CHAPTER UPDATE: "Northbound to Arcata, and B.O.'s Big Announcement"

  So, normally, a great deal of focus, and effort, goes into strategically planning the seemingly improvisational format of this blog. I spend countless hours creating flow-charts, reading venn diagrams, calculating percentages of different… umm… things; and after all is said and done, my people in marketing analyze the results, tell me what they've come up with, and I either don't listen at all, or I forget so fast, that I may as well have not listened at all. Coming along to the next step, it's about time for me to get writing, because along with putt-ing golf balls into a coffee cup, those initial stages of preparation generally soak up the majority of my week. 
Finally, with all the numbers in place, I think long and hard about how I can most effectively perpetuate confusion and inconsistencies in both the format, and content of the blog, and until now, I've accomplished this literary feat brilliantly. It appears now, however, that my immaculate streak of inconsistencies are over. 
You heard it right, folks; once again, I will be continuing where I left off in the last post! I'll have to confirm the numbers with my people in marketing, but if I had to estimate, I would say that this is approximately, the third post in a row where I've consistently carried the same story forward. Of course I've done this loosely in the past, going so far as to give you a sense of progression consistently; but never this solidly. 
Don't get too excited though, because whether you like it or not, the sporadic format will reign in the end. I've got far too many stories, photos, characters, and "how-to's" to share from various adventures, to be giving you a play-by-play rundown in order like this. It is a blog after all, so I can't get too literary on you without putting the youtube generation to sleep. 
If you really want to read these stories in their inevitable narrative form, then for chrisssakes, become a follower of the blog, and do your best to share this gem with friends and colleagues! I cannot strategically compose a full manuscript until my journey is at its conclusion, but as the endless amounts of notes, postings, and short stories continue to pile up- I am increasingly convinced that the adaptation of these accounts into a marketable book, will develop into a monster of it's own limitless caliber. 
With the tremendous feat of publishing in mind all the while; the blog keeps me busy working, while also standing as a crucial testament to publishers who wonder if this young, unpublished writer, can keep people coming back for more (and without a much needed editor, at that!). It is only through my generous audience that the potency of my voice, the potential of my creative abilities, and my relentless passion for writing, are made evident. 
Only through your faithful support, the expanding number of readers, and the oh-so-important number of 'followers' that slowly increase- do I proceed confidently; feeling validated in believing that my work is worthy of some day, being on the shelves- and for that: I wholeheartedly thank each and every one of you. I implore you to continue giving me a reason to write here in the frigid inter-webs, or blog-o-sphere, or whatever the kids are calling it now'a days- because if your willing to keep reading; I'll gladly, and humbly, continue writing for you.  

Getting back to the story though…

Our night's sleep there on the river in Humboldt Co. passed in what seemed like merely the blink of an eye. I awoke with a sore neck, and my head bent into the corner of the junior pup-tent in which two adults were wedged. The beaming sunlight brightly roused the color behind my closed eyelids to a radiant, waking, orange; when I resentfully opened my eyes, I felt as if I had been up for a half-hour already. My hair was matted dowdily in likeness to the angle of the tent corner, and was still a bit damp from the morning dew having perspired through the canvas. Amidst the tents stagnant air, it was hot as blazes, and since I wasn't saturated in sweat yet, I ventured to guess that the sun hadn't been up too long. 
I carefully crawled over Chassy- my knees coping with the rigorous bed of gravel, as I urgently unzipped myself from the small tent, and seeped through the canvas flap, stumbling out with relief. I stood in the bright sunlight, and wearily renewed the full length of my *awkward limbs; stretching my entirety from fingertips grasping at clear blue sky, to pale hairy toes straining to push me upwards from their very balls. Achieving my brief moment of climax in the fresh morning air, I let out a mannish gale, and concluded my half-assed morning calisthenics, feeling very suddenly, and very thoroughly fulfilled with life. 
Before me, the river continued to solemnly flow past, no different than yesterday. Upstream, the party of RV's I was aptly referring to as 'Camp Douche-bag,' were not yet astir- and hell, why should they be? I thought to myself cheerfully. I'd imagined the pairs of tediously married couples tucked into comfy beds soundly- like fussy toddlers who had yet to learn better; left aggrieved with a straining hangover, and the hellish reminder of a mundane office existence come Monday. Selfishly, I allowed myself to feel better in dissimilar circumstance. I knew that on Monday, this would still be our lives. Not so much an endless party, as an endless exploration- no more void from ups and downs than any existence, yet infinitely intriguing through an ever-changing context by which to be enthralled. 
This was exactly what me and B.O. had set out in search for not yet a year ago. An integral facet of that vague notion of the 'American dream' that we had ridden valiantly like a sophomore's writing prompt. It seemed like the closer I came to understanding it, the further I would fall from defining it.

    Behind me I heard B.O. poking around at our small fire pit. He was hunched over blowing, and feeding the waking embers with small bits of tinder while smoke blew in and out of his face with the breeze. It seemed he had just gotten going himself, and as we had recently grown accustomed to eating breakfast off the previous evenings' smoldering coals, he had wasted no time taking to the chore. Generally, B.O. thrived with work to be done. It was the standing around that he couldn't seem to manage well. 
I walked over and asked him how he had slept, and through squinting eyes and puffs of smoke he replied, "Like a champ."
"C'mere and take a look at this though," he said rolling up his right pant-leg. I walked over to inspect what B.O. had thought to be a bite, or rash of some sort. 
I don't know if it was a matter of luck, sensitivity, or just plain coincidence, but in the seven or eight months I had been traveling around with B.O., he seemed to be plagued on a regular basis with every foreign irritation we stumbled across. Rashes, swelling, bites, and anything else of an itchy, red, and irritating nature seemed to be the poor guys forte'. 
"It itches like a motherfucker," he said raking at it compulsively. 
I took a look at it, having little advice to prescribe. It appeared to be a spider bite or something along those lines, and I figured if he wasn't already dead, paralyzed, or seriously fevered, then he should be okay. I recalled the time in Florida, when he stepped outside our little tent to take a piss without shoes on, and landed squarely on a hill of fire ants. I shuddered, remembering what his foot looked like after that painful chapter of our journey.
B.O. continued to work at our cooking fire. He explained that he wanted to use our early start to get back on the road, and make decent time. Decent time for where, I wondered? I was all for momentum in sport, but when it came down to it, I didn't really have anywhere I had to be, until my doctors appointment in two months- what I really wanted, was to wander the country freely and cheaply until then. I had a hard time understanding B.O.'s sense of urgency. None the less, he had the car, and I really didn't feel too strongly one way or another, so long as I was leafing along in the wind as I had been. 

