I like to start with the title, yet, it could be so many things from “Made it”, “Arrived”, “Finally Free”, “Dispersed Camping, Night Zero”.
It’s eleven forty three already, so we’re going to have to go quick (found the title.)
Woke up plenty early enough today to go to court (again) by nine, yet I decided to give it some time. Why rush my second time around? Let’s just chill and smoke a bowl. All good. Nice warm sunny morning, the weather is starting to get nice. Cool temps, yet dry. Right now windy. Not new Mexico breezy, NW windy. NW wind advisory windy.
Just about then my phone rings. The private line. It’s the cops. Just what you’re not expecting while puffing at the public park. This was about ten or so, the lady finally returned my message I left last week, pre my visit yesterday. I kept my eyes peeled doubly now and said I’d be up in an hour or so, as I was in no rush to leave Jal. No worries as she stopped trying to look up my files, I’ll have everything ready when you get here, she said.
Finished the bowl, relaxed and enjoyed the bliss on knowing, that God willing, I was about to walk into my final court appearance, a month early, completely prepared and full expecting to receive a full dismissal (and a free pen.) Did that, got that, headed back to the park a free man, all good again in the eyes of New Mexico and with my copies of papers to prove it. Then I just sat around, relaxed and fed the ducks. I shared my tortilla and blueberry lunch with them. The blueberries only after the suggestion from a friend- who’s now got me wondering how she knew the other item I was having for lunch!
The video doesn’t show, yet next when the blueberries came out, they were confused. As if I was throwing pebbles at them, dodging them. Yet one curious fellow figured it out and got half a dozen of them before the rest started to follow him. Even then, not all of them liked them, they would kind of chase them down, then always let the other get them first. Even if I gave them a good advantage. Oh well, more for the rest of us.
Uncomfortably tantalized over where to go, which direction, or to stay. Didn’t want to get stuck staying or get hit leaving again. I prayed, quickly and briefly. I was already fueled up, from my first attempt to leave, and since then I’d only driven to the court building twice, the grocery store twice (or was it three times,) and otherwise had just moved my vehicle around the park from time to time (never idling for heat, as Jal has free electricity on tap.)
eleven fifty six. Left jal expecting the eighty mile an hour limit, I don’t really like it. Nope, fifty five almost all the way, a few spots seventy even. New Mexico is more reasonable in matters of highway speed and at least highway one twenty eight was as smooth as could be. At that speed, they were almost too smooth. It felt likely I was just gliding on air with zero negative influence from the roadway. This was nice, this was very nice. I was not comfortable driving, or specifically, leaving today. Same conditions, same bumper to bumper traffic after the same intersection. Yet it’s reassuring to me, as that even a perfectly smooth road can not give that performance if the vehicle doesn’t match it.
Only a seventy mile drive (yet at fifty five, still an hour and a half.) Got to Walmart. felt good to relax and smoke a bowl. The drive was nice, yet I have just as much (and more after this week) anxiety while driving. I’m not sure if force feeding it like this is any better, yet maybe.. at least I’m getting someplace.
Let’s interrupt, why Walmart? Well it checked all the boxes, it would have (I had hoped, one item short) everything I need for the next destination, if I timed it late, it could even be the nightly destination. I couldn’t really decide on which BLM location I wanted to stay at for the next fourteen days, it just seemed too large of a choice. And it was close to half dozen pot shops. Walmart solidified it though, full supply stop, and an hour and a half closer to each of the three plotted BLM locations.
I don’t know. Same as my physical recovery maybe? Or the same type of problem at least. How hard are you supposed to push? How much discomfort should you endure, or should you have to endure for the basic activities of daily living? Driving today, even at night was so much better at fifty five and seventy rather that seventy five and eighty in Texas.
I went in with only mental head list of items. I only needed a few things, and food. Yet as I walked around so many things looked good and I couldn’t remember which food items would be best. So, one problem at a time, I was too hungry to think. I looked around for anything I would want to eat right then- a loaf of fresh baked Walmart French bread- checked out, walked out to my car and ate dinner.
Then, I made a list (mental though, I still haven’t used that pen,) went shopping, checked out again, walked out and put away groceries (I kinda miss the drive that used to separate those tasks, yet when the fridge and dry goods are in the backseat…) Then I went back in a third time to use the Walmart bathroom. As that along with showers will be the commodities for me to keep aware of.
Then I visited one pot shop open in til ten in town. Where I got another quarter, one hundred and eighteen. Ridiculous. I was hoping for the prices Brandon had told me they had in Hobbs, yet I wasn’t willing to drive that far out of my way to find out myself. I set a budget, their prices set the volume of the sale. Oh well, less pot, however it does look and smell amazing. Waiting for me to publish this post to find out!
So many details. Walmart shopping, two full laps with aisles up and down, and the last walk in felt great too. Best though was my Mini Wheats. Lowes doesn’t stock the strawberry kind that I like, so I had to tolerate plain frosting the last few days. (And this is where my writings may deviate from many other homeless people, I have a supple food budget care of the State of Michigan.)
