Monday, January 09, 2012

Trespassing: A Tale From The Franch


I was perusing ye old Franch files and found a few stories I forgot to post. Here is one:

 It was like a scene right out of a movie. I’ll do my best here to paint an adequate picture for you. It all started back at the farm. We spent all summer fixing up Jeff’s old Chevy pick-up. When Jeff had no farm work to do, we’d pull the truck up outside the shop and work. Sometimes we’d work at his Mom’s house too. The truck had significant rust damage, and let’s just say we used way more Bondo and duct tape than is recommended to restore the thing back to its original beauty. It was that summer that I earned the title of ‘Bondo Queen.’ I would do the Bondo and Jeff did the sanding. Anyway, after a summer of fixing up the truck, we had it painted. It sure turned out purdy. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Jeff was a poor college student commuting to and from school almost an hour each way, he decided to sell the truck and get something more fuel efficient. After all the work we had put into that truck, we decided to take it for one last hoo-rah. After all, that truck had gone on many a four-wheeling trip and had always served Jeff well. We decided to head out on Highway 6 &50, past Mack, and see where it went. We had never been much past the highly-esteemed Colorado Club. (Also known as the last stop on the edge of the edge, a seedy bar that attracted some really, shall we say, ‘interesting’ characters) To give you an idea of where we were, Mack is a town where there is all of 30 or so Post Office boxes. It is on the edge of the valley and consists of some very nice people and some very strange people. Like nudists, meth-heads, and other random assorted oddballs. West of Mack, well, there is a whole lot of nothing. It is only about 6 miles from the Utah border, in the desert. So, we headed off on the highway toward Utah. The highway pretty much disintegrated before our very eyes. The asphalt became more crumbly and patchy, and it was clear that the road was not frequently traveled or maintained. Somewhere around the Utah line, we decided to turn South. We just steered off the road onto BLM land and decided to see what was out there. We drove for several miles and of course, didn’t see a soul or any sign of civilization. Oddly enough, we ended up on some sort of ridge looking down on Rabbit Valley and the main interstate. There was no quick way to get down there, and as we soon realized, it was impossible. We decided to head back in the general direction we came, knowing we would eventually run into the highway. However! As it always seems to work, a fence appeared out of nowhere. A fence that stretched as far as we could see. I have no idea why or how we did not see it coming in, or how we got around it. Knowing we did not have enough gas left for a wild goose chase, we looked to find somewhere to pass through. We managed to find a gate in the barbed wire fence. Hanging at lengths along the fence were rusty old ‘No Trespassing’ signs, serving to ward off hooligans like us. Hanging on the gate was an even larger ‘No Trespassing’ sign, riddled with a few bullet holes seemingly put there for added emphasis. We decided we had no choice but to take our chances and head into whatever lay before us. I hopped out, opened the gate and closed it after the truck. We drove for quite a way before we saw what appeared to be the scene from a movie, off in the distance. There were a few rusty old trailers circled ‘round. There was your standard assortment of dilapidated old cars, surely housing the likes of raccoons, jackrabbits and other wildlife. There were rusty oil drums, broken tractor parts, and various ‘hey-I-might-use-that-someday’ odds and ends strewn about. I quickly told Jeff to slow down so we didn’t stir up too much dust. Nothin’ like trespassing on someone’s land and then stirring up a fit of dust to boot. So, we slowed to a crawl. That gave us time to spot them: three crusty old badgers sitting around in lawn chairs smoking and shooting the breeze. There may have been a can or six of beer sitting out. Clearly, they were sitting outside waiting for a UFO to fly over or something. Instead, they see a trail of dust in the distance, and a old but shiny green pick-up with two young whippersnappers driving up. My concern at this point was that they would take a shoot out one of our tires or something, just for sport and because we were trespassing. I was worried that since they clearly chose to live way beyond civilization, they would also feel beyond civilization's rules. And who wouldn’t want to have a little fun with two scared teenagers dumb enough to get lost and end up on private property with a near-empty gas tank? Jeff and I quickly debated the merits of stopping to explain ourselves vs. driving right past them. It became clear that we were the first human beings that had ventured into them-thar-parts in quite a while, as evidenced by their long stares. Every so often one of them would lean over and spit in the dirt. It really was like a movie, in slow motion. They didn’t take their eyes off of us, or we off them. We crept along, trying not to stir up dust, and decided that the best course of action would be to skip the pleasantries and head for the hills. So we did. We had to pass fairly close to these gents, and as soon as we were well enough past them, we sped up and high-tailed it for the highway. Fortunately, it wasn’t too much longer til we got to the road, and we managed to get to the ‘Last Chance Gas Station’ to fill up before we ran out of gas. That was close!

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