Chassy was starting to wake up, and I explained it was time to begin getting our gear in order so we could be gone after breakfast. She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and began moving. I cooked a handful of rotini in the water with the remains of our veggies, and after I drained it very carefully- using the top of a tin can to hold the ingredients in- I then cooked the remains down slowly in a half-box of mushroom soup mix, and added the last few dollops of tapatio (hot sauce) we acquired, and a 3 to 1 ratio of Mc Donalds salt and pepper packets- voila! Let stand as your fire dwindles, and serve in last nights tin can, a value coffee cup, and the pan itself. 
With what little gear we brought down to the river, we were packed up relatively quick. We took a moment to sit down and eat, and although it wasn't really too bad a meal, none of us could finish. Nobody was craving such a hearty fill that early, and since it was very similar to the previous nights dinner, we all feared that the thick soupy mix was going to slump right down into our gut, and meet with our last meal to create a 'perfect storm' of digestive proportions. 
We ended up being right about that, actually, almost immediately in fact, and I will spare you the details this time around, except to say that we were not without toilet paper.        
Twenty minutes later, with much relief, me and B.O. donned our backpacks once again to make for the Le Sabre. Chassy grabbed our small bag of garbage and our cooking pan after documenting her collection of favorite rocks, and we made our way back up the river, passing 'camp douche-bag,' as they were beginning to show some signs of life. Nobody dared to mention what possible disasters could be waiting for us at the Le Sabre- assuming it was still there.

As things always somehow seemed to turn out for us, the Le Sabre remained untouched in all its dusty glory there under the bridge. We all sighed with relief before quickly being reminded of how badly we had dismantled the order of our 'mobile home' before making camp. Much like the occasional dumps in the woods that nobody signed up to read about here on the blog, I will exclude the details of our work restoring the order of our things, and the inherent bickering that might well be the substance of our small groups social conditions. 
Suffice it to say there was a whole lot of cursing, and a whole lot of dispute among the various "critical assessments" that we had all made concerning the most appropriate place for such-and-such, or, blah-and-blah. In the end though, as usual, the results were satisfactory.
With our tidily re-organized car, B.O. got us back on the road once again, and we drove northbound up the scenic Redwood Highway, silently observing the luscious scenery. Chassy was seated up front in the middle again, and I was next to her. Much of the earlier spirit of camaraderie we had shared on the way here seemed distant. I could tell B.O. had something on his mind, but I wasn't sure what exactly. 
Our only real stress- at the moment at least- was money. The reason we had jetted out of Mendocino so vigorously, if you recall, was because we were on our last funds, and needed to make it to the nearest U.S. Bank so I could cash a check that my editors, at the time, were unwilling to wire instead. This was our sole business in the little Northern California town of Arcata; it had the only U.S. Bank we could get to before our gas and money ran short. In retrospect, it was as good a destination as anywhere, I suppose.

From what we loosely knew, the drive to Arcata was no more than a bill, or, 100 miles away. Something we learned to take into account since traveling up the Pacific N.W. coast, was that you could generally expect to double your time, and even your miles, because of the winding roads. Not only did we have to drive a bit slower because of the steep inclines, but since the roads had to wind up and down so many mountains, it took double the time to get anywhere in comparison to the straight highway driving me and B.O. had mastered in the midwest, or great plains. Taking all this into account, we were still due in Arcata by the early afternoon, which wasn't bad. Barring any mis-haps, we would even be at the bank in time to cash my check right off the bat, and be ready to make our next moves- which could have meant any number of things at the time.
In no time flat, we were already passing Garberville, which is where "The Avenue of the Giants," intersects and follows along with HW 101. The famed avenue, was the old HW 101, that was now running less as a HW, and more as a parkway maintained for Humboldt Redwood State Park, of which we had been within for quite some time now. The highway was titled as such, because the redwoods in that area so dominantly overshadowed the road. I suppose since traditional sight-seer's probably wanted to bumble along at their own pace, and carve their family initials on every other sequoia, it was a smart call to re-route the HW. Don't misunderstand me on this matter either- I'm not against a traditional sight-seeing vacation with the family, or otherwise, it's just different then our aim. We stuck to the current HW 101, impressed thoroughly with the size of our redwoods, along with the Eel river that ran along side us. 
The tremendous breaks in forestry were windows the great river afforded, allowing us, for brief periods, to see far beyond the giant trees that normally guarded our view, and across the valleys that made those same trees look like miniatures in a very complex, and very sophisticated model landscape. But there was something holding me from the excitement I knew I should be feeling. The silence in the car, and B.O.'s apparent state of rumination was becoming unsettling. It was always easy to tell when B.O. had something on his mind. Similarly to me, he was prone to wearing his heart on his sleeve. A blessing and a curse as I understood it.  
I thought back to a few days ago, when we were on that dreadfully hot beach. B.O. had made a few calls back to friends out in the mid-west, and Chassy warned me that she thought he was considering other plans. I shrugged it off at the time, cause I knew there was no point in making a fuss about it. It was true too, but it was also much easier said than done. 
Anyone who has kept up with our journey the last year, might recall the dreadful fallout that occurred amidst our very first departure. There was three of us, and at the time, we were living in a pop-up camper in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. I won't re-cap the whole dirty, dramatic, mess at this point, but in short, we entirely under estimated the difficulty of sacrificing our personal space, and perhaps even more importantly: we had yet to understand that we were not in for a vacation- by any means. 
We knew each other at our best, and had not even considered the possibility that we would have to deal with each other at our worst, more often than not. As things developed- slowly, painfully, and any other mix of emotions you feel like tossing in- we both became acquainted with each others ass-hole sides. There is really no 'curing' moods either, which was something for us to figure out. It was simply a matter of time, and thats just how it goes- or so we learned. 
It sometimes even came to points, when, for hours at a time, or even stretches of days- neither one of us really cared much to talk to the other one; when we finally achieved such a point, we were getting good. We essentially learned that to be around someone so close, so often, meant being able to have alone time, even when you were right next to the person, and "co-existence" meant achieving peace by accepting the fact that you will never always, or fully, be at peace. It was a very stubborn understanding of dharma, really, but it had worked for us. At least up until now. 
After all that we had learned, and all the progress we had made- I was just now realizing that I was still, fully capable, of entirely losing my bearings. Life, B.O., or whatever forces I'd have liked to blame- may have found a way around the fortress of indifference I built. Fuck.  
I swear B.O. must have felt me prying into his mind, trying to figure things out up there, but maybe not. Either way, he finally broke the silence that had grown heavy upon our front seat. I remember very clearly, looking over at him as he began to choose his words. Like he was about to lay them down on a table for us, actually.
"Well… You guys probably aren't gonna like this idea, or whatever, but…" He continued to shuffle his thoughts into order. He was a card player at heart. 
I watched without blinking, the background scenery expanding as I maintained my subject in the foreground. We must have been just coming into Rio Dell, because for the first time in a while, the shady two lane highway grew into four lanes, and much like our situation in the car there, everything was suddenly in the open. 
"…well… I'm thinkin' I'm gonna make a run back to Minnessota." he waited to read our reaction.
"Okayyy…" I said, implying he continue.
"I've gotta get some cash in my pocket, and come back out here to make some shit happen. I already know there's work waiting for me back at the shop, and if I just go and put in two- three weeks, tops, I could be back out here with a grand to get things going like nothing." he paused again, and neither myself, or Chassy said a word. I was pissed
Out of what felt like a thousand words that were knotting my throat, or the pile of them swelling in the pit of my stomach, or even the handfuls of them that were now deformed fragments, broken within my clenched fists- I found, and said in such a ratio of anger and desperation that it somehow became pitiable, "And what had you planned on doing with us"
"Well… I know your not gonna want to- but," the next part came out quick, intended to be said in full before I could object, "…if you guys would be willing to come with me, and keep the group going strong- like we have been- I could have that money in two weeks, maybe less, and we could be right back out here with some cash to work with. I'd be able to set you up at my buddy's place- I already asked, he wouldn't mind at all- you guys could go check out the city, or do whatever, and in no time, we could be right back out here.
I let that hang there for a moment, to make sure he was finished.
"Absolutely not." I said, suddenly flowing with bewilderment. "Theres just no way… I just… we haven't even… " I gave up on my free-verse, and finally said, "I'm not going back to the mid-west until I have to. September." 
I turned away from him stiffly, staring forward at nothing in particular- my lips shut tight, and my jaws clenched. I was suddenly determined to be absolutely unaffected by whatever B.O. decided. He wasn't about to get the best of me, by damn! I thought stubbornly.
"Well, once we get up to Arcata… you guys should be able to find a ride-share to Colorado, or Eugene, or, figure something out, right?"
Now, I was absolutely irate
The devil himself must have possessed me for those few seconds, because the terrible hatred I felt seemed only to be the language of some sort of savage beast. My back, shoulders, and neck were wound painfully tight, and my nostrils flared involuntarily, like a stuck bull. Till that point, Chassy had let the fire and balls of us pitiable men-folk, attempt to sort it out. She had never hitch-hiked, or backpacked, or any of that nonsense before, so the implications of B.O.'s latest remark left her mortified. 
She immediately began to protest, and as I tried to maintain my poise, I interrupted, calmly saying "Chassy, Chassy, relax. We've got our bags all ready just incase this happened- we should be able to line up a ride to Amanda's place in Eugene, or John out in Denver. It's no big deal, baby. I'm sure B.O. will at least make sure we've got things lined up first- right B.O.?
In trying to calm Chassy down, I had uncovered some spite-fueled confidence within myself. It's funny how that happens sometimes.
"I'll make sure you guys'll be okay," he said, seeming unsure as to how active a role in our okay-ness he might have time for, "I mean, I'm not gonna leave ya' stranded in a ditch, or something."
I don't know if he meant for us to find this humorous, or comforting. In either case he was far off, though.   
"See honey," I said nonchalantly, "We'll figure it out." I knew that this time, I was saying it for both our benefits.

