We may be back in the States, but the travel treadmill continues! Ever since Mom and I took the ferry from Whidbey Island to mainland Washington a few weeks ago I’ve been (unsuccessfully) learning to sit still in a moving car. Here’s a snapshot of the treadmill’s mileage markers:
Days 1-3, 900 miles: Whidbey Island, WA to Zamora, CA
The Silver Phoenix, my faithful Honda Civic who had been enjoying six months of R&R on Whidbey, roared to life in anticipation of our Pacific Coast road trip. Mom and I joked that we would only make it to Portland (a four hour drive) the first day. Seven hours later we pulled into the Portland hotel. Our roundabout loop through Seaside, Oregon enabled us to grab a burger with Neil Branson, the star of my Outdoors Northwest article, and marvel at a great kite festival, but highlighted the need to travel the rest of the way via the not-as-scenic I-5 Freeway. Despite the long hours spent between two white lines, the journey ended all too soon thanks to the great company with one of my favorite people on the planet. Tyler’s folks hosted us our last night with great stories and delicious homemade pesto pasta!
Days 3-5, 100 miles: Zamora to San Francisco
Tyler has been selling the Bay Area to me since we decided to head back from New Zealand. The morning of my first interview in Jack London Square, Oakland, we stepped out of the car to a homeless man puking on the sidewalk five feet away. “Geez, you’re killing me man,” thought Tyler. The distinct aroma of car exhaust, vomit, and urine stained the air and perhaps the overall interview experience. The main draw to the Bay, however, is the wonderful community we love so much. Our evenings with Amber, Dave, and Arlo were filled with laughter, and I got a brief chance to hug two of my best friends.
Days 6-7, 400 miles: SF to LA
We split the haul to LA into two days with an overnight at the wondrous Montaña de Oro State Park. Steep sand dunes dissolve into rocky promontories teeming with sea anemones, chitons, and sea stars. A eucalyptus grove monitors the edges of the dunes, followed inland by dry hills covered in golden grass that absorbs the coastal sunset’s fading hues. Tyler and I sat on rocking chairs overlooking a small bay drinking Mom and Ken’s honey mead and reading. That evening we watched the raccoon thugs patrol the campsite until the stars came out and we melted into the sleeping bags.
Days 7-11, 60 miles: LA
Puppy and party time! We spent a long weekend celebrating Elyse’s birthday with family and friends, and crossing off a lifetime goal of being surrounded by eight golden retriever puppies running around at a millionaire’s pool party. Tyler and I finally met our newest love, Miss Chloe the Golden Retriever Puppy, and I’m still high on puppy fever. The weekend ended with a delicious meal at Sugarfish sushi and lots of hugs (and licks) all around.
Day 12-14, 300 miles: LA to Mammoth
The Eastern Sierra rolled out its Welcome Home mat in full alpine glory. We squeezed in a quick hot spring soak, and a two-day backpacking trip to Shadow Lake Basin near Mammoth Lakes, following in the footsteps of a trip I did as a kid almost every Labor Day. The full gambit of Sierra weather hit our tent, forcing us to spend much of the second day monitoring the rain and hail from within it. Mammoth beckons like the shiny jewel it is, and we’re planning on moving there in November.
Day 15-18, 500 miles: Mammoth to Zamora to Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Tyler’s parents have generously been letting us use their home as a base and camp gear staging area between exhales. After sleeping off the snowy five-hour drive from Mammoth to Zamora Thursday afternoon, we loaded up the car Friday morning for another five-hour jaunt up to Humboldt Redwoods State Park to meet Tyler’s friend Joe.
The instant we pulled into the campground and met the awesome group of new friends, we realized it was absolutely worth the marathon podcast session. The group meshed as if we too had been hanging out together for hundreds of years like the majestic trees that surrounded us. They’re a Bay Area bunch, so we’re already planning some shows and Ultimate Frisbee games while Tyler and I are living in SF for the month of October.
Days 18-20, 225 miles: Humboldt Redwoods to Zamora
For the first time in a couple weeks we had a day to just eat a bowl of cereal and catch up on everyday life. Great news – Tyler has landed a remote web development job! He’ll be starting in the next couple weeks and we’re both so excited! Last night we went out on a double date with Tyler’s folks to Davis for some tasty Greek food and a gloriously air conditioned movie theater screening of Snowden. After watching the presidential debate the night before, we’re all feeling a little less secure and optimistic in our federal government.
Days 21-26, 1600+ miles: Zamora to Zion to SF
Over the next week we’ll be driving out to Zion for a camping and backpacking trip with our good friends Chris and Sherry. Weather permitting we’ll backpack through the Narrows, but regardless we’re guaranteed a good adventure with those two.
From there we head to the Bay for a month (a whole month!) in one place. The plan is to move up to Mammoth permanently in early November. I’m still working on the job hunt and have a few leads that I continue to nurture. It’s been absolutely wonderful reconnecting with Tyler after nearly a month apart. As everyone predicted, a bit of separate time was really healthy for the relationship! Time to load up the car again, as we’re heading up to Tahoe this afternoon. One day at a time…