Giving rides to the Homeless and Greeting the police with big smiles! :P

Liberal Travel Blog

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There was a stressful delay in retrieving the Permit from Kansas this morning. To the point where I was actually beginning to become worried that we would be stuck in Perryton, TX for another night. Its not my favorite Texan town. Located a few miles away from the OK border in the panhandle of Texas, it has the reputation amongst our group as having the worst chinese restaurant in Texas...

Dad was on the phone for hours with the KDOT trying to sort out the permit issue. Apparently, due to the poor weather conditions of the night before, half the employees decided not to show up for work. When we finally got the permit these same poor weather conditions prevented us from going any further than Liberal, KS; a town known as being the official home of Dorothy and Toto!

Thankfully the poor weather was north of Liberal!! Kansas has a strict rule that if there is ANY precipitation then all supersize loads, like us, need to immediately stop! Since, according to the radar system, our route was through the poor weather we had to stop at the weigh station and spend the night in Liberal.
With several hours of daylight left I took off and headed back south into Oklahoma to photograph a few houses that I had noticed earlier in the day.

I went through the first two houses without any issue. Found a few cool finds in each. The first house was crazy small and the stairway was possibly the most narrow and and shallow set of steps I have ever seen! I didn't think I could fit through the doorway at the top it was so narrow.. The second house looked like it was stuck in the 80's with the horrible sculpted green carpet and wood panelling. The front lawn was littered with appliances and inside was evidence of a fire set from squatters. From there I decided to head further south into Texas for the third house.

On my way toward the third house I saw a man walking along the highway.
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I had noticed him earlier in the day when we past through Turpin, OK. He was walking south and covering his ears as we passed by. I felt bad for him.. The next town was a 30 minute drive away and he looked exhausted, who knows how long he had been walking.. So I turned around and pulled up in front of him.

Strangely, as I pulled up, he just sat down on the grass and placed his hands on his head.. I asked him if he wanted as ride to Perryton, Tx and he quietly responded with a "no".. I knew something wasn't right, so I decided to walk up to him, pretending that I couldn't hear him with the passing traffic, and asked him again. this time he agreed and walked back to my car with me. Once inside he admitted that he thought, because of my light bar, that I was the police and that was why he sat down earlier and placed his hands on his head.
. People often think I am a park ranger or something similar when they see me pull up in my escorting vehicle.

I found the guy to be intriguing and really cool, he asked alot of questions about me and shared loads of information on our various subjects. I think he was trying to show me that he wasn't a stereotypical homeless man. He kept using that word "Stereotype" when we talked about people. for example he asked why so many hotels in the country were owned by Indians and then, before I could respond, he would say that "thats stereotyping". I sensed that he probably dealt a lot with being stereotyped and probably because of his experiences could see when he noticed stereotypes of others.

He saw that I was into arts and kept mentioning artists he had heard of and bits of trivia about them.
Most of his info was a bit misleading, Such as Andy Warhol is currently teaching in Ohio University, but it was obvious that he was proud of the information he had.. He wasn't boasting his knowledge like other people sometimes do, he was eager to share what he had learned from others during his trip and remembered learning from his days in highschool.

The funniest moment was when he asked, after seeing that I was reading a book from a latino author, if I was Cuban. Smiling, I responded with no and asked why he thought that. He said I looked cuban to him and went on to describe the diversity of Cubans. The funny thing is that I have been researching ways to legally enter Cuba and this odd and out of nowhere interaction between us seemed to be sign that I need to go!

All and all the guy was really charming.
Leaning house of OK
I learned that he was homeless in St Petersburg, FL and one day began walking toward Alabama. From there he kept going north and somehow got a ride to Missouri. He decided that it was too cold for him there and felt that maybe he should return to Alabama. He is taking a strange out of the way direction to get there, but I don't think he minds. When we got to Perryton, TX he was thinking that maybe Amarillo would be a better idea for the next few months.

I dropped him off at the local truckstop with a few dollars to for food and water. He had everything he owned with him in an old, torn and dirty backpack. and strangely I wanted to be him.. Sure he has to deal with problems that I rarely come across if at all, but still I am drawn to this walk of his. The world he sees must be so different from mine and I want to understand it first hand.
I LOVED this find!!!! SOO TEXAN!!

After dropping the Homeless man off, I never did get his name :(, I drove north a few miles to the third house.. I noticed it a few times when we come across the Texan and OK panhandles. The house was a single story, white with red trim and looking picturesque in its green surroundings. The door was easy to open and once inside I found what is possibly the greatest find ever!!! a western Mural on one wall with a tacky floral easychair resting in front.. PERFECT picture!!! I loved it!! the mural had some damage and the ceiling material was all over the floor.

While exploring the rest of the place I noticed the police outside, parked behind Simone. This is the very first time in the past two years or so that I have ever been caught inside an abandoned house by the police.
I wasn't sure how much trouble i was in, but decided that the best thing for me to do was to walk right up to them with my best smile and be completely straightforward.

It worked!!! I put my hand out to shake his, which I think caught him off guard and introduced myself. he asked what I was doing and I quickly explained that I am working on a photo series of abandoned rural houses and came across this one during my travels. He told me that it was probably okay that I photograph the outside but if the owners came by they might not be happy with me. I apologized and said that I fully understand the risk that I was taking, and that I meant no harm except to preserve what I found with photography. I then brought up how I would love to ask the owners for permission, but with most of these houses being so rural and isolated I never know where to look for the info, and if he had any i would greatly appreciate it.
. He did not have any information regarding the owners and couldn't remember a time when there were people living here.. We talked some more and then he drove off leaving me behind to take some more picts... :P:P

I AM A LUCKY LUCKY GIRL!! And what an exciting few hours!!

As for work we have to leave super early in the morning, due to being parked at the scales. We are hoping to find a third escort for CO. If we can't then we have to stop for the day in Oakley, KS. If we do we can then cross into CO and stop at Cheyenne, WY.. I would much rather stop in Cheyenne than Oakley... better food! :P

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Leaning house of OK
Leaning house of OK
I LOVED this find!!!! SOO TEXAN!!
I LOVED this find!!!! SOO TEXAN!!
photo by: esterrene