I write from Amarillo, Texas, on a stop over to Oklahoma City. Im sorry for the delay with any updates but it had been quite a week in the now completed New Mexico part of the tour. After an unsuccessful stop in Colorado due to bad weather, I was hoping for a more positive experience in New Mexico. It was a week to remember.
I arrived late Monday in Santa Fe and checked in to a RV park. I looked through the CL posting and found nothing to respond to. I woke up Tuesday and checked again for any updates. A called a man who posted an ad for some help with a cabin in nearby Taos. The rate was $12 and hour, but when I asked him how many hours he needed me he said only three or four. Since the drive was 90 miles away, I decided it wasn’t worth the time or gas to take it on. Now with time being a factor I had to make a move. Albuquerque , 60 miles away was my next choice, although the posting there were also few. Being a bigger community, I figured my chances would be better the next day or so. Still I pondered hanging around Santa Fe a bit longer, since my cousin Louis arraigned for me to stay at the nearby Ft. Marcy hotel he manages. I didn’t want to miss an opportunity like that, since the RV park space was not a good experience for me. So I decided to make a bold move! A card I’ve been holding if I didn’t find work right away.
At eight o’clock I grabbed some coffee and drove to the Home Depot. I decided to ask or beg the local contractors like me if they needed any help for the day. It was a bit humbling but I know that many times these guys are shorthanded and need immediate help, sometimes due to employees calling in sick or excessive workloads. Most of the guys I asked were set for the day and one even tipped me a couple dollars as I helped him load his truck. I must have looked like a homeless person to him! One other guy with load full of rock told me “maybe tomorrow” as he entered the building. After thirty minutes or so and no takers I was losing hope, plus my coffee mug was empty. I stood by my truck waiting for more opportunities as trucks came and went.
Then the man with the load of rocks exited the store and approached me. He asked me what skills I possessed and if I had a ride. I told him I had an array of talents and he was surprised at my truck as I leaned against the hood. I think he was more shocked that a person like me would be in that position of asking for work on the street. I briefly explained to him my purpose and my tour! He asked what my pay rate was and if I could work more than a day. I asked for $10-12 an hour and promised a hard day’s work. And so I went!
I spent the next three and a half days working on a huge back yard project, landscaping and digging a long electrical trench! Louis V was a good and honest man to work for, very much like me in the sense that he can perform many different types of trades. He bought me a breakfast burrito every morning and trusted my judgement with many of the issues related to the project. He confessed he had trouble finding good help and wished I would consider staying a few days more to help him out. He was also grateful he took a chance with me, but not as grateful as I was! Im glad I was able to humbly approach him and others in such a fashion. It was not easy but I realize that it is a survival tour. And in the end Louis and I both benefited from the experience. On Friday he paid me the agreed wage and even tipped me fifty extra dollars for gas!
I went back to check out of the Marcy, which by the way is a great place to stay if you are ever in Santa Fe. The room was very clean, the staff was very friendly. The town is a beautiful, historic, Spanish colonial style community, one of my favorite places to visit. My thanks to my Cuz for hooking it up!
Still I had to score that elusive gig for the tour, so on to Albuquerque I went. Read all about it in the fifty gigs page! I hope to have similar success in Oklahoma. Until then, have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend. Thank you for your support!