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It was the summer of ’92, the heat was almost unbearable, and the only animals out in this heat were my friend and I.
My friend, Jim Johnson, and I were on a four-wheeling adventure in his Jeep. We were planning on crossing the Mojave desert in two days. Everything was going as planned and we were going to do it, but then, tragedy struck.
As we were going up a fairly steep slope, we felt the front of the jeep start to rise. Slowly and steadily, the jeep continued to tip. The feeling of helplessness overcame both of us. The jeep continuing to tip, slowly gained speed as the engine was being pulled down by gravity. With a thud, the roof of the jeep crumbled like a tin can, and the jeep continued to cartwheel down the rocky slope, until coming to rest at the bottom. The jeep, on its roof, was completely destroyed. Both Jim and I crawled out of his Jeep to investigate the damage.
“Well it looks like we ain’t goin’ nowhere,” Jim said as he wiped the blood off of his face from shattered glass.
“Well, s***,” I said,” Looks like we’re hoofin’ it.”
It was four hours to the nearest town driving; and twelve hours walking. The desert was like an oven, constant heat, trying to bake you as you tried to escape. We were wrecked near a dry riverbed and we thought it would be an easy path. The riverbed floor was sand, sucking you in with every step, almost like walking in snow.
“Well, we might as well get started,” I said after a silence, while contemplating what to do.
“Yeah, we ain’t gettin’ any farther just standin’ here,” Jim agreed.
We set off on a hike through the blazing hot desert in search of a water source first, because we hadn’t brought much water with us. Being we were only going to be gone for two days, we hadn’t thought we needed it. The heat was drying us out like two grapes soon to be raisins. We soon had very little water, and with no water source in sight, we began to become slightly dehydrated.
“Well, I think we need to just head for town, instead of water,” Jim said.
“Yeah, we probably should,” I agreed, with my mind going a hundred miles a minute.
As we started walking, I saw something in the distance, maybe it was just a mirage, but it could also have been a pond that would save our lives. I started running towards it because either way, it wouldn’t matter. If it was water, we were saved, if it was a mirage, we were closer to town. In midstride, the pond disappeared, and I collapsed into a heap in the middle of that riverbed.
“Hey,” Jim said, ”There’s something over there.”
I looked and there was a building, far off, but just in sight. As I was looking, I could see the heat waves distorting the building, and figured it was another mirage, but we started walking toward it, leaving our riverbed to cross the rocky terrain.
Within an hour, we were to the building, we both bolted through the glass door and basked in the air conditioned, cool air. The sales clerk came out of the back room and saw us in our battered ways, and asked what happened. We explained the ordeal over a couple of cokes.