Giving rides to the Homeless and Greeting the police with big smiles! :P
Liberal Travel Blog› entry 41 of 90 › view all entries
May 19th, 2010 – by: esterrene
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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