We continued onward through Rio Dell. Silent, stewing, livid even. And what was earlier a burdensome silence, had now become a facade of small talk, and casual jokes. After Rio Dell, HW 101 bends westward again, and by the time you make Fortuna some twenty miles later, you know your bound west for the pacific again. It would only be another fifty minutes before we hit Arcada. What in the hell we would do when we got there...?
    I guess I had 50 minutes to figure out…


...become a follower, and perhaps I'll reveal the unforgettable conclusion. I'll give you a hint: two of us get shot... by Chassy!

Until We Meet Again...

Joseph R. Reeves


Chapter Update: "A Night On the River in Humboldt Co.," AND "Some Wayward Terminology"

As the eloquent tellings of my accounts on-the-road had been left prior: Me, Chassy, and The Great B.O., were seemingly floating through the perilous lush of the Northern California countryside, on the wild and bewildering two-lane coaster that is famously known as HW 1. 
Now, at this point, as I feel the need to backpedal my tale in order to accommodate those who are just joining us, I will instead refer you to the previous post. In fact, as a general rule, most of your questions can likely be answered by simply going backwards in the blog, and referring to the earlier posts that might shed some light on the HOWS and WHYS that are undoubtably clouding your eager minds. Among other things, I am working on figuring out a better system for people to be able to browse through much of the past content, that I assure you, is well worth reading. Though it might come as a surprise to you, I am what I playfully imagine a blogger would refer to, as: Technologically Blogtarded; hence the lack of technical development on this site, as well as the common inconsistencies. Spelling and grammar, however, are entirely my indiscretion, as I am what I not-so-playfully imagine an editor would refer to, as: Mentally Retarded

