Joshua Tree Real Estate on a Two Day Trip to Tucson

Vegas had been wild, now I was checking out of the Monte Carlo and leaving town, still unsure of my exact destination. While the previous night had me thinking of all sorts of places, the morning had my list narrowed down and I at least had a general destination, towards Arizona.

I had no plans for a couple weeks or so, that would be a trip to Mexico dubbed Tent Surf that my friends in Phoenix organized. Phoenix is where I thought I may end up this particular night, that or Flagstaff. I sent a couple messages to friends in both places to get a feel for who was in town and what was going on.

It's a fairly long bus ride, with two transfers. There was another hitchhiker at the first transfer bus stop on the corner who wished me good luck. He wasn't actively hitchhiking, he looked like he'd been living on the Vegas streets for sometime. When I first encountered him, he was having a phone conversation about disney land, but I later noticed he had no bluetooth headset, the only conversation was with outer voice and his inner voice.

On the bus I sat next to a guy who'd trekked around Europe a while, he told me stories and admired my backpack - he'd lugged around a suitcase "like a fool".

I grabbed a bite to eat at the next transfer, there was a taco bell there. By this time I'd gotten word back from my friend Larry, he was in Tucson at the moment and told me of weekend plans to run down to Mexico to check out the spot where Tent Surf would be going on. Now I had a destination, Tucson.

The third and final leg of the public transit trip landed me in boulder city, my new favorite Arizona-bound hitchhiking spot. I walked down the curvy road towards the hoover dam, back pedaling and thumbing as traffic rushed by. Two cars stopped seemingly at the same time, the one behind honked at the one in front, I couldn't be sure that car was stopping for me or just confused. Either way they drove off.

The car that stopped for me had a license plate that read FREE, but with more E's. It was a young couple who worked for themselves selling "green" products - things like cleaners that used only water somehow. They gave me snacks like seaweed and almonds, the girl told me of her days living in Eugene and times she'd hitchhiked. She told me one story of getting a ride from a trucker who'd radioed other truckers before he dropped her off, resulting in getting another ride right away. This has almost happened for me, but never worked out in the end.

The couple was heading over the dam to check out some cheap houses, then eventually going as far as Kingman to see property down there as well. They gave me the option of dropping me off when they made the turn to the small town, saying they'd pick me up if I was still around and get me as far as Kingman. It was either that, or tag along with them as they looked at the houses, that's what I chose.

We drove down the road until we pulled up alongside their real estate agent who'd been waiting for them. We followed her through an incredible forest of joshua trees, larger and closer together than I'd ever seen. We got to the first place, it was on top of a hill with great views of all these joshua trees, a gutted out car at the bottom of the driveway. The house itself appeared to be an old trailer that the people had built around, the woman didn't have a key for it, but the guy found a busted hole to crawl through and unlock it from the inside.

We looked at a couple more places, none exactly what they were looking for. We headed up the road to the next town, a slightly bigger town that actually had stores and whatnot. We stopped at a cafe they'd been to before, they got me a tuna melt and a smoothie, both were great. We looked at a couple places in this town, one they thought was too modern, another that was moldy and rundown.

From there we drove down to Kingman and walked around a house, the girl really seemed to like it it, her boyfriend didn't seem as enthusiastic, he waited in the car after taking a lap around it. They dropped me off by interstate 40, I ran back to their car having almost forgotten my phone charging in the front seat.

I thumbed on the ramp for a bit, but with the sun quickly disappearing, I headed up to the freeway to better my chances. The earth spun too fast though, leaving walking along the freeway in the dark. After a great deal of walking, I chose a suitable bush along the freeway in the outskirts of Kingman to sleep behind, blocking me from the sight of anybody flying by. I pulled out my sleeping bag and stared up at the full moon, it reminded me of Tanya in Flagstaff. I wondered what she was doing, I imagined her dancing at Lady's 80s with a 25 cent drink in her hand. I drank the last of my water and fell asleep there in the desert.

The morning brought a ride quickly, a preacher going to Oklahoma for a family reunion, the 41st consecutive reunion he'd been to. I didn't ride far with him, it was only 20 miles until I had to hop out and head south. The next ride I got was a younger guy who recently got out of the army, he was headed through Tucson and towards Texas for a party, he claimed he was the party, wherever he went.

He was interesting to talk to, fairly opinionated about most things and brushed on politics and the state of the American people. "People buy things they don't need with money they don't have to impress people they don't like", was one of the things he told me. He'd done a lot of road tripping and talked to me about that too, proud about the amount of miles he had on his car.

As we neared Tucson we stopped at an In-N-Out Burger where he got a whole bag full of burgers for his buddies in Texas who didn't have it over there, he got one each for the two of us as well. He dropped me off on the south end of Tucson, I got directions from there to a gas station where I was to meet up with Larry.

He picked me up instead with his kids in tow, pulling up alongside me as I walked under the Arizona sun. We raced to the airplane museum where we poked around looking at big jets and old planes. We even took a tour in a bus that drove by planes telling about their history, I nodded in and out of sleep, comfortable in the air conditioned seat having only the stint of sleep on the road the night before.

We went to his family's place afterwards, that's where he'd been staying down there and where we'd all be staying this night. It was somebody's birthday and there was a party planned for the night, I helped in the kitchen cutting up limes and watermelon for margaritas. It was a night of tacos, family and friends catching up.

The Lakers Suns game was going on, but they forbid the TV from turning on, I checked the score frequently on my phone, as did Larry. Towards the end of the game it was close, Larry had a TV on in the back room, we snuck away and watched the end of the game, won by the Lakers in the final second as Ron Artest tipped the ball in just before the buzzer.

Sleep was all I wanted now, after some cake and present opening in a family like circle, I made my way to a bed and passed out.

The morning came, along with a big french toast meal. Afterwards I headed up to Phoenix with Larry, we dropped his kids off, then started to get supplies, mostly to beer and ice. The next step, Mexico.

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