Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arrival in Astoria

The Broncos defeat the Seahawks

We have to give thanks to Razz, the lady that runs the IC Internet Cafe in the Lake Quinault/Amanda Park area. Not only did she let us pitch our tent in the rain outback on her hill next to her fire pit, she allowed us to stay for an additional night. So we spent the whole day of Saturday holed up in her establishment, downing another large pizza for breakfast! We found board games to play like Othelo and we watched College Football in the bar area. The place was huge and inviting and had these cozy grandma chairs by the fireplace and we were both busy working on our tech devices. I labored over chapter 2 of the Tao of Astrology. When you've been working on the same morphing ideas over ten years, and you've got four boxes of research and notes to pour over in digital format, it can get overwhelming to channel it all into comprehendible form. But the Cosmic Muse is guiding and presiding over the creation of this sacred work. I can't believe some of the things that are being inscribed in the blank digital space before me. By the end of the day, when they were closing, I managed to complete Chapter 2 entitled Flowing Chart Interpretation, and emailed it to my spiritual brother Peter for editing. Arian had a warm serene day of relaxation and was able to heal up well. We were going to wake up the next morning and watch the Broncos face the Seahawks, but then I found out that the game didn't start till 1 PM Pacific Time which would mean we had less than 4 hours to ride 42 miles to Aberdeen. As fate would have it, I was a little concerned of rolling into Aberdeen, a city, with nowhere to stay, so during the day I found a connection there online through a site called A guy named Stephan agreed to host us as long as we were okay with a second couple being hosted that night as well. The more the merrier, I emailed, and he said to come over to his house at 8 PM, when he returned home from his job as a wine expert at a restaurant. I was overjoyed at having a safe haven in Aberdeen with a very cultured host. He even taught music at the high school level for four years. Arian was excited to meet him!

So I decided that we would leave early on Sunday morning and try to reach Aberdeen before 1 PM so we could catch the game. Last week the Broncos were trounced by the Jaguars in Jacksonville, but this week they had the home field advantage and Denver has the best record in the NFL on home opener victories! So we got out of our rainy tent and packed things up as best we could. Arian was still coughing but only occasionally. The day and half of R&R did him well and he was looking vital and strong. But I could tell he was not into riding through the rain for 42 miles. We were both sick of the rain and ready for the sun to re-emerge. As luck would have it, Magellan's tire went flat just as we were about to get on the road. I pulled him into the gas station and examined the tire to find that my stem valve where you put the air in had been bent badly and was producing a slow leak! So I could either change the tire and miss the game or...Jupiter would bless us with fortune!

Arian and I were sitting there with Magellan on his side, and we both looked up to see a bus pull into the station with the bright letters ABERDEEN upon its forehead. We both looked at each other and smiled. He knew I didn't want to miss the game and I knew he needed some more time to heal, even though his leg soreness had faded. I told him to go ask when they leave and how much. He came back and said the bus was departing in ten minutes and only cost a dollar each! Arian said, "I'd gladly pay a dollar to go 42 miles!" We quickly stripped our bags and panniers off the bikes, loaded them on the front rack (which held exactly two bikes) and we piled everything in the very back 5 seats of the bus. We enjoyed the scenic views of the moss covered forest from the safety and warmth of that fortunate bus ride and it dropped us off in downtown Aberdeen.

Excited to have arrived in a city in the morning we quickly found an internet cafe so we could log onto our I-pad GPS's and locate the nearest sports bar. The cafe we found was called the Popcorn Place, specializing in the popping and mixing of rare popcorn recipes. We ordered a couple of chais and talked to the locals. A wise elder local businessman named Bud gave us advice about where to catch the game and welcomed us to town. The lady that ran the Popcorn cafe and a few of the locals were fascinated to hear about our journey. It was fun hanging out and telling the story to the locals who looked on and listened in amazement.

After the storytelling we departed and they wished us well on our journey. We found a restaurant/bar called Billy's which had large screen TV's for the game. I was able to catch half the early games before the Seahawks/Bronco game ensued. The place slowly started filling up with Seahawks fans clad in Hasselbeck jerseys (their faithful QB). I decided that I would try and contain my excitement when Denver did anything glorious but this failed badly. When Eddie Royal, my favorite receiver caught the first TD pass and literally rolled into the end zone untouched, I let out a loud exclamation of joy and ended up catching many insidious glares in the process. I stood up and took off my jacket to reveal my true colors, donned in my #27 (Knowshawn Moreno) white Bronco Jersey. The game started off in Seattle's favor and the whole bar erupted in praise and claps as they drove down the field. But after Champ Bailey's amazing interception, the entire game tuned against them and we ended up winning 31-14! When the game ended Arian and I still had 3-4 hours before we were supposed to show up at the host's house, so we simply watched the Sunday night game too and enjoyed some crispy spicy fries and onion rings! LOL

Once the clock struck 8 PM we rode our bikes through the downtown streets and into the residential district to locate the apartment complex where this guy supposedly lived. I had never actually used yet, but had heard amazing things about the site and experiences of Couchsurfers, especially in Europe where the site was started. People have been known to not pay for accommodations for up to six months while Couchsurfing in Europe! This fact was later verified by our two fellow Danish couchsurfers fresh from Denmark.

It turns out that we arrived first and our host, a tall fellow exactly my age (39), welcomed us and helped us park our bikes in his garage. We packed our bags up two flights of stairs into his immaculate apartment. He had four towels and washcloths set out in the bathroom and Arian jumped in the shower first to wash the grime and mud and rain from the last five days off. I told him to leave his clothes at the door and my host and I gathered all the dirty laundry and put a load in the communal washer on the level below. Fresh laundry and showers and a cultured host! We were in travel heaven. Then the wonderful Danish couple showed up named Irene and Rasmus, and they too got showered and cleaned. They were traveling America by car and had already been to New York, Boulder, Colorado (before the fires), California, Oregon, and were heading toward Seattle by the same route we had taken. They gifted Arian and I with a pack of this bizarre salted black licorice which was strange but delightful. We spent the evening talking and sharing stories and cultures and it was all very enlightening.

I love getting foreign perspectives on the world just because they are so pure and divorced from the American media-brainwashed version of things. The world seemed like a bright real place when described by the people that actually lived out there, rather than the dangerous not-to-be-trusted place the media portrayed. Rasmus was a computer scientist who worked on security for banking systems and Irene had been an exchange student to Kansas. To their credit, they spoke almost perfect English compared to our Danish, which was nonexistent. Irene was a talented mathematician and had been a tour guide. We had an amazing time playing card games like "Set" (which Irene dominated due to her warp speed pattern recognition skills) and "Racko" I was pretty skilled at Racko but terrible at catching onto Set. We laughed into the night until it was time to retire at about 11 PM! Irene and Rasmus took the air mattress in the guest room and Arian and I took the one in the living room.

During the night, I was awakened by the Cosmic Muse and my consciousness went instantly alert. I didn't like the air mattress we slept on in the living room and rolled onto the more comfy hard carpeted floor. The air mattress felt as if I was floating on an unstable sea of air and I could not get comfortable. I was used to sleeping on the hard ground with just my thin mat between us. After wrestling with angelic visions for an hour I finally acquiesced to their will. The Muse was calling me to go to the dining room table and write, that they had instructions and visions for chapter 3 of the Tao of Astrology. I told them telepathically that I needed to sleep, that I would be physically unable to ride south and would be susceptible to accidents and fatigue. They promised me they would boost my energy beyond my means. After ignoring them as long as I could I finally got up at 2 AM and started laying out Chapter 3 according to the visions and revelations given to me. It was amazing! They instructed me to call the Chapter "Anatomy of a Chart". The chapter was about the various parts of astrology, giving meaning and definition to the alphabets of the planets, signs, and houses. By 6 AM everyone started to stir and by 8 PM, we were all showered, fed a scrumptious breakfast of grapes, bananas and oameal, and heading on our divergent paths. And mysteriously, I had more energy than I would have if I would have slept all night! Thank you Cosmic Muse!

Arian and I decided to roll back down to the Popcorn Place to look a the GPS maps and plan the next camp site. Arian felt great after another night of warm rest. We saw all our favorite characters there drinking coffee and enjoying the morning. They were dismayed by the Seahawks loss but happy to hear more stories about our quest. A few other locals joined in the storytelling and the lady who owned the place gave us these amazing vegan bars that she had made with trail mix and mangos and they were sensational. We decided to save them for the trail ahead. We rode south across the bridge and got back onto the 101 heading south up a large hill. By the top of the hill, we broke out one of those goodies and it gave us super energy. Thank you Popcorn cafe angels!