We joyously contemplated everything and nothing while drinking rhine from a power-aide bottle; oohing and aaahing in unison with every dip and turn. Entrusting our lives to the cosmos, we rode solemnly as such, like saints of the universe; veering around the endless highway curves that were beginning to point away from the shoreline, and toward the inland town of Leggett. The scenic, yet perilous highway 1 runs a decent stretch along the Northern Mendocino coastline referred to as the "Lost Coast," but by the time it hits Rockport, the terrain becomes so unruly, that the highway heads a good deal inland- finally, and tragically, making its end in the small town of Leggett, where it meets up with Highway 101, better known as "The Redwood Highway." 
We traveled up 101 a short while, and by the time the sun appeared to be getting weary and orange, as it does before dusk fully sets in, we found ourselves near our speculated destination. All we had to do now, was decode Slim's directions. Luckily for us, this took much less time than it could have, and after only fouling up once, we found and turned into the discreet passageway that would lead us to the bridge we were instructed to park under. Now that we had actually found, and arrived at our off-handedly referred destination, we were immediately confronted with the next set of decisions and the potential pitfalls therein.
We stepped out of the car, and before gearing up, took a short hike toward the site in question, so to give it a good once-over before making any firm decision concerning our stay. A short quarter mile in, we realized why Slim insisted we go no further than the bridge. With each step, the path broke beneath our feet as the muddy soot of the forrest transitioned into a gritty sand mixture. We decided to go no further without our packs, as the side of the forrest had broken way, giving us a decent enough view down the river for us to make an assessment. 
To our surprise, there was a small caravan of R.V.'s that was huddled up next to the river, nearest to the path. Three or four of them in total. How in the hell they had gotten there, was beyond me. I recalled Slim first telling us about this hidden spot, and my first concern- short of directions- was feeling out what sort of place this was. Having stumbled upon some desperate sort of okie operation in the back-woods already, I was not in the market for more surprises- especially surprises along the lines of gun-toting guerrilla growers- something Humboldt, and Mendocino Co. are infamous for. I made this pretty clear to Slim, perhaps even too directly, and with a casual smile acknowledging my naive concerns, he assured us this was a family friendly place. I could see he was spot on.         
Small children ran about with mothers fluttering after; well tanned men wearing visors and a belly, drank beer with their shirts off, laughing heartily. Wives hung clothing on a line running between the R.V.'s, drunk on cocktails and sighing wearily under the early evening sun. I looked towards B.O. to get his take on the situation, but he seemed to be distracted. 
Upon further inquiry, I was abruptly informed that B.O. badly needed to take a shit.
"Oh…" I said somewhat remorsefully, "…Well, whadda' you think of the site?"
B.O. was looking around anxiously, and after realizing I had asked him something nearly a moment later, he said, "I gotta' go before anything else. You got any paper, or anything on you by chance?"
I looked to Chassy with a sympathetic grin, and before I could even tell him 'no,' he had disappeared into the nearby foliage. While nature took its course a few feet away in the woods, I continued to assess things. 
First and foremost, I had decided that this was definitely a safe place for us to spend the night. I had considered almost every scenario within reason, and even some that were not. I wasn't particularly thrilled with the vacationing caravan of yutz's who even we made look like out-of-towner's; but on the upside, they added some sense of security. Of course there was the very distant possibility that perhaps our presence would be a matter of concern to them, but under any reasonable code of 'boondocking' ethics- I'll explain in a moment- nobody could claim that they had any more right then we did to stay there. I confirmed to myself that I would be willing to argue this, if need be. The more likely, and perhaps even more devastating possibility I was considering, was the exact opposite problem, being that they might drunkenly try and make a big happy party out of our company, and insist upon us inching right up next to their massive campers, and toasting s'mores, and telling stories and so forth. I cringed at the thought of this. I saw a nice little plot a short grip up the river with our names on it, and I wanted absolutely no part in this domestic hootenanny, embittered as it may have been. As twisted as our stint with the okie scene had wound up being, I admired them in a strange, sad, sort of way. I suppose that suddenly seeing such fancy homes on wheels like this, was too much for me to not be resentful of, after spending so much time with people who had so very little.
I should take a quick moment to be good on my word, and address the aforementioned term. 
'Boondocking,' is a term used most commonly among RVer's, for free, unregulated camping; generally in remote locations. It does not only apply to staying in an RV, it has just been popularized by RVer's. Boondocking is similar to the term: 'dispersed camping,' though the latter tends to imply a rural setting, whereas arguably, boondocking might not. There is much debate among these cliquey posse's of soft-core vagrants, as some consider sleeping in a Wal-Mart parking lot to be boondocking- because they have no running water or electric; and others insist that you must be in the middle of nowhere. Personally, I think it seems like they all just want merit badges for roughing it. 
I'll usually use the term boondocking loosely, when sleeping somewhere without permission- and thats really all you need to know, right?    
So, when boondocking, there is really only two categories of concern a reasonable person should have. Firstly, is the law- as in cops, forrest rangers, hell, even a 'no trespassing' sign- anything dictating that you can't do what you're doing; and secondly, would be crime- as in hoodlums, muggers, thieves, grifters- anyone trying to harm or take something from you. Both are potentially disruptive forces to a person boondocking, but for better or for worse, the law is a far more common disturbance. I'd personally rather be robbed, but thats because a robber can't take away 500 bucks unless I actually have it. Miraculously, Johnny law on the other hand, somehow manages to stick me for money I don't even have yet, and that just makes me less determined to make anything in the first place. 
With these various concerns for ourselves calculated, it seemed that we should be able to sleep safely. The issue now, however, was the car. None of us were entirely settled about leaving what little we had under a bridge all night in the dark woods. This would be a consideration that would ultimately require B.O.'s jurisdiction. And  wouldn't you know it, that at just that moment, came The Great B.O. from the woods. Bearing a ten-year-old's triumphant grin, and exhaling an embellished sigh of relief, he proclaimed, "Well, looks like I'm going commando guys."
"What'd you shit yourself?" I said.
"No," he laughed, "I couldn't find anything to wipe, and those undies were on their last thread, so, they just had to go."
Chassy and I both laughed, acting disgusted through our tight, peaking smiles. We all started back toward the Le Sabre. "So, it seems like a pretty legit little spot from the looks of it…" B.O. said. I was about to insert my concerns with leaving the car, but B.O. continued, "I'm just nervous about leaving the car up there under the bridge all night." We were apparently, on the same page.
After considering our options, we figured the best we could do, would be to pack two of our bags to the brim, and essentially, strip the car of our most valuable items and cram those into the second bag. All we really needed for the night was a tent, two blankets, enough food for dinner and breakfast, a pan, and of course, some wine. In the other bag, I could put the laptop, my camera, our CD's, and whatever else that was of immediate value and would actually fit in there. Packing and unpacking the trunk is enough of a hassle, so it stands to reason that re-assembling bags is an entirely new headache. It always starts out seeming so simple and easy, but every time you look at the bag, and say 'okay, is that it?' someone comes up with another thing to add.
After wrestling every last damn thing into the bag, and tearing the car to shreds in the process, we were finally about ready to go. People feel uneasy when their house is in shambles, and I can assure you, it really isn't any different when you live out of your car, and your car is in shambles. Seeing everything we owned all spread out in piles like that, was really making me dwell on the devastating loss it would be if the car got stripped. B.O. warned us to look away as he changed into new undies, and I was forced to concentrate on the underside of the bridge, that was absolutely plastered with endless layers of spray-painted obscenities, symbols, and gang-type references. Awful premonitions began to flood my head. 
"Alright, I'm good," B.O. finally said. 
We strategically stuck a note to the inside of the window that read, 'WILL BE RIGHT BACK,' and as we had done countless times since the beginning of our travels, said with relief, 'well, nothin more we can do…' and left it to the fate of the universe as we walked off. Once we got going, I felt 100 percent better. Out of sight, really is out of mind.
We all headed back down the path through the woods and toward the river. Chassy carried our cooking pan with a small bag of groceries in it, and me and B.O. shifted around to settle the weight of our massive backpacks proportionally on our shoulders as we walked. The sense of empowerment one feels when carrying such weight on their backs is thoroughly rewarding, and it brought me back to the earlier winter, when me and B.O. had struggled so triumphantly to hitch-hike our way through Florida carrying bags twice the size than we realistically needed. It seemed like lifetimes ago. 
We made it as far as the break in the forrest where we had previously scouted our site, and decided to try and cut right down the edge of the steep slope, and head straight up the river from there, instead of following the path and potentially rousing the royal caravan's dip-shit soirĂ©e. 
B.O. went first, showing little display of hesitance. Balancing the enormous weight he was strapped to carefully, B.O. turned to face toward us, and while angling his body perpendicular to the steep incline, he confidently worked his way down the moderate 20 foot drop in a series of quick slides that were halted by grabbing onto the protruding branches, and kicking his feet back into the terrain for footing. Using a similar trajectory, I followed with Chassy directly above me. I worked my way down slowly and methodically, so Chassy's short slides would be halted by her rear-end landing square onto my shoulders. Finally, I slid to the bottom feeling a rush of sprightliness, and receiving Chassy elegantly on her way down. 
I watched through a cloud of dirt, as she brought herself up laughing playfully, and dusted her outfit off with amusement; her thoughtfully composed side pony-tail was in subtle disarray, and the few escaping strands of dirty-blonde hair were bound adorably by a matching head band. She had been wearing these tiny moccasins that had thin little soles on them, and covered little more then her toes. I looked down at the marine boots that Brother Mark had given me, and laughed to myself as I helped Chassy along.           
B.O. chuckled at us, and we shoved and teased each other back and forth in high spirits, while making our way up the river bank to our little spot. The bed of the slow, clear, stream was laden with stones, as was the terrain along the bank that we walked. Just further up the way, I could see that the bank of gravel tapered into a sort of dry prairie with patches of high grass protruding through the rocky soil, and bushes lining the river bank. We stopped just short of this transition, so to put ourselves as far away as possible from our neighbors.

