Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Middle of Nowhere, TX: Home, Home on the Range

Miles since last blog: 27.2
Miles Total: 2414.0


A blog in three parts:

1) Today I met James Bond. Really. This guy's name was James Bond, he was older and even had a little card that said "James Bond 007" on it amongst the other writing. He was in a truck outside of Llano and pulled over to see what I was doing. He introduced himself and explained that he had been named that long before the fictional character existed, I'm guessing the '007' part was new though.

I don't really get excited about celebrities, maybe one or two would make me go ooh, or ahh, but they aren't the standard celebs either, more like Adam West and Bruce Campbell, people that make their living off of being living jokes. That takes some profound awesomeness and inner peace. To me for the most part, celebs are like screwed up versions of normal people that just have PR agents to make them look good, not my bag. Fictional characters however are quite alluring, they are, for all intents and purposes, exactly as they appear. No one dresses them up or takes their picture under the right light, that's just who they are. Superman never trips, Sherlock Holmes never belched and Rocky never gave up.

So meeting James Bond, the name, was maybe even better than any actor that played him. It was so pure, just the character. There wasn't to much interaction between us, mostly he talked about how he had met Johnny Depp working in Austin on the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?"

"Oh wow, that was a really good movie," I said.

"Yeah, well, it was interesting." He responded in clear disagreement. He drove off shortly after giving me his card. I got the feeling his name and working on that one movie was about 70% of what he talked about.

2) Hill Country. That's where I've been for the last 70 miles or so, and according to James Bond, I've got another 30 left at least. Going into Llano was 33 miles of rolling hills and a dramatic elevation climb leaving me in high hills overlooking the ground I had covered. Since the hills were rolling there would be a climb, then a drop almost as low as before, followed by a slightly higher climb. What ever the elevation I gained was that day, I climbed at least 50% more than that due to downhills which are none to exciting for me either.

To here was all rolling hills to a lower elevation, I'm looking forward to the plains beyond Brady and into San Angelo where I should arrive in 4 days. Hills aren't so bad until you couple them with heat, when the sun comes out it melts me, almost immediately.

One of the many ways in which I am not like Superman is that the sun is not necessarily my friend. Put Superman in Hawaii for a week and he could bench press Jupiter for kicks, put me in the sun for a few minutes and you wind up with a week and whining pile of goo that does nothing much except ooze sweat. Here's to the last two days of cloud cover and torturous future in the West.

3) Have you ever wondered who would ask some strange bum wandering down the road if they would want to stay the night at their house? Or well, ranch?

Well, I now know the answer and it's exactly what you might expect, even here in 'The Middle of Nowhere,' TX. I didn't know who the person in the VW was that had turned around to talk to me, or why, it turned out to be a man and his daughter on their way to a music recital of some sort. I assumed he wanted me to talk to his daughter or give me a donation but in fact he was asking me where I was staying.

"I don't know," I said, "I'm on my way to Brady about 30 miles up the road, I figured I'd just walk till I got tired."

He gave me directions to his house a mile off the highway down dirt county roads and told me his wife's name, C. When I arrived a grueling hour and a half later I heard the sound of music, not the movie, actual, man-made music. Man and boy made as it turns out. I knocked on the door and came in to find a boy and his grandfather putting away instruments and a grandmother in the kitchen. It's been a while since I just walked into a house unexpected, but they seemed to be unphased in the least. I explained who I was and what I was doing there (I was mildly nervous since I didn't know the gentleman's name, only C's name).

Immediately they told me that his wife would be back shortly and started making me dinner. It turns out these were C's parents who were visiting from Oregon. It turns out that C herself, had ridden her bike across the country and her husband had hitchhiked from Texas to Alaska and back. They had met about 20 years ago at an organic gardening course in California and now were full fledged organic farmers for six months out of the year while traveling the rest.

"Are you a vegetarian?" C asked.

"No," I said.

"Well you are tonight," C's mother replied giving me a bowl of delicious chili, some raw veggie spring rolls and a jello with fruit dessert.

They had seen me yesterday on my way to Llano while taking one of their bi-weekly runs to Austin. Whole Foods Market had grown over the years and they had grown a bit with it, they now had two interns that also lived on the properties in trailers not unlike the one I was in when I wrote this. I learned most of this from C's son, who is young, plays an instrument, is well spoken and clearly intelligent, they had done quite a good job with him.

I asked about internet and was told they had just gotten dial-up because their newest intern couldn't live without it. There's no cell phone reception out here, they don't have a TV and said they had even gone without a phone for a long time but that they were slowly being dragged into the twentieth century. Luddites, not like the green people, hippies and wannabes that normally throw the word around, real live luddites, I was impressed and opted to skip out on the net for the night, sorry fans.

We talked for a while before they showed me to a shower and my trailer. Very nice people, all of them, unfortunately I went off to bed before S, the husband, came home. There you have it. Who would take in a traveling hobo? Vegetarian Luddite Organic Farmers from the West Coast, how about that? I'm almost home.

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