Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Friendships, moments, the Journey.

Each of our little walks have had a beginning and end. For me they blend together, each adding to the mix of friendships, days with beautiful sights, challenges from weather, many one-line-wisdoms from a short yet everlasting roadside conversation that fold the all journeys into one experience. Not only the months and miles I walk, but the periods leading up to the walks and times like these at the "journey end" combine to blur the "start" and "finish". While I have been pondering the experiences of the walk from Washington to California it feels like a continuance of the last walk and the first walk hasn't ended. If the end is blurred then when did my journey begin? Was it decades ago when I first set eyes on the World, when I borrowed it for a picnic that ended up being a memorial picnic for my mother who passed three days before the event; hundreds attended. Or was it when I inflated the World for my son's birthday and took it for a walk to the park?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bridges and Fog

I handed the World over without reservation to Thomas and Skye knowing they could finish the journey to the Golden Gate Bridge that I could not complete by foot. I spent the day shadowing them from a distance. As darkness fell I knew they were going to find a place to camp close to town. There was a man and woman splitting wood close to the highway. I asked if they had seen a young couple with reflective jackets go by. They had been by a few minutes prior. The woman asked if I was with them, I hesitantly told them I was not, and then confirmed I was, wanting to let Skye and Thomas to their own devices. As I walked away I overheard the woman berating the man for thinking "those kids" were homeless, that they are what they had said they were. Further into town there was a baseball field filled with people. There I thought the young couple could find some help. When I later talked to the new guardians of the World they told me they had asked many for a place to pitch there tent for the night but encountered distrust from the townsfolk, only finding a nice man at the far end of town. Hiking down the road is very different from the sideshow of the World tied to a guy and a dog lumbering along; less smiles. I stopped next to the only gas station in the next town that night so I could be there when they opened, there are few towns along the forgotten coast and fewer places to get fuel. After a night of restless dreams I awoke knowing I had to stop holding on, let Skye and Thomas take the reins. They had made it from Seattle without a chaperon and my lingering around would deplete what little resources I had for my trip home. reluctantly like a bird pushing a chick from the nest I began the journey home through the foggy snakelike Shoreline Highway down the coast to The Golden Gate (where Skye and Thomas called on the cell phone just as I passed over), the Bay Bridge (I last crossed the Bay Bridge 8 days before the earthquake that closed it), toward home.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Good Advice

A woman, a friend called her son to ask for his input on a guy walking a six foot ball down the coast. Being well versed on the ins-and-outs of the right-of-ways and after "shooting down" all the possibilities during the lengthy conversation he asked why I was walking. When she told him he had one piece of advice...
"Don't stop."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

WG to HP

Once I handed off the World (in tin form) to Skye and Thomas I had a transformation. I suddenly became a doading parent to them instead of fearless World Guy. I spent the day waiting, driving back and forth to check their progress and didn't rest until I knew they were safely off the road and settled for the night. If I hovered over them the rest of their journey I would take away from the magic of the road. I was going to be their helicopter mom and I didn't want that so I had to leave them to the task at hand, they will make it to S.F. on their own, without me.
They update the journey on: www.walknumberone.tumblr.com

Friday, August 17, 2012

Reasons

Who knows the plan really?
Sharing a drive along a wooded road, then an ocean vista before a stop at a seaside deli. All twists and turns, stops and starts seem random. Then you are privileged to witness a rainbow, or the courtship of two beautiful creatures through the fog, or as you patiently wait for your hot meal to be prepared. Surrender your World to the care of the Skye. Be a Positive Thomas!
Cast yourself to the wind. A spiders web may slow you just enough to bump into your next inspiration...

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.

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm taking the day off to take it all in

