“Okay guys, I’m in a very shady situation right now and I’m going to ride it out and see where it goes. If you guys don’t hear from me in a couple of days, I’m in Cortez, CO with some dude named Carl.” I typed into a mass text I sent out to a few of my friends and cousins. I was laying on a couch in the living room of a ranch in the backwoods of Colorado attempting to sleep fully dressed and wearing my steel toe boots and my hard knuckle riding gloves while grasping a 12 inch long wrench, ready to strike in case I was attacked in the middle of the night. “How the fuck do I get myself into these situations?” I think to myself.
In order to celebrate my new found freedom and release from the clutches of Uncle Sam, in the summer of 2009, I decided to take a 2 1/2 month motorcycle trip around the United States.
Three weeks into the journey, I was riding through the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona after having seen the Grand Canyon earlier that day. The scorching Arizona heat made it feel like I was riding through a giant hair dryer while sitting inside a hot oven. As I began to lose myself in my thoughts, thinking about life and how awesome I am, off in the horizon I saw two huge, distinctly shaped rocks. As I rode up closer to them I knew I had to picture whore it and capture my ugly mug with them. Luckily, a man was hanging out there.
As I pulled up, his dog took an interest in me and came up to me. I started petting him, then the man came up in a friendly matter. I introduced myself and he introduced himself as “Carl” I then asked him to take a picture of me. Afterwards, he eyed the license plate on my motorcycle.
Carl: “Washington? What are you doing all the way done here?”
Raul: “I just got out of the Army and I was stationed in Fort Lewis. I’m taking a motorcycle trip around the US to celebrate.”
Carl: “That sounds pretty neat. Where are you headed tonight?”
Raul: “I’m not sure, I’m trying to make it to Four Corners tomorrow, so I’m going to ride as far as I can and probably camp out somewhere.”
Carl: “I wouldn’t suggest camping out here, there are a lot of snakes and other nasty stuff. You should get a motel.”
We talked for a couple of minutes, during that time he informed me that the name of the rock formation I was looking at was known as the Elephant Feet. The time to leave came, so I shook his hand, thanked him, and rode off not thinking much else of the event. I rode for an hour as the sun started to set. By that time I was starving and had seen on my map there was a small town called Kayenta on the way. A whole day of riding the heat had caused my jeans to drenched in my ball sweat and I’m sure I smelled like it too. I had camped out the previous night after getting drunk off of my ass and had only taken a baby wipe bath. The idea of camping out for another night in the unforgiving Arizona heat without a shower seemed rather unappealing. The snakes thing didn’t really bug me, but nonetheless, I decided I would try to find a motel after getting some chow.
I got to the lifeless town of Kayenta right as the sun sets. I drive through a strip mall, hoping to find a restaurant that is open. Just as I decide on one, a car pulls up next to me; it was Carl.
Carl: “Hey! Did you find a place to stay yet?”
Raul: ”No, I was going to get to some fucking food first.”
Carl: “Well, I just thought about it… if you would like you can sleep on my sofa. I live about an hour up the road.”
Raul: “Sure, thanks, but let me get some food first.”
My personal philosophy for travel was and is still is to accept a free place to stay whenever I can as a way to save money and also meet people. This wouldn’t be the first time a random person offered me a place to stay, so I did so without giving it much thought. An hour may seem like a pretty far ride, but when you’re surrounded by the nothings of the hot, unforgiving desert, it’s not too much of a compromise.
We got to a small town on the south west corner of Colorado called Cortez. Carl explained to me that he had to go visit his friend first and pick her up. So I followed him to her trailer home and what came out was an old, witch looking woman whose face looked like its seen many wife beatings and possibly works as a bargain priced prostitute.
Carl then informed me that he had to go to another friends house to pick something up. We entered into this house where there were three shady looking rednecks. Carl made small talk and then exchanged money with them and took something. That’s when I became a little paranoid.
Raul: “What are you buying?”
Carl: “Coke, you want some?”
Raul: “No, I’m good.” Thoughts of bailing out of this situation immediately occurred to me. I may be an overindulgent social drinker, but I don’t fuck with that shit.
They complete their black market transaction and then we’re off to Carl’s house. Carl’s house was a surprisingly nice ranch home surrounded by about two or three acres of land. Then we get to the foot steps of the door, which is covered with license plates from various different states. It was quite cool, actually. I then walk into his house and am shocked to see to the most random collection of junk that I have ever witnessed in my life. The wall is plastered with random paintings, trophy bucks, hub caps, pictures, animal bones, chains, tools, and those weird radios from the 80’s that had little black and white TVs on them. Just an overall array of weird shit. It was kind of cool.
I sit down and start making small talk with Carl and his Rita Repulsa like friend. Then he pulls out a strange looking glass pipe which Rita Repulsa and him start smoking out of. Even someone as ignorant about drugs as me could take an educated guess and deduct it was a Meth pipe. Having to always be sure, I asked.
Raul: “What is that?”
Carl: “Meth…” as he pulls it into his lungs and exhales, “Want some?”
Raul: “Uh… no, that’s not my thing.”
Again panic sets in internally. I contemplate an escape route and how to leave this situation. Yet, I justify to myself, that he hasn’t done anything wrong to me directly. He’s been a pretty nice guy and over all not bad, hell, he was nice enough to offer me expensive coke and meth. I bet that’s what Ted Bundy’s victims thought also.
I’m still covered in my own ball sweat from the last couple of days of travel and I ask to use the shower. I also need to take a shit, so being the smart and hygienic guy I am, I shit before I shower. As I drop my little brown kids off at the pool, I notice there is a basket full of magazines and I start thumbing through them. Something peculiar caught my eye, there were randomly cut outs in the pages wherever the current generic, hot, young stud actor would have been. I put it back and finish up. I walk into the shower, turn around and look into the mirror in front of it. Then I see it. Pictures. Pictures of naked men cut out from Homo-Hustler and of male celebrities taped on the mirror. I pause there in disgust.
“God fucking damn it,” I sigh out lightly. I have nothing against gay people, but it happens a lot to me for some incomprehensible reason that I get hit on by them a lot. “Okay, okay… he hasn’t fucking done anything wrong,” I think to myself in a failing attempt to comfort myself as I take my shower.
As I come out of the shower the movie The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is playing; yep, he’s totally fucking gay. I’m tired as fuck and want to go to sleep, but withstand it and watch the movie. After the movie, Rita Repulsa and him go upstairs to his bedroom and I lay to sleep on the couch of his living room. Just as I am about to doze to sleep, I get a text message from him.
“Do you want some… attention?” It says.
OH FUCK NO! I think to myself in my panic. “Carl! Carl! I’m good man!” I yell out to him up the stairs.
“Alright,” he responds with a disappointed tone in his voice.
I’m sure this backwoods homo isn’t going to try anything, but in case he does, I begin to prepare. I change back from my shorts into my jeans and repack all my stuff into my saddlebags. I put on my steel toe motorcycle boots, hard knuckle riding gloves, and dig through his random assortment of shit and grab a 12 inch long wrench. Right before I lay back down to sleep, I send out a mass text to my friends letting them know generally where I am in case I go missing. Some immediately respond and I calm their nerves down. While others don’t because they assumed I was probably drunk.
It was a harrowing, restless night with every insignificant noise waking me up into kill homo-rapist with a wrench mode. Luckily and anti-climatically, the great battle to the death for my assholes virginity never occurred and Carl didn’t attempt anything.
The next morning he was working on a construction project on his home by the time I woke up. I thanked him for hospitality, got on my bike, and rode on to my next victory over life and death.