we had to remind ourselves yet again. The fact that we were both heading home for Christmas added to our guilt. We do have it pretty good,

We had a lot of snow around Flagstaff on our way back to Las Vegas and for a good while we were creeping along at 20 mph. We also encountered rain and hail and a thunder and lighting storm. We were very late getting to our hotel so we didn't check in with Cody again until the following day.

As it turned out he had had a pretty good day after we left him. Once he got back up to Cloudcroft the hard way, he hung out for a little while. We had seen the pie store he had been told about so I think maybe that was a stop. Cody has never seen a pie he didn't like. He said everyone in Cloudcroft was super friendly and helpful. Once he was refreshed, he started heading down the other side of the hill. (A bit easier than uphill but hard on your knees) Later that evening, two guys saw him and talked to him and then came back later with some warm soup for supper and about 10 miles downhill (16 1/2 miles for the day) a guy who was building some rental cabins stopped him and told him he was welcome to crash for the night in one of the cabins. He had planned to go a bit further but that was too good of an opportunity to pass up. The cabins weren't finished but they had heat and hot water so he had a very nice evening with a warm meal, a hot shower, and a warm and dry spot on the floor. It really is amazing the generosity of random strangers. It definitely reaffirms my faith in our fellow human beings.

Well I guess I have rambled long enough. I will happily be turning the blogging responsibilities back over to Clover. She has been very excited about posting the latest news about Cody's Christmas and all but I have been holding up the works since she is striving for some sort of chronological order to this thing.

I think she will likely be posting again soon. So check back to read all about the latest exciting developments.