We rode hard to try and reach a campsite at Bruceport Park where we hoped to set up camp, but along the ay we came to a town called Raymond, where my good friend Peter went to Elementary School back in the day. We stopped at the Corner Cafe and had some lunch with a fellow cyclist named Don (in his fifties and a friendly experienced cyclist), who was from Lakewood Colorado. He was taking two weeks off from work to cycle from Seattle to Bandon Oregon. He left first and we told him we hoped to camp with him at Bruceport Park along the coast.

Ten minutes after Don left, another cyclist from San Diego showed up named Devin (25) from San Diego, who had flown into Seattle, ridden up to Vancouver and was heading all the way home to Southern California. Like us, he was tired of being drenched and we laughed and joked about Gang Green setting in on our wet feet. It wasn't really that bad, but it felt like it. We were all longing for Sun badly. He said there was a troupe of three Canadian girls in their late 20's who were doing the whole 101 down into Mexico's Baja peninsula. It seemed like we were going to have a glorious camp with lots of interesting characters that night! Arian was excited to be finally interacting with fellow cyclists.

We visited the grocery store on our way out of town and stocked up on fresh veggies for a stir fry as well as some spicy lime-laced chips and hummus. Then we road hard the last ten miles, going about 35 total that day. The ride was good and the rains had subsided for the day as we rode through a town called South Bend along the coast and made our way up the last treacherous hill into the campground. We found Don who had paid ten bucks to camp there and Devin and I split it with him paying three each to him. It's always cheaper with a gypsy caravan of cyclists sharing the cost. We surrounded our table and all went about cooking delicious meals. In addition there was another camper who was a Canadian backpacker named Jordan who was walking to Mexico down the 101. ( Jordan was a young bearded, experienced backpacker and traveler who was also a master of the frisbee! He had been to India to train kids in villages the fine art of frisbee tossing and excelled at the Ultimate Frisbee sport. He taught Arian to throw an amazing frisbee in ten minutes. He seemed like a very cool guy and I felt some deep archetypal similarities between myself and him. I demonstrated my skill with the Devil Sticks and he loved it. Then I told him about my true calling as a Magi and he yearned to hear about his chart. But at that moment, everything was interrupted by the appearance of the three wild Canadian women!

We all gazed toward the entrance of the park where these three beautiful cyclists rolled down the road singing and cheering and basically making a lot of happy noise. Arian turned to me and said, "Yakimashii" in Japanese and we both laughed at the inside joke. Turns out that the Japanese character for woman was "Onna" To make more advanced concepts the Japanese combine basic characters (called radicals). For instance, the symbol for tree is "Ki", but two symbols for tree side by side are Hayashi (bushes) and three trees bunched together means forest (pronounced Mori). Well three woman symbols bunched together means noisy and is pronounced Yakamishii. I guess the creators of the original language had been men!

But indeed these three happy, adventurous women were making a lot of good noise, and it filled the camp with waves of giddiness and exultation. The women set about to cooking, Arian was playing frisbee with Jordan, and the male cyclists were also cooking. Turns out Jordan completely lost interest in any talk of astrology when he was en-spelled by the beauty of the tall blonde Canadian. I had to admit that she was gorgeous with amazing athletic legs and a face that could launch a thousand ships. The others were brunettes and they were gorgeous in their own ways. The menfolk tried to stay focused on cooking and wood gathering, etc, but the occasional glance went in the direction of the female camp. I could tell that Jordan was entranced and that he was showing off his athletic prowess with the frisbee. He cooked a quick meal and went over to join the womenfolk moving right in for the kill. He was a sexy Scorpio with Mars the planet of desire in fiery Sagittarius like myself. I decided then and there after my break up with Christina and my experience with Alisha that I needed a sabbatical from romance/love and that I would inwardly concentrate on my union with my muse, my anima, the inner feminine lover. I needed to channel all my libido into creating this work of astrology. The sun set glorious over the ocean and everyone rushed to take pictures through the trees over the cliff side. I lamented the death of the Droid, but accepted the way of loss, unattached to my possession.

Don, the elder cyclist among us located a great stash of damp firewood, and we stacked it into a large fire pit and poured gasoline on it and lit the match. The wood burst into flames but it was short lived. If we were truly going to enjoy a fire we needed to start small and get some kindling going and gradually dry out the wood. The damp wood sizzled when it burned. Where was Alex the Oriental master fire starter when you needed him? Probably attending graphics art design class at Evergreen College in Olympia or making dinner with Iris. Eventually, with the aid of everyone involved we got a great campfire going, and the womenfolk joined us in dancing about the flames as Arian played his clarinet. Everyone marveled at his musical skill and delighted in the sweet, deep sound of the instrument. All in all it was a great night of celebration as the Full Moon waxed toward its opposition to the sun in a few days time. I pointed out Jupiter on the ascending horizon and told stories about the planets and the equinox, sharing the gift of the Magi with them. We all told our sad stories about being drenched by rains for the last week and how intense it was and we laughed but hoped for sun. The fire gave us hope for the days to come.

The next morning we awoke to a busy and sunny camp. The rains had gone and everyone was dry for a change to start the day. The ladies were the most efficient and were already serving breakfast and we all went over to eat together. In a matter of an hour they were packed up and heading down the road leaving us men to slowly pack our camps. Jordan was saddened that we were all speeding down the road. On foot, he could go about 20 miles per day, whereas we could cover 60 or more. I sat down and offered to do his chart, a mini reading and went on for about 30 minutes blowing his heart wide open with astrology. He indeed enjoyed the interpretation and gave me a huge hug with shining enlightened eyes afterward. It was amazing to watch the power of the Cosmic Muse seep from my words into his soul and cause revelation, meaning, and inspiration. I noticed Devin and Don glancing quizzically over at me as I talked, watching the dramatic performance ensue. I could tell they were curious about this strange lost art.

Don broke camp first and rode ahead of us and we never saw him again, even though we all agreed to head toward Cape Disappointment and share the camping fee once again. He must have gotten inspired to go his own way and continue on to Astoria. Either that or all this talk of heavenly influences freaked him out, LOL. Maybe he wasn't keen on traveling with a bunch of wild youngsters? Devin was moving at our speed and we rode out together at about 10 AM and had a delightful ride down the 101 in euphoric bliss because the sun had come out again and we were dry and warm and enjoying those simple pleasures. Devin kept stopping to take pictures and enjoy snacks with us and we all went about the same pace, so we just ended up traveling together. Turns out he was a Sagittarius Sun sign and was into surfing. We rode down the Long Beach peninsula about 50 miles total and found the campground called Canby. It was huge and it was grand and it was positioned by the beach. We hoped to camp with the ladies if we found them to share the costs, but when we found them, they said they had friends coming form Canada by car and that it would be too crowded, so we ended up paying for a site nearby, number 166, closer to the beach, but still nearby the enigmatic rocks and trails. After setting camp, we all went off exploring on our own. I grabbed my tech bag and headed toward the beach with a bottle of Lime-aid that I found at the grocery store in the last town of Ilwaco. Arian ran off into the hills to explore the trails and rocks. Devin stayed at camp and got cleaned up at the local bathrooms.

As I wandered down the trail toward the vibrant sound of the ocean the most amazing sight was revealed of the beach stretching forth about two football fields to the sea with large waves crashing over each other onto the sand. To my right the beach rose to towering sea-carved brownish rocks where a great lighthouse guided ships in their passages. To my left the beach ran down the coast with tourists walking along beside huge husks of trees or flying kites. Many bone-colored large pieces of driftwood covered the beach near the undergrowth leading back to camp and someone had crafted interesting log forts out of them. I made my way to the center of the beach where someone had left sand castle structure of a stone henge and parked myself beside it to sit and meditate and just soak up the beauty. Later, Arian showed up and he began exploring the surrounding log forts and climbing on the rocks. I looked over to see him waving atop the rock formations below the lighthouse and waved back. He was true Capricorn Rock Lord like the planet Saturn that governed his character. His Saturn was in Pisces sign of the Sea, and he must have felt truly at home and alive on the rocks overlooking the sea. I would remember the bliss of this moment forever.

In time, Devin showed up and he and Arian explored the beach while I was content to just sit there and rest my legs and enjoy the sounds of the surf and the scenes of gloriousness as the sun made its mystical descent toward the western horizon. Arian offered to guide us all back to camp via a secret trail that he had discovered among the rocks and Devin and I followed him. Turns out the trail was laden with tricky logs and rocks and I slipped on one while carrying my heavy tech bag and cracked my right ankle. It hurt really bad but I couldn't afford to be injured stuck in the middle of nowhere and the middle of our journey south by bike, so I called upon some healing power after stumbling back to camp, and made sure the wound was treated. Luckily, by morning, my ankle felt great and I was ready to ride! We cooked an amazing stir fry with Thai Noodles, Mongolian Fire oil, mushrooms, broccoli, squash, zucchini, and onions while Devin cooked a noodle dish with a delicious Italian pesto sauce with veggies. He asked me to do his chart and I said that I would when we got to Astoria as my brain was tired from the intense day of riding.

