"Oh, he is around just laying low," she says secretively. "We better get back to the tire-I almost forgot! Just pretend like you're doing something for a few minutes, raise the trailer up and down. You know the routine. Look convincing." She pauses a moment and then matter-of-factly offers: "I just wanted to warn you, son. Take down as much information about this area as you can and tell the world. However, be careful how deep you plunge because once you get in too deep, you will never get out. I'm Norma Jean. Take care of yourself, son. And keep questioning authority."
We go outside with me carrying the spare. "Oh, what would I have done without you? I probably would've been stranded out here for days," she says.
I run through her routine:fidget a little bit with the tools, raise the jack, screw some nuts as we continue in the tourist-meets-old-lady stage piece. After five minutes, I get her cue: "Well, thank you, young man. I wish I could give you something for your efforts."
I courteously, theatrically refuse, but she hands me a wad anyway. There's no money, just a tiny note that reads, "Trust no one."
June 16. Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho. I sleep in longer than I had expected. It seems colder than usual; when I open the sliding door, all I see is snow. Snowfall from the heavens. Nothing but a sea of white. Blankets and blankets of snow wherever the eyes can see. Nothing but pure white snow falling from the heavens. It is June, but the ground is completely covered in snow, and more snow is falling rapidly.
I roll into a gas station a few miles away, the van bearing a dome of ice, like an immense snow cone in this parched landscape-there is absolutely no snow on the ground. I get crazy looks from the man who is filling his 1968 Cadillac with premium and love. "Where the hell did you come from, boy? The North Pole?" he asks, snickering at his own joke.
"No, Crater's," I say and walk away. The snickering slows, like a man who has just pissed himself. He is heading east, directly into the storm. I look back over my shoulder to see a man deep in thought, outsmarted by nature.
Inside the gas station's snack area, the owner watches me shiver. Freshly fallen snow clings to my clothe