Down an old abandoned road.
On the rim of this canyon.
In what appeared to be an abandoned campground--
But it wasn't---I had company: Meet Mark from Oklahoma--he left that state and drove West for the same reason as the Joad family in the Grapes of Wrath--looking for work.
Of course I engage him---he pauses to get his little dog--who wants to be held. "Got him from a shelter about a month ago" he said. In just a few days they bonded and were now best buddies.
Clearly the dog was the light of his life and vice versa. They are super poor---but I envied their connection.
They live in this $300 van---that just barely runs.
Sleeping together in this makeshift bed. I searched my mind to say or do something useful for them.
(though he did not ask)
Here's what I came up with: I found something to admire--his walking stick-(-look closely--that's a real rattlesnake skin. He told me how he skinned and made it fit.) I also gave him some gas money and told him he could live rent free at Quartzsite and at the Slabs. Congratulated him on his courage to break free and search for a better life out west---told him a movie was made about this kind of adventure --- That it's hard to starve in America---that a really good life can be had for cheap.
RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES; I weep for him---needlessly insecure---woefully uneducated---unconnected except with his dog---not in control--nearly broke--without medical or dental care--adrift in an uncaring society. He is indeed "LOST"---to himself---and to us. How ironic-- that the man has done for the dog what he cannot do for himself. I believe that lost people---like lost dogs---need and deserve rescuing. I rage at the "sink or swim" philosophy of the political right as well as the bleeding heart EXPENSIVE sentimentality of the left. We who travel the low road know a NATION-SAVING secret: That an adventurous, character-building--- mobile---low consumption---friendship connected---lifestyle can be had for peanuts.