Border or Bust, Part 7: The Long Lost Blimpie and the Parking Lot Hippies

in life •  3 years ago 

We last left off just outside of Redding, California.  I had a long, nearly fruitless day spanging which ended with a nice, nearly anonymous (in the sense that he had NO idea who we were, using a fresh facebook and everything) bitcoin donation.  We were camping in a beatiful, peaceful area.

At some point a few cars came in and they had a fire down the river bank, far away from us.  We aren't even sure if they noticed us when they drove by, they were clearly there for fun.  We slept pretty decently all things considered.  We got a decent donation which made the fact that I wasn't making anything on foot bearable.  

Deciding to give Redding one more shot before going south, we got up early.  We planned the day for our exit and I'm pretty sure our first day in redding was a Monday.  Tuesday evening we left and headed south.  Tuesday was an interesting day, one worth sharing.  I didn't make very much money but I didn't really have any close calls with police while spanging.  

Around noon, I walked back to the truck where I found John who was excited.  He had found a Blimpie, probably one of the very last of a sub chain similar to Subway but honestly better in Redding.  We decided that we were going to split a meal.  He was under the impression they had closed down completely, so finding one while begging on the run was really coincidental at the least.

Some might question our decision to do this, considering we had very little money.  It was one of those things where we didn't know if we were going to be in jail in a weeks time or not.  We wanted the small pleasures here and there where we could find one and that was one of them.  And it was a damn good decision.  The sandwich was filling, despite only getting half. John let me have the cookie, which was awesome.  It was a good experience and I don't regret it at all. I didn't want to be sitting in jail wishing I had just bought the damn sandwich. 

We left to find the hippies I had found the day before with their dogs.  They were an interesting couple.  She was dirty with dreadlocks, a big pit bull and a giant pack.  He was average other than the fact that his face was scarred from burns.  They waved us over and asked if we wanted to smoke.  We came over with Rebel, who wanted to meet the dogs.  The hippies themselves had some nice weed to smoke and we traded a little and smoked a bit of their joint.  A cop pulled up and told us to leave, pulling away slowly.

Not wasting any time, we got in the truck.  We left as inconspiciously as possible and honestly left Redding soon after if not immediately.  It's hard to remember for sure now, but I know we left before night fall that day heading southward.  

There were a few small spots we intended to hit along the way, but our next and last major spange spot was in Bakersfield. Considering how the last several "awesome spange" locations had gone, we weren't optimistic.  For this reason we just planned to stop anywhere there was a semi busy truck stop or shopping plaza.  I sometimes wouldn't make anything, but sometimes I'd walk away with a few dollars. 

We camped again somewhere inbetween Redding and Bakersfield, although I can't remember for the life of me where.  This whole part of the journey was a blur honestly.  All I can remember is jumping out of the truck, walking towards parking lots to ask for money or jumping out with a gas can and a sign.  I got several people to fill up my can for me, which made a huge difference.  One thing I learned while spanging is that people are way more likely to give if you give them a specific need they can fill, like food or gas.  Money is too ambiguous, they assume you're spending it on drugs.  But when they see you with a can and want to help, a lot of times they'll wave you over and fill the can.  Considering we really needed the gas, it was just as much of a help as cash was at the time. 

I learned so much in those few days I spent in California.  For one, I had never been to the state before and my first time was as a homeless person on the run headed to the border.  I was begging for money and not making much, partially due to the crap economy.  I remember a lot of dead orchards with signs protesting the "congress created dustbowl" in California with the water shortage.  It was crazy to see freshly planted orchards next to dead ones, as the new ones were subsidized by the government.  

I wasn't much of a fan of California so far or most of the people in it.  It was expensive and full of police. So I wasn't sad to leave and cross into that unknown adventureland that is Mexico.  I'm not saying California is bad, it's just certainly not for me, which is fine, I can't live there anyway legally speaking. I'll end this here for now. 

Thanks for reading!

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I remember Blimpie - I actually liked it more than Subway!

I was hoping there would be a Bakersfield story somewhere on your journey. At least it got a name-check.