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Gyr
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Broke

So-called Cali/Arizona Border in the I10 corridor on AZ Land trust and BLM Land, traditional territory of the Cocopah and Kwatáan

My kid and I have been on the road for three and a half years and four winters. We’ve journeyed from Michigan to the Carolina’s to Florida, to Tucson, to San Francisco, to Seattle and back again. We’ve picked up mutts and misfits along the way and guided more than a couple into the rubber tramping life. What is this journey, where was it headed and where might it go now?

When we got to Skooliepalooza we discovered a definite list to the bus. After the first week we had the longest resupply run of our lives in Blythe, California. Getting groceries was to be a 24 hour expedition, we just didn’t know it yet. The restock on essentials came off without a hitch until my kid wondered why the bus was squeaking. Kiddo rocked the bus side to side from the inside while I got under it with a light. At first glance, it looked like the leaf spring retainer clamp had come loose and the heavy metal springs were walking about with every bump. Not thinking too much of it, we came up on the Blythe CAT dealer to have the bus checked out.

Before they got the bus into a shop bay it started raining. Before long those much needed drops of desert rain were loosing a torrent that formed a river in the street outside. I got to put on fun safety glasses and go back to inspect the bus. Broken. The springs were broken and would need to be completely replaced. Completely.

10 days for parts and eight hours of labor. $5k total.

We have nowhere to be, so let’s just fix it.

So, we hung in the desert on the edge of quartz topped mesas in the washout of the Colorado River where the ancient catastrophic floods that formed the Grand Canyon washed out bits and pieces of rock from here to the river’s origins in the high mountains of Colorado.

We made some new friends in a Jamaican family with a teenager just older than Senka. Javier and Senka were close to the same age, sharing ironic senses of humor, Genshin Impact and irritation with Javier’s little sister. It is rare to find other teenagers on the road, let alone a teenager that clicks well and easily with my kid. . . leading to a super grateful dad.

We hosted some shared meals and worked on their rig, installing solar and doing plumbing deletes and putting together another bed in their rig. I managed to change one too many settings on their charge controller and pop and smoke that little plastic device until I wondered if it might catch on fire. Then, we rolled out together after getting their weary rig running again. They went on to Quartzite, AZ and we booked a couple nights at an AirBNB with the fur babies while our bus went in for surgery.

We left the AirBNB yesterday. My head is spinning. I went to bed at 2:30 yesterday and woke for long enough to walk the dog and put something in my stomach and found myself back in bed forty minutes later. It’s now 3:30 am, the same time that I woke up the night before unable to go back to bed because of a mix of anxiety, anticipation and wonder at the perfect timing of this storm. The day before they had called me back to the shop to take a look at the spring. The tech easily put two large fingers through the frame channel behind the rear spring mount. He pounded on the frame channel to show me how thin and weak the metal is. He used the word, “unrepairable.”

To say that I’ve been spun out is very gracious.

At the same time I’m confronting a lifetime of anger with my fucked up family and childhood and at a critical point where I feel the beginnings of letting all of that shit go. This deep well of anger has been hidden and avoided for decades. It has become clear that my family narrative was intentionally constructed with me as the scapegoat to hide parental dysfunction, substance abuse, and immaturity. The gross irony is that I believed it, having been indoctrinated into a failed state of a family system from birth. By the time I was in the 5th grade and my step-mother was regularly calling the cops the indoctrination into scapegoat was complete.

This bus journey, for me, has been a great unpacking of the bullshit in my his-story. Combined with self-hypnosis, ravenous reading and learning, sound healing, self-healing, shamanic journeying and disintegrations. . . I have chosen my path. The map that I started out with in childhood read, “A Map of Hell.” When I did my first few hypnosis sessions back in 2018 I discovered that there was a pathway out of hell that started with hope and optimism. Now, the map out of hell is closing for good. With a great deal of support and kindness and understanding I was able to climb out of hell. The maps of the world I’m moving through are now fluid, updating on an as the need arises.

I’ve known that another path is opening to me, though I can’t say exactly what it is yet. I know that the bus breaking down is part of the rebirth process. All of the safety and anxiety and existential dread that has come up around this rebirth are a renewed call to let this old shit bake in the Arizona sun for a little while before giving it up

Each morning I go out on a walk with doggo. He searches for rabbit and smells while I hunt agates and talk to the rocks. As the moon approaches new those old ways of being can and do melt, as we allow it.

I never thought I’d be here, broke down in the desert with my kid and an old bus and no-thing to do but get to the bottom of old worries and anxieties and concerns. This is a place where I feel safe enough to allow myself to break, to fall into pieces. . . and hold space for how these aspects of self might remediate and reorganize themselves as I’m left with little choice but to find a way to turn a shit situation into gold.

about author

Gyr

A dad, a kid, a kelpie and two cat brothers rubbertramping around the country doing our best to live authentic lives while awakening to our birthright. 

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