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I woke up at 7am in tanbark next to a climbing wall in a park. I was still in Medford Oregon. I woke up from a truck driving through the park. It was the parks keeper making his morning round. He drove right by me but I don't think he saw me. I got up and rolled my bag up.
I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I cleaned up there and then headed north. I walked up to a Starbucks at the exit in Medford. I stopped there to use the Internet. I texted my mom and I texted Ashley. I left there after about 30 minutes to walk north.
I decided to walk along the freeway (legal in Oregon) and see if I can catch a ride. I walked about a mile and then sat on a barrier and stuck my thumb out a while. I tried that for about an hour but no luck. I continued walking and came to a creek crossing. There was a trail that ran next to the creek and parallel with the freeway so I jumped onto it.
It was early but it was getting hot already. I walked a while and then impulsively decided to find a spot to jump in. I walked down a dirt path and through some trees to get to the creek. The trees were really thick and the path was narrow. I walked down there and found a few abandoned homeless camps.
The creek was further away than I thought and I walked a while. I finally heard water running and knew I was close. As I was nearing the creek all of a sudden a pit bull dog jumped out at me. It was barking in fury and wasn't backing away. It looked like it was going to bite me so I swung my sleeping bag over my shoulder to my stomach and used it to guard me. Right then a girl ran up yelling at the dog to leave me alone. She came from the other direction. The dog finally backed away. I told her he had that look like he was gonna bite and she said sometimes he does.
She shook my hand and I told her nice to meet her. I said I was looking for the creek and she told me I was almost there. So I said thanks and kept on. As I walked a little further I passed her homeless camp. She was probably 20 and at her camp there was also an older man.
The camp was big and had a lot of stuff. It was organized though and didn't look too nasty. It was really thick and jungle like and they had a huge tarp over the whole camp. It was well hidden and was pretty cool looking actually. It reminded me of the movie hook and looked like something on there.
I walked down to the water. I took my clothes off down to my boxers and walked in. It was freezing cold! I decided to lay on the sand for a while to let the day heat up before getting all the way in. So I rested about an hour and just listened to the water. It was pretty cool.
It was getting hot so I finally got up and went into the water. It was really clean and rushed by quickly. I took the clothes I was wearing and washed them with some soap I had. After washing them I draped them over some branches in the sun. I got back in and then took some body wash and cleaned up in the water. It was awesome and I felt like an Indian. I was laughing while I was in there because I never thought I would be taking a bath in a creek as a homeless guy. I always find myself laughing in those kind of moments.
I eventually got out and sat on a rock in the sun to dry. While I sat there I saw the girl and the man from the camp come down to fill up water jugs. Good thing they were upstream or they would have been drinking my piss.
After I dried I put shorts on and packed my things to go find a better place to let my clothes dry (the ones I washed). So I headed back to the path by the freeway. When I got up there I went north and saw a wooden structure that was covered. I stopped there and hung my wet clothes over a bike rack in front of it.
I decided to lay down and read on a bench under the covered patio. I laid out my sleeping bag and put music on while I read. I read a while and then dozed off. I took a nice nap and felt fresh and clean.
I woke up a little later to a man saying "hey man". I sat up and it was a older white man in ragged clothes on a bike. He was just resting in the shade for a few minutes. His name was clayton and he looked like kid rock. He asked if I'm homeless and then said he is about to be homeless in a couple days. He sat down and he asked about me. He was really impressed with what I sacrificed and the cause of my journey.
He told me he was a strong believer in god. He struggles with staying off of drugs but said he is a good person at heart. He told me some of his thoughts and he had a good spirit. He told me that honestly he doesn't know how to live. He prays to ask for help in life because he had never learned how to be responsible. He has tried many times to hold a job and take on responsibly but always seems to screw up because he doesn't know what he is doing.
He said he has to face that he is just not the type of person who can work or deal with much so he just makes the best with what he has. He is a member of the church near there and they call him "preacher". He also said nobody gives him a chance or help him, and many people write him off as a drug addict with no hope. He said he has a good heart and never does anyone wrong, but yes he does have problems with drugs because he is in pain a lot and wants to feel normal at times.
We talked a while and he loves hearing that I had money and possessions and wasn't happy. He said that made him feel more truth that money doesn't make you happy. It might for a time or in some ways, but not the way we ultimately want. He said he felt like god put me in his path and that I didn't even know what I meant to him. He has wanted to hear that for so long and finally did (from someone who went through it).
When I say I had money, I don't mean I was rich. But to people on the streets what I had was all they dream about in having money. It's just the point of not going hungry and having shelter. To a lot of people I have met that has never been something they have had. They were born poor and have always been poor. So "money" is more of having things you want, shelter, food, and a job where you know you will have money and it's not a struggle to stay afloat (all things I had). Middle class. Just don't think going from middle class to upper class would change your real feelings. I think it starts deep within your heart.
So me and Clayton talked about that a while then he said he was going back to town to drink beer. He invited me to his church on Sunday if I was still around. I was glad I met Clayton.
By then my clothes were dry and I changed then continued north. I walked to a town called central point about a mile up. I asked a man walking if there was a Starbucks but he said there wasn't. So I headed to a mcdonalds hoping they had wifi. Luckily they did. I went in and ordered a mcchicken and sat down to use Internet and eat.
While I sat there a lady came up as she left and gave me 4 dollars. I told her thank you so much. $4 out here goes a long way. I wrote my journal a while and ended up staying there til about 9:30.
I left there and when I got outside I saw a girl with a pack and two dogs. She asked where I was going. I told her I was just passing through. I talked to her a while. Another girl came out of mcdonalds and it was the same girl I ran into by the creek earlier. Both girls lived at that camp but the other one was asleep when I passed bye that morning. We talked a while and they were really free spirited. They loved my journey. One of the girls stood up and gave me $20! I was shocked! They said like me money isn't why they are out here. They had money but were out here to share love. I was suprized and would have never guessed. They also gave me some pizza they had left over. I ate a couple slices. I took a picture with them, said thanks and hugged them and then left. That was cool.
I went to little Caesars to see if they were throwing out any hot and readys. They had actually sold out all they had and said try back tomorrow. I said thanks and no worries and left.
So now I was looking for a place to sleep. I walked towards an albertsons. In the parking lot there was a huge white tent up, probably set up for selling fruit or something like that. So I just said screw it and went inside. It was completely empty inside and I made my bed. I laughed because I had the biggest huge a$$ tent I had ever seen all to myself. I wondered if I would get kicked out in the morning or if anyone would start taking it down the next day. I just figured I would be ok and I fell asleep on the concrete floor in there. My own tent. It was funny.
at 5:56 PM