I woke up a little groggy on the floor of the church office. I didn’t sleep well and had some bizarre dreams. We decided to grab some breakfast at a local diner so we headed into town. I’m really loving the New Mexico breakfast cuisine, the Mexican influence is apparent and pleasant. While eating a couple sat next to us and started chatting with us. We exchanged stories and when we left they told us that “we brought a smile to their face on a bad day”. Pretty cool.
We had a good morning ride and made it to Magdelena just in time for a light lunch. Most of the conversations I overheard were people helping each other find work. Out here community is your social safety net. We got on the road again and passed some amazing sites. We actually rode right next to the satellite dishes of the Very Large Array used to detect radio signals in outer space.
At a small gas station at our Datil we heard about a free place to sleep in neighboring Pietown that is set up for travelers. We had a lot of daylight left so we decided to put in another 20 miles and cross the continental divide into Pietown.
We arrived just in time for the Friday night dinner that most of the community attends. We had some great food (including pie) and talked with the local people. It was a really pleasant evening. When the sun started to set we headed towards the free housing, a place called “Toaster House”.
Words cannot describe this place. It is a multi-bedroom house that The owner raised her five kids in and is filled with memorabilia, notes, and pictures from at least 15 years worth of travelers. It is a place of peace, love, adventure, freedom, and trust. It is the closest thing to Burning Man I’ve ever experienced outside the playa., it nearly brought tears to my eyes and I choked up several times. All I could say is “wow”.
The owner, Aloha Nita, isn’t home but above the door are two signs that read:
– No one lives here now – please make yourself(ves) at home
– Safe journey to all
The house has a moderate stock of food and equipment, including some local pies. It’s obvious that most of the items have been left by travelers who decided they didn’t need all they were carrying. None of the furniture matches, it’s dusty and old, and it smells slightly but it is the most beautiful home I’ve ever been in. I couldn’t leave without leaving something do I nailed an item to the wall that I’ve had since Burning Man. In addition Jake and I decided to leave some food and such behind.
To be honest, I’m torn on whether to take pictures or not. I don’t think I will though, this is a place for travelers. I hope everyone someday finds it but pictures won’t do justice to the love that permeates this place. I feel home.