The Hermit's Whirlwind - Discovering America's Pacific Coast in 14 daysThu, February 26, 2009 - 9:19 PM
Sitting in the afterglow (or is that aftermath?) of a 14 day road trip with the man I love - there's still too many words swimming around in my head.
The trip was a rollercoaster, the kind which brings thoughts, epiphanies, discoveries - but then every trip is like that if you just pay attention. The resulting changes within myself and my perceptions of the world around me went in a direction I could not have predicted. As if we can ever truly predict the future in any way, there are too many variables outside of our control and range of view to see beyond right now clearly.
The words which unlocked the swirling labyrinth in my mind...
“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they’ve rebelled they cannot be come conscious.” - 1984 George Orwell
I went on an old fashioned American road trip with my sweetheart, the modern day version of a June and Ward Cleaver, after they got their freak on. I rebel against a lot of things but just decided to let go and act like a tourist for this one trip. It was exceedingly difficult, I’m sure at times I was exceedingly difficult. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done, being so completely out of my comfort zone with no place to hide, that was familiar, except my lover’s arms and car. Being completely dependent upon him and his good graces - I had no finances to add to the trip. I did most of the planning and organizing of where to sleep each night and how to get from A - Z without killing ourselves.
In order to kill two birds with one stone, I set up staying at family/friends places about 50% of the time. We were able to socialize until everyone wanted to sleep, save money on places to stay and not stay long enough to become any sort of a burden at all. Though I felt like we were so pressed for time we could barely socialize and that it might have come across oddly to some hosts.
Only 14 days to drive from Denver thru Las Vegas to Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach to be exact. From there we went down to Irvine in Orange County and then back up the entire Pacific Coast to Vancouver. Stopping in Seaside on the Monterey Bay, up to San Jose for one day, over to Pigeon Point Lighthouse for 2 nights, up to Eureka for 1 night - that was most of California’s coastline in five days.
We drove the entirety of Oregon in one day, popping out to Reyes Point Station and down one side of the bay for a lunch jaunt on whim. We cheated on Oregon’s coasts, jumping to the 5 after Reyes Point and taking that all the way into Portland.
One night there and we drove up through the heavily logged Olympic National Park to Port Angeles on the Pennisula. The next morning it was over to Bainbridge Island Ferry into Seattle for a night and up to Vancouver with the dreaded Valentine’s Day BS.
Thus ending our tour of the Pacific Coast.
We escaped back through Washington, Idaho, Montana and down through Wyoming. Stopping in Hayden, Idaho and Sheridan, Wyoming to visit a friend and sleep.
I’d always wanted to take the winding roads along those breathtaking vistas of ocean and beach, the breakers dancing and racing like the water steeds of Celtic Legends. I held my breath and counted to see if I could find the 9th or 13th waves, except for the time I screamed OH MY GOD! And gasped all of my air out in ecstasy at the most amazing scene of nature I have ever laid eyes upon. But that is later on in this tale and it’s a story all onto it’s own which fits like a jigsaw puzzle piece in with it’s neighbors rather nicely.
I am getting ahead of myself, but that’s ok - there’s a jiggling that happens to one’s paradigm when you enter into new lands - the only definition I consider with “ New Lands” is: A Place You’ve Never Been Before Right Now. For me it was most places in this trip. I had been in exactly one of the places we went through in my conscious memory - San Francisco, which I had just visited two months before on my own pocket.
First I should make this clear, at the age of 35 peeking at the beginning of 36 - I still had not gotten anywhere close to Las Vegas. I was happy (am still happier) sticking with lil ole Reno up north, but people thought I should experience Vegas at least once. Well, now I have and I can say for certain I do not like that much sensory overload, I’m not numb enough for it - it blinds and deafens me, leaves me speechless with wanton waste and gluttony.
I see the excesses of the Roman Empire copied and the desperation on the faces around me - it horrified me. As I sat in our hotel room alone, staring out of the back of the Imperial Palace, down at the Gardens at the Flamingo from our room’s tiny balcony - I realized then that I needed to become like a tourist.
The alternative was to become hysterical daily, causing the trip and our relationship to end early. I didn’t want either and it would only become more stressful as the length of time on the road got further along. So I decided to just act like one of the out-of-towner yokels and suddenly it seemed so much easier to accept everything. This was my first clue as to what the people around me are living like, I’m in a dreamland bubble of my own creation I don’t know what it’s like for the average American out there. I refuse to swallow the Corporate Nightmare and so shiny seductress Vegas was like seeing a succubus’ true face. It is a numbing fairytale world, the adult version of Walt’s Dynasty and it had nothing to do with me.
Southern California it seems there are either houses or industrial/oil rigs and always, everywhere traffic, traffic, traffic. It’s such a paradox out there, I am still baffled by it all and it leaves me with this tingly sensation. I don’t know whether to be alarmed or refreshed. I felt like I was floating in this bubble of incredulity that it really is exactly as people joke about and I worry if I witnessed a heinous crime or two but was so blinded by culture shock that I didn’t realize what was going on. It’s a whole other world out there, Our introduction was 3 plus hours on the highways in traffic and uncharacteristic buckets of rain, trying to get from the desert on the east side of LA to the beaches on the west side. If you asked me to describe LA simply I’d say Traffic, that’s almost all I know of it.
More to come.
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