We walked our last day along the Avenue of the Giants. At a snails pace it was far too fast to appreciate what I was seeing. The massive trees all have personality of their own with burls growing like faces over a lifetime. I noticed several whose trunk had been shaved flat decades ago with chain saws to save the tree and allow for the road to be cut through. After all the years the old tree had been growing around the old wound but also sends an extra twisted knotted burl out toward the roadway for it revenge on some motorist who strays too close not noticing the boxing glove in the shadow. I am happy the people who could were able to help preserve what they have of the old growth stands. Life goes on, for now they are left to grow, if not alone. When there was no traffic on the avenue, and the echoes from the nearby "freeway" fell silent it was amazing to hear the soft sounds of the big trees. Some cars would stop at the pull-offs here and there but far more are motoring past to say they'd seen it, windows up and the bump and buzz of the stereo reverberating in the air as they pass. Once a not-so-sporty car revved by at what the driver must have thought was high speed, leaving a trail of smells that the poor car had been through enough. I had to deflate the World I Phillipsville at the southern end of "the Avenue" using it as an uncomfortable stiff canvas pillow with hints of everything it has rolled over all these years. I had an unusually restful sleep at a pull-off at a sharp curve causing everyone passing to loudly decelerate and accelerate overlooking on the other side a full campground facility bustling with the final weekends campfires, playing children of a dozen families. Because of the "freeway" restrictions on the World and the sudden heat after clearing from under the Redwoods we were on the road to Leggett and the Shoreline Road, Route 1. Down the street from Leggett's closed restaurant, next door to Leggett's closed market I went into the post office for some advice on where I should resume walking. The woman there obviously knew all of what happens being the hub of the community who all come for their mail and the police scanner squawking in the back room. She was very helpful as we reviewed my options from her perspective , given the area I was about to attempt to walk, the distance, the difficulty, the narrow crooked path through the forest road, the cooler temps over on the ocean ( thinking of Nice (the dog) and his feet on hot afternoon roadsides to go to the coast and begin again. It is the best for the dog you understand. The road out of Leggett wound up and down, in and out with sharp and banking turns. Half of the way thru I had to stop to let the brakes on the old van to cool. The woman at the Post Office was right with her advice as there is nothing but one day use parking area and little room at all for anything other than the cars, trucks, rented R-V4 and motorcycles. The forest is beautiful so having to idle through the second have to keep the brakes cool was fine with me. It could have taken days for us to safely roll through those miles to the ocean. Before we broke out to the shoreline the air cooled so that even in the noonday sun laying on the gravel Nice (the dog) sleeps with a rested breath . You can call me a wimp, that I took this "free pass" thing too far after the C.H.P. said I couldn't walk on 101 but between all the well meaning police and people of the "triangle" this is the best, most humane decision. Rolling around those rolling and pitching roads would be fun. I don't know exactly where we will begin, tomorrow or the next day. For now we rest and enjoy the scenery.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Out of the "nue" into the flue

Four almost two months we have been walking in fog and overcast cool weather. Other than the week we walked from the interior to the ocean this is the first day we have been in very hot temperatures. Brrr.

Eye on the Ball

The Redwoods had me mesmerized as we strolled along the Avenue of the Giants. Taking pictures that in no small way captured the feeling or the sights I was seeing but I stopped at points in sharp narrow spots that no carload of vacationers would ever noticed as they sped by. Just as we came from under the canopy into the light a family stopped ahead , they offered lunch, brought out a folding chair for me sit in the shade. Distracted, I forgot to check the air pressure on my little inflated World that sat out in the open sunlight. Just a few minutes passed as the family and me asked and answered questions about our adventures when we heard a popping sound. Looking to the World where the noise came, we saw it had split at a seam across the pacific ocean. A two foot fissure whose progress was stopped only by a wide patch. The epicenter of the event was along another narrow patch that couldn't hold back the expansion of atoms and molecules. Something had to give.
I had just said I was in no hurry to get out of the Redwoods. This blow-out slowed the pace. The rest of the day I patched the tear and got to the nearby town where I was allowed to stay at the famous living tree you can drive through so the glue could set up. I reinforced my patch work more before the sun fell. The consequence I had to suffer for neglecting the World for just a few moments.
I didn't keep my eye on the ball. "Steeee-rike!"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Humbolt Update

We spent the night at a state campground among the stumps of old, circled by the babies that now tower in a circle around the mother stumps. A man told me a few days ago these redwoods are like weeds, "cut one down and four grow in it's place. The man who rode me to my van last evening, vacationing from B.C. Says there are redwood stumps aeound his area but redwoods have long ago been gone. Efficient weed eradication.
Not trying to "Make waves", just working to change the World by walking for diabetes awareness.
Take a walk, breath the air, enjoy!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Giants

So tall you can not stand at their feet and see the top.
Tallest on the planet, "tree for tree", it's been fond.
The first day I noticed I was among the land of the giants it was weeks ago.
Suddenly shocked by the size, the girth, of the gargantuan stumps scattered amongst babies hacked down leaving a tombstone as tall as a house.
When I visited this side of the world thirty years ago these giants were being hauled by one log to a truck. Now one truck carries the hole tree. The four percent of old growth left now I hope stands for centuries.
Here they still live. Along this narrow strip of what used to be a vast region of...
Giants.

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.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Big World, little hole.

