I slept in! Shortly before 7 a.m., I made my way downstairs. I showered, changed into clean clothes, drank water, and completely repacked the buggy. Omar came by! He was getting ready for work and grabbed some waters from the kitchen. He wished me the best, we parted ways.
I made my way uptown and found a gas station. I met Ernie! He was hanging out on the curb. I asked him if he needed help, and he told me he needed breakfast. I did too, we were able to share a meal! We headed next door and ate a great breakfast! Eggs, beans, tortillas, potatoes. Ernie is from town, but mostly spoke spanish. He thanked me and thanked God for the meal. We parted ways.
I couldn’t find anything sufficient. There were lots of trees, but they weren’t strong enough to hang a hammock on. The culverts were to small for shelter. I kept scouting between the road and tracks. It kept growing dark.
I found myself in town. There was a crazy dust storm rolling through. Abandoned buildings, and watchful eyes. I wasn’t the only person looking for somewhere to sleep. I kept moving.
I found Our Lady of Guadalupe church in the center of town. It was late, and people in the neighborhood were still up. Just hanging around quietly. I decided to keep moving and try to camp just west of Fabens.
Dogs! Two of them. Vicious with dripping fangs. Just by the Dollar General. They escaped a junkyard fence and ambushed me! It was intense, but I was able to fend them off. At one point I had one on each side of me. I kept swinging the buggy at them and screaming at the top of my lungs. I put them in their place, and remained unscathed.
With adrenaline pumping, I kept moving into the night. Border Patrol kept passing me. They slowed down a few times but didn’t stop.
I made it a few miles, and then a rear wheel on the buggy went flat! I had no spare tubes. I was trying to find my air pump, but I couldn’t. I searched the whole buggy. It was strange because I always have it accessible. In the desert, I usually have to inflate the tires at least twice a day.
A dog started barking at me. My voice was lost. I yelled at it in a whisper. Then I realized, the pump fell out of the buggy during my battle with the junkyard dogs! I knew it. It was three miles back to town. I grabbed the bear spray Lee from Houston had given me, chugged a bunch of water, and left the buggy roadside. I had to go back.
I made my way back to the buggy. It felt great having that air pump in my hand. It also felt good having fended off those vicious dogs. I got to work on the tire.
The pump’s air chamber was cracked! It would not inflate the tire even one PSI. Broken. It was almost 1 a.m. I just wanted to sleep. What a downer.
I got fancy. I removed the front wheel from the buggy. The bearings on it made for a different fit on the rear axle, but I used a coat hanger to keep it in place. It worked so well! I would be able to use the buggy like a dolly on two wheels. I could get to town.
Only thing is, just when I was set to go, the opposite wheel started to go flat! It was 5 miles to the next town. I made it about a mile until it went completely flat. I kept heaving it. It was like swimming against a current, exhausting.
I loaded up my sleeping bag with essentials and lightweight items. Clothes, the hammock kit, a gallon of water, MRE’s the cooler filled with toiletries. I left behind canned goods, heavy clothes, an umbrella, odd ropes and bungees, tools, anything that was heavy. I downed a can of coconut water, slung the sleeping bag over my shoulder and abandoned the buggy.
It was a long and tiresome stretch. I fought off another pack of dogs. Then more of them barked at me along the way. I took breaks when I could. More dogs than the whole journey put together, I couldn’t believe it. Every property.