On and Off Ramps [7]

As I wended my way to Jeep Road via the always-empty backroads, I was deciding to go west. East meant more large towns and more people. West meant fewer people and smaller towns. Fewer people meant less chance of encountering “pigeoned” people, I figured.
I would take the risk and go to a sporting goods place to buy a tent and sleeping bag. In the rush to get out of the house I hadn’t snagged my old ones. Then again, they were well-used already, and I hadn’t gotten around to repairing the tent the last time I used it- the floor leaked.
Then I thought about the old man in his prospector hat, living rough somewhere in Salina, and thought about where I’d go if I were going to pitch a tent around there. Within a short while I had intuited his location, and decided that I would take the risk and go to see whether I was right or not. IF I could get to the place without any incidents. If it was too squirrelly, I would get back on I-70 and forget about it.
On the overpass to the onramp I glanced up and down the interstate to see how traffic was going. It was dead empty. Not one vehicle moved in either direction, as far as the eye could see. Of course, in Kansas during the time of Covid, this wasn’t particularly weird. But it was weird enough.
The onramp from Jeep to westbound I-70 is a strange little arrangement that crosses and then parallels a farmer’s dirt access road.
When I got to the spot where one would normally cross the driveway and enter the onramp, there was an old tractor with a pile of crap stacked against it sitting there in the way. Somebody had barricaded the intersection. I looked around carefully for pigeon-people waiting in ambush, but thankfully none appeared.
The spot was wide enough open- no bushes to jump out of- that I got out of my little car- still running- to look around the barrier and see if I could wiggle past it.
Sure enough, there was an almost-wide enough gap behind the nearest tire/pallet/oil barrel configuration. So I heaved the pallet to one side and then rolled the tire and barrel out of the way, hopped back into my car, and rolled past.
As I headed down the onramp, I saw the dust from a truck that was roaring in my direction up the farm road. This did not bode well. I floored it, and by the time I was “merging” onto the empty highway, was doing around 85. I looked over to see who was chasing me.
The truck was a relatively new big gray Ford. This told me two things- this was a working farmer who’d used subsidies to get new equipment recently, and it was also somebody who was probably a terrified uninformed redneck moron who still trusted “the system” enough to use those subsidies, buy new equipment, plant the damn unsellable soybeans that were piling up all over the country, AND consider himself in charge of things to the point where he’d pile a bunch of crap in an intersection to try to prevent people from leaving the area and then chase them if they did so.
The truck had reached the barricade at about the time that I crested the next hill. I watched in the rearview mirror to see what he’d do next. Thankfully, he was going to adjust his barricade, rather than chase me.
I started to wonder if the pigeons actually changed people or just kind of stretched their boundaries a bit. Sauce Guy was obviously still out shopping with his wife before he decided to smash her. Wife was still picking out sauces before she reacted to the smashing. The missionaries were still “on mission” when they decided to wander into my backyard. Barricade Farmer was protecting “his” territory and his intersection….
The exits for Salina were coming up by the time I’d considered all of this. I decided to take the risk and try to find the old dude before I went any further.

Published by goddesswest

I'm a painter and am writing something now. People keep asking me to put it together in an easier to access place, so here I am. Plan to get some of my artwork in here too, eventually.

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