I don’t like traffic. I don’t like traffic. I don’t like traffic.
I love small towns with few cars. So why would David and I run on I-40 for 25 miles? No choice. No good choice, that is. From Exit 114 to Exit 140 on I-40 in New Mexico, the freeway is the only game in town.
Kris FB messaged a guy who said he walked over 1,000 miles on I-40 to inspire others. I didn’t find it the least bit inspiring, but I talked to a New Mexico police officer back in Grants who told us that the police understand that there is really no other option for people traveling across the country on foot so they’ll look the other way. He gave me the number to the New Mexico state police dispatch. “Call them,” he said. “Tell them what you’re doing and they’ll put the word out to the officers that you’ll be on the road.”
So I did. The morning of our freeway run, I called dispatch. We saw two police cars all day long and we might just as well have been invisible to them.
At about mile 137, we jumped the fence onto a frontage road that seemed to pop out of nowhere. Just in time too. Dusk and a big rain storm were approaching. A mile later, a woman named Atch’aa’habaa Bernice Chavez pulled up in her compact car. She said she had seen us from the freeway, drove four miles to offer us a ride. “That storm you see back there is coming your way.”
We told Bernice about our run and mission and she grew excited with our message. “My name means ‘The woman warrior that takes care of her surroundings,’” she said. My grandparents lived long lives. They told us to stick with our traditions. Don’t eat canned foods. Don’t take aspirin, it’s poison.” She told us about the misunderstanding involving a general’s horse that resulted in The Trail of Sorrow. She thanked us for the seeds we gave her and for reminding her of her grandparents’ words.
I asked Bernice if she wouldn’t mind me recording a few of her words. She graciously spoke as I recorded.
We ran all day on the freeway and didn’t talk to anyone. Then we got off the freeway and connected with a beautiful person in a beautiful way.
Kris arrived about 10 minutes later. We were soaked.