An older man travels over sea and land in quest of new adventures
There is a mystery in this old van. Every once in a while I misplace something and joke about “Oldtimers” setting in. Well now, I have something going on that is downright weird. There is slide-out crockery locker in my little galley. In it, with the plates and bowels, I have stored three saucers. Occasionally, I absentmindedly put them in an adjacent drawer. Now they’ve disappeared. I cannot find them in the van, anywhere. Three saucers are no big deal, but where in the hell did I put them? Lurching and winding over the twisting California mountain passes could possibly have shifted them. But they are gone. Gone! Hopefully, I’ll be able to report where I found therm. They must be in the van somewhere…unless! Call a priest! California, by the way has some of the worst roads I’ve travelled, both here and in southern regions. Patches on patched patches, sloughing grades, 10 mph hairpin turns and, nobody’s fault, …more snow!
I am writing this at my little table in the van looking out the windows and watching the surf roll in and collide with the breakwater approximate 600 feet away. There is spume in the air and a steady thunder of breaking seas. It is a terrifying sound to the mariner in his boat but I am on the beach, safe, warm, dry. The wind and rain are horrific. I love it. I’m going to stay in the same spot for a while. A week ago I was looking for my night’s spot in that frozen gravel pit near Williams, Arizona. Next time, no more marathons. I’ll amble south until I am where I want to be and I’ll stay there, for days and days, maybe weeks. I’ll also have an RV far more suitable for back roads. I know now what I need. I’ve learned a lot this trip. When not at sea I want to be in the desert.
At the moment, the pelting rain and wind are outside. I’m in an oasis of warmth, with a spectacular view. On the stove are three massive chicken legs slowly sizzling with an aroma of Pollo Sazonado, 3.32 pounds for $3.29! I splurged and also bought a pre-packaged Caesar salad. Be still my gypsy heart! This is bliss.
A day later, I’m in the same place in my van. The weather does not break. Every time I try to go for a walk an even heavier blast arrives. I’ve been working on getting caught up with my blogs, but the internet here is behaving strangely and I cannot get photos to download correctly. I decided to finally get my bike out and oil it up for when the weather improves.. I haven’t ridden it during the entire trip. Way back on Oak Creek I found a place to pull over and get some good photos. I decided to back the van up to leave as much room as possible. During that manouver a family in a little car wheeled in behind me. I did not see her in my mirrors. Yep, bang! We were worried about damage to her car which was fine, and she drove off. It turns out that I’d rammed her trailer hitch with my buckboard. It was bent up and today I discovered the front wheel on the bike was too wonky to be used. More swear words. I’ve been inside this little van for days and certainly most of the past twenty-four hours. I’ve had no significant exercise for days. I am frustrated. I could have stayed home in the boat, warm and snug in this weather and at least have some room to stretch out a bit. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!
I’ve only made it to Florence, about 100 miles up the coast, but I’ve finally been able to shoot some footage of an Oregon Coast winter storm. I did not get blown off the cliff but all my old winter aches and pains are back. I’m almost home. As Canadians say, “No doubt about it!” In the morning there is a strange blue patch overhead. A brillant light beams down out of it. I think I’ll go check it out.
“A storm always ends, enjoy it while it lasts!” …meself
Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer.
He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs.
His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey.
Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
View all posts by Fred Bailey
7 thoughts on “Bliss!”
On top of contradictory information on the taxi, the numberplate “FEL” means “wrong” in Swedish
Fred, just catching up with your blogs. You sure went through some country! Lot’s of places i have been through travel and work, from Arizona up through Florence,OR. Some good wild weather too. You are right, next time go slow and take your time if you can. Also, there are lot’s of dispersed campsites all over the country that make good spots for relaxing. Hope the rest of the way home goes well. Cheers and thanks for the great posts!
Thank you sir!
I’ve been following, silently…
“When a redwood falls in the forest… how long before it becomes earth again?” Well, the official answer is, “no one knows.” When I did my undergraduate degree @ UBC I spent two summers doing tree coring for a professor, Lori Daniels, and her PhD student Amanda Stan. One day I asked Dr. Daniels “When a [conifer] falls in the forest… how long before it becomes earth again?” She said “no one knows.” And trees, and tree development and decay were part of her professional field.
I didn’t get hired (twice) for my good looks, great marks, or manly behaviour. I got hired because out of several hundred tree cores (Douglas fir, hemlock, and red cedar) I hit the centre dead-on about 95% of the time, which means you only have to core it once, because to date the tree you need the earliest possible rings… oh, and I wasn’t a moron when working with an otherwise all female (4 women, ranging from 19 – 38ish) in the field or in the lab.
It was hard bloody work then, and that was almost 20 years ago, now at 63 I don’t think I could realistically do it day in and day out.
Keep enjoying the trip, all the best,
Some really lovely photos here, Fred – I especially admire the vertical one, looking up the trunks of the two redwoods. Looks like a great image for a large print.
I’ve been thinking that I could do an album of this single trip.