That night I heard some strange sounds outside my tent and both Devin and I got up to investigate and found a tribe of grey striped raccoons digging into the food pouch on the back of my bike, chomping down on some Teriyaki chips! We scared the heck out of them and they went running into the woods, but they kept coming back. I grabbed my longest Devil Stick and Devin grabbed his large frying pan. We were ready to do battle. Instead, I decided to make a diplomatic gesture to the wild animals, and went over to them and spread the rest of the chips on the ground. They went to work devouring them with me standing right there over them. I told them, "Look, I understand your hunger, but I'm giving you this as a peace offering and I'm taking the rest of my food into my tent, so after this meal, you are not to disturb our rest." After that we went back to bed and they kept their distance.

After that, I slipped back into the realm of dreams, and I was visited by my anima, the feminine force of consciousness inside me for a romantic adventure. We both arrived at a strange rock cathedral to attend a wedding and some people orchestrating the wedding were rushing us into this back entrance to get us outfitted in the proper garb. They told us to hurry, and get out of our clothes and change. So here I was in my dream standing there with this beautiful, elven maiden with thick lips and gorgeous curves. I was entranced, and I said to her, "Do you know who is getting married?" And she looked at me quizzically and said, "No, do you?" I shook my head and put up my arms in the "I have no idea" gesture. Then she came closer to me. She and I were standing there in the shadows naked and she came over to me and looked deep into my eyes and smiled. I felt the heat of passion burning up through me and as she slowly turned I opened my eyes to find that it was morning. I had to pack up the camp and get going quick because I had agreed to meet with a new female client for an online astrological mentoring session who lived in Maryland. I wanted nothing more than to go back into that dream, but I thanked the anima for her loving visit. Maybe we were being married at a deeper level...

I woke Arian up and we had Chai tea with Devin and we all packed up our tents and camping supplies and rode out together. We split the cost of the site and paid the guards at the gate. Devin wanted to stay behind and explore but we had to hasten down to the great scary Astoria bridge to cross over to the Mediterranean looking and sounding city. I could see it across the sea as we rode our bikes back up the peninsula. We had 20 or so miles to go in two hours so I told Arian we needed to keep a brisk pace. We reached the bridge and pedaled hard across the four mile structure. Luckily they were doing construction and the crew stopped the traffic. So once they let us through, and the wave of RVs and cars went by, it was clear sailing for a mile before the next wave of vehicles screamed by. People were generally very respectful and gave us a wide berth. Looking ahead to the final mile, the bridge rose to an incredible height to allow ships to pass underneath. We pedaled as hard as we could but had to stop gassed about 3/4 the way up. After a brief respite, we waited for the next wave of cars to flow by and then we mounted a final effort toward the apex and rolled down and around the great bridge (seen in the photo above) into the bright city of Astoria.

We stopped at the first cafe called Three Cups on the right, the Columbia Roasters, and I went in and ordered chai and opened my lap top to find that I had 6 minutes to spare before the teaching session began! Whew! That was cutting it close. Fortunately my new student gave me 15 minutes to call her back so I could drink my chai in peace. We then had a wonderful connection for our first session that went on for three hours. I showed her the flow chart for analyzing astrological charts and guided her into this unique method. We looked at her chart and her capacities and her seasons of the soul to understand what new dimensions were opening in her path to begin studying astrology. After our session I bid her farewell, and she offered to help me by becoming my assistant, but I told her I didn't know what she could actually do, that I would think about it. I usually did all my own typing and scheduling and web design, and creativity. It would be nice to have an assistant! But I couldn't imagine what she would do!

After that, we rolled across town and I enjoyed seeing Astoria. It was a cool little ocean town that had been transformed from a fishing and logging settlement into an artist colony. I was excited to get to the post office to receive our food package from my friend Steve, my computer discs from Alisha, and possibly a digital camera from an online friend. I was deeply dismayed to find that Mercury Retrograde had struck again. I got the computer discs from Alisha, over $3000 in back up software and computer games that Arian and I enjoyed playing. But the food from the Whole Foods Pharmacy that Steve sent was sent back to him because UPS said they don't do General Delivery. This was horrible because my finances were dwindling, we didn't know where we were staying in Astoria and the Sun was heading to the sea, and we had depleted our food stores in anticipation of stocking up when we got to the post office.

Devin showed up and wanted to go have pizza together. But I found a cheap Thai restaurant called Oceans of Thai instead. I had had enough pizza in Lake Quinault and Arian pouted about it. Sometimes kids will be kids no matter how wise they were. Down to my last hundred bucks, not knowing where we'd stay that night, and a disrespectful tone from the kid, I felt frustrated. I decided to pop into a cafe and check on to see if any of the emails I had sent had been answered. It turned out that a young lady named Eva (19) had responded and said that we could stay with her if she was in town. All she had was a floor in a very tiny studio space with a shared bathroom with other studio artist types. She might not be in town though because she was going to possibly go to a concert in Portland Oregon. So I used Devin's phone to give her a call and left her a message. Devin said that he had secured a common room at the hostel for $20 but now they were full. You had to rent individual rooms now for $72 and that was not happening. So we marched into the Thai place and sat down to eat. I had told Eva in my message that we would be eating there. If she showed up we'd get to enjoy Astoria. If not we would ride like wild furies across the bridge to camp at the State Park on the peninsula.

Luckily, Eva showed up just as we were ordering and offered a place to stay on her floor. She was 19 and this was her first pad away from home and she looked just like an old girlfriend of mine named Laena. She had short blonde hair like a baby angel with blue dreamy astral eyes, and she dressed in clashing colors that revealed her artistic bent. Even Arian thought so, and I asked her about her chart. She was fascinated with astrology and knew her sun, moon and rising sign. Laena had been a Leo Sun with Pisces Moon, and Virgo Rising. Eva was a Leo Sun, with Virgo Moon, and Pisces Rising. Bizarre! She was deeply shy you could tell with her Piscean Ascendant and very spacey and mystical. But you could tell she was happy to see us and after we ate, she took us on a tour of her little town and down to the bookstore cafe where her other friend wanted to meet us. Her other friend bought us a soy chai and we looked at books and talked with the locals.

I struck up a deep conversation with a Double Gemini elder who had started radio stations back in the 60's in Sacramento and San Fran, and he seemed to know all the artistic movers and shakers in town and gave me the lay of the land. Fascinating stories just poured out of his mouth and I could barely get a word in edgewise, so I just listened and soaked up all that he had to offer. The bookstore was really cool and had scrabble racks with glued on Scrabble tiles to indicate sections like fantasy and astrology. So there I was standing there looking at the Scrabble letters glued to a Scrabble tile holders that said ASTROLOGY and FANTASY and SCI-FI, and I was smiling hard. The wise elder owned a guitar shop and told me that Jimmy Paige and Robert Plant often hid out in the hills here and came into this very coffee shop/bookstore regularly. Turns out they all loved to throw down with some intense Scrabble. I was in cafe heaven!

Eventually Eva guided us to her building which had this great mauve door that she opened with a key that she wore on a necklace because she said she kept losing it. We pushed our bikes into one of the oldest buildings in town that had not burned to the ground in one of the disaster fires that had struck the town. Her apartment was indeed small, a one room wonder with a sink in the corner full of art supplies, strange abstract paintings on the walls, and bags of clothes stacked around the walls with a few lonely pieces of furniture that she had mostly found. Astoria had caught fire often as the oldest caucasian-settled town west of the Mississippi, founded in 1811. Eva had a medium futon against the far wall and their was just enough space for Arian and I on the floor. There were books everywhere too and you could tell she was an avid reader of fascinating subjects like Egyptian Legends and Myths. After getting settled, we decided to take a walk down to a local Safeway to get Arian's favorite meal: Chips, hummus and salsa. Eva guided us down the oceanfront walking path and pointed out features of the town including the Maritime Museum and a large column of light that loomed large on the hillside overlooking the harbor.

You could see the red lights of the great bridge flashing in the distance behind us. Jupiter and the Moon rose over the hill in front of us to the right and a great cloud shaped like a giant whale filled the sky as we walked until the Moon was aligned perfectly with the whale so that it looked like a great eye. We stopped in awe and just stared at it. I said to Eva, "You should paint that." And she said, "I just might." Arian made references to the whale in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Eva made reference to the pot of flowers in the same which got me talking about dolphins. We walked a long long way and my arms were tired of carrying my heavy tech bag that I refused to let out of my site no matter what. Eventually we got our goods and went back to her studio to sit and eat together. Then we all went into reading land and I picked up the book of Egyptian Myths and got about three chapters into it before crashing.

