"The world does not reward honesty and independence, it rewards obedience and service. It’s a world of concentrated power, and those who have power are not going to reward people who question that power."-Chomsky

"The trouble with self-delusion, either in a person or a society, is that reality doesn't care what anybody believes, or what story they put out. Reality doesn't "spin." Reality does not have a self-image problem. Reality does not yield its workings to self-esteem management." -J.H. Kunstler

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."-Dylan

Friday, June 27, 2008

6/27/08: Muir Beach-Olema, CA, Eric & Marine

One of the more significant days of the trip. One that would determine the time frame of the entire West Coast.

I woke up beneath by bushes rather early to the sounds of hikers chatting as they passed by me, not realizing that I was nestled in there. It's funny what people say when they think no one's there. Reminds me of that philosophy that 'no one's normal'; we all have goofy quirks we try to hide when people are around!

I had a couple cups of cold instant coffee-- the usual-- packed up and decided today I'd get on down Hwy. 1. Part of the reason I crossed the Marin Headlands via the trail was that it deposited me at Muir Beach, which is where my now favorite road comes close to shore after separating from the 101.

I was still short on water after accidentally dumping the Camelback the day before, so my first mission was stocking up on water, then #2 was getting to the next town for FOOD! I was running a bit low, not really getting any since Cambria, before Florian picked me up, and Muir Beach isn't a town as much as a place rich people build palaces overlooking the coast. No stores. I found a neat little Inn just as I picked up the 1, went in to fill up the water and was off... back on the road.

The first thing I noticed was how narrow the shoulders were, and how many curves this stretch had... and more hills. There were times where I'd have to cross the road to get wider shoulder space and to be able to see as traffic was coming. The smoke from the wildfires that had been raging in California still held overhead too... I wouldn't see much sun for DAYS from here on out... and it mixed with fog coming off the Pacific. It's hard to tell the difference in the two, except for the faint smell of smoke and the BLAZING red sunsets. The effect of the smoke- fog and the terrain gave everything an almost creepy beauty! As though I were walking thru a Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock movie...

And so it went... Walking, resting, hitchhiking. My feet were much better with the new inserts, but I began to develop a blister in the worst place for me: my right heel. That bugged me because these are always a big problem for me, and they never seem to callous. It was obviously from all the hills, but something that needed to be kept on top of.

I'd decided to hitch it to Stinson Beach because of that and my food shortage, and resolved to completely prepare there for the upcoming 300+ miles to Oregon. Eventually I got a ride with Richard, a 40- something guy on his way to Stinson. He told me a disturbing story about a beating/ stabbing that had just taken place in the next town up from Stinson. Apparently some kids beat a guy to the brink of death on the beach. The part that creeped me out was that he was a drifter- type... homeless by choice... vagabond.... whatever. I could be seen that way too. I quickly figured on getting thru that area ASAP.

I got to Stinson Beach and Richard dropped me at the "shitty expensive" grocery store (his words; they rang true). I went in and loaded up on tortillas, Raman, instant Oatmeal, and even bought some Tillamook cheese: my new favorite. With the lithium batteries and Clif Bars, the bill came to an ungodly $38! Are yo u kidding me?!?!

When I came out, a middle age guy spied the backpack and struck up a conversation. I wasn't exactly in the mood to socialize because of the image of the beaten/ stabbed guy floating in my paranoid imagination. He said he was camping in the hills above Stinson, and that I was welcome to join him up there if I liked. Perhaps I should have been more open to that, but for whatever reason, I just wasn't interested in staying there. It was still relatively early... 3:30 or so, and I wanted to get out of town, and past the now infamous Bolinas. He did however point me toward the library, and I was thrilled to find out it was open until 6!

I figured I'd go in and upload a few pictures and update the now lagging Trip Diary, but when I got in there I discovered that this library had the FASTEST upload speeds I believe I'd ever seen. So, I did a mass upload of pictures covering the time between Santa Cruz and there, and delayed the update. I also got a few free maps from the very friendly librarian, and more details on the beating, which seemed to be on the tips of everyone's tongue. That settled me a bit because since it was obviously BIG news, it wasn't something that happened very often. Plus, I learned that the people who did it... which included a 16 year- old, were in jail.

I uploaded until 6:00, then made my way out of Stinson Beach catching a ride with a 40- something woman in a VW Bug to the road that leads to Bolinas. I continued on up the road toward dusk, thru Dogtown and into Pt. Reyes Natl. Seashore where I began to hunt places to bed down for the night. Again, I almost stopped but figured I'd continue on a bit to see if I could either find better spots or catch a ride.

Did I ever!

Out of nowhere a burgundy Mazda 6 pulled over, and inside were a young couple in their 20's who spoke with THICK accents. I laughed out loud... much to their surprise I'm sure. I asked them, in my fatigue, if they were German by any chance and the said no... French. They said they were on holiday heading up the coast and could at least get me to the next town or maybe State Park. I liked them immediately.

I hopped in and we started chatting as we drove toward Olema. When it became apparent we would get along nicely, and they said they were looking to camp I suggested we just split a site and hang out for the night. They were cool with that, so we asked an elderly couple in Olema about the nearest campground. They said there was one a couple of blocks further up Hwy. 1, and that they were staying there, REALLY liked it, and more importantly there were vacancies. Good enough for us ...

The campsite was privately operated and thus expensive. $37 for three of us! Remember the scene in Vacation when the Griswold's get to the camp in Colorado? I did:

"$37 for THREE tents?"

Plus, a little bundle of firewood was $9!

So, yeah... almost half of my weekly budget on a campsite. I looked at it as an investment though. I thought it was likely that we'd get along very well, and since we were going the same way, I may have found the perfect ride, so I didn't stress about the money too much. Plus the place had showers and a laundromat... woohoo!! Needed both... badly.

We set up camp, and began chatting. The place was overcrowded and had entirely too many kids. I wondered if there was such thing as an adult- only campground that didn't involve nudists or swingers. I still wonder that...

Through the course of conversation I learned that Eric and Marine were traveling with much the same philosophy as I. No concrete plans or time frame. I loved that. PLUS... they were Couchsurfing it!! YES!!! It was about then that I realized how big Couchsurfing is becoming. They told me that they too had problems finding a host in San Francisco, but had already found one in Portland.

We chatted around the fire for quite awhile and got to bed pretty late. I still wasn't sure how things were going to go the next day, but figured either way was fine with me. I could continue on my own, or ride with these guys if they liked. I figured I'd get up, shower, do some laundry, and take it from there. Again though, I thought, the solution may have presented itself.