outside commercial civilization,
runs on gift economy
("freely give, freely receive").
Thus it is balanced. Commercial civilization runs on thought of credit and debt ("knowledge of good & evil").
Thus it is imbalanced.
What nation can balance
its own budget or environment?
Gift Economy is Faith, Grace, Love
- the core message of every religion.
The proof is inside you:
Wild Nature is your True Nature,
crucified by commercial civilization.
Jen and Isaac and I are now in Los Angeles. What a crazy fun trip!
Me, Aaron, Carolyn
Goodbye Again to Moab
We finally hitch-hiked out of Moab on Tuesday of last week. Aaron had thrown us a going-away party at his hogan, Amanda traded my bulkier guitar case with her lighter travel one, Gregory and Beth did my laundry and sent me off with a sleeping bag and a food care package, John gave me his climber's backpack, and Travis and Kate gave me their hammock for Hawaii and walked us to our hitch-hiking spot on Highway 191.
A rock climber named Nick gave us our first ride out of Moab. His Suzuki car had a carrying capacity of just 650 pounds, causing us to weave all over the road. He took us to the Indian Creek turn-off. I remembered there was a cave at Church Rock, so we camped there that night.
The next morning a Boznian trucker named Denis took us all the way to Gallup, New Mexico. He said he used to hitch-hike all over Europe. It's funny how he described free-spirit hippy types as "real Americans", and how he was disappointed when he first got to the US to find that most Americans were slaves to jobs and money and talked about guns and war and US superiority all the time, not the "real Americans" that he admired from afar in Boznia. Denis gave us lunch on the road and dinner in Gallup, taking us to a Chinese restaurant there.
We hopped a coal train out of Gallup, which took us as far as a small town in Arizona and dropped our car there. I knew from past experience we could hop another train from another town farther west in Arizona, but not from this one, so we started hitch-hiking again. We weren't having much luck with the three of us. But it was good, because it finally gave me a chance to pull out my guitar and play my Woody Guthrie roadie songs I'd been practicing (66 Highway Blues, Hitch Hike Blues, I Aint Got No Home In This World Any More). We were even hitching along Woody's old hitching Route 66 that he sung about. Okay, so we had only a few moments of hitch-hike blues and started walking down the highway until a guy whose name I forget, which means "bear," picked us up and took us to the town we wanted to go. We cooked and hung out at a campfire we built under an overpass and camped out there. The next morning we found an abandoned shopping cart, put our packs in it, and walked to the other end of town where we could catch a train out. Just as we were wheeling the cart near the tracks where we were planning to hop, a sheriff's deputy showed up. He said he wanted to check us out since we stuck out like sore thumbs and we were "close to the tracks," but he ended up being really friendly, telling us where shelters and food were located and warning us of wanna-be gangs in the area. He told us, "try to stay off the tracks," shook our hands, and left. Within 5 minutes, a stacker train ("hotshot") stopped, and we hopped on, and we managed not to touch the tracks :-) A hotshot was what I was looking for, since hotshots are "express" and would take us all the way to a major city like L.A., with no worries of being dropped in the middle of nowhere (as happened with the coal train).
Off we went, with spectacular views of Arizona and grins on our faces all day long. As it got colder, Isaac decided to open up one of the crate containers and we crawled into the warmth, bedding down on top of bags of cat food for the night. I wouldn't have thought to do that, and we would have been pretty miserable had we remained outside all night over the passes.
We slept through the night and the train arrived into a city by sunrise. We couldn't figure out where we were, but I suspected a burb of LA. The train stopped outside a train-yard there, and it would have been wise to hop off there. But we decided to sit tight and see how much farther the train would go, since we were clueless of our location. Unwise decision. The train started up again, took us into the yard and stopped, for good. There was activity all around us. We sat tight inside the container. Then one of those big upside-down horshoe-shaped lift thingies came along right above the car in front of us and started preparing to lift that crate out of the train! Talk about nervous! Nowhere to run without being seen, and our container was going to be lifted out, and we couldn't see where we could exit the yard! We finally had no choice but to run, so we scurried left. A service vehicle came by and we got non-chalant and pretended to not see it. The driver asked us where we were going, and we said, "out of this trainyard!" He said, with slight grimace, "Well, you better hurry before you get arrested!" So that we did, and we happened upon the gate and escaped with a sigh of relief.
However, after we walked about a block outside the yard, a "bull" (security truck) pulled up beside us and demanded we line up against the wall and produce identification. We ignored his request. He asked us if we had been on the train, and we simply said we were lost. He had zero authority outside the yard so we said "bye bye" and walked on. He followed us, trying to bluff us, and it was working. A couple other bulls drove up, too. We came to a tall barb wire fence in an alley and were cornered. We could have just ignored them and kept walking, but fear set in and I decided we should climb the fence into the private lot. Jen said, "now we are adding bad to bad and could get caught tresspassing." The bulls circled the block and kept yelling at us, but we sat tight. Finally they lost patience and went away, and we left the lot and walked to freedom.
We found out we were in a burb of L.A. and walked to a park. It started raining, so we hung out in a community center there. We were the only white people around. The people around were refreshingly friendly. One man handed me $5, which I passed on to Isaac (although Jen and Isaac aren't using money on this trip either). Some other folks had had a kid's birthday party and gave us tons of left-over food from it, which we gladly snarfed down.
I'm not used to the luxury of having a cell phone around. I decided to check email on Jen's phone and discovered that a dude named Gary was offering us a place to stay at a ranch he is caretaking north of LA if we happened to be in the LA area! So we called him and he gladly came to pick us up. We stayed at a primitive cabin at this charming ranch filled with funky artwork and animals and good people (e.g., Cici and Steven), and he offered us hospitality, grand conversation and joy for a couple days until the rain subsided. He then took us all the way back to LA and dropped us off at the ports there.
We found another abandoned shopping cart and wheeled it for miles into Long Beach. Real Bag People we were!
At the ports we got a message from Roy and his mom, who offered to pick us up and bring us to their home. So that's where we are now! So good to see Roy again, as well as his mom and Sylvia! They invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them. After that we plan to go back to the ports and figure out getting on a boat to Hawaii. If it doesn't work out in LA, we'll head to San Diego.
Roy's mom has been showering us with Mexican hospitality, feeding us splendid food, overflowing with generosity.
I feel so intensely grateful I'm traveling with Isaac and Jen. They are about as pleasant and easy-going and fun as you can get, never complaining about anything and open to everything, never saying anything bad about anybody.