I couldn't justify the expense of flying or renting a car. For only $30, Greyhound will take a patient passenger from Las Vegas to el Cajon in 14 hours, counting a truly sketchy 4 hour layover in Los Angeles in the middle of the night. I cannot think of a better motivation for backpacking than this urban nightmare.
Luckily, the overnight monotony was dispersed by a visit from a friend and former coworker who happened to be free for a three hour rap session at the terminal. I was tired, barely coherent, but Ron kept the conversation slowly rolling. When I left for the bus, I felt refreshed from friendly company. Then I pushed through a small crowd of gawkers interested in an overdosing indigent man, and shrugged right back into my blanket of warm misanthropy.
Bus drivers, passengers, gate folks, they all have done this a million times. Instead of being helpful, they have cultivated an intimidating level of visible exasperation. It became clear that I had made some mistake by not predicting what to do and where to do it at each transfer point. Man, it made me want to get walking all the more.
From El Cajon to Campo, I talked with a guy frim Germany, who came to the states just to walk this trail. He had questions about poison oak and bears and snakes, and I struggled to use my fading German vocabulary on him. Then, an hour into the bus ride, my inner ear noticed how curvy the road was and that I was facing a side window. I nearly puked on Greenhorn.
All day hiking in the humidity, that motion sickness stuck with me. I vomited walking to the monument, at the monument, then walking from it. Nausea slammed into me at unpredictable moments all day. Moved a lovely C. ruber ruber off of the trail, then nearly hurled on her. Spoke to some hiker named Chad, and nearly had to end the conversation for the same reason.
In 11 or so miles (counting the walk to the start monument), I went through 3 liters of precious water, then had to mix some with gatorade powder to replace all that crap. Tonight, I'm stuck at mile 9 with 2.4 liters left for breakfast and the 6.5 mile hike to the next source. Hope I'm not dehydrating myself by puking tomorrow!