On the edge of the town of Lordsburg, New Mexico I spotted an old bus that had been turned into a roadside café. Taco Loco. Looked like just the spot for a guy who drove 600 miles to eat two pieces of pie.
A trucker of 22 years named Kenny who had pulled over for a two-hour nap and had just awakened after 12 hours was waiting for his food. He said he reckons he must have been more tired than he thought. He was doing take-out…eating as he drives. His dog was doing a lot of barking. Mercedes was her name. Kenny said an old lady (trucker and biker talk for wife) and several girlfriends had come and gone, but Mercedes had stuck with him. Mercedes learned to honk the horn on the steering wheel of the truck, so Kenny had to tape it off so she couldn’t honk and wake him up. But she’s a smart little dog as Kenny said she had now figured out how to blow the air horn. No wonder he slept for 12 hours.
Phyllis stuck her head out the little window, and I ordered a breakfast burrito. Man was it good – a big soft flour tortilla filled with eggs, bacon, hash brown potatoes and topped with salsa. What a bargain at $2.65. I gave her $5.00 and told her to keep the change, and you would have thought I had given her the $100 I won in Biloxi! I asked Phyllis how long she had been open, and she said: “Not long enough. I’ll be out of business next week. They’ve sold the land, and I am being evicted.” She was so nice. This was so sad. First Roger and now Phyllis. She went on to tell me that she had never made any money. “Just covering expenses.” She was a one-person operation, and the hours sign said 7 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week. That’s 98 hours a week “just covering expenses.” I told Phyllis things would get better, and I told her I would keep my eye out for a new location as I drove around town. She of course knew what I was about to find out; Lordsburg is one of those once neat old western towns that has all but dried up. There was no place to go around there.