The next morning we had showers after more reading in bed and Eva guided us to the bakery/cafe where she worked and we bought almond milk chais and settled into a cozy corner. I had this blog to write and some charts and internet work I needed to do. Arian broke out his I-pad and downloaded a new space exploration trading game and also talked to his distant other family in Dauphin Island Alabama and told them about our crazy adventures. We later bought a large round loaf of whole wheat sour dough bread and dipped it into a strange mixture of honey, agave, cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh cracked pepper and chipotle hot sauce.

We planned on staying one more night with Eva and then heading south to tackle the Oregon coast. With hardly any money and my astrology online business in a serious lull we had to trust in the Universe to provide. Maybe that was the point. Out of nothing comes something. The Universe had not failed to manifest chart orders or work yet, but we were getting very close to the bottom of the barrel. I wanted to stop and work on the book, but felt pressured to keep going, to move on down the coast. Astoria seemed like a very cool town, but a little too small for my taste. I would love to spend a month here writing and creating, but the journey was calling us onward to keep exploring the unknown. If you're reading this and you're heart feels compelled to help us complete this quest to San Francisco, maybe you'll donate 5 or ten bucks to the cause. Every little bit helps this blog stay alive, keeps my web server operating so we can even get orders, and generally helps us endure knowing we have friends who care. Until next time!

Donations accepted at Traveling Magi

Chart Orders accepted at: Divine Inspiration Astrology

Friday, September 17, 2010

Death of the DROID

Look carefully at that idyllic picture over there on the left, it could be the last one ever on this blog. That's because I got excited and started taking lots of pictures while riding, and then dropped the DROID! It hit the ground and it's done for. It still works, but the screen doesn't work, and it's hard to navigate tiny menus with no screen! But a lot happened leading up to that point.

First, we left Port Ludlow and out good friend Jeff Peters and his family with a brand spankin' new cart called the Aquarius. Jeff designed it himself and it looked like a wild cooler on wheels! Long had I foreseen that I would have to try a cart out for my Pacific Coast bike tour. Little did I know that one of my astrological colleagues in the Northwest named Jeff Peters was secretly crafting one. And Jeff is no ordinary craftsman either. He's got the astrological signature of the Greek God of Craftsmanship Hephaestus (Vulcan in Roman) in his chart, and he's pretty much a MacGiver. A painter and astrologer by trade, he builds anything for people on the side. SO we left Port Ludlow hauling a wondrous little cart behind us with silver reflectors that we stuck to it cut in the shape of an Aquarius symbol. Take that lille Piscean Age fish symbols on cars!

I had also realized after imagining what it would feel like to pull a cart that I might not enjoy the restraint of on object tethered behind me, and I found out real quick that I was right. First of all Arian began to leave me behind on the hills and that was not fun. Then I started thinking of my new minimalist philosophy and having fewer possessions. The cart clashed with this because suddenly I had all this room to carry even more stuff. So by the time I reached the camp ground about 30 miles away along the coast near Sequim, I had to make the difficult call and tell Jeff that I couldn't deal with the cart. He understood and even volunteered to come over and get ti before I got too far away. And while he was there we jumped in his car and he took us on a scenic tour down to yet another house built like a castle. In addition, they had these long fences where every fence post was a log carved into the shape of a fantastical figure, mostly trolls. The place was called Troll Haven and I uploaded numerous pics to Facebook.

Anyway, after I watched the Aquarius cart go bye-bye as Mars entered Scorpio, I knew it was a wise decision. I was rather enjoying my freedom after losing the backpack and my rear was hurting less and everything was good. Arian and I set up our tent at the state park overlooking a wondrous bay and our campsite was surrounded by gigantic old trees. We felt safe and secure in our little tent even though we missed the comforts of Jeff's RV and his house. We were back on the trail in full force.

We woke up and packed everything up and realized the rain had not come yet. The weather reports were mixed about whether or not the weather was in our favor. We also realize from looking at digital maps on the I-pad that there was an handy paved bike trail from our campsite all the way to Port Angeles. We had a great and quiet day of riding through the most scenic nature. If you're ever in Port Angeles and have a day to mess around, I highly recommend renting a bike and doing this trail. You won't regret it! Although I regret taking so many pictures even after the rain started. Right before we got to Port Angeles, along the scenic coast, riding five feet from the waters of the sea, I dropped the DROID, thus ending our relationship forever.

I had been thinking long and hard about even needing a cell phone since I can call people through Skype for $30 bucks a year, and free if they have Skype. And I'm addicted to mobile uploads and checking email while riding, which can be dangerous in and of itself! So now I'm free! I'll have to break my contract with Verizon, but oh well. I'm sure they won't miss me. With my progressed moon in Scorpio these last 20 months it's been about letting go of one thing after another. I had a chance to pop into a new age bookstore and check out astrologer Amy Herring's new book about the Moon and was intrigued and delighted by her witty yet deeply insightful treatment of the progressed moon, the mood of the soul. Check it out! Everything she said, I'm pretty much going through!

Anyway, the Aquarius cart was gone. The DROID is still with me but won't show its LCD screen. I'm sad but glad all at once. Now I have to rely on internet cafes and libraries to check email, so I'll be more focused. If you want to Skype me then download Skype for free and watch for kellyleephipps to go green check mark when I'm at a cafe!

Port Angeles was interesting but also crowded and misty. The mist thickened with the rainstorm and we found ourselves going into a cafe for a hot steaming chai and a bagel for Arian. We did some scouting and talking to the locals and they said the best Thai restaurant in town was Sabai Thai over on 8th St. We rode over there and enjoyed a nice plate of Panang Curry Tofu, only ordering one dish and splitting it due to dwindling finances. Internet orders and Traveling Magi donations had run dry for a week, so I was looking at about $200 bucks in my account with over a thousand miles to go and a hungry kid to feed. And Arian has Cancer Rising, so food is his number one issue. He loves it and he hates not having it, and yet he's a skinny scrappy Capricorn. I didn't know how I was going to pull this off. But I knew it would work out after what I've experienced so far. I had recently put my videos for Tao of Astrology up on the site for people to purchase one at a time or the whole lot at a discount plus I always seem to get chart orders right when I have time to do them. And I had just caught up on charts. So it was time. That day a guy from Colorado ordered the Video courses, the Celestial Mandala, and wanted a chart, so at least my server would be paid for (for another month) and we would be eating for another week! I knew it was time to complete my epic masterwork, The Tao of Astrology, and turn it into a profitable e-book.

So we headed out from Port Angeles to the south to go by the Crescent Lake with Pyramid Mountain looming over it, but I forgot that the Sun had started going down at 7:0 these days, and mis-timed things by an hour or two. We got way up into the hills and began seeing misty mountains everywhere. We could barely see them through all the mist and clouds from Port Angeles, except for the occasional floating tree that Arian kept pointing out. Once we were in them, we were astonished by their beauty. Then the unthinkable happened!

With two hours left to ride to our campsite on the far end of Crescent Lake and only one hour of sunlight, Magellan got a flat tire. That is the worst feeling in the world when you're trying to ride hard to get to your destination. You're putting everything you've got into the ride, and then suddenly the Universe just stops you in your tracks and says STOP! And all I could do was say, "Okay, I surrender. I'll camp right here by the road if you want me to." Then, as I was walking my bike up the next hill looking for a spot to perform the repair, we see this country store in the middle of nowhere on the right side of the road. A fisherman with a boat stopped with his daughter to get ice cream cones just as we rolled our sad bikes into the parking lot. They asked about our journey and I told him where we were from and where we were going and what had just happened. He offered to take us up to the Fairholme Campground on the lake! He told us we could just help him lift our bikes into his fishing boat, which he hauled behind his camper mounted to his truck. His name was Brad and he was on the way to take his daughter Abby fishing on the coast. Not only that, we got to be warm in the back seat for the whole ride and enjoy the twilight views of Crescent Lake. He suggested we go to a campground further down the 101 called Klahowya, amidst the majestic rain forests. We agreed and he dropped us off right at his favorite campsite next to the river.

We set up our tent in the dark using our headlamps and then cooked Thai noodles and stir fried veggies over the cookstove. We mixed Zucchini with Onion, dried Shitake mushrooms, and roasted garlic with rice noodles spiced with garlic oil and curry! It was delicious. We then retreated to our tent to break out our I-pads and play this new risk-like strategy game called Slay, where you attempt to take over all the hexagon regions of this island empire against five computer players. I talked Arian into downloading it back at the coffee shop because he was watching me play it and became fascinated with its simplicity yet amazing strategic attributes. The game boasted a thousand different islands to play on at varying difficulty levels.

