I have awoken at Motel 6 which I have to say is the most reliable good value for money motel chain. Day's Inn is much too variable and I understand it is now a franchise. This next stage of the journey will not be easy. I will be entering the high desert region and although I am now more than halfway I expect it to be every bit as difficult as the previous 1300 miles if not even more so. The big test now is the see if these great distances across West Texas are are hard as they say!
As` I went outside I found a couple looking intently at the Cyclocar. I got talking to Ray & Kim and discovered that Kim had come for surgery which could not be carried out. She has been beaten badly and I found out that she was extensively abused by her ex husband who was heavily into drinking. They were both were recovering alcoholics and knew exactly how long it was since their last drink which I seem to remember was 139 days or thereabouts. They were recovering together but still needed their pot. I understand their plight as they were in effect restricted to either having no substitute for alcohol or engaging in something they enjoyed. Both their stories were worthy of publishing and I was so glad that I am starting to ask their permission to record before they start to tell me too much.
Ray's Hat with Rattle Snake rattler
Ray & Kim
David was a star yesterday. He drove nearly 500 miles round trip in order to help me. These are true friends and I hope that we continue to see each other in the future. Thanks from the bottom of my heart David. and I will not forget the kindness shown to me by Yvonne, Linda and John also.
Some time later I had the chance to talk to a lady who was prepared to talk about her addiction to virtually every type of drug who fortunately was arrested before she was just about to start injecting heroin. This was disasterous for her and her family and it nearly cost her her marriage. Fortunately she has pulled through and now is well on the road to recovery. It was a difficult moment for me as her boss came in just as she was prepared to tell me the full story. Her boss was not prepared for her to continue and sadly her story was told to me off the record.
I quickly popped into an Adult Store to see if I could find out more about this business here in Texas. The storekeeper was very suspicious but he agreed to talk off the record. I now understand that operating this sort of activity here comes with serious potential consequences. Suffice to say that the rest of what he told me is once again not for publication on a medium such as this.
This is a wonderful country but they have some weird ideas that I cannot get my head around. For instance last night I went to the petrol station where they sell alcohol and asked for a can of beer. She seriously told me that she should check my ID as she didn't know me. I said do you honestly think I could be under 21. She replied that she understood that in the State of Texas you had to have an ID to consume alcohol. I took the can of beer but she insisted it be wrapped in a paper bag as that was the law. You must not be able to show alcohol in public!
After some time travelling where I really enjoyed the extra speed I could get from my Cyclocar I found myself in the desert and making good speed towards Sterling. Just before arriving there I met a young girl named Heather running a convenience store at a gas station. I asked if she would spill the beans on the alcohol and drugs issue from a teenagers point of view. She told me that she is required by law to check everyone's ID if they are purchasing alcohol but she usually only asks if they are under 40. I asked her how she judges someone under 40 and she said that this is the ludicrous thing about it because the State sends around inspectors to purchase alcohol and they can prosecute the store owner if they do not follow the letter of the law.
Her views on drugs and alcohol confirmed my thoughts to date. She said that when laws are not well thought through and when she sees the damage that alcohol does she cannot understand why they make a big fuss about cannabis. She further went on to say in the long interview that young men, often under 21 are going off to Afghanistan and getting killed yet they cannot legally drink! She told me that a simple prohibition law leads young people to lose respect for the government and the law in general. She said we are supposed to be guided by wise men and women who should realise that it is foolhardy to get involved in other peoples lives and how they are to live it.
Eventually I arrived at Sterling and just a few miles from the city limit I was intercepted by the local Sheriff. He came up along side me and I frantically made a show of trying to switch my music off so that I could get my voice recorder to work so that I could capture the conversation. Usual thing except he was really interested in the machine! Anyway I told him exactly what he wanted to hear as I said that I was just trying to get to the next town where I would check into a motel. He said that he had received a complaint that someone had nearly run into me. I stayed on the hard shoulder as it drew dark and I then arrived in Sterling where I made my way to a petrol station.
I asked them if they knew of any motels and they called Denise who came over to the store and guided me to somewhere to stay. In the meantime she asked me to follow behind her pickup truck to her restaurant - Maxine's City Cafe where she would like me to have something to eat.
Unfortunately I wasn't hungry but I could see that it was a proper family restaurant with good home cooking - nothing out of a tin here! We got talking and I met Betty the waitress. The story that then came out of them both was another astounding one and something which I will reserve for anything I write in future. Needless to say if you are interested in the most terrible heartache that people are prepared to tell a stranger, it shows how much they are hurting inside and really it is not surprising that they are. From being involved with relatively well know gangsters to acts of extreme violence commited against people. I heard it all and felt somewhat numbed and unreal that I was listening to things that they have never told anyone before. A chap called Mike also came in and we all became engrossed in conversation and I asked them all if they wouldn't mind me continuing to record it. It felt like I was evesdropping into conversations with people I had known all my life.
Denise & Betty
I was invited to Betty's home in order to do the blog for the evening and they have made me once again feel part of the family.
Betty 'Mona Lisa' Dawkins
I happened to hear on the news that there is a new war going on down on the Mexican border and people seem to be saying that it is spreading well into Texas now. 9000 people have been killed and many Americans are losing their lives. Starting to wonder whether it is being exaggerated or not but El Paso is starting to sound like it is on the front line.
It was late and Betty suggested I 'camp' in the back room where I had a great sleep 'till she woke me at 7.30 am so that I could get and early start for Midland.
And for the end of the evening I have to introduce you to the Singing Stag at City Cafe.......