Saturday, June 28, 2014

Travel Days 3 & 4

Animals: Great Egret

“No, that’s not a fountain, that’s a floral arrangement”  - Impatient grandfather to a toddler in the hotel lobby.

“Fun as hell on earth.”

SIARPC: Captain Beefart

I’m going to combine the next two travel days because there’s just not that much to tell. The idea was that we would give ourselves an extra day to meander down the coast, seeing as how much we enjoyed the experience last time. However, much in the way a goldfish will grow as large as its enclosure will allow, we have the ability to expand non-action like a balloon until it has filled up all the available time. In this view though the time still exists, it’s just hyper-compressed. This then might explain how all the emotions of those trapped in the bubble become intensified so that what was meant to be leisurely becomes fractious and, shall we say stressed. Still, the obvious elephant in this view is that we’re not really talking about non-action here,* we’re talking about dicking around. I don't know, I'm thinking maybe it’s more of a 1st Law of Motion thing.Anyway, this has all become needlessly convoluted and besides, trying to come up with scientific analogies is exhausting. The end result was we managed to see the same or slightly less than we had on the last tour when we only had one day. Also, this was the first time this tour where we wanted to kill each other.

Well, I’d wager Chuck and I didn’t want to kill anyone. We just sit in the back of the van like old men on a bench and let the young folk get all worked up about the state of the world. I made a conscious decision before this tour to not try and change the course of any rivers. I used to expend an enormous amount of energy trying to make sure we went to places I wanted. Ugh, fuck it. Everyone in the band likes pretty much the same kind of destinations. I figure we’ll end up someplace cool and I wont get all up in the 2nd Noble Truth’s grill.

So after a stop at Guitar Center to attempt to replace one of Joe’s drum cases, and an afternoon of harried driving we got to a beautiful stretch of rocky Pacific shoreline just in time for sunset. I grew up well inland and yet seeing, hearing, and in particular smelling the sea satisfies such a deep, dormant longing that I wonder how it got there. I like to think it’s proof that we came from the sea and somewhere in our DNA we’re just missing home.

Oh and it is so beautiful. The sand is dark and super fine. There are few if any shells but lots of driftwood. The rocks, at least where the tide was when we were there, were a short ways offshore and just huge and hulking with entire flocks of sea birds coming in to roost on them. The wind had created small dunes and I tried to run along the crest of one giggling like an idiot. At your back there tends to be tall hills or cliffs, and in this case vast stretches were covered with lovely yellow flowers. I came across a washed up seal, there long enough to receive rites from now absent children, who left behind an altar of the yellow flowers and a driftwood tomb, but still so fresh as to frustrate the Turkey Vulture that couldn’t do much more than stare at it and will it to rot.

We all gathered back at the van, and then sat on the ledge leading down to the beach and watched the sun set. It was while I was sitting there that I began to feel a little of the weight start to slip from my shoulders. It’s funny but you don’t even feel it accumulating. I don’t know if everyone does this or not, but one of the curses of adulthood is it’s easy to think the entire world is somehow dependent on your efforts. It’s an ego-centric view and maybe one of the benefits of a trip like this is it gives everyone a chance to breathe. I can go off and do something on my own and my kids are not abandoned, we just miss each other. My fiance’ has a life of her own. She’s good. My ex-wife’s aunt said something about this while we were having coffee, “You have to do your own thing because they (the kids) leave, and you’ll be left there. Believe me, we experienced it.”

Anyway, enough about that. We managed to survive a foggy 101 in pitch black to make it to Eureka.

Day Two:

Euraka was OK. There’s a place that makes the best English toffee I’ve ever had but that was about it for first impressions. Our goal for the day was to see the Redwoods and make it to San Francisco. We randomly picked a place to stop somewhere in the Avenue of the Giants and split off to wander. I swear if there is a place expressly designed to provide succor to the distressed, it is this place. I know I said it before, but the Redwood forest is a holy place. I did what I do, wander, fail to take pictures that provide any sense of scale, and sneak off and have seat in the soft mulch** with my back against a tree and just let the woods reassemble themselves around me. After enough wandering to think maybe the band was wondering where the hell I was I returned to the van to see Joe and John being formed into a search party to find Lisa, who in full Deerslayer mode had gotten lost. I decided not to worry since the area we were in was bordered by a road and was no more than a few acres wide. We were entertained in the meantime by a Stellar’s Jay who was sneaking in our van to steal our bounty of crumbs. Lisa was fine and we left somewhat like a teenaged couple who've done nothing but hold hands as they depart for summer break.

Before we got back on the 101 we stopped at an awesome town for gas and lunch. "Garberville, the town where ambition went to die", according to Chuck. It’s chock-full of the crunchiest granolas you’ve ever seen; for whom the grid is merely a ghost story whispered under the sheets with flashlights held under your chin. Everyone had a dog, and there were two guys who looked like Floyd and Goober sitting all day outside the Hemp store. If you go to Garberville eat at Calico’s. It was a remarkably yummy deli with local beers and comely employees.

I spent the rest of the day listening to the new Withered Hands record and writing. Seriously, too much time in the van together with too much crankiness. Time for a break.

Tomorrow is San Francisco.

* I spent about an hour researching non-action and wei wu wei. Very cool, but definitely not applicable here.
** See what I did there

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