After we both finished, we crashed hard and I found myself tossing and turning to try and sleep, but all I could do was listen to Arian snore. I thought about the time his mom and I got rid of most of our possessions back in 1992 and went hiking down the Colorado Trail 480 miles from Denver to Durango and ended up backpacking Australia! Tracey used to get sick a lot too. Arian's wounds from his bike crash had healed but now he had a serious case of the sniffles and was coughing and spitting all day long. He inherited the weak constitution from his mom's genes, but I hoped this journey would make him gain a point or two in his Resilience score. We had gone 42 miles by the end of the day and set a new record. He slept really well!

The next morning we had to get up and work on Magellan's back tire. Turns out Arian's back tire was flat too. He found a staple poked through his tire which we must have gotten on the bike trail close to Port Angeles. It had gone through an industrial area at one point where it was unpaved. I think we both got our flats from that gravel part of the trail. Mine was a slow leak. But it only takes a tiny sharp object to pierce a tire and tube. I was still amazed that these bikes could even carry as much as they did! So we went to work on our bikes and had them good as new within the hour and were heading south on the 101 toward Forks, WA in an awful rainstorm.

It was a miserable ride through intense rain but all we could do was put on our rain gear, lower our heads and push on toward Forks, the little town where the novel (and now movie) Twilight was set. We hoped there wouldn't really be any vampires or werewolves in the woods! Christina was obsessed with those books, so she would really enjoy visiting this area. The locals call Twilight tourists "Twilighters" and think of them as terrorists, we found out at a local cafe where we ordered hot chais and accessed email and the rest of the Internet world. I wanted to hang out and work on my book, but the cafe was closing in an hour because the owner had a doctor's appointment. So we went to the grocery store where we met two german lady bicycle tourists who were about to head out going south like us to get out of the rain. We introduced ourselves and said, "Maybe we'll see you on the trail going south!" Then we went into the store and had our favorite snack: Spicy Corn Chips, spicy Hummus, and hot Salsa! In a matter of a few minutes, we were both in tummy heaven!

Then we rolled over to the local library to access their internet wi-fi connection and continued to surf and play and design. I updated my Facebook and found out that Alisha was back in Redmond. How strange to think that we were about to combine our existences and raise our children together. Now I'm heading south into an unknown destiny with my favorite being on the planet. Then when I noticed it was Twilight in Twilight town, I made us pull our faces off the screens and head to the camp south of town five miles where we once again set up our tent in the dark. Oh for the days where the Sun gave you till 9 PM! We found a cyclist/backpacker site for $14, but couldn't find who to pay, so we just set up camp anyway. They have these fee stations where you put money in an envelope but what if you're using a debit card? So we just camped anyway and decided to deal with the consequences if they came. We cooked some spiced rice and it was delicious too! Then we crawled into our tent and talked about how amazing it was that we had ridden 42 miles through the relentless rain. I commended him on being a true adventurer and for breaking his previous record. I told him that tomorrow we only had to go like 30 miles or so to get to the Pacific Ocean and the Kalaloch campground. He was overjoyed and hung his head out his tent door to blow more snot onto the ground. We set up our tent next to the gigantic stump of an ancient tree long gone, but another branch was growing up out of it. You can cut a tree down, but it might still keep going!

That night Arian asked me what my grand plan was after we reached San Francisco, and I told him that I didn't know. I wanted to live in lots of cool places for about three months each. I told him I wasn't attached to cycling and he was glad of that. I told him that my life had come to a strange place where I didn't know what I wanted to do next. I told him that part of me wanted to leave this earth, escape its dreary existence. "So you want to die?" he asked. "No I just want to be reborn. I have ten more months of this Scorpio moon progression and Pluto is square to my Chiron, so something deep is being regenerated within me. I've experienced most the goodness this world has to offer and now I need to create some new form of experience."

I was glad he was with me right now. I'd probably be crying myself to sleep instead of laughing myself to sleep. Part of me wanted to send him home to his mom's so he could go to high school. Another stronger part wanted to expose him to the whole world and travel to other cultures, really open his eyes to all the world has to offer beyond the cultural programming.
I told him that if we found a cool place on our journey south that we both liked, maybe we would stay there for a while and he could go to school and have friends and play games. "Dad, you're weird. You know that don't you." "Of course, I'm an Aquarian! I wouldn't have it any other way."

Then out of the silence of the dark tent his little voice said, "Dad do you have worries. I mean do you ever worry about anything?" "Of course I do, kiddo. Like right now I'm worried that no orders will come off the internet since it's been slow for weeks and that I will run out of money and we would starve." "Wow, that's an intense worry," he said. "yeah, tell me about it," I said. "I just can't live in society the way I used to. I'll invent a new way, you'll see."

We woke up and found that the rain had stopped! We couldn't believe it. So we packed up camp, had a few cliff bars and headed on our way. We barely got through the park entrance when I realized I didn't have my glasses on. I remembered putting them in the little tent holder above my head before going to sleep, but I had already packed and rolled the tent up! OH NO! I couldn't lose my vision too! Without glasses, I tended to get intense migraine headaches from light sensitivity. So I unraveled the tent on the side of the road to realize they were not there. This was a good thing because they would have been crushed or bent. I told Arian to wait there and I doubled back to the campsite where I remember shaking all the debris out of the tent before packing it up. And there they were laying o the ground right where I had shaken the tent.

With my accurate vision restored, we rode hard through the dry weather hoping the rains would subside long enough to get south. It was a majestic ride through the lower edge of the Hoh Rain Forest region and the foliage was spectacular. Dense ancient woods covered in moss like in fairy tails blanketed both sides of the road. And ancient majestic mountains peaked through the clouds watching the two of us ride by like tiny Chinese paintings. In addition to being dry, the ride was also downhill most the way. We had our share of small hills, but mostly we made our gradual descent toward the Pacific Ocean.

As we approached the sea, I could sense the difference in the wind. It was thicker and the smell of sea salt was on the wing. Finally we crested a rise and turned into Ruby beach and gazed out in amazement at the largest ocean in our world. I too a deep breath and just said, "Wow!" We were both speechless. The waves were washing up on the sandy beaches below and many rock islands, one with a cool lighthouse, jutted up out of the ocean. I had ridden my bike from Boulder to the Pacific Ocean! The guy who gave us a ride in his fishing boat camper asked if I was on meds when I told him where I had ridden from. LOL

I wished I had the Droid for one last photo but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe someone will donate me a digital camera. I realized that Alisha had just sent the discs I left in Nelson to General Delivery in Astoria Oregon, where I'd be in a few days. And my friend Steve sent me a care package of ultra healthy snacks from the Whole Food Pharmacy to the same address. It would be exciting to find these packages waiting at the post office! Maybe somebody would overnight me a camera too! We would have to see. From the moment of this blog post till I reach Astoria would be about 3-4 days. Today was September 17th. They have to get it there by the 21st. I remember a freak snow storm ripped through Boulder Colorado when Tracey, Arians mom, were together back in 1992 and it was September 17th. We had a tradition of expecting something miraculous every September 17th. Today our son, the Arian Brazenwood, the child of our collective union got to view the Pacific Ocean for the first time in his life on September 17th. That had to qualify.

We rode for 11 amazing miles down the high cliffs overlooking the Pacific beaches below until we finally arrived at the Kalaloch campground. It was still dry so I asked Arian what he wanted to do. He was still coughing but he felt great. I wanted to stop and work on my astrology book and visit the lodge and get warm inside with some hot tea. But he wanted to push on arguing that it might be cold and rainy the next day. We could get further south if we went another 25 miles to Amanda Lake. He had been studying the Google Maps on his I-pad and had all the mileages figured out and the camp sites scouted along with internet cafes. I said okay, reluctantly, especially after we dropped by the lodge and had a look inside. We ate some hot spiced trail mix mixed with sea salted potato chips at the Kalaloch Mercanile and then strolled over into the Lodge. They didn't have Wi-Fi and that was Arian's main reason he wanted to press on I found out. Good reason, I agreed.

Within the first ten miles a monstrous rainstorm crashed out of the heavens and dumped on us! But we were committed and we pressed on and we had fun despite the cold wet raininess of it all. We made up a game of calling diesels Dragons and naming them by color. For instance red diesels were red dragons, etc. Then Arian's little gamer mind kicked in and he started naming every car that went by. All this because I told him that the logger truck that careened by with its loud shriek sounded like an Oriental Wood Dragon. Now we had blue goblins (blue cars), red orcs (red trucks), and all manner of fantasy monsters going by! We decided that RVs were pirates after I thought of Ravagers of Villagers. Only gold RVs were good pirates, as they wore Paladin Gold and were considered privateers of the high seas roadways. Making vehicles into fantasy monsters helped us laugh our way through one of the most wet and dreary storms I had seen in all my bike travels thus far. Arian was a trooper and when we reached Amanda Park near Lake Quinault we had ridden 65 miles! I old him congratulations on his new record as he leaned his bike against the IC cafe and painfully lumbered into the store sniffling and sore. I was sore too! It had been a while since I had ridden over 60 miles and all the familiar pain had returned, my rear soreness lessened by the fact that I didn't have a backpack weighing down on my lower spine area!

