Thursday, August 15, 2013

Still Mean In Medford

Note: The following road updates are not posted in chronological order. I am focusing on what happened in several places on my run through Idaho, Washington State, Oregon and California.

This first post tells the story of what happened to me when I left California and headed back up into Oregon:

I will post the story about Russ in another post. This post details what happened to me after Russ
and I parted company.

I thought about the outside temperature while I sipped hot coffee inside the local Mickey D's in
Weed, California. It was 35 F at 6:30 in the morning and there were ribbons of ice on Interstate 5.

I had been up all night and I was very tired. But as I finished my coffee, I began to feel better.

So, after I stood up, stretched and yawned...I walked out into the frosty air. Frosty August. I
laughed as I watched my breath freeze and then disappear into the early sunshine.

About fifteen minutes later, I got my first ride.

I was feeling pretty good after I was dropped off at a spot twenty miles down the road. There was an
old concrete bench that was perfect for sitting on, right there by the onramp and I settled down on it with a smile.

It looked like it was going to be a very nice Sunday.

And then a couple with two small children drove up in their car and the woman got out. She walked
up to me with a folded bill of some denomination, in her hand.

She looked at me, stretched out her hand and said: "We can't give you a ride because we have no room but we want to give you this."

She almost handed me the money. Almost.

Then she pulled her hand back and walked back to the car.

After a bit of moving things around, the woman waved me over to the car. She sat in the back seat, between the two children and I sat down in the front seat, next to her husband.

Then the Christians in the car transported me north and across the border to Ashland, Oregon. When
they dropped me off, they said goodbye and drove away.

And I walked into the gas station convenience store and with what little I had to get a bottle of cold soda. The couple took that folded bill away with them.

The little store didn't carry Diet Dew so I settled for the real thing. Then I walked down to the onramp and noticed that another hitchhiker was already there.

And that's when I realized that my good day probably wasn't going to be so great, after all.

The hitchhiker, a young man, refused to move closer to the entrance of the ramp and so I had to move
much farther down the ramp than I would have liked to. I had to put a significant distance between myself and that that nobody would think that we were together.

Finally, a driver with a long, pony-tail and a know-it-all (translation: jackass) attitude, stopped and picked me up. He drove me to an intersection near the airport in Medford, Oregon and dropped me off.

I felt the heat hit me when I climbed out of his air-conditioned vehicle. Then I walked across the street, took my position by the onramp and spent the next six hours parboiling while everybody passed me by.

Well-dressed Church types, bored yuppies and tattooed rednecks did their best to reject me. I watched them give me the finger, sneer and drive past me in a thick black cloud of "Eff You!"

The animosity in that section of Medford was alive and ugly that day. I seldom see that much anger in one place...especially on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon. But there it was in all of its terrible a hallelujah all ready to screw me into the steaming pavement.

As I sat there and watched the population of Medford, Oregon show off its best bad manners...I thought about Greg. I wanted with all of my heart to reach him.

He lives in that area, too.

And I know that he is going to read this post.

I wondered more than once, over the course of those grueling hours, what Greg himself  would have done if he had seen me sitting on that guardrail.

It's a fair question.

I want you to know, Greg...that the knowledge that your good faith exists in the Medford one of the things that sustained me until I finally got a ride out of that well-heeled haven of hatred.

 And small wonder that Kyron Horman hasn't been found by anyone in that city, yet.

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