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.
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!