We entered the cafe and found out that it was the main sports bar and restaurant in the area as well and a kind waitress took our order for a large vegetarian pizza with no cheese and extra veggies, especially mushrooms, and extra sauce. She looked at us strangely and said, "No cheese?" "Yep," I said. "Hold the cow! We're vegans. technically he's not a vegan (pointing at Arian) but he doesn't need any more mucous to go with that sniffly nose." We all laughed. Her name was Ashley and I asked her about potential camping spots, especially free ones. She said she'd give me a map, but said they were all at least four miles away. She must have had compassion on sniffly, coughing Arian, because when she brought us our pizza later, she said the owner of the fine establishment said we could pitch our tent up on the hill right behind the restaurant! Thank the creative forces of compassion that run through this universe, because it was already getting dark when our Pizza was finished. So we ate in peace and I checked my email to find that I received and astrology order! Woo hoo! I also noticed increased activity on the astrology videos I posted of me teaching the Tao of Astrology. One person visited the Youtube site and wrote this email to me:

Hello Divine Master of the Cosmic Consciousness Communication,
You are unbelievable! And I mean that in the nicest way. You gifts and talents are amazing! I don't know where you are right now, (except that you might be on a bike :-) but if you ever get to Hagerstown, MD, look me up. My email is ????????????

There are no words to express the joy I feel for having been guided to your videos at this time in my process.

I think you may be the greatest Characterologist alive. You were born to do this and more.

Stay Strong

Please continue doing what you do, you do it so well.

Sometimes it feels heartwarming being a custodian of this celestial wisdom. Maybe I would hang out for a day in this little town and work on my book after all! But then again, if the morning brings with it dryness, we might ride like valkyries on speed toward the south and the city of Aberdeen! Today was Friday...tomorrow was Saturday. The Seahawks were traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos! At least I was in the right region to catch the game! I just didn't know where I'd be!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Olympian Peninsula

The First Ride - 35 Miles

I decided to take it easy on the kid after his little accident. With bandages covering his knees, we sped off toward Port Ludlow to visit my astrology colleague and friend Jeff Peters. We bid farewell to my brother and his wife's family and took to the road heading north from Silverdale, WA. We both want to thank Michelle and her mom for hosting us and feeding us and generally making us feel welcome! Thank you!

Arian's first long ride went great! We stopped frequently to let him drink water and stay hydrated. It was a perfect distance to give him a good taste of a long trip but not enough to make his bottom hurt! After stopping to pee at a gas station we headed across the floating bridge to head north to Ludlow. It was fun watching Arian in his blue rain jacket cruising along on his bike. SOmetimes I would let him lead and other times on the steep hills I would pull ahead and cruise down the decline. After his wreck, Arian was being extra careful with his speed when descending even though I assured him there would be no speed bumps and despite the fact that he had his brakes worked out in his mind!

Eventually, we saw signs for Port Ludlow and got excited about arriving. The town center was quite small and my friend Jeff lived to the north 5 more miles, so we decided to stop for a steaming hot chai. We met the owner of a cafe called Once Upon a Time and she heard me talking about astrology with one of her patrons. Fascinated with astrology, she decided then and their that she had to have me interpret her chart. So I took down her birth data and she paid me in cash. It was nice to have cash in the wallet again after living off the debit cards. I was excited to give her an unbelievably remarkable session.

After that we hopped back on the bikes and got flowing along again. I saw the marina full of boats and started singing the theme song to Gilligan's Island and Arian reminded me that I was indeed crazy. I reminded him that they have not locked me up yet, so I'm still just good crazy, not demented crazy.

Further down the road, we discovered patches of ripe blackberries along the roadside. Now we understood why the Blackberry Festival in Bremerton was in full swing! These things tasted delicious. We both placed our bikes on their sides and ate Blackberries until we were content. Arian went off into the woods to pee again. I told him he was like a woman on a trip in the car, always needing to stop to pee at exits. We both laughed.

A few more miles we came to my friend's address number posted on a sign and saw a dirt road ascending up into the foliage laden hills. We decided to push the bikes, passing hundreds of ripe blackberry bushes. I wanted to stop and eat moe but Arian wanted to press on. We came to a strange metal garage with a VW van parked out front, but decided to keep on going up the road. When we rounded the corner we saw Jeff standing on his porch and he welcomed us wholeheartedly. His house was an alternative domed structure that looked amazing. After leaning our bikes near the garage he showed us around and gave us a tour of the inside where he had painted many oceanic scene on the odd shaped walls. The large painting in the living room on a pentagram shaped wall was the most impressive, an undersea scene of a seal and a school of 3-D fish. An eagle and a floating tree was painted in a large blue circle above the entrance to the kitchen. We could tell that he and his family were very creative to say the least and his wife Jackie was extremely kind. They were both Aquarians like my new friends from Redmond in the Castle, but they lived in a DOME! What's the deal with double Aquarian couples living in strange structures! It fits the archetype of the bizarre, original, and unique.

After an extensive tour of the unique house Jeff showed us to our quarters: An amazing RV parked on the side of the hill just down below the house next to a tree house! Very cool! We had own own beds, a kitchen, a shower, and a cozy table! We felt spoiled. I told Arian to enjoy it because after this we would be heading into the wild rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula to the rainy west. We didn't know how long we were going to stay in Port Ludlow but after Jeff offered to take us on a tour of Port Townsend and told us we could stay as long as we liked, we decided to stay for five days until after Mercury went Direct, to avoid needless road repairs. You don't want to start a long journey under a Mercury Retrograde! Besides, that would give me just enough time to really get into writing my new astrology book and to enjoy the opening week of the Nation Football League! I could root for my broncos from the comfort of Jeff's couch with a delicious home-cooked meal, complements of Jackie.

Port Townsend was a beautiful sailor's town. Originally we were going to take the ferry over to Whidbey and head up to Canada through the San Juan Isles, but with the onset of Fall temperatures, I decided we better get heading south before the nights et really cold. We arrived during the week when Port Townsend was having the biggest festival of the yea called the Wooden Boat Festival. People come from all over to learn to craft wooden boats at unique schools in Port Townsend. He took us o the festival on Saturday and we enjoyed the tour and took lots of pictures. They even had wooden bicycles and pirates! We also went out to eat at 1-2-3 Thai, which was delicious!

On one day, Jeff let me borrow his car to go to town and write. Arian decided he wanted to hang out at home and cough his lungs out. He had been adjusting to the Northwest climate for a time. In the last 8 months, he had been in NC, CO, AL, and finally WA. Four different climates in nine months. I think his system was on climate change overload. By the end of our time in Ludlow he finally came to terms with the climate after regaining his voice and coughing up a bucket of sludge. Arian enjoyed hanging out with Jeff's son and daughter and reread their copies of the first three Harry Potter books.

When I was in town writing at the cool cafe by the ocean where ou can sit at a table and look out at boats and the sea, I bumped into Emily again, the girl with a backpack who was on her own journey of locational independence after growing up in insulated, isolated Utah. She decided that she was going to travel the world with her backpack hitching from place to place and was trying to find a ride on a boat down to California. In addition, the first NFL game of the season was broadcast on the web with the Vikings and Saints having an epic rematch. The coffee shop closed so the picture you see above shows my wooden picnic table outside overlooking the ocean with Brett Farve on screen!

One night when I came home Jeff unveiled his surprise! He had assembled a special bike cart for my journey ahead. That's right, one of those carts that you attach to the back of your bike to load your gear in. He had decided to build it when he kept reading about me breaking spokes. Turns out that Jeff is a Triple Aquarius with a strong Saturn in Virgo, the sign of the Craftsman. He is like a living Hephaestus, the Greek God of Artifice and was as clever and crafty as MacGiver! His shop down at the base of the field was full of tools and trinkets for designing anything. I had mixed feelings about the cart, mainly because I didn't want anything behind me feeling heavy and awkward, but my brother assured me I would love the cart. In addition, I had decided that if the opportunity to have a cart presented itself in my journey south to San Francisco, that I would give it a try. So this Centaur can't look a gift horse in the mouth. Besides, this cart was built by a human being who was both a master inventor and a Vulcan-like craftsman. How could anyone refuse a magical item on a grand adventure. The cart had two wheels and looked like a portable cooler. It could be locked and double as a small table!

