Day 5 of Jumping

Jill here:
Our longest day yet! 520 miles. From Bakersfield, California to Phoenix, Arizona. Sunshine all the way and no traffic!
I did a lot of driving today, which was fine by me because it was smooth sailing on the scenic highways. My mama was able to take a few naps with the sun beating down on her. We drove through 16 national wilderness areas and spent about 3.5 minutes on the Old Route 66.
I saw the signs for Route 66 and kept reminiscing about the movie, Cars, and how inviting the old highway looked in the movie. So, as I pictured cruising along with Mater on Route 66, I took the exit only to find the highway in desperate need of Lightning McQueen to repave it. I think there was a reason the sign read, “Old Highway Route 66″.
As we were nearing the state line between California and Arizona, we were in need of gas but there were no stations in sight. Finally, we came to the end of the highway and there was one little station at Vidal Junction. It was the highest gas price we paid so far at $4.89/gallon, but it was our favorite stop of the day. Here’s why…
We pumped our gas and while we were paying my mom noticed a selection of pictures on the wall with a guy bicycling with an enormous mound of garbage bags in tow. When she asked the gas station attendant about the picture, he explained that the guy sitting outside the front door was the guy in the picture. He bicycles along certain stretches of highway out in the desert and picks up anything recyclable and garbage. Then he attaches it to his bicycle and rides 17-46 miles into a major town and gets paid for it. This is how he makes his living.
Of course after hearing this incredible story, we had to walk outside and meet the man…and ask to take his picture.
Martin Pigue was sitting on a little stool outside. He was selling American flags and if you wanted your windshield washed he would do it for a small fee. He wore a striking white cowboy hat and he had a winsome personality. He had golden skin and piercing blue eyes. We chatted with him about his extraordinary job and he allowed me to take his picture. By the time I shook his hand and said goodbye, my mom had already engaged in another conversation with another traveler at the gas station.
My mama has a beautiful way of connecting with people no matter what the situation is.
When I joined my mom in her conversation with a lady from Jonesboro, Maine, they had already exchanged their reasons for being on the road. The lady, Janice and her husband had just flown in to a nearby city and were visiting friends in surrounding cities. Janice explained that her husband had just been diagnosed with cancer and it was spreading throughout his body so they were taking a “last” trip to see friends. After my mom shared her story, Janice kept expressing how inspiring my mom’s story was to her. As we were saying our goodbye’s, Janice stated one more time to my mom, “It was great meeting you. You made my day”.
My mom felt so encouraged the rest of the day. She kept saying, “My story is inspiring to someone!”
I wholeheartedly agree, mama! Your story is inspiring to more than one person though! You are inspiring many!
Well, we are headed to bed now! Long day traveling tomorrow as we make our way through Arizona, New Mexico and hopefully get a good start on the other large state…Texas!
Here are some pictures of our adventures today on the road! These are in no particular order. See if you can spot the one of my mama’s infamous kleenex:)
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