After 108 miles I am in Las Vegas, N.M. with a hat full of stories. Sitting in a library I will not be allowed to tell you all the horrors the road has seen me through. I flip through my journal sending myself back to Tucumcari where I slept in a field next to the abandoned blankets of so many travelers from south of the border that never had the chance to roll up camp, kick off the affects of snow in the joints, and move toward their dream. Earlier in the day I was set up for a roll myself, but at the last second I smelt a trap set by a few drugheads set on owning my gear, and I fled.
The next night's camp found me on Route 104 six miles out of town on the Elliott Range thankful that it was not posted like so many of the others. There was no cover to be had so I had to be content setting lodge a few hundred yards from the road. It was just after sunset that I heard a coughing coming from north of the tent. Pushing my head out from my tent flap into the already frozen evening I became aware that the series of three coughs coming one after another was distant rifle fire coming from north on 104 aimed at my camp. Two feet from my head the frozen earth explodes with a miss that cracked and spit in every direction. Between a foot and two feet above my prone position bullets sang and whimpered over my head. There was nowhere to run except an un-used adobe watering hole south toward the gate and the road. I waited looking at my skin, feeling my blood boil up near the surface, knowing that it could open to bleed with a hole at any moment. The shooter was in no hurry. Until the sun was gone and seeing my sand colored tent was an impossible chore I waited for the hand of God, or the smell of my blood.
The libriarian taps my shoulder. I head north toward Taos and the Rockies. I still listen for the rifleman and look for a hide to save me through till dawn.