Sunday, October 24, 2010
Avenue of the Giants
We had a restful week in Arcata staying with three different sets of people, thanks to Couchsurfing.com As noted in my previous post, the three college ladies and their one male roommate shared their abode with us when we arrived, which was a good thing because I was out of it for a few days from over-exhaustion and had the shivers that night. Not fun! After our agreed upon two nights, we transferred to another house about a mile away but very close to Mosgos Coffee shop and Murphy's Health Food store, so we were in heaven for four nights. I had met a guy named Kevin who was a friend of the ladies and he was a Gemini, and we really connected even if briefly. Turns out, true to his sign, he was a journalist major and was on his way to a conference in NYC where he hoped to make some career contacts. As a result he offered us his room, and his three roommates were very cordial and cool. We didn't hang out much except for to sleep and heat up tea at night mainly because everyone was in class all day and we were at Mosgos drinking chai and working on our new RPG called Emergence, where you create an adventure character based initially on a random astrology chart. Think Dungeons and Dragons meets Astrology and Archetypes!
After making great headway on the book, we decided to transfer to another gracious couchsurfer host whose name was Paul. Turns out that Paul was into strategy board games and had a copy of Settlers of Catan that he had bought online but that none of his friends would play with him. So Arian and I jumped right in the first night and I barely won. Paul gave me some stiff competition! Then the next night we played two games in which Arian came out victorious both times. He is a wise master of strategy. He just needed to see the game in action one time before he became a force!
After two nights with our surfer friend Paul and his college roommates, we were finally rested and ready to continue our journey to Chico, CA to visit my friend Brett and possibly settle there for 3-6 months. Chico is another hip college town with lots of unique characters. We could have went across to Redding and south to Chico but decided that we really wanted to see the Redwood Forest and ride our bikes down the Avenue of Giants. It was a good choice because the rain held out for a few days and the sunny ride was spectacular. My friend Kriss had said that the Redwoods would be like church, all reverent and holy, and she was not exaggerating. When you ride your bike down the Avenue of Giants, you feel like you are entering another world, another time. Turns out some visionary environmentalists of the 1800's got together and managed to salvage just these 2% of our nations old growth forests. The other 98% helped build the industrial centers of the coast like San Fran and Eureka. I'm so glad that there is more of an environmental focus in the modern world along with a deep appreciation of natural beauty.
Some of these trees tower 300 feet into the air weighing over 300 tons. Some have sections near the bottom that look like black doorways into the realms of the fey carved by lightning blasts. We like fey portals into the astral realms! One grove was dedicated to Fairies and invisible beings. We met a elder gnomish bicyclist who had a sticker on his bike about being on a quest for invisible beings like elves and dragons that only he could see. But he quickly found out that we had the sight too! I sent some couchsurfing requests ahead to places in the Redwoods, but it turns out that they were traveling or overbooked, so camping was back on the menu. Whenever we pass roadkill on the road we jokingly scream the Lord of the Rings orc quote, "Meat's back on the menu boys!" Which has to be way gross if you think about it. But hey, people eat cows, which is bigger roadkill in my book. LOL
The night we arrived at the beginning of the Avenue of Giants, we tried to connect with a couchsurfer in Fortuna but we were unfortuna, and so we road on hoping for a campground or something. Unfortunately we were down to our last ten bucks, so we couldn't afford the one RV park we did find. I tried to haggle with the old grouchy owner, but he refused to budge and told us we should go camp down by the river. Yeah right! Instead we rode on into the deep night and it got really scary but I had Arian behind me with the red blinking backlight and I was in the front with my camp head lamp lighting the way. At last we came to a Vista Point, but couldn't enjoy the vista because it was pitch dark. We met a hippy guy who had a bus who was headed to San Fran, and he suggested we just stealth camp down the way in the bushes and trees, so we did! We wandered off into the woods with our bikes and found a suitable flat spot. At least we thought it was flat! Later we were both dodging rocks under our mats during our sleep finding many variant sleeping positions! We heard lots of strange animal sounds off in the woods and I was quick to have my razor sharp camping knife and my devil stick nearby in case I needed to fight off raccoons!
