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Friday, July 20, 2007

Scrapper's Tale a Parable for Boondockers

April Hull spent a lot of time in her Class-C motorhome. April and her friend, Mario Norman, supplemented April's meager public assistance checks by "scrapping"--picking up metal scrap, salvaging it, and selling it for what they could. But last spring, it all went up in smoke--literally. Scrapping in the California desert near Barstow, April located a small white cylinder that had a couple of wires coming out of it. Thinking it might contain an electric motor--a real cache of copper wire--April took a screwdriver to it. There was a flash and a bang--and April doesn't remember much after that.

But neighbors surely remember the woman who ran to them, clothes blown off, covered with burns, begging to be shot. Quick thinking on their part probably saved April Hull's life. April had stumbled onto an old piece of military ordnance, a tank gunfire simulator device. Her friend Mario found another one just a few days later while April was still in the hospital recuperating from her close call.

Every parable has a moral. For us boondockers this one should be clear: Much of the government land that's "free to camp on" at one time was used by the military for training purposes. That's certainly true for some of the more favorite Arizona RV haunts. In your wanderings, be careful. If it doesn't look like it belongs to the natural landscape, it probably doesn't. Don't touch it. Call for help. It could mean your life. To read more about April Hull's experience, check out the Barstow, California Desert Dispatch.

1 comment:

  1. If it looks like an artillery shell or bomb, it probably is. Don't touch it, report it. Dave