I wake up on the side of the road in
the back of my car shivering. The color pallet outside is black,
dark brown, forest green and white. Heavy wet snow draws large
conifer branches down towards my as yet unnamed home, a dark blue
Subaru Outback. My twenty degree down sleeping bag isn't holding up
to it's reputation so I find sleeping-in to be fully out of the
question. Tomorrow I'll make sure to wear my fleece pants. It's my
third day on the road but my first night sleeping in the car and I'm
considering if there are other thing I can use besides just my air
mattress to make sleeping a little bit more comfortable. I also
realize suddenly that I have forgotten my tent at home. It's not
such a big deal since I've been planning to sleep in my car
primarily, but I had hoped to pack up a backpack and get a good hike
between me and the road to spend a secluded night or two at some
point in the wilderness. I'm making a list of things that I need,
including a can opener, a heavy blanket, the tent, toilet paper, and
and a few other essentials that I hadn’t thought of but seem to
suddenly become vital at a moments notice while traveling.
When I set off from my parents' house
I was wearing a red white and blue polo shirt, yellow green tie, gray
blazer and some serious aviator sunglasses. Chis and Phil, the one
time friends of a friend who have since become decent friends proper,
are a fantastic couple that are capable of a level of warm acceptance
you just don't see all that often. When I arrived I found Tryg
wearing a full bodied bright red union suit, a pointed wool hat, and
a thick white oddly baggy wool sweater that, if I remember correctly,
at one point doubled as a dog blanket from the farm where he now
works. Tryg's main squeeze, a landscape architect from Seattle whom
he met on his recent bike trip from Portland to California, wore a
blue dress and copious amounts of eye liner in mimic of the main
character from Moon Rise Kingdom.
The two of them were sitting around a campfire, telling stories and
drinking from a jug of Tryg's home made hard apple cider who's
relative level of “hardness” continues to be a dubious subject.
Trying to get buzzed off it seems to be a similar endeavor to licking
your way to the center of a tootsie pop, If you're entirely committed
to the goal you usually end up cheating with something that has a bit
Best sun glasses I've ever had
me, Tryg, and Leah, there was a sea of Sea men from the The Life
Aquatic, a few without pants, and one guy whos body type suggested he
may have played football at one point wearing a silk slip and a beret
in his hair. All in all a pretty standard event Oregon terms, but
for me it was an especially fantastic night. Not because anything
particularly wonderful happened but because only weeks ago I was so
socially deprived that I moved in with my parent's even while still
having my own apartment simply because I wanted some people to talk
with on a regular basis. Hanging out with friendly people, all
having a great time in a creative environment was perhaps the best
introduction to not that that I could have hoped for.
next morning the seven remaining hung over party guests along with
Chris and Phil (I should perhaps mention that Phil is a woman, named
for the town in Pennsylvania), awoke to make breakfast. Biscuits and
gravy, with sausage and eggs. Tryg elected to remain in his union
suit through the morning and seemed to represent a certain kind of
caricature with his beard and wool hat, cooking eggs in a cast iron
pan over an electric stove.
most people left for their own respective homes, while Phil began
constructing a nest of blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags in front
of the TV. Me Tryg Leah and Christ perched ourselves in the nest as
Phil started the movie, “South Pacific,” and flew repeatedly to
the kitchen to bring us sustenance of popcorn, and fruit smoothies.
We each took turn dosing off and coming to again only to be
confronted with a movie that was becoming more racist, sexist, and
pedofileist by the minute. If you haven't seen south pacific you
should, it's a trip.
the movie ended I remarked that I didn't realize they made movies
like that back in the day, or ever. Phil fell asleep hard in the nest from a
full day of mama birding, Leah went to sleep in the tent in the back
yard, leaving the men to go gather food at the local supermarket.
Tryg didn't wear his union suit
rest of the night we ate, talked, watched another movie, “Better
Off Dead” with John Cusack and went to bed early. All and all a
wonderful lazy post party day.
hung out a bit the next morning and ate breakfast but eventually all
had to go our seperate directions. Tryg was headed up to Portland
with Leah, and I was headed for the mountains.
love moving. Moving is probably my favorite part of travel, the flow
of it. I mean I of course love the idea of it as well, the
philosophical orientation that places me in the lineage of Kerouac,
London, and all those with itchy feet who ever left a place that had
nothing for them; from the pilgrims to the Oregon bound homesteaders
(I'd like to do my traveling without the genocide though), but all
that's just high minded BS in the end, what I really love is the
process of travel. I hate when I have to stop. Sometimes when I
find I'm going the wrong direction on a highway, it can takes me 5
minutes or more before I finally turn around cause I hate so much
stopping the flow of movement. I hate when I'm walking and someone
tries to talk to me, will keep going on gravel roads past decent camp
sites because I'm just not ready to stop yet and face the stillness.
The physical sensation of being in transition is intoxicating to me.
Sometimes I just turn off the radio for hours at at time, I whistle,
or sing songs to myself, or just silently partake in the sensation of
going. On the road I am, the one and only road.
the mountains I couldn't find a good place to stop. There were no
campsites and the dirt road I was on was covered in so many iced over
potholes I had to drive below the level of my speedometer most of the
time. Eventually I just pulled over in a little turn out. I got out
and went for a short hike in what remained of the day light, took a
dump in the woods, and came back to my car to eat some yogurt with my
pocket knife while doing a happy little dance for the food and at
being contained within my car deep in the woods where no one could
find me. I listened to some podcast, and did my best to go to sleep.
first day light I woke up thinking about the road. When one says
they're on the road I wonder if they realize that, for the most part,
there's really only one road. I wonder if, when Kerouac wrote his
book if he named it for the act of traveling, or for this one road
that was a part of the whole continent. If you go out your door, and
walk out to the street where ever you are, there you are, on the
road. From there all you have to do is move and you will find that
you are connected to infinite incredible things. To New York or
Chicago, to Portland, to Texas. That road connects you to Mexico
city, the bridge of the Panama canal, or Alaska and the Yukon. Just
outside you are on the same plane as kids riding their bikes in quiet
suburbs, to gang wars in LA, to a million dead raccoons. It's
dangerous, I've heard if you set foot on the road in just the right
state of mind you might find yourself carried away never to return.
drive down into Molalla early, not willing to spend another shivering
night in the mountains and find myself an antique store that sells
coffee out front and has free wifi. Some local ladies are studying
the Bible at an old wooden table in the back near where I sit and
speak amongst themselves with the assuredness of people people who
love what they were doing and love each other, but with a the added
edge of women who have something else on their mind more present than
the word of God.
I don't know where I'll be sleeping, farm land seems an odd in
between kind of place to park a car and sleep, but I'm sure I'll find
some tucked away piece of road. Tomorrow I have my first interview
with a the forestry service for this region, I'm not sure if I'll be
able to find a shower before then but if they're looking for a
firefighter would my gruffness really be that much of a problem?