When morning came, we were still alive and no animals messed with us. Thank you nature! We woke up with the sun and we were right there at the entrance to the Avenue of Giants! We saw many amazing trees riding down that picturesque stretch. Some of the bases of these century-old magical beings are larger than elephants. We saw the old base of a felled tree whose tree rings near the center dated back to the signing of the magna carta! Wow! The trees kept going too. Grove after sacred grove of great wise tree beings surrounded by floors of green moss, right out of a fantasy world. But it was the real world. Arian and I found that our creative imaginations were on fire as we began working out the details of the first adventure we would publish for our new role-playing game. We called it the "Mad Artificer", about two nations at war and the evil nation forcing a genius enchanter to craft a super weapon to turn the tide in their imperial aims. So we started dreaming up this artificer character, kinda like a medieval engineer-scientist who works with magic and technology, a technomancer. And he was kind of a mix between an Einstein and a wild nature man.
Next thing you know, we come around the corner and we run into this hippy guy, with wild red hair and flurry unkempt raving red beard that jiggled as he spoke, carrying a load of carpets. He called himself Wondrous Mountain, and we greeted him and talked for a while enjoying a rest. We even shared organic food and water with him, and Arian gave him a sewing needle because he said he needed one to sew his new cloak from one of those fabrics he was hauling around. I couldn't believe Arian actually had a sewing needle! Turns out that he rode an old Schwinn bicycle across country from Missouri this summer and that he had long abandoned his bike to search for a gypsy community in the western Redwoods, I think he said Mirtola or something like that. We wished him well after our half hour visit and told him that we would use him as the model for our crazy mad scientist character and he was overjoyed in Irish delight. He was Irish with Leo Sun, Leo Rising, and an adventurous Sagittarius Moon. Triple fire sign! No wonder he had such fiery red hair!
So we trekked on and ended up camping at an actual campground called Richardson Grove, and it was amazing to sleep surrounded by these huge trees. We had to ride another 8 miles through the dark to get there through towns called Redway and Garberville. It was the full moon that night and we had a delicious stir fry before retreating to our tent when the rain started. We didn't realize it was the beginning of the rainy season, the first big storm! We overheard many couples who came into camp with RVs quarreling over things like where to park the RV, etc. One couple got into a flaming fight when the dad rammed the RV into a wooden barrier. There were three camps near ours where major drama was going down. I told Arian it was typical during a Full Moon in Aries with the Sun in Libra. Lovers quarrels were in the air!
The next day we packed up our stuff in the biting, intensifying rain. Our tent was in a bad spot as a large pool had formed under it! Our feet were basically barely floating on our matts at one end of the tent all night. It was a mere precursor of what was to come! The rain was so intense that both our hands and feet were cold to the bone and it was miserable. Arian declared that he hated cycling! I told him it would make him tougher and add Stamina to his character during his adolescent phase of maturity toward being an authentic adventurer. That was right out of our character design system, but it didn't help quell his foul mood. We kept stopping under bridges to get warm and eat and even stuck out our thumbs when pick-ups went by, but no one had compassion for two lonely soaked travelers. And it was another 30 miles to our destination in Laytonville. It was going to be a long cold drizzle of a day!
We rounded a corner to see a bridge with an intense incline near a place called Confusion Hill. The canyon below was hundreds of feet deep to a rocky river and the bridge just kept going and going. When we finally made it to the top we were both relieved to see an enigmatic gift shop called the Gravity House with an RV-Campground across the highway. We pulled in and had some hot apple cider and hot chocolate and warmed our souls while talking to an old retired navy guy who was also a biker. He was smoking a cinnamon stick to help him stay off cigarettes and he had strange eyes, a burly mustache, and a a shirt with a crazy looking jester that said something about everyone around here was kinda weird. To top that, the place was called Confusion Hill because government scientists came in to study the weird magnetics in the area blaming it on minerals beneath the earth. Our new friend had a sign with about seven other theories, his favorite being a deeply buried alien computer. I liked that one, but I liked the one that blamed it on multidimensional portals even more! Especially after I had seen many that day! He said the locals called the lightning charred holes in the big trees goose-pins. Turns out that settlers would pin their livestock in them so the wild animals wouldn't get them!
