Thursday, August 9, 2012

C.H.P., C.D.C., and Me.

Trying to eliminate the slight leak of the fill valve I walked over to the auto parts store to see if there might be some sort of "dressing" that would help. I was hoping to find somewhere in Scotia, eight miles south, to repair the World. The man there offered his garage for the repair when I arrived in the morning. He gave me his address in Scotia and told me if I got there in time he could bring me back to get the van on his way to work. I had to get going early to avoid traffic but slept late and it was nearly five when I was on the road. Using the GPS on my phone I skirted along "the 101" to the last entrance out of town. I later was told the entrance to that road had recently been closed because of too many bad accidents there. Too far to go back, I draped my backpack, gloves and reflective vest over the barbed wire, eased the World over the hazard and past the road's "END" sign to the highway just as it became light enough to see. Traveling on this highway has been increasingly difficult given the stretches where it has restricted access. Though I was getting on at the highway, I would have to be on the "freeway" to get to Scotia. With the wide paved shoulder this stle of road is the best for walking and the police all tend to tolerate pedestrians. I had been warned by the California Highway Patrol once before so I was doing my best to stay well off the "line". When I came to the last crossroad before the way was again "freeway" I made the choice to stay traveling, as a pedestrian should, facing traffic. At this point the road split wide and the southbound lanes had a modern wide shouldered bridge over the Eel river while the Northbound lane I was walking against led to the "old" bridge with two narrow lanes and four foot wide pedestrian walks with a tall, thick hand rail out side of the bridge spans. Too tight to walk on the roadway I, as I have on many occasions, slowly balanced the World atop the handrail holding it in balance with one hand by the leash and stick along with the leash attached to Nice (the dog) and coaxing the World along the rail over the river below. If you long to find something that keeps your mind from wondering about life's mundane problems I recommend rolling a six foot eighty pound canvas ball atop a five inch beam over an eighth of a mile above a river. It helps you focus.
During my walk to the bridge I was listening to the radio and N.P.R. reported that the Center for Disease Control announced their latest finding that we should all walk every day. Not just a month, or six months. It's something everyone can do and will be able to keep doing however old they become. I met three refined women last week who walk six miles daily. Maybe the C.D.C. is on to something. If you won't listen to the C.D.C. at least learn from your elders who walk more in one day than many walk in a month. They will outlive the couch-potatoes.
It wasn't long after my balancing act over the Eel River when the local town sheriff and the C.H.P. were there after getting the call about me on the road (now restricted from pedestrian traffic). The local policeman was nice and as I was just a few yards from the ramp into Rio Dell that neighbors Scotia he allowed me to walk the short ditance of the "freeway". The C.H.P. Had to give me the second warning about the "freeway" and though, he said, they are tolerant of pedestrians who have to make it past these pedestrian bottle-necks, or cyclist (even one I saw towing a four foot wide boat behind his bike, I would not be. The World is not welcome.
I got to Scotia just in time for the ride to retrieve the van and was able to use the man's garage for the repair(a jagged hole of unknown origin) in the core and check to see that it was the only leak before placing the World in the back of the van, deflated and rilled into a canvas lump. To top the day off the neighbors close to my host called the local county police because of the suspicious man with the Purple van hanging in their alley. I guess none noticed I had working in the garage all afternoon and evening. The County sheriff, after some explaination, told me this was a tight-knit community and when a "purple ghost" rolls into town they get concerned...
The way I see it I now have a sort of blanket excuse for skipping areas of the ocean road to S.F. Where all else are free to tread or at least tolerated.
I will now drive a few miles south to the "Avenue of the Giants". The signal there is probably weak so I will be going "stealth" for a time. No telling where I'll turn up next.
Walk, the C.D.C. recommends it.

No comments: