I woke up in Portland to a phone call from Kimmie's friend Chris, he was going to drive down the Oregon coast with us. After a shower I left Scott and Rose's place, my couchsurfing hosts, and met up with Chris, Kimmie, and Rudy. Kimmie grabbed us a big breakfast and a new tent before we broke west for the coast.
Our first stop was at a beach when we first hit the coast, we ran around a while and had some dinner in town. It was getting dark, so we started south keeping our eyes peeled for potential places to camp. We investigated a few spots before deciding on a rest area park sorta spot, we turned back to the last town to pick up alcohol, two bottles of Night Train wine.
Back at our new camp spot we set up the giant 3 room tent Chris had next to a couple picnic tables, the pacific waves crashing just beyond the bluff we were atop. We sat in the tent smoking and getting hit by the Night Train, eventually only Kimmie and I were riding that ride, and soon enough we all crawled to bed. Not to sleep though, I found myself escaping from the tent with Kimmie to release and run around looking out at the ocean below, then sleep.
We woke up and looked out into the now sunlit ocean, whales swimming right by the shore putting on a little show for us and other people who'd arrived in the park. We packed the tent and kept cruising down the coast until we hit Newport, we stopped at the beach textured by dunes running down to the surf. We sat and enjoyed a joint and the ocean, Rudy and I decided to start running down the beach, we found a small shark washed up that we dug for a bit.
We left the beach, Chris had the idea to go to the "Dead Guy" brewery, I was thrilled, everyone was. We rolled up the brewery, it was actually the Rouge brewery, Dead Guy was the expensive six pack from Rouge I'd bought the night Mark and I went to Philadelphia unexpectedly some time ago.
We bounced in, I was more excited now, we went straight for the bar and all got samplers. By the time we'd got through our samples and bonus pours from the bartenders we hit the tour, then came back for food and more samplers, Rouge has a lot of good beer. I spent just about the last of my cash on a six pack of Brutal Bitter and a 20oz Double Dead Guy for the road.
We hit one more beach, just walked along it, then back to the car towards Corvallis where Kimmie had another friend who could put us up for the night, Chris dropped us off there and kept rolling his own way. The rest of the night we sat on the floor with beer, bongs, taffy, card games and raw vegetables.
The morning came, we were given a ride to I-5, the three of us ready to hitchhike again. Rudy and Kimmie waited at the on ramp and I went ahead onto the freeway thumbing the traffic on my own, our plan was to meet in Medford by night somehow. I walked a while alongside the traffic, sometimes thumbing, sometimes just soldiering forward. I was pretty sure I saw Rudy in the passenger seat of a green subaru as it flew by, I later found out it was Rudy, they'd got picked up without room for a third.
A pickup truck stopped for me, a 20 year old named Eugene going to Eugene. He liked the idea of traveling, we had good conversation. He stopped for gas, as we pulled back on to the freeway police lights started flashing behind we pulled over, slightly confused since there was no way we speeding. The cop came to the window asking for license and registration, he'd pulled us over for not using a turn signal. After some classic police behavior he let us go with a verbal warning.
I found myself alongside the freeway in Eugene soon enough, walking again. I noticed another hitchhiker just up the freeway, I stayed off to the side and walked up to him. He said he'd been selling in town for a while, he asked me for pot which I didn't have, I kept walking and left him with first dibs on the traffic.
I kept walking and eventually a car pulled into the shoulder, weight off my shoulder. The driver was an older woman named Shirley, "Just like everyone my age, after Shirley Temple". She didn't say exactly how far she was going, "just up the road a bit". She told me about the drama in her family, grossly obese sister, drugie nephew, her husband passed 4 years ago causing her to have some tough times, but her spirits seemed high.
She stopped for gas and handed me $20 to grab some food in the market, she came in before I got to the register saying I should have a cooked burger instead, I dropped my gas station turkey and swiss and headed back to the car. Across the street I ordered a double bacon cheeseburger and waited for the order to come up, she drove back to the gas station to use the bathroom, by the time she was back I'd gobbled down my burger. "A growing boy like yourself needs ice cream!", I agreed, she grabbed my chocolate ice cream on a waffle cone and we headed back to the freeway.
"I can't drive you all the way to Medford, but I'll go a little ways", she told me as we drove and talked, we saw a sign for Medford, 70 miles away a little later. "That's so close... I'll go all the way!". We continued talking and driving, about 15 miles out of Medford I got a voicemail from Kimmie saying they got dropped off just 10 miles outside Medford in Central Point, Shirley dropped me off right at the gas station there and left me with $7, Kimmie came running to the car, it was dark now.
I used the $7 to buy beer, 24oz Steel Reserves, then we found a perfect camp spot behind the big truck stop in the woods a bit. We set up the new tent and drank our beers talking and telling stories before heading to sleep.
In the morning we began packing up, Kimmie went to the gas station to use the bathroom. She came skipping back with news of a ride she'd found for us with a couple rastas in an RV. We gathered our things and went and met Dread (or Terrance) and Eli at the RV. They'd just met recently, Eli dropped $1600 to help fix some of the problems with RV, but neither had any money now. Dread had a gas can out ready to panhandle gas and money for gas to get out. After some debating of strategy Rudy offered some gas money and we were on the road, heading back for the coast.
Dread had worked trimming jobs a couple times, and that was his reason for heading down to Willits, CA now. He was a poet and also made jewelry and crafty things. The RV always seemed on the verge of breaking down, and infact did three times before we met them, Dread didn't have any oil in there, "Another bonehead maneuver", as he said.
We rolled down the coast, rarely a moment without a joint smoking in someone's hand. Rudy rolled the first joint, Dread jokingly said "We're going to northern Cali now, you can't be embarrassing me", he pinched some shake and rolled a huge one as he picked it up all in one motion.
We eventually stopped just outside Arcata at Clam Beach after driving through the red woods, we got to talking to some other people drinking in the parking lot, Kimmie and Dread jammed out a bit, Kimmie with the tin whistle and Dread with his djembe and didgeridoo. The others in the lot were having various car troubles, Eli was helping all of them.
One guy Travis was pretty friendly, he'd lost his keys on the beach a day or two ago and now trying to figure out how to tow the car out of the lot before he'd get another ticket. We were going to tow him out with the old RV, Eli was rigging a towing system. I went into town with a guy Matt there and Kimmie to get food and a part for towing at the uhaul spot.
We got back and after some more doing the car was hitched up to the back of the RV. Travis was pretty drunk at this point, but Eli told him to sit in the car we were towing and not touch anything, but stay in there in case the car fell off the bootleg hitch system that was setup.
After 5 minutes of driving we heard heavy honking from the car we were towing, we pulled over to discover the car was in park and the emergency brake was on, we could smell the burnt rubber thick in the air. Eli got upset with Travis, he thought he'd put the brakes on in his drunken state. We kept driving until sparks started flying out and pulled over again. The tires were gone and the rims were shot, completely destroyed. Travis decided to abandon the car and we all headed a few miles away to a spot where he had a storage unit converted into his glass blowing studio.
We passed around bowls and stories until Travis had to leave, he had a date with the metal detector woman from the beach. He said we'd be fine to stay parked where we were and crash out for the night, he gave Eli a hug bag of pot, of which we were given a tennis ball size portion, Travis also gave us various pipes and things. Back in the RV Eli was still fuming about the whole situation, but chalked it up to a great day to remember.
We had to be out by 5am, so we headed to the heart of Arcata to park and continue sleeping. I awoke to transient culture, Dread knew quite a few people in town and they were by the door of the RV passing bowls in and shooting smiles everywhere. Many people were in town passing through or living out of their vehicles, Arcata's a hot spot. Some are just living, other causing problems in the park, many looking for a buck or some gas money, some demanding and others just asking.
We grabbed some good beers at the co op and drank them in Lee's trailer, a friend of Dread's. We were back and forth a couple times in there talking to whoever was in at the moment. Towards the evening Kimmie and I found ourselves walking to the square to draw, just after we sat down we overheard someone saw "open mic", Kimmie inquired about it, they told us, and offered us a ride, two guys passing through town looking for work.
We rode just down the street to the spot, Kimmie jammed with Brian, one of the guys who gave us the ride. Her singing and harmonica brought everyone into it, even tin whistle. One guy they call shovel man played a few songs too, he had a guitar made out of a shovel and some looping pedals.
After the open mic some people were headed to a house jam, but Kimmie and I headed back to the RV, it was getting later now and we figured we should get in before Dread and everyone went to sleep. We got back to find out that we were leaving, right now. Eli was silent drunk in the front seat as Dread and Rudy explained what happened, and that is that Eli got drunk and was spotted pissing out the RV door onto the sidewalk, the cops said we had to be out, friendly enough though.
Dread was fuming, ready to head back to Clam Beach where he'd have Eli pay for the camp spot. I talked to Dread and figured it made more sense to continue to head south and find a free pull off or rest area, so we drove. We had to stop for gas of course first, Rudy covered it again, Eli drunkenly and stubbornly paid for oil for the engine.
We rolled south into the darkness, Dread becoming more frustrated with Eli, Kimmie and I in the back fooling around, Rudy falling asleep. Eli left the passenger seat and stumbled around the back, I had to pinch Kimmie's neck by my crotch every time so she would stop what she was doing for a moment while Eli settled or stumbled down again, after some back and forthing he landed on Dread's bed. Dread finally noticed this and stopped the RV until he got back to the passenger seat, and finally we found a pullout some hour down the road or more where we called it a night.
In the morning Eli was informed of what happened, he had apparently blacked out. "The mad pisser strikes again!", he exclaimed, "I knew from the way you said good morning something had happened!", this wasn't his first public pissing incident.
Before we got moving again Dread noticed his didgeridoo was missing, he tore up the RV looking for it. Determined to get it, he turned us back around towards Arcata, more gas and time to burn, but we went with it. Once in Arcata Eli bought us a great breakfast as an apology, then they set off asking people and retracing their steps looking for the didgeridoo.
We relaxed in Arcata for most of that day, but Dread didn't have any luck, by night we headed north again just a ways back to Clam Beach where we'd been before, we grabbed a campsite and started a fire with some wood we'd grabbed back in town. We had a mighty dinner of chicken and clam chowder that Rudy bought and Dread cooked. We set up our tent on the sand and drank whiskey until we passed out.
We had a great nights sleep, we immediately headed for the beach in the morning. The mist had rolled in covering the whole dune filled beach, it became thick and moved quickly as you got close to the surf and little pockets of clear air could be found. When we started packing up the tent we decided we'd likely move on from Dread and Eli to continue down the coast. They were headed south at this point anyhow, so we figured we'd keep rolling as long as they were.
We landed back in Arcata so Dread could put up flyers for his didgeridoo and we could get breakfast. While we were eating I got a message from Dread, he'd found it... wrapped up safely in the RV, never missing, "another bonehead maneuver". We made a couple shopping stops for Kimmie and Rudy, herbs and clothes, then headed back to the RV and started shooting south again.
We drove into the night, stopping once again for gas which Rudy covered, again, and picked up some porter beers that decidedly tasted like porter lite if such a thing can be, and landed in aSafeway in Willits, CA. We saddled up our bags, said goodbye to our RV friends, and headed for the bar where one of Kimmie's friends was.
10 blocks later we shuffled into the crowded bar, three backpackers, looking for Yossi. We saw shovel man first, he was on stage playing, seems he'd made it along this path as well. Soon enough we found Yossi, a nice guy who also got on stage to play for a bit as well. Rudy and Kimmie ordered drinks, I found a full beer on a railing that had been forgotten. We talked with all kinds of people, even the bartender came over and chatted a bit, mostly interested with Kimmie and Rudy being from BC in Canada, a place he loved.
When the night was over the three of us and Yossi started wandering down the street in search of a suitable camping spot, we found one under a bridge, a bit of a leap to get down, but a nice flat spot for our tent out of the way. We drank the last of our beers and passed out.
Yossi woke up first and began exploring, I woke up second and enjoyed the peaceful scene we'd put ourselves in, under the bridge by a small creek. When Rudy and Kimmie awoke we packed it in and headed to paradise cafe to relax for a bit. Later that evening we went to the church in town that gave free dinners out on certain days of the week, there was a long line of all types waiting for food, we had a good meal of beans and cheese and cake.
After the meal we got to talking to some people outside, they had a nice campsite set up just outside town and room for a couple of us. We decided we'd instead go to the casino we were told about, there was supposedly some deal of signing up for a players club card and getting $20 free credit to gamble with, we could use the money, so we opted for that but got directions in case we wanted to hitch over later.
Yossi had bought some acid in sanfran earlier, he wasn't sure if it was real or not, but on a whim he split it up and the four of us took a hit, then began walking to the casino. The walk was further than we'd all thought, but we made it ok and stashed our bags in the shadows. We all signed up and got our $20 in credit and began hitting the slot machines, at this point it was clear the acid was not acid at all, but we had fun. Between us we left with 70 or 80 bucks we didn't have coming in.
Out in the parking lot we pondered the best way to get back to town, we had the bar from last night on our minds. No one wanted to walk, and we considered a taxi, but were told their were none in town. Yossi was able to talk to a woman with a minivan, she gave all of us a lift right to the bar. I talked with Kimmie at the bar drinking great beers until last call came around. The bartender from the night before talked to us some more, he found out we were about to go looking for a place to camp again.
"What if you could have a roof over your head... the guy at the video store across the street may help you... he's kind of a jerk though", he was the guy at the video store, we were thrilled, he took us across the street and let us in through the back. He left the computer on with the internet, showed us the shower, and showed us a place in the back of store between the isles we could sleep, we just had to be out by 8:30am when his employees got in. When he took off we got some showering in and passed out amongst the movies.
Waking up on the store floor was peaceful, we all headed to the paradise cafe again, Rudy and Yossi went down the street to do some dumpster diving, but only came up with some orange juice and cookies. After a bit we decided to hit the freeway and start hitching, San Francisco on our minds. We walked a way towards the edge of town, when we got close I walked ahead, the three person hitching strategy I've been using so frequently lately.
A guy and a girl appeared behind me walking, I wasn't sure if they were hitching or not, after a quarter mile they got close and got my attention, they asked if I had a pipe, I didn't, they asked if I wanted to smoke and we headed off to the side of the road behind the trees and bushes. They were headed to the gardening place nearby, he pulled out a decent sized tupperware container filled with buds, all different kinds, and started rolling a joint with some of the first outdoor crop harvested this year locally. Kimmie and Rudy came walking up on the road and we spotted each other, they came and joined us.
The five of us stayed talking and smoking in the field for just under an hour. They gave us a handful of buds and were on their way, we were on ours. We stood right there by the road with thumbs out and Kimmie with a tiny sign, "SANFRAN" it said. I walked ahead again, after a bit I was fairly sure I saw Rudy and Kimmie fly by in the ride they got, then I got my ride, and older guy who'd hitched all over the place and was now living in his car. He took me to Cloverdale where I got picked up by a woman on route to see her parole officer, she'd got caught with mushrooms while trying to cash a phony check.
Dropped in Santa Rosa I got a ride a few exits across town from a guy, and then waited a bit towards the edge of town. A guy in a white sebring convertible stopped, "I'm going a mile", fine by me, I hopped in. He was from Brooklyn, he actually knew where Astoria was, he was in town looking at electric cars for a possible business venture back in long island. "So you stink, have you showered?", his new york accent comforting, I told him how my past week went. He weaved in and out of traffic, cutting people off, New York was here in Santa Rosa.
Either because I was from New York or whatever reason he said, "Well I'll tell you what, you've hit the jackpot now my friend", he pulled of the freeway and into town, "You hungry?", I always am, we pulled into an Outback Steakhouse. He explained that he works for a steakhouse owned by the same parent company and can therefore eat free, we went in and I had a 24oz porterhouse steak and a Sam Adams Oktoberfest beer (not covered by his deal, but he paid for it happily anyhow).
After the feast he dropped me at the onramp of the freeway and turned back north, headed back to his hotel. It wasn't long until another car stopped for me, a guy in a van. He handed me a coffee cup and told me to open it up, inside was a big bag of pot and a pipe. I sat in back and had a few hits, he dropped me off in the center of Petaluma with a five dollar bill. At first I thought my location it to be an incovienance, but I was happy to walk through a town I'd never been to, I even stopped to talk to a slightly off guy named Steve who asked me to sit and talk.
I continued to walk towards the freeway until a man in a parkinglot signaled me over, he asked if I was headed for the freeway to go south, I hopped in. He drove me to the freeway and even a little ways south to a gas station. I thumbed out for my next ride up on the freeway, a guy whisteled my attention by the gas pumps and I jogged down, he was going straight through San Fran and further south, my final ride. His passenger was a cute girl named Sherry, she wasn't sure where they were headed, just "the lake", she was quick witted with a hint of mischief in her tone, I liked her. We all talked mostly of hitchhiking stories and travels all the way to San Fran, we crossed over the golden gate bridge in a complete erie fog, they dropped me near the park and I went searching for Rudy and Kimmie.
With Kimmie's phone finally working, it wasn't long before I strolled through the park to Haight street where they were just finishing dinner, I was still full of steak... happy. No couchsurfers or our friends were in town, we became set on camping in Golden Gate Park, a feat we were all told impossible. We wandered through the park investigating patches of woods before finding a spot we deemed suitable. We setup or giant 5 person tent right there in the park, somewhat hidden, Rudy uncorked a bottle of wine and I popped open a couple beers we'd just got, Prohibition Ale from Speakeasy, a brewery in town whose beer I had loved one night in Philadelphia at Heather's place. We only got through a little bit before we all passed out heavy.
We slept in until 10:30 or so in the morning, the sounds of park goers and tennis players all around. I peaked out of the tent, we weren't quite as hidden as we thought, but still pretty out of the way. We struck down the tent in record speed, we'd conquered the park as far as we were concerned. A guy came walking up the hill huffing and puffing shortly after on his way somewhere, he asked us if we had papers, but they were left in Dread's RV. This guy had papers anyhow and rolled up a joint, I think he wanted to prove that San Fran's bud was better than British Columbia's, we left the woods and went to smoke it on the big hill, "hippy hill" as someone later reffered to it as.
We spent the afternoon between the laundromat and a coffee shop finsihing the beers from last night and getting our clothes clean again, we were going to break into the wine and let our things dry a pinch more, but we'd forgotten it somewhere.
After all had mostly dryed we headed back to the park, the hill was now covered with people and a big drum circle was underway. I went to leak in the woods and came across the forgotten wine bottle, we drank that and smoked. At first I was trying to keep the smoke hidden, but thought nothing of it once we saw others openly smoking in the park, including a group who'd climbed to the top of a short tree in the middle of the field shouting "420!" as smoke billowed away from them.
Kimmie joined the drum circle, she danced her way in, Rudy and I stayed back talking, watching, listening. I'd look up to see her with a different instrument, she got her hands on a drum at one point even. After a while she came back with a friend she'd made, Starchild was his name, the plan was to grab a bite and hang out for a bit, so we headed for Haight to find food.
On the walk over he said it was fine to crash at his place for the night, we were all smiles. We had some food and headed to a music store to look around, then another girl we were hanging out with, Eileen, gave us a ride to Starchild's place.
We sat around talking there for a while, Eileen had a little pug who slept beside her. She was very friendly and happy that we'd all met. She'd apparently seen UFOs a lot in her day, "They can sense your energy, if you go to certain places and put out that positive energy they'll come and check it out", she told me a few stories.
Starchild was in and out of the room, he came back in saying he had to work, but he'd be back in a few hours if we still wanted to hang out or we were free to sleep. He's a prostitute, that's the work he was going to, but he showed us his room for clients that we could sleep in. It was giant bed with a mirror, loads of pillows and bean bags, a closet full costumes and toys, and bead lights on the ceiling. "Help yourself to any of the lube or toys", he told Kimmie when he realized we were claiming the room and Rudy claiming the couch in the living room.
The three of us watched a movie until he got back. We had some tea, I tryed an ice wine that was pretty nice, and we even played some scrabble, Starchild stamped out some buttons with his little machine, "Yes on K", he was going to pass them out tomorrow to support the legalization of prostitution. Rudy passed out on the couch and Kimmie and I retired to the sex room, Starchild to his room.
In the morning Starchild got ready for the fetish parade in the city, short shorts, chains, that kinda thing. Kimmie and Rudy got ready as well, I decided I should be getting to the couchsurfing base camp in Berkeley, so I hopped on the subway and they headed for the parade. Once in Berkeley I walked a little ways to get to the house, first therough a commercial area, then some trendy kinda streets, then through frat row where the house was.
I poked my head through the door and saw Rachel, she's in charge of saftey on couchsurfing.com and is an all around good person. She gave me the tour of the house, there's a lot of rooms. I grabbed a proper shower and cooked up some food for myself and relaxed the night away as more people I'd met in Alaska and others I hadn't met yet filtered in. Towards the end of the night I shared stories with Rachel on the porch before going to sleep, I do love porches and stoops.
It was a good sleep, alone on a comfy bed where I slept until I woke up. Tomorrow I plan on going to Sacramento one way or another, it's a 90 minute drive, so it should be a quick hitch, there's just the barrier of it being a city and all, so we'll see what the best escape is. It's been a great couple weeks, a great wedding coming up, and unknown but guaranteed awesome after... and just got a phone call, maybe a brewery trip to Speakeasy today. Awesome.
Dr. Bronners soap is the swiss army knife of hygiene on the road. I can use it as soap and shampoo in the shower, brush my teeth with it, wash my clothes and more. The stuff is magic, check it out and other gear I like to use while traveling.