Roadside Table

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Milepost 55

Previously, I wrote about the Gunsight Wash BLM camping area. I explained that Gunsight Wash is located on Arizona Highway 85, just past milepost 55, across the highway from a roadside table. Now I am going to write about the roadside table.

First of all, I think the term roadside table is unappealing. I understand not calling it a rest area. When people in cars see rest area, they think restroom. It would be cruel to call this spot a rest area because there is not a restroom here, not a pit toilet, not a porta-john. But roadside table sounds so bleak to me, probably because I imagine a lonely table stuck by the side of the road. Why can’t we call it a picnic area? Picnic area sounds so cheerful. Doesn’t everyone like a picnic, especially when there’s a table involved?

Secondly, there is not just one table in this picnic area. Oh, no. There are two tables in this picnic area. To be accurate, the sign should read roadside tables.

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Roadside tables, trees, and trashcan

There’s more than just a couple of tables going on here. There are also trash cans and trees. Trees are a pretty big deal in the desert. I think the area could get some attention if the sign read, Roadside Trees.

There’s also a sign in the picnic area which makes it pretty clear that people are not supposed to camp here with the IMG_5674roadside tables and the trees. I wonder why the sign doesn’t direct wanna-be campers to the BLM land of free camping across the street?

The trashcans at the picnic area are a bit controversial. I read a couple of notices on the sign board across the road on the BLM land and learned a few things. The roadside table/picnic area is managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT). ADOT is responsible for hauling away the trash left in the trashcans at the picnic area. ADOT does not want pesky BLM campers crossing the highway and leaving their trash in the ADOT trashcans. It sounds like when trash generated in the BLM area is left in the ADOT  trashcans, ADOT is ready to declare all-out turf war. I know I’m making light of the situation, but disposing of trash really is serious, people. If there are no trashcans where you camp, pack that trash OUT!

One part of the deal with your trash notice at Gunsight Wash that caught my attention was where it said the workers who remove the trash from the ADOT roadside table area have expressed disgust at some of the things filthy BLM campers have crossed the road to leave in pristine ADOT trashcans. Items mentioned were jugs of urine and used motor oil. Jugs of urine? Jugs? Who’s out there with jugs of urine? Are we talking one gallon jugs? Five gallon jugs? I pee a lot, but I never have to dispose of jugs of urine. If you’re out in nature, people, discreetly sprinkle your urine on the outskirts of your camp (not in the same spot every time). And while I suppose some do-it-yourself types will change their oil while boondocking, is an Exxon Valdez amount really being dumped in ADOT trash cans? Who are these ADOT workers who are disgusted by urine and motor oil? Perhaps if such things make one squeamish, one should have a job which does not involve emptying trash cans.

The final interesting aspect of the roadside table/picnic area is what I can only guess is a gate to let people pass in and out of the area, but exclude cattle. IMG_5675If that is what the contraption is for, I suppose it was doing its job, as I saw no bovines picnicking at the roadside tables.

I took all of the photos in the post.

About Blaize Sun

My name is Blaize Sun. Maybe that's the name my family gave me; maybe it's not. In any case, that's the name I'm using here and now. I've been a rubber tramp for nearly a decade.I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. For most of my years on the road, my primary residence was my van. For almost half of the time I was a van dweller, I was going it alone. Now my (male) partner and I (a woman) have a travel trailer we can pull with our truck. We have a little piece of property, and when we're not traveling, we park our little camper there. I was a work camper in a remote National Forest recreation area on a mountain for four seasons. I was a camp host and parking lot attendant for two seasons and wrote a book about my experiences called Confessions of a Work Camper: Tales from the Woods. During the last two seasons as a work camper on that mountain, I was a clerk in a campground store. I'm also a house and pet sitter, and I pick up odd jobs when I can. I'm primarily a writer, but I also create beautiful little collages; hand make hemp jewelry and warm, colorful winter hats; and use my creative and artistic skills to decorate my life and brighten the lives of others. My goal (for my writing and my life) is to be real. I don't like fake, and I don't want to share fake. I want to share my authentic thoughts and feelings. I want to give others space and permission to share their authentic selves. Sometimes I think the best way to support others is to leave them alone and allow them to be. I am more than just a rubber tramp artist. I'm fat. I'm funny. I'm flawed. I try to be kind. I'm often grouchy. I am awed by the stars in the dark desert night. I hope my writing moves people. If my writing makes someone laugh or cry or feel angry or happy or troubled or comforted, I have done my job. If my writing makes someone think and question and try a little harder, I've done my job. If my writing opens a door for someone, changes a life, I have done my job well. I hope you enjoy my blog posts, my word and pictures, the work I've done to express myself in a way others will understand. I hope you appreciate the time and energy I put into each post. I hope you will click the like button each time you like what you have read. I hope you will share posts with the people in your life. I hope you'll leave a comment and share your authentic self with me and this blog's other readers. Thank you for reading.  A writer without readers is very sad indeed.

2 Responses »

  1. Blaise,

    Vandwellers I know & including myself have pee bottles and we need them so we don’t throw them away. The pee bottles that I see tossed are generally from truck drivers. Vandwellers also know how to dispose of waste in disbursed camping areas. As you imply – misdirected criticism.

    Brent

    • The roadside table and trashcans described in this post are on a lonely highway between the Mexican border and the town of Why, AZ. I don’t think there is a town between Lukeville (at the border) and Why, so that probably means no restrooms either, unless a driver pulled into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to use the restroom. Some of the pee bottles found in the trashcans near the roadside tables could be from people making that long drivein an area with no restrooms.

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