I had not been walking for 15 minutes when, simultaneously, a truck in each direction passed by me. Somehow, this created a tremendous gust and my umbrella almost came off my pack. I had to concentrate on holding onto everything. I later discovered that my hat, which had been loosely tied to the jogger, had blown off. It was a new hat, but I could easily do without it as my umbrella worked quite well.
On my right, in the distance, were the Chocolate Mountains, and on the left, the Salton Sea. When summer thunderstorms hit the mountains, flash floods roar down the washes and across the highway to the Sea. For miles, the highway dipped about ten feet at each wash and the undulations gave me a nice change from the monotonously flat terrain. I had started day one at an elevation of 189 feet below sea level and it had taken me 30 miles to reach sea level. I would gain less than 500 feet on my 110-mile walk.
By now, I had mastered the technique of refilling the bladder in just a couple of minutes and was well acclimatized to the heat. I decided to extend my walking day by three miles to give us a shorter last day. I still managed to finish the 21-mile day in eight hours. I was so energized that I felt I could walk forever. Of course, the problem would have been water. Typically, I consumed two-plus gallons of water and two quarts of Gatorade during my 18-mile walk. It was hard to believe that I needed to consume 20 pounds of liquids in such a short time.
On our way back to the motel, we looked for the missing hat, but alas, no luck.