It seemed as if there was no way to avoid an uncomfortable sleeping surface, but I tried my best to find as flat of an area as possible. After removing the protruding stones, I set up our tent while B.O. gathered some firewood, and Chassy began sorting rocks for our small fire pit. Though I still felt like this was a safe place to camp, I couldn't get over the strange feeling that we were being watched. I figured if the RV'ers were going to make any sort of complaint, they would do it as I was setting up the tent. I intentionally took my time assembling the thing, and while doing so, I precariously glanced over my shoulder a few times to make sure we had been seen. A middle aged women turned her head down-river while rummaging through a cooler, and she seemed to pay no mind to the activities of our foreign new camp. I decided that would be good enough to put me at ease, and I cleared away the silly notion that I should have even worried in the first place. I was usually the one wasting my time stressing about such trivial issues, and more often than not, it was completely unnecessary. 
B.O. came stumbling over with a small armful of dried out sticks, and placed them next to our future cooking pit. "Did you see? it looks like we've got some company there in the woods too." he said.
"Shit," I said wearily. "Where?"
B.O. turned to the edge of the forrest, nodding toward a small camper that was sitting in the outer edge of the woods. In front of it was a small red truck sitting among the patches of tall grass and shrubbery. 
"Are you for sure there's people there too?" I asked.
"Well, I didn't see anyone, but I heard a dog, and it sounded like it was in the camper. Plus, those don't look like abandoned vehicles."                       
"No, they don't." I agreed. "It looks like a little operation, is what it looks like…" 
B.O. nodded slowly, thinking. 
I looked around considering our surroundings, and trying to imagine the situation from their perspective. "Well, they're obviously used to people coming around here, so I doubt they're looking to start any trouble." I said reasonably, "You think we'll be okay if we just mind our own business, and stay well away from their camp?"
"I think if we keep our distance, and be respectful, we shouldn't have anything to worry about." he said finally.
So we continued to mind our business and set up our small, simple, camp. I was tired of worrying all day, and I reminded myself that we were doing no harm, and that no differently than the car earlier, there was nothing more that would be accomplished from my stress. As a final, pathetic gesture, I hung my dirty socks from a stick outside the tent to symbolize a white flag. I laughed, and finally washed my mind clean of any more worries, accepting that there wasn't much more I could do.               
We yanked a large rock out of the ground, and stomped the crevice as best we could to make a small indent for our fire. Chassy had been busily piling rocks all over the place since we'd gotten there- partially with intentions to line our fire pit, and have a place to sit; and partially for her amusement. B.O. began to layer bits of small twigs and tinder in the crevice, as I walled larger stones around it, fitting the circumference to hold our pan. In almost no time, we had a beautiful little cooking fire going, and we all took a moment to silently admire our own ingenuity. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, we proudly agreed we had come a long way from some of our first camp-fire meals.
With our sturdy little camp in place, we started drinking wine, and I took on the task of cooking dinner. Using the miscellaneous goods we brought for our two meals, I boiled a bag of mixed veggies, and after draining the stream water, cooked in most of a large can of beef stew. We opened a large can of apricots, laid out what was left of a bag of shortbread cookies, and voila! Dinner was served.

We all ate heartily, and took turns killing off what was left of our bag of rhine. It got cooler as the sun fell beyond the endless valleys of trees, and as we passed around some smoke, I sat contently among the stones, watching the embers in the pit breath gently with the wind; feeling the water of the river flowing by, patiently. Finally, I was feeling at ease with everything. Maybe nature was trying to tell me something, I wondered pleasantly. 
Though the sun had disappeared, it was not yet dark, and in my peripheral vision, I had yet to notice the movement of figures there on the edge of the woods. I was only subconsciously aware of the sensation of movement, until finally, I heard a short whistle followed by a voice, and with a resoundingly sober snap of wit, I fixed my attention toward the figure that appeared to be lunging at me with great speed.
All of the sudden, the creature came to a halt about five feet away from me, and cocked its head curiously as its ears perked up. It was a german shepherd- as far as I could identify- and though I hadn't noticed till just then, the other figures that emerged from the woods with it, appeared to be a family of some sorts.
"Harmony," a man called out sharply, "c'mere!" 
The dog gave up on figuring me out, and obediently ran back, as a wild haired child- no older than 7, and wearing nothing but underpants- echoed through riling laughter, "yeah, har-mo-neeee!"
The homely little bunch headed toward the river, cutting over as far as possible without reaching the bushes that lined it a stones throw away. Aside from the rambunctious little one in his undies, there was a tall, starkly figured women carrying a small, bundled-up baby, and wearing a simply patterned tan dress that looked to have been hand crafted. Her dark brown hair was wrapped atop her head, sprouting dreadlocks; and her sturdy, protruding hips walked rhythmically before her motherly shadow. 
Next to her was a slender, shirtless man, with long, dark dreadlocks hanging behind him, and a thick, stoic, beard that looked like it had somehow been won. He walked surely in stride, and nearest to him, another man- who I pegged to be a few years younger, in his late 20's- bounced along merrily, watching his feet as he walked. He had a gnarly red beard, and a matching bush of curls on his head, that seemed weighed down with sweat. He wore tan cut-off shorts, and his flip-flops accounted for the only shoes in the whole group of them.   
  They continued right on past us, paying almost no attention as the long haired child gleefully ran into the river with the dog, and the adults took turns rinsing themselves off, holding the baby on land in shifts. Having been profoundly corrected in the nature of our assumptions, I decided that I would make sure our little camp wasn't going to be a nuisance to what was obviously, their home
I approached the women who stood motionless, like a roman goddess of fertility. As she looked over at me, I meekly inquired, "umm… It's not going to be a problem that we stay here the night, is it?"
The women focused back on her splashing child, and plainly said, "leave everything the way it was when you arrived, and make sure that you don't put any waste into the river." 
"of course not…" I was beginning to say, when the women added,
"That includes soaps, and detergents- so no washing anything in the river, like those idiots." she said looking toward our neighbors.
"Okay…" I said, and walked away wanly. And that was really all that happened. 
Me, Chassy, and B.O. sat around quietly, and even a bit awkwardly, waiting for them to finish their evening dip in the river. They disappeared back into their little camp as quietly as they emerged, and with an excited new sense of relief, me and B.O. went and skipped stones across the river.