I shared the Preface and Chapter 1 of my new astrology book with Jeff (being edited by my spiritual brother Peter Roth) and he loved it. We spent lots of nights discussing astrological ideas and I ran some of my new concepts by him and he helped me work it out on paper through discussion. It was fun brainstorming new idea combinations with a fellow Aquarian visionary whose 12th house of spiritual insight was packed with planets like mine. He was a painter by trade and a Magi by calling, often doing astrology for his painting clients. He was a lso a handyman and could pretty much build anything someone wanted building. Just give him the parameters and the visions and off he goes! And his Aquarian wife Jackie was a genius in her own right, managing a computer store and cooking the most eclectic foods possible! She liked going in the kitchen and taking base recipes and mixing them in unexpected ways. We had a great time watching football on Sunday even though my Broncos lost o the Jaguars. But the Seahawks won big in the late game.

Before I arrived, Jeff had inspired by my writings and astrology teachings and crafted a set of laminated, circular Tarot-like cards called Astro-Discs for educational purposes. Arian came up with the name of this new interpretation tool! He took many of my ideas about the twelve archetypes of the Zodiac and packed the information on the front and back of these 8" cards. I got to hold the finished products in my hands and they are amazing. He has a local astrology group in Port Townsend and upon seeing them, everyone had o have a set. Now we are offering them online for anyone who wants a set. When you place your order here, Jeff will hand craft your very own set of Astro-Discs!

In addition I've decided to release my popular tool, the Celestial Mandala for a donation of any amount. The catch is that you have to build it ourself with these instructions.

Also, if you are into learning astrology with me through my video courses I offer the first three courses on Houses, Signs, and Planets free on the web, plus an extensive FREE Course manual! Just follow the link below. You can watch the first 3 classes (with over 8 hours of video instruction) free and then order subsequent classes for $20 each. You make your purchase online and then I'll email you a private link to the class. You can also elect to buy the FULL course and gain access to all the classes!

Tao of Astrology Video Course

In addition, I'm offering a special Astrology Chart Interpretation to readers of this blog!

Normally my services (backed by 25 years experience) cost $195 for an Explore Your Birth Vision chart Interpretation or Seasons of the Soul update chart. Readers of this blog can make a donation of at least $25 and I will do an inspiring chart interpretation for you! The length of the interpretation will be proportional to your donation, but I will guarantee at least 30 minutes no matter what and you'll probably get more time because once my archetypal oracular window opens, I just can't stop talking about a chart. There so much vital information! Why am I offering this to you? Some people can't afford my full professional fee, especially during these trying economic times and I need to generate funds to feed Arian and the occasional campground fee and bike repair. So it's a win win situation. You can get started now with the special donation button below.

Traveling Magi Chart Interpretation Special

Enjoy the New Moon IN Virgo and both Mercury and PLuto going Direct as Arian and I head out to explore the Hoh Rainforest of the Washington Coast on our epic journey south!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Off We Go!

Arian Brazenwood Joins the Quest

Every once in a while in life, you meet an amazing person who blows your mind and sends your heart soaring with inspiration. In my case I helped create one! His name is Arian Brazenwood, named after the mythic character from my first fantasy novel Brazenwood, which I am currently rewriting and revising. Arian arrived in Seattle August 29th, and my host, who I call my astro-mom, Kriss Shellman and I picked him up at the airport. Of course they lost his bag with Mercury retrograde and this really disheartened him because all of his adventure gear was in there. But I told him not to worry about it, that they'd find it. The next day, they delivered it to our door! Thanks United, for helping Arian unite with his adventure equipment.

Arian has been watching my adventures from afar and reading this blog while summering at his mother's place on the Gulf Coast and chomping at the bit to join me in this grand quest of locational independence and also escape the smell of oil. He says the beach on Dauphin Island smells like a mechanic shop! This kid has had a pretty amazing life. He's a lot different than his storybook parallel, but I love the heck out of him and his imagination. In fact you can check out a video I made (my first film!) called the Web of Life about him reciting poetry and talking about the philosophical meanings of each poem on Youtube!

So the night he arrived he was so excited to see his new bike, a Trek similar to mine but a few years older. I found it on Craigslist and went to vegan thai up in the University District where the guy from Craigslist delivered it to me. I tried to shake his hand and thank him, but he didn't have one! So I shook his other hand and paid him $180 bucks and took it back to Kriss's place in Burien. Can't wait to see what he names his bike. Then, the next day I took the bus into Seattle to visit the REI flagship store and hoped they would take my Osprey Argon backpack back for store credit with their 100% satisfaction Guaranteed return policy. I guess I was ready for a new trail name other than "Backpack". So there I was, down to my last $300 bucks standing in line at the service desk hoping they would give me my $333 bucks back so I could outfit my kid. They took it with no questions asked and gave me a receipt with a voucher for $333 bucks. Woo Frickin hoo!

I got a cart and went about shopping before they had a chance to change their mind. As my last wife can tell you, I can spend money quick, especially on cool gadgets and technology. I got him some bright yellow Ortlieb waterproof panniers ($165), a helmet (on sale from $100 down to $40), and a host of other essentials like a back rack to hang the panniers on, water bottles and water bottle mounts, a lock, a back light, etc. By the end of my shopping spree I ended up spending about $400! And I still didn't have any bike shorts, gloves, or extra tubes yet. But I figured we'd get some money from online orders or donations soon. And he told me that he had been mowing lawns all summer and had saved $160. So after $800, I pretty much had Arian an outfitted bike and got him out here to Seattle on a plane.

Much thanks and gratitude goes to our hosts Kriss and Jon Shellman. We had a wonderful time with them and ate extremely well. I think I gained at least ten pounds back from eating like a horse. Kriss just had this way of putting together these amazing stir fries with squash right out of the garden in addition to always having numerous healthy snacks on hand. I got off my wake up with the sun schedule as we sometimes stayed up till 2 Am talking about astrology, watching movies, or playing board games like Rumicube and Balderdash.

We loved playing Balderdash the best, and Arian actually won the last game we played the night before we left. Balderdash is this game where the players make up fake definitions about very obscure words and try to convince each other to vote for their crap. It was fascinating to realize how often Jon voted on Kriss's made up definitions. Kriss was very wise and she had a good BS meter so she usually picked the correct definition. If you wanted to score points you just had to vote for the same definition that Kriss did, LOL. Although Arian and I were able to get her and Jon to vote for some of our imaginary handiwork from time to time. We had an amazing time altogether, and Arian healed from his wounds fast.

Arian's Initiation

Oh did I forget to mention that the first full day of being in Seattle I took Arian for a bike ride that ended in disaster? Arian wrecked his bike badly. We were heading down a huge hill to see the Pugit Sound, and at the bottom of this massive decline, we encountered a large speed bump at high speed. I was in front of Arian and I just jumped right over it, but then I looked back and saw Arian brake hard and go flying straight over the handlebars. Turns out his brakes were wired backwards so that the right brake was connected to the front brake pads and when he hit it hard, he thought he was pressing the back brakes to slow up. It was a heart-sinking feeling to watch your kid get injured on a bike, especially after having such a great ride through the neighborhood. And this was our first ride together, hopefully not a sign of things to come. Arian has always been accident prone his whole life (South node in Aries). I used to call him my little headbanger, because he was always banging his head on something. It's surprising that he is so smart! Maybe all that head-banging knocked something loose or broke up the cobwebs in his mind and he became a genius!

So I pedaled back to see my child stunned and bleeding and trying to drag his bike over to the sidewalk. My heart just froze inside, like someone had thrown a cold razor-sharp icicle into it, ripping my innards apart. It is not fun to watch anyone suffer, especially your own child. He said he was okay, no major injuries, just a lot of scrapes: Two bloody knees, scraped up arms, bruised ribs, scraped hip, scraped shoulder, just terrible! I couldn't believe it, and I felt responsible for taking him down such an intense hill so fast. He was just trying to keep up with me. I wanted to test him going UP the hill, not down the hill! This was a cruel turn of fate indeed. I would have to be more careful with him and let him take his time getting used to his new ride and not push him so hard like I drive myself. He said his hands felt cold. We walked our bikes back up the hill and managed to ride back over to Kriss's place where she helped us doctor him up good. At least we got very acquainted with the first-aid kit!

I had carried the kit over 2000 miles and had not had to use it on myself yet. But there we were using everything in it combined with Kriss's arsenal of first aid gear. So Arian stayed in the guest room again although he was anxious to get out there and camp with dad. A few days passed and we just stayed around the house and kept changing the bandages and cleaning his wounds. He healed extremely fast, aided by reiki! The three gashes in his right knee (the worst and deepest injury) were completely sealed up with new skin coming in. Wow! By the third night he was ready to migrate from the couch (he gave up on the guest room) to the tent, and was excited to join me in our little portable abode. We had bought the tent together in January at REI in Charlotte NC. We never got to use it in Colorado because it was just too icy cold to trek up into the mountains. We went to sleep playing with our I-pads and we woke up and played a game called Othello on the I-pad. It was great, two guys bonding over technology in a tent set up in a beautiful garden. Then we played a game of Civilization and played as the Mongols using our horse archers to conquer the world!

