In an ongoing effort to stay fit and ready for the next hike, I’ve been walking several times a week while Jim is engaged in his saw and hammer therapy sessions here at Slab City. (I’m sure he will be blogging about his project at some point in the near future.) Since I walk alone, I walk along the main roads for safety, at Jim’s request. And, as is our practice whenever possible — both walking and biking — I face oncoming traffic. This gives ample opportunity to get farther off the shoulder when cars are coming. It also provides me with plenty of chances to wave at strangers. Most folks who live our type of lifestyle are friendly so waving has become kind of second nature.
On this particular day (January 15, 2017), I guess because it’s the weekend and beautifully sunny, traffic is a little heavier than usual and I find myself feeling a bit like the mentally/socially challenged person who stands on the corner grinning and waving enthusiastically at passers-by at a busy intersection in the city. You’ve seen them.
Most of the tourists give me a hesitant wave and maybe a smile…or they ignore me altogether. But occasionally–as on this day– I am surprised by some responses. Like the driver who raises his arm up over the top of his VW beetle and throws me a peace sign. Or the young kid on a little dirt bike who flashes me a gangsta salute on the bill of his helmet.
The locals are a little more colorful. One passenger hangs his upper body out the window and shouts an enthusiastic “Hi!” waving both arms, one pulls over and asks if I need a ride or if I’m walking *on purpose* and still another honks and calls me by name. And at that moment I am filled with a sense of belonging and contentment to be in this place among “friends”.
I stop outside the VIPer club where Jimmy James is selling handcrafted jewelry. I talk to Jimmy, George, Butch and Carlos before I make myself continue walking. I’ve walked three miles so far with a mile left to go and if I stay stationary too long, I may be tempted to hitch a ride with George and his guests back to The Ponderosa.
I continue the train of thought about the vibe of the slabs and haven’t gone too far when I realize the only thing I have been using my phone for on these walks recently was tracking my distance on the pedometer app. With the exception of pictures of the unbelievably blue sky one day, the only ones I’ve taken this week have been for others…a group of young women at the Salvation Mountain sign and two girls at the shoe tree. Apparently this setting has become so familiar that I’m not compelled to photograph. Even the trashiness is taken in stride, so to speak.
So, along with the desert’s blue sky, here are a few of shots I took along my route today just for you.
Oh, by the way, do you wave back at “crazy” strangers?