SMOKIN’ GUN

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The picture above is a hand-drawn poster that was pasted to the side of an abandoned building and it was peeling off. Artist unknown.

Oct 23 – Nov 1, 2014:
After a day on the road, Tal was out checking on a source for water while I was sitting at the table typing an email. The blast doors were open and I looked out at a serene view of the desert. The sun was just going down and it was lighting the mountains up in a wash of gold. As I was admiring the view a coyote trotted by right in front of the open doors. He hesitated, looking in my direction, but when I moved he returned to his trot. He was no doubt looking for his supper and must have smelled our cat. Wow! Living in the wilderness is an amazing adventure and there is a surprise around every turn.

TAL PULLING IN WOOD WITH HIS WINCH AND 300' CABLE

TAL PULLING IN WOOD WITH HIS WINCH AND 300′ CABLE

We were heading south and had left the higher altitudes we had been enjoying, anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 feet. The days were typically warm but the nights were getting more and more chilly. The last couple of days in Luning, Nevada, Tal had the fire going most of the day.

PULLING WOOD OVER TO TRUCK FOR TAL TO CUT

PULLING WOOD OVER TO TRUCK FOR TAL TO CUT

Tal would busy himself in the mornings by pulling in wood with his wInch and 300 foot cable he had just put together. Then he would cut the wood up with his skill saw. There is so much sand and dirt in the old wood that it would kill his chain saw if he used that. I did a little of my squaw work, bringing in wood by hand. I can feel the pull to do this down to my Native American roots. It is satisfying labor.

COALDALE, ABANDONED GHOST TOWN

COALDALE, ABANDONED GHOST TOWN

After we left there we headed to another ghost town, Coaldale. It closed down in the mid-1990s due to a fuel tank leakage at the service station which was the main draw for travelers passing by. A onetime casino/restaurant is nothing but a shamble left for those who like to indulge in graffiti. Even the signage has joined in the fun as you will see by the picture, making a joke of what once was, saying “sluts” instead of “slots.”

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We took advantage of the solitude and did some target practice with Tal’s Ruger Mark 1, semi-automatic. I hit a beer bottle that Tal missed. I didn’t tell him my secret. When I was eighteen I worked at the arcade at the Santa Cruz, California boardwalk on the beach. During my breaks I would play the games where you shot moving targets. The practice has paid off.

STAKED OUT MINE, TAL READING THE COORDINATES

STAKED OUT MINE, TAL READING THE COORDINATES

The original house on the abandoned property was a beauty. Though it is in huge disrepair, the bones are good and there is still some original wood flooring that could be saved. I would love to restore that old house. We played with the idea of how one could bring the old town back to life. At the end, my hesitation for doing such a thing was the itch I get under my feet when we sit still for too long in one place. Will the gypsy spirit ever leave my soul? I think it is only growing stronger.

WINDSOCK APPARATUS AT ONE OF THE MANY ABANDONED AIRSTRIPS THAT LEAD TO BETROTHALS  ALONG HIGHWAY 95

WINDSOCK APPARATUS AT ONE OF THE MANY ABANDONED AIRSTRIPS THAT LEAD TO BETROTHALS ALONG HIGHWAY 95


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One thought on “SMOKIN’ GUN

  1. oh the envy of your alone time. just to be with each other is a wonderful thing. so many couples today spend more time with other people than there own spouses. we have been in the cold air here, i guess you guys are still on the warm side. well keep writing i love reading of your travels. you are a great story teller.

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