In any case, it looked like they were out, I went up and down the aisle a few times. Yet there next to the plentiful bland kind of frosted mini wheats, was a big empty space in the shelf. And the tall shelf, the backup shelf. Empty. Cleaned out.
I shook my head in disbelief. This is Walmart.
I stood back a shelf and spotted it. One box of Strawberry Mini Wheats, at the very back of the tall shelf. As I went for it, one guy to my right looked at me, I excused myself as I bolted forward. Tippy toes, both of them. Not enough, couldn’t hold on with my left hand while reaching back with my right. Had to do the zig zag stretch for full distance. It was at the full back of the shelf, pressed against the steel, boxed in left and right. I had to reach to the top of the box, on the far back of the tall shelf.
Pressing my body up with my right leg and letting the left side of my abs stretch and reach- just a little more, just a little more, got it!
I came out of that whole in the shelf holding my prize as exited as Kent would be with a nugget of gold (or a salt-water soaked hat.)
The guy next to me just looked at me- there were a lot of other boxes of mini wheats that would have been a lot easier to reach. I showed him and smiled, and said you’ve got to want it, Strawberry. He chuckled and grinned and kinda shook his head as he walked away.
So many details. When I first got to Walmart, I parked in the back to smoke and relax (really, deciding if that was the end of my adventure for the night) when I decided to go in, I pulled forward in the lot and parked just a few spots from the front. Before I’d even got out I was approached by a vagrant looking man. Cass. He said he was hungry and want any small amount of money I could spare. I told him, I could spare no money, yet this was his lucky day.
Come shopping with me and I buy you as much food as you can carry away. He was shocked at the offer. It took me a minute to get arranged to go inside (I had just pulled in) and we chatted. Cass is pretty cool guy, lives in a place behind Walmart, was actually trying to get fifeteen dollars to buy dog food. Sorry, I can’t buy that with my supple food budget.
We chatted a bit more about Carlsbad- a tip from him, don’t park anywhere with my cargo bag outside my car he says. Thieves will come along and snip it off in the night. That pushed me towards deciding to push to the BLM land tonight.. the last thing I need is a loss of gear due to parking in a big city. Well, big for New Mexico. Seventy five thousand, Cass said. And that has doubled in the last five years.
Why I asked? Oil boom he said.
What? This was as Cass was walking away, I was walking towards the entrance, and another young gentleman happened to be walking by. I carried on with my curiosity. You’re from around here I asked? he nodded and smiled (as he had over heard this part of the previous conversation.) How many, what percentage that is of the people around here work in oil? Half?
More than that he said. Everyone works in oil – sixty percent, maybe seventy.
Is it good pay I asked. A young white man – mid twenties – smiled, almost blushed, and said yes sir it is.
I was honest, I’m a stranger around here- would you mind telling me what that good money is.
Twenty eight per hour and more overtime than anyone wants.
Hard work? He smile disappeared.
fifty nine, time to go.
Time to rest.
darn. no. no I won’t. I didn’t click publish yet. No proofing, no photo, no quality. Realistically, from the stats, very few people read in the hour or two after I publish. It’s not until the next day on the east coast the number increase. Time zones, yes as simple as they are, are hard for me to wrap my head around sometimes, the stats for this site add to that. They are only reported in California time. So the big blip there five am includes east coast eight am readers as well. Regardless. I’m not at the end of my journey yet today and as that I drove, I genuinely didn’t have the opportunity to type.
Carrying on. — or well, going back, as it was, I’ve now added back in the detail I would have missed, Cass, the Strawberry miniwheats. Reading it now, it might look like I wrote quite a lot in the last few minutes there, yet now, you know that I missed deadline.
Or did I? What deadline? Midnight? Maybe that is a crutch that has served its purpose. The idea was the was supposed to push me to publish more, publish every day. Yet has it worked? Well, yes, I have published everyday for going on three months. I thing my fingers have PT’d well, not so sure about anything else. Yet, crutches form bad habits.
Publish everyday, deadline- publish at midnight. Well, it’s two fifty one right now and I’m still awake, feeling good, enjoying my type? My write? What does one call it when they are enjoying the act of writing? There are still more stories that need to be told before I get to far down this road to remember the details. Some stories are hot, too hot to touch, yet if allowed to go frozen, they will be forgotten as a story never told.
Yet timing, timing is important I suppose, yet not a timing that I would or could create. This BLM camp looks pretty barren, Chosa Campground, NM. Basically a giant dirt parking lot and a dumpster. Yet it is free. And very close to the caverns.
Caverns! Yes, I said caverns. Mile of underground hiking trails free to roam and some guided tours too. Not sure what I’ll do first.
Yes I do, God willing I’ll wake, pray and move. And if I forgot what I’m moving towards next, I’ll check my list.
Okay, now I’m starting to get sleepy. I’m excited. It is dark here. Dark, dark. Can’t wait for a clear night. Will try some more astrophotography.
Okay, three am here, is two am in cali, so if I publish now, it will be ready in your inbox before you even go to read it.
Time to rest.