So, here’s the skinny on what’s gone down in the last three weeks.
Sid and I left Austin on June 10th. Since then our route has looked something like this…
Austin - Ft Davis - White Sands Nat Monument- Caballo St Park - Tempe - West Hollywood - Hermosa Beach - Long Beach - Big Sur - San Francisco - Lake Tahoe - Yosemite Nat Park - Redwood Forest - Hayfork
What makes this list appear a little overwhelming for me, is that I have only blogged as far as White Sands….
Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do.
The experience thus far has been a great one. There have been a few snags, though. Like, fighting a serious battle with poison oak, and having my car towed in what can only be the most expensive city to get your car towed in.
I mean, you’ve kinda just gotta take what you’re given and then make apple pie. You've got crush that turd into a diamond. Or maybe another analogy that makes more sense. Regardless, I'm sure you get my point.
Each stop on the trip has offered a much different experience. I am extraordinarily grateful to have amazing friends who are down to house me and my dog. Even when my adventure mutt smell quite foul.
Who am I kidding, we both stink.
Our stinks differ, though. I mean, theres only one of us who is relentlessly in search of foul smelling things to roll around in. The good thing about camping is that you're the only ones who has to put up with your stench. It becomes second nature...
We left White Sands early in the morning on the 12th, and the heat was already beginning to rise. It was an epic night of camping, but now we're covered in sand and in dire need of an escape from the brutal New Mexico sun. I pulled out a map, found some blue, and decided it was to be our next destination.
Caballo St Park did not disappoint! The park was just an hour and a half from White Sands and offered a nice transition from desert living. Sid and I cooled off in the lazy Rio Grande, and then we took a nap.
One of the greatest things about this trip, is that we have no schedule. There’s no unsettling feeling of being rushed. We took a load off and layed in the tent. We studied the large black ants as they carefully examined the new landscape that was the outside of our tent.
Even in the shade, New Mexico is brutally hot. A fellow camper, a few sites down, stopped over the make chitchat.
His name was Steve, and he had a totally awesome 86’ Jeep Wrangler. (He added a sweet hood ornament, a gargoyle he found at the yard sale.) “It cost me all the money I had in the bank!” He told me. $5,000 to be exact. Steve was from a neighboring city and just negotiated “rent” with the park manager to allow him to live at the park for $124/month. He was quite proud of this.
Steve was an interesting character. After speaking with him, he seemed like the type of guy who knew how to tell a good story. He stood in his jean shorts, held up only by the suspenders that appeared to be a permanent article of his daily wardrobe.
He told me about a great area to get firewood, even invited me along. But I still had to set up, so I passed on the offer. “I’ll bring ya some back!” He said with enthusiasm. His Jeep backed out, and began to drive down the road at a pace you’d expect from a 60 something year old man without a care in the world.
He returned a while later, maybe an hour and a half, with plenty of wood. He began to unload his truck full of treasures before continuing on to his site. “I got ya the biggest log I could find,” he said. Frankly, I was impressed he was able to load it up on his own. I expressed my gratitude, and then he went one further.
“Here,” he said, “I’ve for these fire starters too, they burn for 12 minutes at 1,200 degrees.” I reluctantly accepted. It’s not that I don't like gifts, or generos strangers. It’s just that my inner boyscout felt like that was cheating. You know, ya gotta make that fire from scratch!
I’m a little ashamed to say that of the six he gave me, they've all been used… Oh, well.
When in Rome, right?
Steve went on down to his site, and that was the last I saw him. He invited me to come down for beers, and in hindsight I wish I would have. Like I said, he seemed like the would have been a good story teller. A lot better than Sid, at least.
Speaking of Sid…
Later in the afternoon, we got some neighbors! And of course, Sid made his way over to introduce himself, and then suddenly I’m engaged in a conversation about the following things:
What kind of dog is he?
How old is he?
Is he a rescue?
Have you had him since he was a puppy?
Let me tell you, I've got these answers down pat. Especially the bred questions.
“He’s a basset/beagle/corgi/lab,” I say with confidence. Before I'm able to finish my ridiculous description, people are already nodding in agreement. Then they realize what I said and have a little chuckle.
Sid’s pretty much my interaction melting pot. He introduces himself to anyone with a hand that pets and I always enjoy the people he introduces me to. It’s that basset/beagle/corgi/lab intuition, I tell ya!
These neighbors were from a town near by as well. Their camping experience they describe as “glamping”. Basically a luxurious version of camping, equipped with an air conditioned RV, rugs and a smorgasbord of food! They were a pleasure to get to know. Eventually they talked me into sticking around for dinner, and then breakfast as well.
We were a day removed from a full moon, and it was a bright night. The sun set on the mighty Rio Grande. Sid and I turned in for some z’s.
We woke up the next morning, ate breakfast with the neighbors, packed up and headed west.
The next stop, Tempe Arizona!