The rain kept barreling down and I could tell that Arian was done for. It was only six more miles to Leggitt, and he probably could have made that, but not 30 to Laytonville. The sun was going to set in a few more hours and it didn't feel right to keep him out in the cold again. I didn't want him to get sick like in Washington. So we went next door to haggle again. Before we went into the office to talk to the people, I logged onto their wi-fi and found that I had gotten an astrology order and a few small but heartfelt donations. Food and lodging was back on the menu boys!" we cried. Which was a good thing because they wanted $21 dollars for us to set up our tent in the rain and mud! We never set foot in the tent though. We enjoyed the recreation room so much with a TV for for college football and large cozy couches with comforters, that we never actually made it out to the tent. We stayed inside all night with the owner's permission. They had compassion for us as this was their first big storm of the season. We enjoyed the coziness so much that we broke out our cookware, made some hot tea, and cooked some Thai noodles and basically enjoyed being warm and dry for a spell. The next day we woke up on the couches and decided that with the rain still coming down hard that we might as well stay another day and hope the weather report for Monday was right. The forecast said we'd have some light showers in the morning on Monday, but that the storm should break. Arian didn't have to twist my arm to keep me curled up with Pro football happening, especially since my Broncos were hosting the rival Raiders! It was a depressing game, because the Raiders jumped out on us due to lots of errors and we just imploded and ended up being cooked alive at home 59-14 in our continual commitment to sucking!
During the night we had two strange events happen. First a guy from San Fran who was on his way to Eureka came wandering in. He had a flat tire and had driven the rent-a-car twenty miles on a flat and he needed to send an email and use my computer to call his girlfriend. Then several minutes after he decided to drive on to Garberville, another stranger comes in who claimed that his lights on his car stopped working. We told him about the strange magnetics in the area and advised him to get some distance from here and things would be fine. We hope our two stranded soaked travelers made it to their destinations!
So here we are on a rainy Sunday night watching the Packers face the Vikings and feeling quite content to stay inside again on these cozy couches. We are both ready to be settled again for a while. Being homeless and wandering around is fun in the summer, but the cold weather makes it stupid. My good friend Moses, an astrologer and now fantasy writer like me, offered me a chance to come down to Prescott AZ for a winter retreat, but I told him I was intent on checking out Chico CA fist and then San Fran. But at this point, and with the cold creeping in, Arian and I are craving a place to call home. Living like this makes you really appreciate the simple pleasures of life...a hot cup of tea, a warm soothing shower, friends and community, a dry place to sleep, a good strategy board game, etc. When I set out on this adventure I was committed to Locational Independence, but I added the cycling part of the equation to the lifestyle. Yesterday Arian cracked 1000 miles in that rainstorm and I cracked 3000 miles. Three-thousand miles on a bike. He made level 1 Cyclist and I made level 2, but we are both ready to be commuter cyclist in a city. We still have at least four more days to make it to Chico, California. Hopefully the rain will let up some, but I fear it will challenge us till the bitter end when we roll into town to begin a new life. We went back down to the campsite and packed up our dirty rain-soaked tent and gear and hauled it all with the bikes back up to the Recreation Room. We played a game of foosball and then air hockey. I won foosball, barely, and Arian won air hockey. Only the Universe knows what will come next. Time to go record the chart order I got that enabled us to stay here. I am so grateful that I can inspire people's paths with astrology, my words, and my insights into their character.
As always, we appreciate donations here and chart orders here! We will need some funds to get settled in Chico, even if we decide to live with my good friend Brett. I will finally be able to settle in and finish these books to release to the world. 2011 will be an inspiring year of publishing for sure!