2004-02-26-2105Z


Wow, what an experience. After leaving the hotel, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some more stuff so I could camp out on my lot for the night. On the way down, I got a ride from a guy named Emmanuel Davis from a community called City of the Sun, south of Deming. He invited me to come and check it out, which I intend to do; he says because they're inside city limits (of Columbus, NM? or is it Columbia?) but not part of the city, they don't get hassled either by the county or the city. Nobody has bothered me on my lot yet, but I figure it's only a matter of time. Yesterday I got stopped by 2 cops, plus another two guys who I think were cops but wouldn't admit it. They just wanted to find out who I was, where I was going, and what I was doing. The usual stuff. I got another ride about an hour ago, from a rockhound named Mary, who told me someone shot up the police station in the Mexican town just across the border, which may be why they are so paranoid. But I digress, let's get back to last night.

It started off pretty mild, and I was going to spend the night digging a large (12 ft diameter) solar distiller which would double as an underground shelter. Early on, I shot a photo of the sunset from my little tent, but the colors didn't come out. Then it got colder and colder. By 1 AM my feet were freezing, and no amount of dancing around seemed to help. I tried my new Sterno stove and it was little help. So I built a fire outside the tent, and kept it going till the sun started to warm the air a little. Just before sunup I caught this view of the Florida mountains to the east. Finally about 8 AM I tried to get some sleep, and was successful till maybe 11 or so. Then the wind kicked up a little and made enough noise to keep me awake, so I got up and started walking into town... along Hermanas Road was where Mary picked me up, and brought me to the Peppers market, which has a little coffee/sandwich shop where I'm plugged into their power. Hopefully I'll find internet access today, Mary gave me some pointers.

I have some more pictures for you; remember the storm drains in LA that I could never get a good shot of? Here's one I got just before I left. Also, here's a different variety of nopal from what I posted before, and another cactus I don't know the name of yet, but the fruits look very similar to that of the prickly pear. I'll probably edibility-test it soon. Running out of money and have to sell my last gold coin, but after that I've got to know how to live off the land. Either that, or I'm going to see which of my 'principles' turn out to be vanities that I can live better (or live, period) without. Panhandling? I doubt it, but singing on the sidewalk is almost the same, except that I can kid myself into thinking I'm giving something of value in exchange for money. Theft? According to some points of view, I'm already stealing power and wireless access, though I usually ask permission when it's easy to do so. For example, I asked the girl who works here if I can plug in my laptop; she said yes, but that I'd better ask at the service desk if someone gives me a hard time. Sounds like a 'yes' to me! But I realize only the manager could give such permission. Anyway, I spent 5 dollars and change here, and the total of my electrical usage should be less than... hmm, let's see, call it one amp for, tops, 3 hours, at 120 volts is roughly half a KwH, somewhere between 3 and 5 cents probably. Internet is a little harder to justify, but as I've explained somewhere before, if it's open (no WEP key, or WEP key same as SSID), I take it as an invitation, with gratitude.

Another guy I met the other day, Jay Lang, is a well digger, and said the water is maybe 300 feet down where I am. That's why I'm deciding to go with a combination of solar still and storage pond. The county probably won't like the idea though. Solar stills, PV panels, and an envirolet would serve me nicely, but they probably have stick-in-the-mud ideas about city power, wells and septic tanks. I'm a little afraid to ask. If I don't know, I can always plead ignorance, but if I find out what they expect and do something different, they might think I'm being (gasp) defiant of their authority. Oh, horror.

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