“You can choose to run from your fear. Just remember the further up the tree you go, the thinner the branches.“
The last time I hit the road, I had a weird reluctance to go to Texas, which makes no sense because I could imagine how beautiful it is there! I’ve also enjoyed everyone I met who is from there. So, this time around, I decided I was going to push this time, and promptly drove down to El Paso for lunch. Well, it’s important to listen to intuition. Alternatively, sometimes intuition doesn’t make sense until it is said and done. Either way, I decided that this time, it wasn’t worth running up the thin branches.
Back story from earlier this trip:
Please forgive me for not writing this in order! This is an important little tidbit that ties into the reason I got out of Texas without arrest. Yes, you read that right. Without arrest.
I’ve always held a vision of living in a mountain home, with a harp as a focal point that I would play after a long day at work. Something like an Angelic aesthetic that I think would be beautiful for house guests to experience. A couple months ago, I realized I’ve been living in a mountain home for awhile, all I need is a harp. So, I looked them up. They are expensive. The cheapest decent harp I could find was on Amazon (I know, I know), for $375. I saved it in my cart for later. I can’t justify spending that much on something I’ve yet to experience.
Upon arriving at the Airbnb for my Dad’s brick ceremony, I saw a harp upstairs—the exact same one I saved in my cart. It was fun to play, even though I’m definitely not naturally skilled at it, and later I found out that everything in the AirBnB is for sale, since the owner runs art galleries and can easily redecorate her home. Long story short, it was about ⅓ of the cost, so I own a harp now. I am traveling around with a 3 foot harp in the back of my Pilot. How’s that for aesthetic? A blondie driving around with a harp.
2000 miles from home, I made it into Texas. My suspicions were correct–it’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL. El Paso has hills and funky roads reminiscent of Oakland, and architecture and landscape that resembles Reno. Driving feels chaotic, like driving through San Francisco, because there’s a healthy city population. There’s something familiar to it. The sky is big and everything is a little greener than I suspected. I stopped at a gas station, and stopped in spots to get cool photos when a long time friend began messaging me about the most dangerous city in the world, Juarez, which is right over the border separated by the Rio Grande. Apparently, the chief of police was just killed a month earlier. This kind of spooked me, being so near that kind of imminent danger, so instead of stopping for lunch, I decided to hightail it to the nearest national parks–Guadalupe Hills and finally the sunset Bat Flight at the Carlsbad caverns (which was the planned next stop last time i traveled). I did make it to Carlsbad, but I’m not sure if I’ll be going back to Texas this time around. Or anytime soon.
If you have gone on roadtrips, you know about checkpoints. There are checkpoints for agriculture, DUI checkpoints, and if you’ve crossed the border, there are usually checks for weapons and smuggling. I had blueberries and tomatoes on my front seat, and some knives tucked into my door. Imagine my surprise when they stopped me for something else.
The line to get to the main point was about 4 cars deep. In front of me was a car full of dogs. The narcotics dog came running over and I thought “awww how cute, they must be training this doggo!” He had those big black Malamute ears and a waggy tail. My heart melted a bit and I was happy for this furry officer. He was jumping at the car with other doggos. With a big smile, I pull up with my turn. “Hey, how’s it going?”
“Ma’am, what are you doing out here?”
“I’m on a road trip, thought it would be cool to have lunch in El Paso and then see more of the Southwest. I just got done with my father’s memorial in Northern NM.”
“Do you have drugs on you?”
“No marijuana, THC? Pipes? Paraphernalia? Those ARE California plates.”
“No, I don’t smoke. My Dad died of lung cancer. ….. I do have cbd cream and a tincture that MIGHT have THC in it. May I show you?”
“Ma’am, we need you to pull over. Give us your license. We need to search your car.”
I pointed out to them where I knew the CBD tincture would be, and realized there is another CBD vape in a bag I use for my laptop (I put it in there years ago and forgot about it. I really don’t smoke). After 10 minutes of searching and me making small talk with the chief, they called me over and asked me to gather all the stuff that might possibly have alerted the doggo.
“He only alerts us that there is something, not if there is a lot.”
They were respectful about my set up–they didn’t want to tear everything apart. Which I was soo grateful for. I handed them everything I could think of, and they asked how and what I use it for.
“The tincture helps with headaches I get from a brain injury. The smoking thing? Bought it years ago. I don’t use it. Please just throw it all away.”
“Texas has a zero tolerance policy for marijuana. This is an arrestable offense.”
“I honestly didn’t even realize there is THC in it. You can see it is 18:1, CBD. Please throw it away. Can’t you forgive a stupid Californian?” This got them chuckling and joking back.
“Well I can’t forgive you for being Californian, but I can let you know we are looking for higher amounts, but a sheriff could show up and arrest you.” MY eyes got big. “There’s no reason for us to call a sheriff.” He smiled to let me know he was enjoying my nervous charm (which I must say, just came out as bubbly conversation). “Please go back over there and wait.”
I was back by the chief, talking about his experience traveling through the Southern states as an ethnic officer. “You traveling alone? You couldn’t find a friend to go with you?” My heart sunk to my belly. This guy had one of those unreadable serious faces. Was he putting fear in me? Making conversation?
“No, it’s so expensive to live in CA, I couldn’t ask anyone to take time off for me. Besides, I’ll be meeting up with friends in most states that I stop.” He finally smiled when I told him where I would likely stop in NM, as he spent much childhood time there. Meanwhile, the humorous patrol put my stuff into one bag and called the dog over. The dog jumped straight to the bag, nowhere else. He looked around once more and shouted “Is this a harp?!”
“Yes it is, I just bought it!”
“Do you play?”
“It’s my dream instrument, I just bought it to learn!”
“Well, we can’t arrest an angel with a harp. You’re free to go. I would suggest getting rid of the THC. It’s on camera here but we’re going to leave it up to you.”
It had been 15 minutes of me hiding anxiety—I didn’t want them to think I was hiding anything worse. My nerves were shot but no one could tell.
“Thank you guys! Sorry to make you and the dog do extra work. Really sorry about that. Thank you so much for what you do and for keeping us safe!”
I got in my car and began driving, fast and far out of Texas. This state took a look at me and promptly shouted “SCRAM!!” Too bad, it really is a pretty state.
Yes, I threw the stuff away. But now I’m beyond anxious for the rest of this trip. At least there is an exciting story out of it.
Later on I will post about my Dad’s ceremony and the time My Mom, bestie, and I spent in New Mexico. Which I still love and am currently resting in to feel safe before continuing on.
Thank you for reading. As Always, if there is more you would like to know about, please ask. Much love, @thelostqueenofatlantis