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Back to the Redwoods

Prologue of a trip


View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

And now the trip truly begins.
I spent almost three weeks at an organic farm, helping take care of the plants, and trimming some produce. Totally not working illegaly. Or on something illegal. Totally not. I would never get involved with anyone growing the devil's lettuce. I was just a simple tourist, visiting the countryside. Camping by the river.
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María, my dear friend (I guess you could call her my girlfriend by now) had already been there for about two months, and after a lot of debate I decided to join her. She had already set a camp by a river, in a humongous tent-later replaced by an ever bigger one-so I had a place to crash. And such a good place it was. The white noise of the trickling water besides us would induce gentle rests, and sweet dreams. We camped there everyday; even the night when there was a storm, and a flash flood warning. The property's owner urged us not to sleep there that night but, well, we did. And the next night as well. The river rose by almost eight feet in all. It still needed three more feet to reach us, but if it had continued raining... But it didn't. And the rain gave us plenty of hours of work, what with broken branches and growing mold, there was plenty of things to do.
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There were also leisurely days. One in particular, we rented a van and drove down to the Redwoods.
Those forests are magical. The trees are old and wise. They are warm and loving. We spent hours walking the paths, taking pictures, climbing and hugging trees. Or being hugged by them. We got lost, we found each other again. María and me strayed of the path, and found a big circle of redwoods. In it's very center, a very blue berry grew, rising from a bed of clover, shining in the last golden afternoon light. 1376110_10..352171568_n.jpg
I don't know how long we spent there, laying on the clover, dancing in the light, basking in the moment. In a moment, watching hundreds of rainbow butterflies dance to faraway drum & bass rhythms. Ah yes, I hadn't mentioned the mushrooms, right? We had some, and they made all the experience so much the stronger. 90_IMG_3195.jpg
As if in a dream within a dream, we ended up in the ocean. After my failed attempt at reaching Crescent City some weeks earlier, I was finally there. And suddenly it hit me. I hadn't completely realized what I've set myself to, this adventure that lies ahead. I saw the sea and thought as usual, how delightful it would be to up and sail over it, arrive to new places, witness new horizons. And that's exactly what I'm going to do! The thought broke my usual cool, left me with wide open, frightful eyes. At last, the emotional response I expected, but hadn't come.
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Then the dream ended, we were back in the redwoods, the mushrooms starting to leave our brains. I could say I was sober when I plunged into the river in there. It was friggin' cold, but I could not leave that place without a swim. Who know's if I'd get yet another chance?

Eventually we came back home, next day we had an almost 11 hour working day, slight difference from running around gigantic trees.
The days passed us by, and it was soon time to leave. We made our way to San Francisco, but that trip deserves a post of it's own...

Posted by Zaspirucho 23:34 Archived in USA Tagged california oregon farming redwoods prologue Comments (0)

Road trips and missed planes

From Oregon to San Francisco, and beyond!

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View Liberty Goes East on Zaspirucho's travel map.

So we set out of Oregon in style.

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María swiped the American Express, and we came back home that night on our own rented Nissan. Doin' the 'merican thing. Maybe it wouldn't be necessary if the traveling infrastructure wasn't so bad (or non existent), or the buses so expensive. Specially having just hitchhiked a similar route some weeks earlier, the greyhounds and such just didn't seem worth the trouble or cost.

We set out early and out towards Crater Lake. María was dead set on visiting that place, having heard only wonders of it. So we drove up the hill and into the forest. A beautiful drive but, when we got there, Oh surprise! National parks were closed due to the government shut down. Brilliant idea that one. Close Yosemite! Close everything up! So we just kept going forward. A random hiker said we should go some other road, so we did, and somehow we ended up in the Lake of the Woods. Middle of nowhere, never heard of it. Yet there we were, in front of a beautiful lake, enjoying the little sun there was. And, hungry as we were, we got an awesome avocado cheeseburger, with a side of sweet potato fries, at a restaurant next to the marina. Not bad for the middle of nowhere. Not bad at all.
Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods

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When we left that morning, we had two options: After Crater Lake, we could come back (turned out our farm friends were having a party), or camp out in the Redwoods. Yet somehow he ended in Mt. Shasta. At some point we decided not to go back, just keep going forward, and the mountain was our best shot at finding a free campground. And find one we did! Unfortunately it was closed due to... Government shutdown! So we got off the road, and just slept in the car. It was warm and spacious, and I had a wonderful night. María did not. It's not the first time she envies my bum-like ability for passing out anywhere. It's a good skill to have, you must admit.

