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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Over Lava Fields & Through Salt Flats to Wakan Tanka's We Go

I hitched out of Oregon, intending to land in Moab, Utah, but bipassed it and landed here in western Colorado.  I thoroughly enjoyed the people on this trip.

Bye Bye Timo & Logan

Yeah, the summer whizzed by and it felt time to migrate south again and say goodbye to Timo and Logan.  Logan walked me to a hitching spot outside of Redmond, carrying the guitar for me.

It wasn't long before an 84-year-old man named Bill stopped to take me to Bend.  He lived there in Redmond, with his wife.  It turns out he'd been in the army of occupation with my dad in Japan at the end of World War II!  My dad says, after all these years, he's never once met anybody else who'd been in Japan at that time.  Bill offered me lunch, but I'd already eaten, so I settled for a rootbeer.

My next ride was from an easy-going 60-something country/blues pony-tailed musician named Dale who cussed like a sailor and had a strong belief in the providence of God.  He said he'd once played with Robert Cray.  He gave me food and let me off in Burns.

I found a variety of fruit at the grocery "specialty section" there, then bedded down for the night in a mint patch in a cow field by a canal and woke up covered in dew. I guitar-jammed as I waited for my bag to dry in the rising sun.

After hitching for a while, a young dude in a dented Suburu with a crazed look in his eyes pulled up and told me this was one of the most dangerous counties for hitch-hiking in the country, that it was the "city of Satan".  "Beware and God bless!" he said as he pounced the gas and sped off.  I simply couldn't keep from smiling, couldn't bring myself to even begin to be afraid. In fact, I oddly felt a stronger sense of peace than before.  I'd hitched several times before through this same area, no prob.

Fear is self-fulfilling prophecy, and our society is running on it, more and more.  Fear fuels the money economy.  Love erases fear.

Cowboy Enlightenment

Within minutes, an old, white stretch-limosine sporting a pair of longhorns mounted with welded horseshoes pulled up on the other side of the road.  A 27-year-old smiling dude dressed to the hilt as a cowboy, spurs and all, got out and asked where I was headed.  "Utah, via Winnemucca," I said.  "I'm heading through Winnemucca tomorrow," he said, "but first I'm going to a rodeo in Lakeview, if you want to join me!" he said.  Lakeview was in the opposite direction.  I totally loved the good-natured vibe of that cowboy and didn't hesitate to hop in his limo with his loveable border collie.  I had no idea where Lakeview was and remembered what that crazed guy before had said, thinking maybe I should beware.  But all my instincts said this cowboy was a primo human being.  And he was.  He was a real cowboy (no wanna-be) named Seth, from generations of real cowboys, and he kept me smiling non-stop the next couple days, with his intriguing stories and good conversation.  On our way to Lakeview, he had to stop at a ranch and shoe a horse, me as his assistant.  He put a smile on the face of everyone he encountered.  I regarded Seth an enlightened being, cowboy and all, to my surprise.

We stayed at the rodeo all night.  He roped a couple steers there. Afterward, he ended up drinking all night with his cowboy buddies, but old-man-me ended up crashing early in my sleeping bag on the grass.  Even hung over early next morn, Seth was as even-keel good-natured as usual.  He gave me breakfast and we headed east through Nevada, through Winnemucca, then he let me off in Wells.  He was heading to another rodeo in Twin Falls, Idaho, to ride broncos.  He invited me there, too.  Tempting, but I decided it'd be easier to hitch east from Wells.

After "shopping" behind the grocery store in Wells, I settled in for the night with my delicious loot under a bridge by the rails, on the chance a train might decide to stop there.  No such luck, but a good night sleep.

Across Deseret

Next morning a spunky 50-something woman named Ann with her young son, Philip, and 2 dogs, picked me up in a U-Haul.  They were moving back to Utah from California.  Unusually friendly and fun, they were.  She took me across the salt flats and, thankfully, bipassed Salt Lake City and let me off in Heber city.

A strikingly good-looking, way-friendly 20-something blond woman named Michaela, with piercing grey-blue eyes, stopped for me in her sporty new car.  She was a beautician and rock-climber was totally intrigued by the vagabond lifestyle, wanting to live that way herself.  She let me off in Provo.

The next day a 20-something musician named Jeff took me to highway 6 to a better hitch spot.  He said he'd struggled for years with depression and heroin and had a close friend who'd recently killed himself.  He gave me some guitar-playing tips.  I'm quite sure the guitar is helping me get rides, and with pleasant people at that.  At least most of the time.

A couple way clean-cut 20-something boys then took me a short ways down the highway.  They asked me about what I did.  When I told them I'd renounced money, they went totally silent and looked at me funny.

A 70-something guy took me to Soldier Summit (where he lived), and spoke of how he had always hitched that route as a boy, going to school and basketball practice.  He also went silent when I told him I'd renounced money.

Past Moab to Western Colorado

By this time I was thinking I might want to bipass Moab and visit my parents in Fruita, Colorado, since it was my mom's 84th birthday, and I hadn't seen them for months.  I decided if a ride came that was going as far as Colorado, I'd skip Moab and visit my parents.  A way friendly 30-year-old Mexican-American from LA, named Mike, driving a truck, with his pit bull, stopped and said he was going as far as Denver.  He asked me to play guitar.  I finally got to play the 4 Spanish songs I knew to a Mexican, and he knew one of them.  He said he used to sing Spanish songs in his church's praise band.  He also gave me food and took me all the way to Fruita. 

Now I'm at my parents'.  My sister and her hubbie and my brothers are coming next week for a little reunion, maybe with my sis-in-law and nephew, so I'll probably stay for that.

Book and Blog Stuff

Oh, yeah, Mark said the book is becoming pretty much "official" and has a Facebook page (The Man Who Quit Money).  It feels like a dream, sort of.  I'm a bit nervous, but my ego is also tripping, of course.

Funny, the popularity of this blog went way down after my "Operation Bank Bust" a couple posts ago.  Ah, threatening the world's Most Sacred Cow by doing nothing but neglecting the poor creature.