"Hot damn, what a trip!" I said, laughing as I whipped an odd shaped rock into the darkening water. It skimmed and bounced a few feet before plunking miserably; for the most part though, I can skip a boulder if I really feel up to it.
"So, you still think they've got a little garden they're tending back there?" I said.
B.O. sent a beauty sailing half-way across the water, "Well, either that, or they're just laying low until they can trim for the harvest." he said. 
"nice one," I said watching the ripples with childlike fascination. I sorted through stones till I found the perfect one, and just as I sent it sailing with a whip of my underarm, I heard a thunderous boom that echoed deep through the valley, and made my chest feel as if I had swallowed my heart. 
I looked around in utter shock, and as I started to hear men cheering with belligerent vigor, I realized what it was. These whack-job RV'ers were shooting mortars into the sky; it was the forth of July, and we hadn't even realized it!
By the time it had finally gotten dark, our small fire dwindled away modestly, and we decided to call it a night. Me and Chassy managed to cram ourselves into the single person pup-tent, and The Great B.O. sprawled out next to our tent, underneath the luminous blanket of stars. I crammed some dirty clothes into a sweatshirt to rest my head on, and then handed the empty bag of wine out to B.O., who blew it up most of the way, to fashion his own make-shift pillow (a most wonderful trick that the okies taught us in Mendo). Once our heads hit the pillow- or wine bags, or whatever- we were out for the count. It had been a long day for all of us. 

Be sure to keep up, I've got more new content coming soon! I've been on a documentary job, and I can't lie, its significantly slowing me down on the blog here, as well as in the studio- but enough about me, right? 
I'll pick up where I left off here- does B.O. make it through the night? do RV'ers blow us up with mortars in a fit of patriotic rage? does our car get stolen? where did Chassy get her cute shoes, and will they have them in your size? THE ANSWER TO ALL THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE!
"How To Keep Yourself Clean Without a Shower!"            

Until we meet again...

Joseph R. Reeves


Chapter Update: "More Spare-Changing, and Finally, On The Road Again, and Onward North Through Humboldt CO.,

In the wayward tradition of this unique blog thus forth, I'm hoping it has been accepted by readers, that: unlike the in-process manuscript being composed for my book, the voluptuously illustrated accounts I am sharing with you here on the blog, are somewhat selective in terms of content, and highly sporadic in terms of format. I feel it is important to re-iterate the fact that when traveling out on the road in such a way, experiences, life, and taking part in whats going on around you, come first and foremost. Because of this, maybe half of the writing/photography I am sharing is raw, off-the-cuff, unedited material coming at you as I get it; and the remainder, is my sharing of the accounts that have already happened, and appear in a much more contemplative, narrative-based form- although still highly unedited, and only somewhat chronological… (speaking of which: anyone potentially interested in working with me as an editor for the book, blog, or anything else, e-mail me at: JOSEPHREEVESART@yahoo.com)

Down in the depths of the Mendocino Valley, things had been beginning to get complicated, edgy, and even dangerous. As a result of mis-communication among the phone-less mountain range, some unnecessary squabbling between myself, and the editors paying me a bit to write for them had developed. I had been writing avidly the past 10 days, in an effort to finish all of my work for them, and get the 200 dollars they agreed to wire me. Aside from that, was 200 dollars I had in check form, but could not cash unless we made it to a US BANK that was 2 days North, in Arcata. This meant that the check couldn't even be cashed until we had the initial gas money to keep going North.
The desperate requests I made to ensure that my pay would be wired by our last day in Mendocino, were misconstrued as impatient and disrespectful, and after I was acrimoniously reminded that the money wire would come when they were damn well pleased with the work, and ready to wire it; we decided our finances required something more certain. The remainder of their work would have to be finished another time, in less desperate circumstances.
So, essentially, we were flat broke and badly needed to get out of Mendocino for reasons I will not detail at this point. Since I was at the mercy of my editors, and was too proud to express to them the trouble we were potentially in, we were forced to have Chassy phone-in on her Birthday money, and luckily, it was wired to us soon after. We packed up our camp, said good-bye to the friendlier okies, and made our final trip up the long, dusty, dirt road that slowly wound up the valley, and into the main town. We headed to the the main social artery of the town, the Safe-Way, and Chassy picked up the bit of Birthday money she was wired, which would be just enough to get us North to Arcata, where we could cash the check I had for 200. Talk about living check to check!
 No sooner than we could throw on some good tunes, and break furiously back into the open road, did we incur what must have been our tenth flat tire since Fulton St. in San Francisco. After packing the Le Sabre back into the homely, claustrophobic, mess that it was when carrying all our belongings- we sighed with exhaustion at the mere thought of re-arranging the trunk again to get our spare tire, and go through the patching process for the tenth time.
We got off the main road immediately, and found ourselves in the parking lot of an overpriced train history museum, with no place to sufficiently park.
In no mood to deal with anything but managing the menacing, yet majestic curves of HW 1, me and The Great B.O. snapped to work immediately.
First, we dislodged the box of food we had been collecting, from the top of the accumulating contents within our trunk- Franzia bags, perishable produce, and non perishable cans alike- which included, of course, an array of beers that were nearly as warm as they were cheap. This strategic placement was to preserve the food, and ensure accessibility as we traveled. It was one of the few constants we had in our trunk packing, actually, and pretty much the only section in our inventory that wasn't hotly debated as to its most efficient placement.
Chassy queued up our tire-patching song, "Truckin,'" by the Grateful Dead, and me and B.O. mechanically continued to disassemble the savage, and improvisational order that had been given to our mass of belongings, making little piles so to recall where this or that would fit when we maddeningly re-packed it moments later. After we had been forced to live out of the trunk for so long, each one of us resented certain contents of one another's baggage that they just "couldn't be without," and whoever's items it happened to be at the very end, that we were cramming into the trunk with equal amounts of determination and disbelief, was the person being generally taunted or sneered at. B.O.'s massive shoe collection or red-wood staff, my randomly acquired collection of vinyl records, or of course, Chassy's hair dryer or curling iron; no matter what or who happened to complicate the process, packing was always a less than pleasurable task.
We finally removed enough of our shit, to be able to dig down into the trunk and pull out a spare tire with little more hassle than delivering a baby.
I would hold everything else off the floor of the trunk by lifting a bag at the bottom of the pile- quivering, cursing, sweating and all- while B.O., acting as the surgeon, would reach under the carpet slip on the floor of the trunk, finding the wing-nut that would need to be unfastened in order to free the spare; and as he would intensely stare off into space while working the simple hardware- face reddened, and mouth gaping in a moment of precisely calculated finger work- he would un-turn the nut after what seemed like several minutes, and with an aluminum clink signifying the successful release of the tire, B.O. would pull the little donut out from the folds of the uncovered trunk proudly, with grease stained hands, and a sigh of aggravated relief.
"Truckin," was our tire patching song because we had found that we were able to swap a tire within the duration of the song, more often than not. And by the time Bob Weir was coming down off his anthem to the road, like usual, we were screwing in the final bolt to our pitiable spare-tire. Now came the patching part, and the setting time.
Since we needed some new rubber for our "tire-patching kit," we were forced to go to a hardware store before riding on our spare to a gas station, performing the patching process, filling the tire with air again, and finally, waiting for it to set. After doing so, we decided to only slightly risk our ass by riding the donut only as far as a beach 20 minutes North, where we could shake off the bad karma we were all feeling, have a few beers, sit in the sand, and give the tire an hour or so to set before going over the same process to re-apply the damned thing.

