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Monday, March 2, 2015

Day 46 - "Let me tell you a story" / Phoenix Bound

The heavy rain that fell overnight had slowed to a steady light rain as I left the hotel.

Checking the radar I decided I needed to hang out for an hour or two allowing the rain to stay ahead of my travels to Phoenix today.

Of course my hangout of choice was McDonalds across the Colorado River in Bullhead City, AZ.

While I was downloading my podcasts this one guy with the messiest/dirty laptop keyboard and screen to my right caught my interest. He was on the phone with the computer repair shop in Las Vegas to get it fixed.  I thought the keyboard was bad from food and drink particles, but as we strike up a conversation he tells me he has a computer virus.  

It turns out to be a ransom virus that he got when he was trying to watch racing online and he got a pop up on the screen saying he needed the latest Adobe Player to view the races so he clicks the link and its a bogus pop up and the link installed the virus.  Ouch! I actually felt bad for him as he is Canadian down for the winter and the virus attacked his online banking on his laptop and he got a call from the bank asking about trying to make a transaction and he said it wasn't him.  They froze his account.  Ouch again!

I can see how this happened.  From time to time we get legitimate pop ups on the screen and download the update.  He just did what came natural.

He left for the hour ride to Vegas.

Then a commotion started between a man who was on his laptop and a guy with his wife.  The guy with the wife who are in their 70's made a loud-enough to hear comment about people using the WIFI and sucking up seating space and it was directed to the other guy in his learnt 60's with the laptop.  He took exception with the negative outburst and a 3 minute soliloquy ensued from the guy with the laptop.  By the way McDonalds was busy but the complainer was already seated and there were still open seats.

While this was going on I made a comment to the guy to my left that was closest to me.  We were both sitting on stools.  He asked what was going on as he has a hard time hearing.

After giving him the lowdown we sparked up a conversation that lasted well over an hour.  He is Jack from Des Moines and is 80.  He travels the southwest by himself since his wife of 47 years died a few years ago.

He is wearing blue jeans, blue jean button down shit with white tee under with some words that I can't see on it.  Over the shirt he had a blue jean jacket, the kind with the built in gray hoodie that makes it look like you are layering a sweatshirt & separate jacket.  He is wearing a ball cap from Mexico and white sneakers with two Velcro straps.

Why do I tell you all this? Well let me tell you a story he says.  He told a story after story after story.

He must have told me 25 stories.  He is well off financially having run a successful concrete business for 42 years.  He plays poker at casinos most nights and does quite well from what he says.  He moves from Las Vegas Casinos to Laughlin Casinos back and forth a week at a time since he left Des Moines last November.  

He told stories of he and his wife driving trips back and forth to Mexico driving all over the country in the 90's. When his wife's health started to fail they traveled to southern Texas and stay there.

He calls himself a storyteller and he is right that he is.  Very interesting man.  He asked me if I was lonely driving around by myself and I said no I haven't been lonely at all,  I meet people everywhere I go and have such interesting conversations like we were having.  

He then asked if I was lonely for all the hours I drive in the car and I said no to this as well explaining that I go to McDonalds for the unsweetened ice tea and download podcasts to listen to on the way.  He doesn't have a smart phone.

Thinking about his question of me being lonely I think I am much more reserved at home than on the road.  On the road I talk to many people and most I meet like sharing their experiences.

I felt bad about telling him that I needed to hit the road now as I think he enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed his stories.  I couldn't get away that easy and I think I got two or three more stories before  my final goodbye.

I would never have made him as well todo and I guess this is his image when he plays poker.  He tells me that when he is playing stone face players at the table he will start telling stories.  I asked him if that was part of his game to distract the other players.  I didn't get an answer but I did get a smile.

The skys were now clearing so I decided to head south to I10 and then west to Phoenix avoid any rain and leftover flooding.  Other than interstates out here that have culverts for runoff route 95 is asphalt poured on the curvature of the land and is subject to flooding.

Even with my delay I needed to watch for gullies where the wash crosses the road. At least I got a decent rinse of the dust off the Prius from the rain.  It was looking very dusty.

The Colorodo Belle from the AZ side of the Colorado.

Heading south on 95 here was a left over shower not bothering anyone in the desert.

Since I was following in behind the storm I got to see some interesting clouds.

After heading south to Parker, AZ I then headed west to Phoenix.

I caught this leftover storm north of I10 and west of Phoenix.

When the sun got low enough I got the partial rainbow.

I stopped for gas at Pilot and dinner at the connected Denny's and my plan worked as you can see the major rain had moved out and it was now 7:00 pm so the traffic was less.

Phoenix city lights as I passed through for my stealth camping for the night.


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