Camping again – this time Mendocino National Forest at
Red Bluff – my first time here. I decide to drive straight to the campground,
even tho I’ll be getting there around midnite – I usually wait until the next
day, staying at a rest stop or along side of the road, so I don’t have to pay
for half a nite…but this time when I arrive, there’s a locked gate in front of
the campground entrance, 10pm to 6am, which I failed to notice when I decided
to come here…grrrr
So I spend a few hours at the rest stop about 4 miles
north of here and then proceed to the campground at 6am when the gates are
It is an interesting campground, close to Red Bluff &
Redding, alongside the Sacramento River, and not totally full – of course it is
summer with temperatures hitting 100+ this time of year. Several of the spaces
appear to be occupied by homeless and poor people, although I could be
mistaken. It is definitely not the campground/ers that I found at Pinnacles.
The space that I want that is supposed to be open
(according to the internet) has several bundles of stuff and people but no
vehicle, even tho it is an rv site. I’m bummed I still need to ‘plug in’ as I
have yet to replace my solar batteries.
The moon is full and stunning, as she tends to be. I’m so
pleased to be able to be traveling under her and look forward to a few dayz in
The folks in ‘my’ site, slowly stir and begin to pack up
their things – dumping a heavy, huge plastic bag into the dumpster and piling a
few others at the edge of the next campsite (who also appear if not homeless,
disabled and poverty-struck). I wonder
if they believe they’ll be back tonite. I consider offering to share the space
with them until they pull out cigarettes and light up.
When I see their backs as they retreat out the
campground, I pull into the space, plug in, begin setting up my camper, and
prepare to spend the next two glorious nites here.
I check out the visitor center and have a brief
conversation with the volunteer, a white, trim, middle-aged (as in 50+) womon who
has been staffing the center for 7 years. She tells me about the food they are
growing for homeless people and ask about the campground. The campground is NOT for
homeless people, she firmly asserts. It is my cue to talk about Cuba and how
everyone is given land to live on, build on, raise their children on.
There are two gardens here, outside the visitor center:
one has California natives that are drought resistant; the other is surrounded
by a plastic mesh fence and has many vegetables thriving within the boundaries.
I am told deer are not a problem, people are – but then I’m assured that if it
is homeless people taking the vegetables and fruit, it’s okay.
The white womon who is the head gardener tells me she supports
war, and she supports god. When I respond with “wow, one erases the other,
doesn’t it?” she shores up her contradictory beliefs with how god wouldn’t
allow people to make guns if he didn’t believe in war.
Hmmmm. I’m already treading on thin ice with my “Black
Womyn’s Lives Matter: White Silence Is Violence” among this group of majority
poor whites, so I REALLY try hard to hear her and hold up a mirror to her
beliefs. She rages on about her upbringing: in the woods, on land, with rifles
and fishing poles, self-sufficient and well-trained in the ‘art’ of killing.
She claims her father would punish the kids if they ever
dared to aim a gun at each other, even a toy gun that she grew up with. I ask
her, puzzled, why were punished when they pointed toy guns at each other - after all, guns are made to kill people. She assures me as children they knew they were not allowed to shoot people, but targets and animals for eating as well as playing games.
Then of course I have to ask her what the hell they
played with toy guns, and she said, oh the usual, cowboys and Indians, police
and bank robbers, good guys and bad guys. When I ask her to confirm that then
they were pointing guns at each other, she doesn’t spell the “un-human”
exception out but looks puzzled and says they were just shooting the bad guys.
We’d already covered the Viet Nam war, veteran suicide,
pesticides and aphids (she’s tried dawn…grrrr…but not cayenne or neem),
‘choosing’ to be homeless, etc. I table any other discussion for a later time, tell her she has a wonderful garden, which it
is, and to enjoy the day.
It is beginning to get REALLY hot – 85 at 9:30am…. I
return to my camper and turn on all the fans, lower the skylight covers so the
sun’s rays don’t shine directly into the camper, and begin to write and then
read. I will explore and exercise later, when the sun is in the western sky.