Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Turning "The World" Over

I had walked since midnight in the dark and early morning mist when I had to stop on the side of the road. From the bluff above me across the road I heard a woman's voice calling,"It's World Guy! Look! It's World guy!" It was a couple, Skye and Thomas, who were walking from Seattle to San Francisco. They had heard of us through the travelers grapevine long before meeting us there in Oregon. I had walked that night to avoid the high winds that had just picked up. I was grumpy, they were getting started from where they had camped by the beach, excited and fresh for the day. We talked a few minutes and they were gone. They passed me again one day as the sun grew hot. I was pushing against a head wind on an uphill grade, not so enthusiastic while they were full of energy as they disappeared around the bend.One morning I was getting a ride back to retrieve the van and saw them off to the side of the road hugging for warmth after rising out of their tent.(Awww! I thought to myself), I had somehow passed them a third time after an all night walk when we crossed paths again. This time I gave them a reflective vest I had in the van. Given to me by a line-repair crew for BNSF when I was in Minnesota. After they left I unburied another lightweight mesh vest added to a bag of shirts and safety items a company out of Louisiana gave me. I carried it in my pack from then on in case I met them again. Meeting them again was unlikely, because I had a string of shorter walking days, having to skip past long stretches of restricted roads and my slow pace while getting through the Redwoods. After my previous posting I zigzagged down the treacherous Route-1 in the van with the World crammed in the back, stopping several times for pictures and to let Nice (the dog) bask in the cool shore sunlight. The road along the coast is twisting up and down hills with blind spots throughout. There was no straight section we could safely walk until I had driven to Fort Bragg. I was feeling down from having no road to safely get the World all the way to San Francisco. From Fort Bragg to Mendocino the way was wide but I would then have to skip for safety past many miles of coastal road unfit for the World as we know it. I motored into Fort Bragg and stopped on the Main drag. I got out and walked a few blocks quite aimlessly then turned around to walk a few more blocks in the other direction. Deciding that I needed to get back to the van I turned about one more time, crossed the Main Street of Fort Bragg, got to the van to keep wondering south. Looking over my shoulder after putting the shifter into drive I saw the traveling love-birds. As they saw me. We had a happy reunion, going to dinner and catching up on one and the other's adventures. They had been able to walk all the way where I had been warned off, turned around, the World vandalized and repaired, the World neglected and repaired, then I had little choice but to swallow my pride and drive to the coast which was not seeming any more accommodating. Of all the stops and starts we each have had we were all amazed to see each other again. I stayed the night by where they camped, we had breakfast together and they walked with me awhile as the wind blew hard from the South and interested folks stopped us for pictures, explanation and to love on Nice (the dog). I was setting my sights for Mendocino, they were going to have their scheduled day of rest, get a room to wash and catch up on correspondences so they parted with me by the post office as I posed for another photo. They passed me one more time before they checked into their motel, we said our final goodbyes.
I walked along the token stretch between Fort Bragg and Mendocino which was about all I knew I could walk without getting into any tight turns where no one could see the World in front of them. I crossed three bridges without incident, two were narrow and I jogged across their short spans. Then I came to the Casper bridge which had a three foot bike lane on each side. I stopped to take a picture, had a bite to eat, I just stood there for several minutes before I started over the long straight span. Two cars passed with traffic on both sides moving along with enough room for all of us. Then I hear a voice that loudly tells me to get off the road. I had waited all that time so the CHP sergeant could find me on the bridge. After jogging to the end of the bridge before removing myself from the road, it was a beautiful view with one long step off from the Casper Bridge. The long and short of it was that unless I get a permit from Caltrans I could not walk on Route-1. Caltrans won't give a permit because "You are on the CHP radar now. Caltrans has known about me since I got into California. All the local and county police have been more than supportive all the way as they all said. It's ok until the CHP see you".
To symbolically finish the walk to S.F. I found Skye and Thomas the next day before they crossed the bridge and asked if they would carry a tiny World that has been with me on all my trips. They had a choice, a foam world the size of a tennis ball or a small metal key chain. They chose the key chain, good choice and light weight too.
I am not upset over these turns of events... Things do happen for a reason, I know it in all the bones I have left.


Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to hear of your troubles :( We met you by the border of Oregon/California when we were traveling south and then again when we were going back home to Oregon a few days later. We stopped and gave you water and a sandwhich and a treat for Nice. I wonder if you remember us... we will certainly never forget meeting you! I feel badly for even suggesting that you go though Fort Bragg. That is my home town and I would have thought you would have been treated kinder! You are right, I suppose, in that everything happens for a reason, who knows what the reason may be in this situation. I think Hwy 101would have been extremely hot and uncomfortable and even more hassle. I hope that you do enjoy the scenery of the Mendocino Coast and as you travel south to San Fran :) Point Reyes area, about 45 miles north of San Francisco, is beautiful as well, if you get a chance to see it! Good luck and happier travels to you and Nice...

Michele in Washington said...

Things do happen for a reason. I too believe this. Each day I wake is like a mystery waiting to unfold. Some days are mundane and seemingly meaningless and then others are filled with chance meetings and precious gifts just when you needed them the most. We all have choices to make in life. It's like stacking up dominos and then the last one put on the table is the choice for the day. Do you make this choice or do you pass it by. When that choice is made the dominos are set into motion and every single domino represents a person or event that is affected by that choice. Worldguy, you have made the ultimate choice to dedicate your life and time to a great cause. By you making this choice you set the dominos of your life in motion and you have affected many people in more ways than you will ever know. You are truly a gift and your choice does not go unnoticed. The day I met you started out as a typical mundane day and ended with so much meaning. It's meeting people like you that make life exciting and worth the exploration. I hope one day our paths will cross again.