Memories Of Youthful Travels Part 9
We investigated the wonders of a composting outhouse, while pondering news of local ecowarriors munching hash brownies during their arrest at a protest. The soothing bliss of Oregon winery tours slowly faded as we entered California.
The golden state of California looms large in the minds of many as the quintessential place to fulfill one's dreams: making it big as an actress, becoming a surf bum, or just plain avoiding real winters. We soon discovered that this is a place where one can be happy as long as someone else does the driving. With highways that are constantly under construction from earthquakes that rip them apart like a ten year old with Matchbox cars and an M - 80, California roads are to be avoided at all costs. Drivers beware: rush hour here is 6 - 9 am and 3 - 7 pm.
Two weeks of bliss (complete with a few job prospects) in the Bay Area was followed by two nights of camping on the coast, three days of nothing near L.A., and a noisy night of nonsense in Joshua Tree (think cover of the U2 album). We could never understand why so many Americans enjoy driving out to the middle of nowhere, to the isolated beauty of nature, then start drinking like inexperienced freshman and behaving like two year olds. They just can't take NO for an answer. Instead they had to crank their car stereos fullblast and sing along to entire Mariah Carey albums until three in the morning; seven hours later, they had the gall to ask us, as we plotted sweet (80 watts per channel) revenge, to turn off Nine Inch Nails and Ice - T.
The temperature at the Grand Canyon seemed to keep all the morons away. Nice 70 degree days changed slowly to 20 degree nights as the sun set over the Western end of that gargantuan crack. Its sad to think that Newt and his sheep secretly wish they could use it as huge landfill. "Its just a big hole," he said, "what good is it just sitting there." Stupid loser wants to sell off the park and fill it with trash. Anyway, one day of tourists gawking, and one night of "freez yer butt off" camping was enough. Been there, seen it, done that.
On our way to Sedona, we stopped in Flagstaff to get lunch and groceries. The mysterious "vortexs" and towering red rocks of Sedona offered New Age solace from reality. Focusing on the ancient beauty around us helped push much negative energy to the recesses of our minds. Just say "Om." Leaving the world behind, we set out again to find ourselves. We looked in Phoenix, Tucson, among the cacti of Saquaro National Park, in the Whitesands of New Mexico, the caverns of Carlsbad, and the Guadelope Mountains in Texas. We searched and searched to no avail. The more we looked the more elusive ourselves became. On the eve of the Government shutdown, while camping in Big Bend, it happened. "I found myself," I whispered to Julie, like some great guarded secret. "Where are you?," she inquired. The feeling was gone, but the knowledge remained. I honestly told her that the indescribeable self awareness, comfort, and confidence were nestled softly in my soul.