By the fourth day, he was ready to ride again so I figured I'd take him on a light ride a couple of miles to the bustling center of the Seattle suburb of Burien. We had hot chais at Starbucks and I worked on my new astrology book (The Tao of Astrology) while he played with apps on his I-pad. I used to take him to coffee shops to do homeschooling while I wrote, but as he got older he got bored quicker and always wanted to go. But now that he had an I-pad and needed an internet connection, he craved time at the coffee shop too! This was an excellent turn of fortune, because we were going to be hanging at internet cafes a lot on our journey. He is heading into ninth grade and wants to start studying Geometry, so we found a cool book for high school geometry called Geometry Demystified. He will also be helping me play test our new Role-playing game, practicing his music with the clarinet, and reading lots and lots of books. This kid tears through 700 page novels in three days! Thank the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the heavens for the invention of the I-pad. This device is changing the world! I read that some schools are doing away with text books entirely and buying the kids I-pads.

The next day we rode the 120 bus up to Seattle's vibrant downtown area and explored. We left our bikes at home and got a ride to the bus terminal from Kriss who offered to come and pick us up whenever we returned. She was so kind to us on all levels. Arian had never been in a metropolis before (if you don't count Charlotte NC) and was amazed by the sheer size and intensity of the city. We passed the Mariners stadium and the Seahawks stadium on the way into town. Then we got off the bus and went down to the Pike Place Market to witness the old tossing of the fish. We found a cool novelty game store on the lower levels of the market and felt at home there. We also took some pics in front of the first ever Starbucks store across the street and got to hear live acapella African-American singers working the "lean on me, when you need a friend" tune. Then we marched over to the Seattle Center and checked out the Space Needle from below (we decided it was to expensive at $18 per person to actually go up to the top). Instead we found this amazing fountain area where lots of locals like to hang. The fountain sprays many jets (powered in sync with music) of water all over a huge crater-like area from a central alien dome where the children frolic in the water and mists. We laid in the sun and enjoyed peaches that we bought at the market. Eventually we made our way back to town to catch the bus, but spent about three hours at a Starbucks being creative. In the end we made it back to Kriss's happy and ready to play some games with Jon and enjoy her delicious cooking!

The days went by in peace and Arian told me he was ready to ride. His Swiss Army knife with a hundred extensions came in the mail and he felt complete. So we decided to leave the day after the next full day, just so we were sure he was at full strength and so we could enjoy more time with our hosts. Eventually, Saturday September 4th rolled around and we woke up ready to ride! We decided we would avoid the chaos and danger of the Seattle traffic by putting our bikes on the front of the 120 bus, which dropped us off about three blocks from the Ferry terminal. Our goal was to just ride 20 miles the first day, to allow him time to get used to riding. In addition, my brother Marc was visiting his wife's parents in Silverdale Washington, just up the road from Bremerton, where the Ferry went to. So we took the ferry to Bremerton and rode up to Silverdale. On the Ferry we met a really cool and courageous 22-year old gypsy woman who had decided to backpack around the world by hitchhiking and camping. She shared jalapeno hummus and organic chips with us and I gave her a mini reading of her chart. She was an Aries with a Leo Moon and Virgo rising. Her name was Emily and I took a picture of her and uploaded it to Facebook. I had a feeling I would be encountering her again and teaching her about astrology.

When we got to Bremerton the people were in full swing celebration mode with live music and vendors lining the streets and everything. We later found out that it was called the Blackberry festival. I fondly remembered the blackberries at the Aquarius castle! Arian did a great job keeping up with me and riding his bike up and down hills with no accidents. I could tell he was being extra careful at times and told him a little fear was wise and healthy especially after wrecking once. He just needed to remember which brake was which. It would cost us $25 bucks to switch them back at a bike store so he decided to just rewire his brain. He was a little unnerved by the traffic while crossing a bridge, but did great! He's a little natural on a bike, pounding the pedals from a standing position when the hills got to steep. Unfortunately, the last hill we climbed was the steepest hill I had ever encountered in my 2000 miles. My legs are wired for it now, and without my backpack, I just cruised right up it. But I decided to stop every once in a while to make Arian drink water and eat a clif bar or a handful of cashews and coach him on the finer points of riding up hills. I told him the trick of picking a point in the distance and just try to get to that point instead of focusing on the distant impossible apex. I told him, "When you reach your target destination, just pretend the landmark that you chose goes wild with celebration and maybe even bends over toward you and smacks you on the butt!" He liked that and we spent the rest of the hill roleplaying out loud the obnoxious celebrations of our targets and pretending to be smacked on the butt! Suddenly we looked up and there was the house we were trying to get to, and we found my brother in the back yard restoring a deck with two other guys, one in the family and the other an army buddy.

It was great seeing Marc again. He spent 20 years in service to our country as a demolitions expert. He's a Capricorn with a Leo Ascendant and a Pisces Moon and he loves cycling and adventure sports. He has always taken time off every year to go climb mountains like Kilimanjaro, Ayers, McKinley, etc. He thrives on adrenal charged sports like snowboarding, cycling, etc. He once got blown up in a bomb suit while trying to defuse a bomb in Afghanistan and when they saw him fly through the air and land with a thud his fellow soldiers thought he was dead. Instead, he jumped up and was so excited that he wanted to do it again. This love of excitement kinda runs strong in our family. Even Arian can't seem to sit still without rubbing his feet together. This kid is always moving in some fashion. I'm the same way. Marc wanted to attempt to climb Mount Rainier while in Washington state.

The back yard had an immense flat grassy area, enough for about 25 tents, and I let Arian pick out a spot and I guided him through the stages of setting up the tent. It was easy for him because he helped me disassemble our portable home that morning. He decided to take all of our panniers and place them in a line down the middle of the tent making a wall, and then he set up both of our sleeping areas on each side of the Great Wall of Panniers, with our Thermarest sleeping matts rolled out on either side.

The great thing about Arian is that we laugh incessantly when we are together. We are always making up stupid and brilliant jokes and laughing our heads off till we are on the floor pounding until we cry. That's just how our life has always been. He wrote one poem in the dark scribbled onto paper during a laughing fit at age 7 called Laughter you can read on his site here. And he loves learning things with a passion. He learned every symbol in astrology and something intelligent about each on by the age of 13 months. He was doing reiki by age two and building skyscrapers on his Tonka Construction video game for the computer. I still remember his first words in Key West when he learned to say "button" and "Moon" although he pronounced them BA-OOM and BOON. I remember at 7 months of age before he could even walk at nine months, when we were laying out under the stars on a pier that extended about a football field into the Atlantic Ocean in Key West, when I looked up to the heavens and pointed and said to him, "Stars". My little Capricorn baby next to me on his back just lifted his fingers and pointed to them and repeated me saying "Stars" That was so cool! Just imagining a baby's consciousness in full realization of a sky full of bright little points of light called stars. When he started asking me all these brilliant questions it got even cooler being a dad. One night we were looking at a star map when he was 4 and he asked, "How come some stars are little and some are big Dad? Are some of them farther away?" Now we get to ride our bikes to San Francisco down the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the best cycling tours in the world, with the wind at our backs! Hopefully the brave readers of this blog will order some charts or make a donation to keep us going. The third leg of this mighty quest has begun!

Also, if you are into learning astrology with me through my video courses I offer the first three courses on Houses, Signs, and Planets free on the web, plus an extensive FREE Course manual! Just follow the link below. You can watch the first 3 classes (with over 8 hours of video instruction) free and then order subsequent classes for $20 each. You make your purchase online and then I'll email you a private link to the class. You can also elect to buy the FULL course and gain access to all the classes!

Tao of Astrology Video Course

In addition, I'm offering a special Astrology Chart Interpretation to readers of this blog!

Normally my services (backed by 25 years experience) cost $195 for an Explore Your Birth Vision chart Interpretation or Seasons of the Soul update chart. Readers of this blog can make a donation of at least $25 and I will do an inspiring chart interpretation for you! The length of the interpretation will be proportional to your donation, but I will guarantee at least 30 minutes no matter what and you'll probably get more time because once my archetypal oracular window opens, I just can't stop talking about a chart. There so much vital information! Why am I offering this to you? Some people can't afford my full professional fee, especially during these trying economic times and I need to generate funds to feed Arian and the occasional campground fee and bike repair. So it's a win win situation. You can get started now with the special donation button below.

Traveling Magi Chart Interpretation Special