Sometime between my falling asleep in the Wally-world parking lot yesterday and my be awakened by the parking lot security the world sprung a leak. I'd like to think I ran over some glass while I slept or the valve is leaking badly again. I hope we were not subject to a bitter homeless person with a poker, one of too many to count who slipped in and out of the trees around the edge of the mall parking during the day. Whatever the source of injury to the world I will have to find an enclosed space soon to remove the core of the world and find the source. If it's the valve, I apologize to all the homeless around the Eureka area. If it is not the valve I should apologize for the temptation.

Fortuna, the launderland.

It took some doing after I was awakened after dark by the night-shift Parking lot patrol in the mall with Wally-world and was told to leave. Through the night I managed to get well into Fortuna, get the van there and now will spend the daylight recovering as I wash clothes and blankets in Fortuna's own Launderland. Since the last time I washed clothes I have gotten rides from a couple folks whose autos had that old-man-army-surplus-musk smell that covered what I was wearing. If I don't wash all the things I can my little home away from home will start smelling like a thrift-store clothes-rack. It's not the most romantic of chores while walking along the coast but it must be done.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pop's Quiz

I had been kindly asked to get off 101 where it is technically a freeway, tossed the dog and world into a cow pasture (all the cows wanted to come along), walked into the heart of Arcata, stayed at a professional owl watcher's driveway, was taking the old road in a wide loop toward Eureka when I met a man riding a bike. The older man (old enough to be my father) gave me a quiz..." How do you eat an elephant?"
Happily I answered correctly.
How would you answer this life question?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Drifting Sand

I've had a writers block. Not that I couldn't simply tell of this person I met at the last moment who saved me from sleeping in the cold after walking for sixteen hours, or how the mist reflects an earth-bow on the fog as cars pass in the night, but I haven't had a theme. The way I write that often doesn't matter. Walking along this main path south I have met peoples from around the planet, some drifting along at leisure while others sweep past on a mission, from Sweden, Holland,England,France,Brazil or from these United States. All traveling as grains of sand swept on wind and sea to end up brushing past one another, sometimes mingling in an eddie on their journey before being swept back to their own rhythm.
I have met many and all agree we must keep moving.

Friday, August 3, 2012

by the sea break

We've been on the road a few hours, it's now Five thirty and the the sky has it's first hints of blossoming. The moon has done it's part this morning illuminating the clouds like a dim night-light making it easier to roll of into the grass or brush when the early trucks and cars pass. At night I can hear and see them coming sooner. Sometimes I can see them from miles away. I've beem told we are eighteen miles to the next town. Not in a big hurry, Nice (the dog) chose a pull off by the ocean to sut down. he's had his breakfast and is taking a nap. I was sore and wanted to stay snug in bed this morning but after we got going. I roused from a day-dream while watching the ocean in the moon glow and was glad to be moving.
Sometimes I just need to push past the aches, pains and excuses...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

tortiose, hare, bear

We met many cyclists yesterday. Because of the distance I had to walk between towns we walked all night. Passing the only camping area we also made it to Orick ahead of many we had seen the previous day making me feel like the tortoise. Several stopped for a chat when they met me in town. I shared some of my fruit with a couple of them as I had the only fresh fruit in town stored in the supply van.
A few nights ago when were lay close to a motel/ restaurant for a rest I was roused by the sound of something ripping apart what sounded like a thick plastic barrel. Nice (the dog) was smarter than to bark and I was quick to toss my gear on my shoulder and get the World on the road with calm quickness. Watching the bear watch us, Nice soon let me know we were no longer a potential meal as we rumbled into the night.
I'm sure all those hares a long gone since we slept in Orick today but it was fun passing the pack for just a moment in the sun, or the cloud covered moonlight.

Orick

After resting up after an all nighter' to klamath we walked all day and into the evening to get to the campground in the state park. We had taken the old road through the grand redwoods and when we got to the campground the sign said "full". I sat out by the road under the streetlight and took my backpack off for the second time in over twelve hours. The park ranger pulled up and. Told me there was an area for hikers and bikers, gave me a map to the area and sent me on my way. That area was full so I slept for awhile at the trail-head. I awoke from a restless dream so I decided to press on to Orick. Now it almost light, the Cafe sign says open. I think I'll go in ...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Klamath

I strained and pulled things I'd not strained and pulled before as I pushed the World up the steep pass into the Redwoods. Too tired now to give all the details even after resting for the day in Klamath at an R-V park. Hopefully I'll be on my way in the morning...