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Day 52 “Walmart Story!”

Well I am up and at a coffee shop in Santa Cruz (love this place, must be my liberal leanings). Seems that this chest and head cold has gotten worse, my throat is getting sore!  Anyway, I thought I slept pretty good. I got a call from my mom to check in on me, that is always comforting, even at my age!  Thanks Mom!  I have been busy the last couple of days. I went to my first minor league AAA game between the Las Vegas 51s against the Fresno Grizzlies on Saturday night. The game was very exciting, but I have to admit that I was distracted for most of it since the Wisconsin Badgers were playing and I kept checking my phone. I wasn’t the only one, there were quite of few of us giving each other thumbs up as the game was going on. My heart sank when I heard a “you got to be kidding”, I turned and a guy three rows behind gave me a thumbs down and said, “Kentucky nailed a 3-pointer”. Well, once that distraction was out of the way, I focused on the game at hand. Las Vegas was up 6-1 going into the top of the 9th inning.  Fresno scored 7 times with two outs and went on to win the game 8-6. Click here for the complete story.

I drove all over Vegas to find a place to stay for the night. I just didn’t feel comfortable in that town, there is something that made me hurt. A friend told me that they under report how hot it is by 10 degrees and rarely report the suicide rate. Maybe it is that, or my morality is challenged. I saw so many homeless and what seemed like a lot of spiritually bankrupt individuals. This was my second trip to Vegas and I felt this way both times. I am a very open minded person.  I talked to some ladies in line before the game about other places close by and they suggested I check out Henderson which was right down the road.  I figured it was getting late and that I would just pull into a Walmart parking lot. The first one I stopped at had no campers in it, so I didn’t feel comfortable. I went to a second one that was close by and found a camper and a van that was parked by each other. I went by those vehicles people were sitting outside the camper and van having beers.  So, I walked up and started talking to them. I still feel very uncomfortable sleeping in the parking lots. I have a great set up to do this in my car but it just feels odd!

Brandon or Brendan showing me his van...

Brendan or Brandon, I wasn’t sure exactly what he said his name was so I will dub him “Brendan”. He was in the van. It was a 1981 extended job, and for the past couple of months he said he had been living in it. He smiled broadly when I walked up. A German couple was in the rented RV, they are in the States for the next four weeks to tour around the US. They started in San Francisco and have only made it to Vegas so far. I was surprised that they were sitting around drinking, I didn’t think you could do that.  Brendan gave me the low down on sleeping in Walmart parking lots. He kept yelling into his van to have his girlfriend of four years to come out. There was no response after doing this five times. He had perfect teeth, so white I thought they were fake. After I began feeling comfortable with these people I parked next to them and set my car up. I have things that fit in all on my windows to block out the light and I have pillows that work like a bed when I ease the passenger seat all the way back. Actually, it is quite comfortable when you are exhausted!  As I was setting Brendan came over to see my set up and to inquire if I had any “pot”, I didn’t. He said, “I had to give it a shot”.

The German couple were very nice but I could barely understand them and they could barely understand me. They offered me a beer, I declined. Brendan didn’t, along with asking for another German cigarette from the lady, she obliged.  The German lady came out with chocolate, I declined this also (I don’t know these people and they could poison me, my exact thought). Of course Brendan didn’t. A dog whimpered in the van and he let it out.  It was a pit bull, I admit it scared me a lot!  Brendan said it is a scary dog and to be careful around it. I told him he was freaking me out!  Brendan said he was in prison for grand larceny a few years ago. I told him he was really putting me at ease, the German couple – they were oblivious to this conversation.  Brendan, had a great laugh, but the dog was scary, the German lady was feeding it chocolate…

German Lady that could have been trying to poison me...
German Lady that could have been trying to poison me…

Brendan said he sold a $300,000 house he owned that had mold issues for $10,000 to buy the van. I think Brendan was high, he explained he wasn’t when I stated this. He said that the cops were watching him and if he gets caught, he was facing a two year stint at High Desert. I reminded him he asked if I had pot earlier. He told me he had been clean for over two weeks. I said, “what about the beer”. Brendan said, “the judge didn’t say anything about beer.”  He put the dog back in the van and yelled for his girlfriend to come out again, she didn’t.  Brendan told me he was in tight with the Mexican Mafia, I found that interesting. He showed me his tattoo that one of them did for him, it was on his entire back. He went on to say stuff about the Asian mob, also.  According to Brendan, he also had a Ferrari and a beach home in Malibu. His dad was a dentist. His girlfriend, that was sleeping in the van, was a stone cold knock out. She doesn’t know if she will stick around since they really have never been clean around each other. Besides, her mother was following them and she was in another parking lot spying on us.  The German couple would just laugh when Brendan would yell into the van. I told Brendan that I don’t feel very safe, he said not to worry. He was a music producer and was waiting for a few of his rap artists to get out of jail to get back at it.  Well, I was getting tired and I was a little nervous at how unstable Brandon/Brendan seemed. The German lady was making tea and offered, I declined (she can quit trying to poison me) but Brendan wanted some. He grabbed some cotton candy out of his van and offered it to everyone. I declined saying it was time for bed.  Walmart security came around a few times and waved.

I woke up early the next day, a Walmart security guard was parked in front of my car. I asked if I wasn’t supposed to be here. The officer said it was fine, but people shouldn’t party in the lot. I thanked him for the information. Brendan and the German couple were still sleeping.  I wasn’t going to wait around for Brendan to make eggs like he promised. I needed to get to Bakersfield to watch the Blaze and the Modesto Nuts play.  I was glad to get away from Vegas. I hope Brendan gets his life together once the rap artists get out of jail. He was actually a joy to talk with and he laughed easily.  I got to Bakersfield in time to watch the Blaze destroy the Nuts 10-2. I got my first foul ball after 57 games, I was happy. I actually had to go under the bleachers to get it and got two during the game. I gave one to a kid, he thanked me but wanted more from the players. I was upset with the kid wanting to ask for my ball back and tell him to be grateful. What do I know, he was only 12.  I left Bakersfield and made it to Santa Cruz last night. About an hour ago I got a $38 parking ticket while writing this blog post!  So if anyone has an extra $38 laying around please hit the donate button on the “How to Help” page of the website…  (I was literally 5 minutes late! Damn you parking person!)

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014”, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at  Please, also ,share this on your Facebook page and Twitter, I appreciate all the help I can get!






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1 thought on “Day 52 “Walmart Story!”

  1. John I don’t know you well, but I worry about you traveling out there alone, sleeping in Walmart parking lots and having a cold and calling your Mom. May God bless over you and protect you my new friend. Take care! Paul

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