Before we made for the beach, we decided to stop into good 'ol "Slim Comber's," work, to say bye to the guy, and thank him for being so swell to us out-of-towners.
We pulled into the lot, and all took a few moments to rummage around and find some fresh wear to put on, so to not embarrass the guy, or put him in hot water with his superiors. He had been an outstanding fellow, and the last thing we wanted, was for his boss to spot us out as rubber-tramps (a term for car-living homeless folk), and wonder what in the world our business was with Slim. It was after all, a classy seeming joint, and we had grown accustomed to strategically using the various articles of clothing and accessories we brought, to make us blend where we needed to, when we needed to. You'd be surprised how far a collared shirt and some fresh deodorant will go. I even had the self-patented "Suit-in-a-bag," I traveled with incase I needed to impress at gallery events, or interviews. It's all somewhat of an art, really.
With a new layer of deodorant, and our uniquely designed outfits donned fresh, we walked in, feeling the cold, thin, unfamiliar atmosphere of the A/C. We looked around at each other briefly, and B.O. stepped up to the front desk, asking the hearty blonde at the counter, if we might speak with Slim for a moment. She rolled her eyes slightly, while turning around and calling for him. 
The Robust middle-aged blond I had assumed her as, told us to hang on a moment, and after stepping into a room behind the counter, she came out smiling courteously, and told us that he would be with us in a moment.
Slim came out with an enthusiastic grin, and a look in his eye as if he had known us forever. He was as clean and shaven as he had somehow remained while camping with us, and though I'd never met a man who managed to look so formal in an undershirt, the button up collar, also suited him well.
"Ohhhhh, Hey Y'all, I wasn't sure if I'd see Ya before you left town," Slim said kindly, shaking our hands, "whats up, you guys need a room or something?"
I wasn't feeling particularly talkative, so B.O. took the lead.
That's one hell of a thing I can say about traveling with B.O. too: one of us always felt up for talking, or moving, or doing- not always at the same time though. It was a strange balance we struck, but after almost a year of traveling, we worked it well.
B.O. wore his remarkable smirk proudly, and he spoke to Slim bashfully while still being earnest.
"We just figured we'd stop in to pay our respects, and say our fare-well's before we continue North." B.O. said modestly. "It's the least we could do to show you our appreciation, man."
"Oh, well, thats hella' nice of y'all," Slim proclaimed. "Where you off to next?"
After giving him our standard answer of wandering dunces, being somewhere along the lines of 'I don't know,' and 'North,' Slim asked,
"Are you guys gonna be headed through Piercy, On 101? I know a real quiet little spot that nobody knows about. It's right off'a the highway, and it's hella beautiful."
Slim had peppered the word 'hella,' into my mind permanently. I assumed it to be a Californian phenomena.
After hearing this, B.O. briefly looked at me with a spark of excitement, replying: "Well, we were just gonna take HW. 1 North towards Arcata, but we could take a little de-tour."
Slim informed us, via map, that HW. 1 would only take us another hour or two North before breaking East from the shoreline, and eventually turning into HW. 101, a.k.a. the Redwood Highway. In essence, we wouldn't be going out of our way at all. We were thrilled. Perhaps our day's luck was starting to change, I thought.
Similarly to how we had arrived at "Camp X," Slim jotted down some directions for us that were like reading a treasure map. Perhaps it wasn't quite as intricate, but you get what I mean.

10 miles after you pass 'random town,' you'll see a broken down Mobile. Pass that up, and soon you should see a fork in the road that you should go left on. Count 7, or maybe 8 mile markers past that, and when driving really slow, you'll see a very small, wooded trail that curves around back towards the Interstate you came from. If it looks like you should not drive in there, its probably the right trail. Carefully turn in, but make sure nobody's behind you to follow. You should pass under a small bridge after a short drive through the woods- park at the bridge, and walk the rest of the way on foot. DO NOT try and take your car past the bridge, even if the trail looks decent, believe me- I learned the hard way…

We took notes, listening thoroughly to his directions, and once again, we said our sad farewell's to Slim. I collected his contact information, and after briefly hesitating, told him to check out the blog. Slim insisted that if we ever found ourselves in his neck of the woods again, that we come rattle his cage. Everyone you meet on the road seems to say that- It's as customary as a handshake. Slim wasn't just saying it though, and that meant something to me.
You get that kind of thing allot with the strange breeds you meet on the road. Americans have become so pathetically isolated from the strangers all around them, that they need to have something to show for any given social experiences that somehow occur without planning. As if saying 'hello,' to a fellow on the bus, isn't worthwhile unless you can find him later on facebook, and add him to your friends. 
I'm just as guilty as anyone else to make those kinds of false-ass statements, and I even consider them a social necessity some of the time- the important thing, is that when you say it, and you mean it- both parties know.
Slim was a rare find, and a genuine character. I just might take him up on his offer someday too- if I find myself in that neck of the woods at least.

