Escape from Tucson: Day 2 – Thursday (early evening)
Man, slept really well for several hours. Not sure exactly how long, but I feel a lot better. Still need more sleep for sure but I need water more. There is a windmill and stock tank about a mile away. I need to go get some water and refill all my containers. I never…ever…pass up a water source. Right now I am not too worried about violence because I stay away from everyone. But, I gotta have water…period.
I read what I wrote earlier and realized I was jumping around all over the place, sounded choppy and poorly written. Must be due to lack of sleep, or I am too distracted to pay much attention. I need to give some more hard details so “you” (whoever that is) can understand what I am talking about. You don’t have a major nation-wide disaster hit and not document it. Besides, I really think there is a good chance I might not make it home. I want to, I am committed to, getting home but there is a lot of ground between me and home. And it is all desert and people are getting weird.
OK, so, on Tuesday night (in Tucson) when I talked about hearing thunder from an early monsoon storm. I was wrong. Yesterday evening I ran across a guy that actually saw what happened. He is a homeless guy and was sleeping in an open boxcar that was sitting on the tracks that parallels Contractors Way near the intersection of Columbia Street in Tucson. He liked that area because there are always open boxcars on the tracks and it is close to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The security from the base tends to scare away the “riffraff” so he can sleep better he said. Go figure.
So he heard a crash near one of the gates and then a lot of vehicles making noise. He said it sounded like big trucks. He thought they looked like dump trucks. Evidently they crashed the gate and shot the guards while doing so. He said it was utter chaos for about 15 minutes. A bunch of shooting but then it got kind of quiet he said, except for the trucks. The dump trucks were driving down the rows of planes just crashing into them. There were other big trucks and a couple SUVs that had driven to two separate buildings. There were lots of gunshots at those buildings for a little bit, then a couple of explosions. Then the buildings were completely engulfed in fire. He said he saw some guys shoot people as they tried to run out of the buildings.
He kept talking about the dump trucks just plowing through rows of planes like it was nothing. He said no one tried to stop them once the first shooting had stopped. But, he could tell there was some resistance because the occasional shooting going on in the distance. But, that died away as well he said. He thinks the base guards just got killed pretty quickly and everyone else as they showed their faces.
He told me that about that time he saw what he thought at the time was a shooting start that lit up the sky as it burned up coming into the atmosphere. Right after that he said all the lights everywhere, including the base, went off. He said he knew right then it was an EMP. That surprised me and it must have showed on my face. He used to be a high school teacher until he got fired. He lost his job because he was a meth head. He said he was proud of himself because he doesn’t do meth anymore, he said he just drinks now. Guy’s name was Fred, from somewhere around Stephenville, Texas.
We met under a train trestle during the heat of late day. I had headed into the shade, saw him, and was getting ready to leave when he invited me to share some of his “snake stew.” It smelled good, I didn’t ask any questions. I gave him a bottle of water and a can of warm Pepsi that I had been carrying since I left the hotel. I miss cold Pepsi. I got indigestion form the stew.
He was headed to Nogales, Mexico so we parted ways right around the Rt. 83 exit off I-10. Not that we were walking on the interstate, because we weren’t, that’s not a very smart idea now. We were walking along the railroad tracks that’s just about a mile north of the interstate running parallel to it. Yeah, you don’t want to be walking along the interstate now, it is dangerous, very dangerous. I bet it gets way worse.
What I am doing now is walking at night and holding up during the day. First, it is hot during the day. Not as hot as it normally is this time of year, but still hot. I walk at night because it is much cooler without that sun beating down on you. But, it is still plenty light enough to see the train tracks. Actually, I don’t walk right on the tracks, I walk on the north side of the tracks. The tracks are built up, maybe 3’ – 6’ above ground level. I like keeping that berm between me and the interstate, I-10.
I haven’t run into any problems since leaving Tucson but I don’t expect that to last. Tucson was bad enough.
Like I was saying earlier, I left the hotel as the sun was coming up. I had my pack full, water bladder and bottles full. I had even taken a shower before I left. Yeah, sounds weird I know but I turned on the water in the shower and there was pressure. Nothing like it normally was but there was water and it was decently warm. So I showered. Figured it would be a long time till I could do that again. It felt really nice.
I realized I was woefully short of food. I had all the water that I could realistically carry. And I knew there would be water along the return trip. I had spotted plenty of stock tanks, cattle waterers, along the trip here. It seemed as if there was always a stock tank or two every ten miles or so. But, there wasn’t any place I could count on for food. So I stopped by the front desk. What happened was really pretty comical.
There was this very bored middle-aged front desk guy. He had lit a couple of candles and placed them on the counter. When I came walking up he immediately told me he had no idea when the power would be back on, he thought it must be a transformer or something. Yeah…or something. I asked him if I could buy all the granola bars and peanuts that he had in the snack area. He abruptly told me “No!” unless I had cash. I left with all the granola bars, peanuts, a decently cold Pepsi, five bags of CheezIts, and two Hersey chocolate bars. He had my federal government credit card in return. I told him to use it as soon as the machines were running, and to include a hefty tip for himself. He was thrilled. I felt just slightly guilty as I walked away.
Like a madman I ate both chocolate bars because I knew they would melt fairly quickly. A block later I was drinking the Pepsi I had gotten from him. Man, I was just craving that comfort food like a junkie. I sugared out pretty badly, thankfully I was walking it off.
My immediate goal was to get out of Tucson as fast as possible. It was early in the morning, most people would still be asleep, especially with alarm clocks not working. But, once people started to figure out what happened I imagined that Tucson would get ugly violent pretty dang quick. Little did I know how right I would be!
I had studied my map pretty well before I left. I made sure that I had a New Mexico and Arizona DeLorme top atlas with me, it is part of my “kit.” One of the best tips about “intel” that I ever got from ahtrimble.com! I figured I would be out of range of Tucson violence once I reached Exit 289 on I-10. The train tracks cross the interstate there just before hitting Anderson Canyon. I figured I could hold up in Anderson Canyon for a day or two if needed. Or lose someone if they were following me. That sounds so paranoid “someone following me” but it is a fact of life now, you better be paranoid or you might get hurt…or worse.
If I read the map right I walked 16 miles the first day. I stopped when I met Fred and shared some of his stew with him. We rested a bit, then started walking together. I kept him in front of me the whole time. I think he knew, and understood. Or at least he didn’t object. It wouldn’t have mattered if he had.
We walked about ten miles together before he headed south on Hwy 83 and on to Nogales. I kept heading east along the tracks, I walked about another twelve miles or so till I got here. Thirty-eight miles in thirty-six hours. I am beat silly. But, I also consider I am very, very lucky. I just bought a brand new pair of Belleville Sabre boots at the PX on Ft. Bliss last month. They are the C333 style and size 13.5 but these boots seemed to run small since I normally take a size 12 wide. I think these are some of the best hot-weather boots I have ever worn. My thick MInus33 wool socks made them even more comfortable. Sounds strange to be talking wool socks in the desert but it works really well.
Anyways, I think I am going to hold up here in Anderson Canyon for the rest of today and tonight. If it is decent weather I might head out the next morning, but I would probably be smarter to wait until dark. I will see how I feel. But I need more rest. Good thing is that a stock tank is only about a mile away. I can keep an eye on it and top off with water before I head out, whenever that might be.
I guess I should talk about killing that guy.
Let me go get topped-off with water and when I come back I might write about it. I’ll see how I feel.
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