Escape from Tucson: Day 8 – Wednesday (early afternoon)
The dog has got to go!!! Beans has got to go…right now…I can’t take it anymore! I had a terrible morning’s sleep. Actually there was virtually NO sleep involved. That freaking dog is a nightmare, she has to go. Let me go back to last night first…
We started walking last night just like I normally would. I watered up then headed down the tracks. It was easy walking, out in the middle of nowhere, pretty easy to see all around me in every direction. I set a good pace and kept moving. Stopped to drink every hour or so and made sure Beans got her share. She never really ran off too far, stayed close in, sometimes right by me. It was nice to have her company. We stopped to eat three times, small amounts but ate often to keep our internal furnace going.
Come morning I found a great place to hold up for the day, checked the area to make sure it was as safe as it realistically could be. Oh, we made it through Dragon last night, easy actually…no one was there…no one. Technically, there wasn’t anything there left standing. The place looks like it was a community of maybe 100 homes, almost all mobile homes. Then there was the post office and what used to be a couple other buildings. But, they are nothing but lumps now. Everything in Dragon had been burned to the ground. The moon was full last night and I could see really well. And all I could see was one burned up mobile home after another. Then there were the burned out hulks of vehicles; trucks, cars, and vans. All of them also burned to their frames. It was the most eerie feeling walking through there and seeing all of that destruction.
There is one thing I’ve learned in the last week is mind my own business. I just kept to the tracks and kept walking. I didn’t go exploring or scavenging. Something bad happened here and I wanted no part of it. Last thing I need is to go poking around looking for stuff and then get jumped or injured. Nope, just keep on walking…and I did. Beans felt it too. She stayed really close to me the whole time we were walking through there. I bet she was never more than ten feet from me. That was comforting. She kept sniffing the air but never seemed to get alerted to anything, and she never ran off exploring either.
We finally got past that area of Dragon, maybe four miles, man did the land change, flat as a pancake. We popped out of this arroyo and we went from serious topography to F L A T! We were headed generally east towards Cochise, then the tracks had turned almost due north, and it was easy walking. We passed by some vineyards and orchards on the west side of the tracks. Seemed so strange to see vineyards and orchards out here in the middle of the desert. But, a little later on I saw those big irrigated crop circles. So some enterprising farmer went from growing alfalfa and cotton to vineyards and orchards. Yeah, how’s that going to work out when his irrigation pumps can no longer pull water out of the wells!
Anyways, got to Cochise, figured I might have to hold-up just west of there and go through tomorrow night. Nope! Same thing in Cochise as Dragon, burned to the ground. Cochise is, or was, a little different because they were all site-built structures not mobile homes. But, they were all burned to the ground as well. Same thing with the vehicles, all burned. Cochise is much smaller than Dragon. Only about twenty buildings used to be there from what I can tell. But, there is nothing there anymore, nothing at all. I just pushed on.
I made it all of the way to Hwy 191 and then some. But, by then I was thinking that might have been a mistake. There was a good overpass where 191 crosses over the tracks. But, I didn’t feel comfortable staying there during the day. It looked as if it hadn’t been too long since people had stayed there under the road as well. With both towns being burned I just didn’t feel right about it. I’ve learned to listen to my instinct about those things. Jim Hansen, my neighbor calls it the “still small voice” when we talked about instinct and surviving. Jim is always talking religion one way or another in our conversations, he thinks he’s pretty slick. Don’t get me wrong, Jim is a nice guy, great family, but he is always pushing religion on me. I kid him about having multiple wives, he takes it well. Nice family, wife and 5 kids all under the age of thirteen.
Jim and I did some planning over the last couple of years, preparedness planning. We both saw something was coming, even our wives talked about it. I hope they are keeping an eye on Lisa for me. Hansen’s couldn’t do much prepping because of the size of their family and such. Lisa and I always put away more than we had too, making sure we could help them as well. Matt did the same thing. It’s nice that Matt and Jim get along so well also. I can’t even imagine what it must be like in the city right now. I just hope it hasn’t burned to the ground.
Anyways, I turned off the tracks when I saw a shallow arroyo and did the best I could to find a hiding place. It was getting pretty light out so I grabbed some brush and created a little “hut” to back into. Kind of cloudy this morning which is really nice, I need the break from the sun and heat. A little rain might be a nice blessing. I finally settled in for some sleep. Next thing I know Beans has her head laying across my foot. I turned over, she let me get settle back in, then put her head over the spot where my leg bends into my foot at the ankle. I tried to sleep like that but no way. That dog’s head is heavy. I tried to talk to her about it. She wasn’t listening.
I kept turning over or re-positioning myself and every time I did she would put her head in the same place each time. I was seriously freaking mad by then. Finally I yelled at her…and it did absolutely no good whatsoever. Eventually she stopped laying her head on me…it was replaced with her foot. But that was lighter so I thought I would try and sleep. But, by then I was so upset I was wide awake. I didn’t get any sleep, maybe a wink or two but not near enough.
Then I decided to not sleep…so she wanders off somewhere for like an hour. She comes back with a bloody snout. I checked her, she wasn’t hurt or anything. She curls up in a ball, licks herself clean, and proceeds to fall asleep. I have been waking her up about every fifteen minutes. She looks annoyed with me. She growled at me the last time. I don’t care. I will be tired tonight if I don’t get some sleep. I can’t be tired or I will miss something. If I miss something I might find myself in world of hurt. And that simply can’t happen. The dog has got to go!!
I am worried about crossing the state line. The “I-10” corridor is through a small pass in the mountains. I think trying to just walk through that narrow pass in close proximity to the interstate would not be a good idea. It would be too easy to run into folks, or I should say run into bad guys. My only alternative is to avoid the pass altogether and find a way through the mountains without going too far out of my way. And there lies another danger altogether…the cartels.
Those mountains are a freeway for some very experienced Mexican cartel folks. They have been running humans, drugs, guns, and money up and down that mountain range for a very long time. And it is their turf, they know it well, I don’t. I am worried I will run into them, or they will just flat-out ambush me. I don’t even have a gun and I would be very easy pickings for them.
I’ve never been a real religious man, a little maybe when I was a child. But the minister at the Presbyterian Church never had the answers that made much sense to me. God and life was always some mysterious vague concept he tried to pawn off on me. I wanted real answers, answers that made sense. He didn’t have any for me. Based on what I am seeing now I have to believe that I am being blessed by God. How else could you describe how I have survived this long? The other day when I was so down, really depressed, I thought I was losing my mind. I felt that I just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make it. Then along comes Beans, a guardian angel. Don’t get me wrong, that dog still has to go…she comes along and gives me hope again but she is still driving me crazy. But, for now she gives me companionship, something I need. I can’t make it on my own. But she better stop with the head and paw thing, I need sleep.
But if I am being blessed, what is God going to expect of me in return? Hansen would probably be chuckling at me right about this time…talking about blessings and His plan, etc. Jim’s a pretty decent guy, maybe he does have some answers, and maybe I should have listened more. But, why would God let this happen to the world?
For now, I won’t worry about God or Jim, and I will stop harassing Beans, I will let her sleep and try to nap a bit myself. I need it. That stupid dog kept me awake with the whole head and paw thing. I am not getting soft…Beans has still gotta go.
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