location: Arroyo Grande, CA
time: jan 22, 2007 6:52pm
~~ lba ~~ -prev

Today started as quite a few have on this trip. In a hotel. It was a cheap one $49. Quite nice as well. Very clean, no cigarette burns on anything. The one strange thing was that only hotwater came out of the shower. I burned myself clean. Almost refreshing. My gear was all over the place. Usually I try to keep it in one pile. It was chaos in there. As I packed my things I was thinking about last nights ramblings. I feel that this "Cure From Cars" thing is much bigger than what i first anticipated. The idea for this project first came to me years ago as i was working in a scrapyard in Southern Ontario.

A car mortician is a job which i would not recomend to anyone. It is filthy. Not only that it is incredibly bad for you. Please avoid it at all costs, unless like me you are interested to see what its like. While working in the Yard I witnessed the proccess a car goes through when it dies. Cars are alot like toys. People throw them away not only when they are broken, but when they have ceased to bring interest to the owner. Not all cars in a scrapyard are dead. In fact a scrapyard is where they go to die. Even if they are quite healthy. Its an eiree place to be at night. Rows upon rows of disemboweled hulks. Random peices missing from them. Broken glass twinkling in the moonlight. The occasional chime from the keys being in the ignition. In the back there are most often stacks of the waiting-to-be and proccessed cars.

The process a car goes through before it is crushed flat and shipped out, is a job have am fortunate to have avoided almost entirely. This is when the vital fluids are drained, and various precious metals are stripped from the body. It is a very violent proccess, and depending on the yard a very environmentally damaging process. It is next to impossible to catch all the fluids, and half the time the person preforming the operations doesn't care about the hazardous waste that is spilling on the ground. It is one less step the Mortician has to take. These people cannot be blamed for this. Nor the owner of the yard. They do have responsibilty issues. The problem is deeper rooted i feel. It is the nature of the beast. The Car that is.

The Car, WAS a great invention. It shrank the world and allowed commerce to go about its business more fluidly. This increase in business jumpstarted the economy and spread the wealth around. As the wealth was spread around so was the car. Since the car was a source of wealth it was praised and people built more. Greed steps in. As they built more the old ones were discarded. As with most trash of the era it was put in areas where it wasn't to bee seen. Swept under the rug so to speak. In Fact many have been buried. Out of sight out of mind. As populations expanded so did the production of the car. As land diminished it was no longer possible to discard of wrecks in outlying eras. In steps recycling. However this mentality of getting rid of things quickly still exists. Tires are an excellent example of some insiduous methods of "getting rid of things." For decades tires have been difficult to get rid of. They are also the most abundant used car item. Typically a car can go through a set of tires in anywhere from a year to 3 years. If a car lives for a decade, anywhere from 5-10 sets of tires can be used, times that by four well you get the picture. Tires a plenty. These things are everywhere. This is the evil of cars. It stems from a deeper problem than the car itself. It is us. We the consumer. Not the mortician, and not the owner of the yard. They are responsible in a way, but they are the "middle-men." They are merely taking care of that step that we so often over look.

This is what I was thinking about as I walked from Santa Ynez to Gaudalupe. The landscape was very excellent for thoughts like this. Open farm-land. No shade and no where to hide. I walked facing traffic. Taking in the endless sight of horizon. Pleased that I had completely by-passed Vandenberg AFB. I waved to the workers in the feild. They waved back. They were picking brocolli. Another tasty veggie. Excellent folk those who pick ground crops. Always happy always smiling. A great example of humanity. I have picked cucumbers before. It is back breaking work. Always stooped looking at the ground. There is pleasure in it. I recomend it to anyone who hasn't tried.

In Guadalupe I stopped for a bite to eat. There was a selection of Taco places. I chose one that was directly in my path. I had a beer a bunch of salsa, and a bean burritto. For those not in the know. Get them wet. Its the way to go. All covered in sauce and cheese. you have to eat them with cutlery, but they are sooo good. There were some friendly folk in there. I inquired about the road ahead. They told me that it should be fairly easy to get a ride. I decided to take the tracks. My next stop was at a Marketeria. I stocked up on Oranges, and another bottle of water. There is little shade out here in vegetable land.

small town

I was listening to Dead Prez a hip-hop group. Dark but uplifting at the same time. They rap about Black Power, Curing the Crack addicted slums, and eating right. Awesome stuff if you get the chance to hear. Have a boo. Their website is in flash, my apologies to those who don't roll that way. It was good music but i shut it off once I was far enough away from the highway.

The tracks were awesome. Half of the way there was a road following the tracks in the feilds beside. I walked 6 miles before i stopped for a break. I took a break on a hill next to some sand dunes. I had an orange and guzzled a bunch of water. Smoked a cigarette, then back down to the tracks. After another couple of miles I developed a sharp pain on the front of my left leg. It steadily grew worse. I started limping. eventually the highway came to meet me again. I said hello with a sigh of relief. The highway means town, which means stores, and people.

One that serves a purpose

I checked my limp as i passed a kid sitting in the grass. I asked where I was. His reply "Arroyo Grande Mesa." Thank Jesus. Civilization. He pointed me up the road to a store. I hobbled on. The store was at a cross roads. I was tempted to get a can of chef and find a bush to crawl in. I regret to inform you that i have become addicted to the internet, and in particular this website. Its almost like a child. I feel that I need to at least write something everyday to keep it happy. So I went in the store to see if anyone could tell me where downtown was.

The Lady behind the counter seemed frazzled. It was pretty zoo like. 4 customers at least, and two white teenage girls. The lady behind the counter was helping a gentleman and one of the girls was pestering her about the washroom "Where's your washroom?" in that whiney teenage voice. No "please," No "pardon me," and sure as hell no paitience to wait until it was their turn. When it was my turn i said "No manners with the kids of today." The lady seemed to agree. Now i am going to make a note here that i was wrong there. As Peter Tosh would say "Don't Blame Da Yoots of today." This problem is not a result of the parents. It is that same thing that i was speaking of earlier. Its that part of humanity which stops short of being human. The same thing that made people bury cars in the 60's. The easy way out. The blame game is the same thing. Its an easy way out. A cop out. Avoiding decency because its easier. Or its the "norm."

The lady behind the counter told me it was 4 miles to downtown. Her directions were pretty specific. I was a little shattered at the distance. But the 25 mile hobble would have to do. Down the hill i went. Back to farmland. And past some more happy vegatable pickers.

The honour of honest work

I am currently on Grand Ave in Arryo Grande. At another mexican eatery. this one is quite nice. It is dead here and the owner is letting take as long as i want. There is even an open port or two. What luck. No need to hold up in a hotel. I am going to leave here shortly and sleep in the dunes. Should be good times. When next i write i hope to be in Morro Bay. Some 25 miles up the road. That is if the pain goes away. pain is only in the mind anyway.

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