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In the morning we went as far up as the car would take us, and waited for the sun to reach us. I had nothing to wear but my sandals, and it sure was cold. Somewhere, not far away, singing and drumming could be heard: the Rainbow Gathering was not yet over. We both wanted ti visit, but it would have to wait. It's not the kind of event you want to crash for only a night... And coffee was calling out to us too, so we had to get of the mountain and caffeinate. The town of Mt. Shasta is a quiet and cute one. With some good coffee shops, a couple of shops full of incense, quartz and nepalese products, and a couple of bookstores, it had everything we needed to pass the time. Even I got a souvenir. María got plenty, but the best of them was a particular used book. So many bookshops wandered in search, and there it was, in the $1 box: Montessier's the Long Way, waiting for us.

Little after dark we made it to the Harbin Hot Springs. A beautiful place, during both day and night. You can soak to your heart's content. And when they say clothing optional, they mean it, so you're basically around naked bodies most of the time. And if you're done soaking in the warm water, there's also places to meditate, to walk around, a library, café and market. It's not a cheap place, but I would say it's worth it! And we saw a gray fox on a path, not afraid of humans, but still keeping a safe distance. Same thing with the deer, who seemed more annoyed by having to circle around us, than actually afraid.

Two nights we spent soaking, before getting to San Francisco, the town of many faces. That's what most surprised me of the place: you walk for three blocks, and find yourself in a different city. And it changes all over again after dark. It's difficult to take it all in, how can Disney-like wharfs stand next to the lively Chinatown, or the small italian coffeeshops, with the tweakers and aggressive musicians. We walked up and down, and back again. We enjoyed the city, our company, and yet another goodbye... We've had a couple already, but it seems this one's for longer. But we had an extra day. I'd like to call it a freebie, but it was certainly not free. I had had some credit card trouble and had not been able to book my flight to Malaysia, got it two days before leaving. So I didn't have a ticket yet, but María did. Somehow though, we mistook the departure, arrival, or something. We didn't find out until the morning, when there was nothing else to do, but get a new ticket and try to enjoy one last day together. And it was a nice one. Beach, wine, fondue, music, and a Golden Gate background.

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So after a couple of costly mistakes, a lost flight, and a wonderful trip, María was walking down the Oakland Airport, to be seen again someday, somewhere. Well, she is now officially part of The Clipperton Project, so we just might meet again in some other sea.

As for me, after a random Couchsurfing powered night, I woke up somewhere in Daly City. Don't ask how. But it involved beer.
Lots of it.

Lots of it.

Now, on my own again, I've left the continent already. I can no longer walk back home, so there's only forward to go!

Posted by Zaspirucho 23:33 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip hot_springs goodbyes departure ransack Comments (0)

Away!

Almost there...

I had a seven hour layover at the Portland airport.
Airport rain

Airport rain


I thought it was a very long time, but waiting was over before I noticed. Some messages, some videos, some coffee, and suddenly they're calling for boarding again. These hours went by barely noticed, just like the days before. In a frenzy of hugs and good byes the days zipped by and, now, after some 17 hours of flying and airport waiting, I'm at the first stop of this amazing journey I've set myself to.
First stop, Oregon!
Somewhere out there, between hills and pine trees, drinking fresh water, eating veggies from the organic garden. Too bad I got here when the days are already starting to grow shorter, and the leaves are turning yellow. But then again, it may just be the time for bonfires and music! And there's the idea of spending a day in the Redwoods!
At least for now, I'm back in a tent, in awesome and loving company, next to the river, among the trees.
Yeah, this trip begins just right. It's full moon tonight.

Posted by Zaspirucho 12:04 Archived in USA Tagged river autumn camping departure Comments (1)

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