We continued North on our spare-tire, and made it to a State Park just on the outskirts of the main town. We didn't want to push the spare any more than we already had on the trip, and we needed to let the patch set for another hour before we could get going again, so, we decided the beach was the place to be.
We parked next to another old rubber-tramp who owned one of those great pick-up trucks where the bed had been converted into a small trailer. In all of my beat-inspired haze and glory, It looked like a dream home. B.O. simply pointed to it and said, "Thats us!"
We arranged the car as was necessary to retrieve a few 16 oz beers, and I put them into a small canvas day-bag along with my camera, and a notebook. B.O. added the little metal one-hitter that was disguised as a cigarette, while Chassy rolled a few real cigarettes of her own with the last of the tobacco. With everything in order, we made for the nearby beach.
I made a last minute decision to go shoe-less, and quickly regretted my choice as I painfully tip-toed across the scalding pavement toward the beach. Looking back toward the car, I stubbornly decided I was too far away to go back, and my pace became frantic as I fluttered gauchely toward the sand, stepping as lightly as an awkward irishman might well be capable of. Much to my chagrin, the sand was nearly as painful, and by using the much cooler pieces of driftwood as checkpoints to run from one another to, I finally made it to the ocean shore, and basked my tempered feet in the ungoverned wakes of sea-foam that endlessly came upon my ugly white toes.
B.O. came back from the bathroom in shoes, laughing at me, and we dug a few small divots into the beach to reveal the cool, pleasant sand that we hoped to comfortably mold our asses into while watching the tide. An organic inclination it seemed to be among us land faring mid-westerners, to merely sit and ponder the mass of it all. We all insisted upon each other to go run into it, and though I felt that I was nonchalantly considering a refreshing dip, really, I was piss scared of the enormity.
We discreetly drank our beers, casually passed the one-hitter around, and talked about where we were at, and where we were headed.
I wouldn't have given a damn if we slept in the park for the night, actually, I was all for it. With money being our primary obstacle, the option was on the table. Any day we could get by without cost, was a free extension on our expedition, as I saw it. B.O., although amused with the view, and our seating, was itching to hit the road again. I could always tell with him. And Chassy, as usual, was pleased with simply being. She left the disputes for me and B.O., and would insert her lovely voice to disassemble whatever kind of ruckus we would rouse in our brash attempts at planning. She was the perfect moderator. Her one complaint was that she hadn't seen a seal yet.
We stuck with our plan to get moving in the end. Although it had already seemed like a long day, it was really only just past 1:00. As long as we could make it to our new camp site by dawn, we would be fine.
It was finally time to get back on the road- something we had been failing to do all day. With the bottom of my feet already tender, I toughed it out, and sprinted back to the car with no more strategy than getting from point A to point B, hella' fast! When I got back, I put an extra layer of socks on over my throbbing feet, and cursed my confidence in the clearly insufficient callus I had built up that summer. We hopped into the car, and in a flash of new momentum, we pulled away from the drivable dream home we were next to, so to find a parking spot that would afford us some space to jack the car up, and do our thing.
Chassy knowingly queued up Truckin' once again, as The Great B.O. and I commenced our choreographed ritual. And wouldn't you know it, that we had that sonofabitch tire switched before the Grateful Dead could even tell us, 'what a long strange trip it had been,' something that apparently, had only lately occurred to them. Once again, we performed our spare tire operating procedure, except this time, putting the spare back in its cozy little crevice before securing the wing nut snugly- as if we were positive that this would be the last time the same battered tire's enormous gash would blow out on us.
With newfound conviction to the road ahead, we placed the rest of our piles of belongings back into their given spots in the trunk. While arranging some items to fit the final box of food in the trunk, a half bag of wine happened to catch my eye, and before closing the trunk, I grabbed a Power-Aid bottle from the car, and quickly filled it up with rhine, fondly remembering our magnificent drive up HW. 1, from San Francisco. I figured if the drive was half as amazing as it had been on the way up, I would want a bit of wine to sip on.
I was prepared to have a bit of writing time in the back seat, but as I began to arrange my set-up, B.O., in a rare moment of affection, and vigor, insisted that we continue up the coast sitting three in the front. Together. Like a team. Since I'm openly, somewhat of a sap for those sentimental moments in life, I did not hesitate to indulge my best friend. Chassy scooted over to the middle seat and lit a cigarette that her and B.O. shared. I closed the trunk after a few tries, and finally, we were on the road again.

We had already reviewed the map a bit with Slim earlier, and B.O. seemed confident with the directions; so, like road junkies addled by our recent lack of momentum, we took to the highway as effortlessly, and knowingly as a long time user's return to junk.
Very suddenly, HW 1 broke from the forrest as we looked upon the flashing new instants of landscape passing our window. All three of us cheered in the front seat excitedly, and I took a sip of the wine and passed it along. B.O. stepped on the gas while barreling down a whopper of a hill, and we seemed to coaster weightlessly there along the highway for moments at a time. The road continued to wind up, and down, and through, and about; in the same beautiful and treacherous manner that had previously drawn our awe. These lively two lanes followed all along the rigid peaks and valley's of the beautiful Shoreline HWY, continuing up through Newport, and then Westport, where nearly everything seemed vast enough to be 'as far as the eye can see.'
Then, as we continued North, the edges of the redwoods came nearer and nearer to the passenger side, in a robust flank of forestry that's beauty could only be countered by the teeming edges of the climbing peaks on the drivers side, that majestically overlook the endless Pacific. By the time we reached the towns of Hardy, and Rockport, HW. 1 crossed inland a few miles, and we found ourselves on the same drastic roads, but this time, engulfed entirely by the forrest. The shady squiggles of Highway that would meet with the progressively thick, ensuing, mass of Red woods, were like a dark, wooded tunnel with flashing, golden white beams that felt heavenly when passed through, yet were blinding when focused upon. I passed my wine along merrily, in utter disbelief of it all.

There was an unmistakably reverent sense of awareness we seemed to share while gliding along the winding roads of Northern California;
all three of us buckled into the front seat, together;

chasing clouds up the steepest peaks, triumphantly;
seeing far across measurable meadows of gold atop;

peeking yonder cliffs and dawning upon the endless ocean-

the sheer godliness of the countryside,
mockingly employed the potential of catastrophe,
as a harmonious inevitability.

A tragedy we were not meant to understand,
until our final, fleeting moments.

We were young, foolish, and hell-
ready to go,
if the time seemed right.

Until we meet again...

Joseph R. Reeves