Cruising Around California - Meth, Weed, DMT and Beer

After a beer filled couple weeks in Bend I was ready for the road again, time to dip into California. My Bend friend dropped me south of town where I stuck my thumb out, I quickly got a ride from a woman and her daughter, she was off to the next town south where she was to start work at a brewery, of course.

Next a guy in a van headed to the next bar, I hopped out and quickly got a short ride just through town from another guy, "Sorry I wasn't going further, at least you got some chicken out of it!", he said as I hopped out, munching on the fried chicken he had indeed passed on to me. After that I got another short ride to the next town and began walking some more.

"Where you heading?", someone shouted to me. "California!", I replied. He'd just been stopping at a shop, but turns out he was heading down to California as well. We started cruising, he seemed whiskey drunk, not that he actually was, this was just his natural way of speaking I gathered.

We shot all the way down to Red Bluff by dark, pausing just a couple times for his bad back and coffee in Weed, California. I was pretty close to Chico by this point where I have great friends, I hoped I could make it, I messaged one telling her I may just make it. I stood under a streetlight at the edge of town, but traffic died way down and it got later and later, so I started walking deciding I'd keep moving until I could find a place to camp or catch a ride before I'd get a chance.

I walked and walked and walked, headlights passed me by, the farm land offered no bushy patches or otherwise hidden places to camp. None of this mattered after a while, my Chico friend got in touch with her Red Bluff friend Judy, next thing I knew Judy was rolling up alongside me.

We cruised back to her place and talked for a while, then finally I fell into sleep, inside and comfortable. I showered in the morning and hung around for a bit waiting to see if Judy would get up to say goodbye, but eventually just left a note saying thanks and took off. Turns out she'd stayed up all night working, so would be sleeping like a rock for some time.

I got one short ride once I got to the road, but then I was back to walking for a good long time. I took a rest against a guard rail eventually, right then a car finally pulled over and let me hop in. The driver was a bigger guy in his 30's or 40's, a professor at the school in Chico. He seemed on edge, "... I'm on something that keeps you up", he explained, going on about some end of the school year party he'd been at in Red Bluff. I assumed cocaine.

We chatted along, I said something like, "Sometimes I have to camp off the side of the road and only get intermittent sleep until the morning", answering one of his many questions about my traveling lifestyle.

He looked amazed, "Intermittent? That's a smart person's word", he said with a tone that suggested apology without requiring it, "How does someone without a college education use a word like that?", he asked me.

"I did get a college education... I don't think 'intermittent' is that fancy of a word really anyway", I laughed. These sort of assumptions he made about me as a hitchhiker continued, his memory faded in and out as well it seemed.

He kept saying things like, "This is just so fascinating to me!", sweating and asking more questions.

We got close to town and he offered to get us burritos, which we did, now in easy walking distance to my friend's house. We chowed down and exchanged numbers, he said he may have some odd jobs if I wanted to make an extra buck. After we ate I went and grabbed my bag out of his car.

"Uh, yea, hey, you wanna party?", he asked me, "I've got some more of that stuff", he shuffled in his professor's blazer, looking beat up from the weekend still.

"I just gotta get back to my friend's for now, I'm good", at this point I realized cocaine was not the thing, meth was his game.

I wandered on over to my friends, then spent the day biking around and relaxing. She made a big lamb dinner, wine and the rest of it. That night I shot darts with another couple friends, somewhere in the middle of the night getting a message from the professor, wanting me to join him and some of his friends in a little meth party, I passed again.

I got back on the road the next morning towards Sacramento. My first ride was someone sympathetic to seeing me walking, they'd spent they day before walking when their car broke down and no one had given them a ride. Next a guy specializing in auto glass took me another town over. My last ride then came from a guy in the air force, he went out of his way to drive me right to Aaron and Jessica's place where I was heading.

"A hobo's here!", dogs barking and jumping up and down as I poked my head through the door. I was just in time to head out to Sam Hornes with them, the beer bar of choice in the area, then spend the night at their place with other friends downing beers and sharing laughs.

I spent another relaxed day with them, the day after Aaron dropped me off on the freeway, I was Grass Valley bound to see my friend Candice. I got a ride to Auburn from someone my age who'd taken a summer off hitchhiking and was happy to return the favor with this ride. Coincidentally, Aaron's dad was at a brewery with a friend in town there so I joined them for a couple pints before heading back to the road.

A bearded guy picked me up after I managed to walk out of town a bit, he smoked me out and I was less than twenty miles from Grass Valley, I messaged Candice to tell her as much. She came racing down to come pick me up, except I didn't quite catch that from her message, so ended up getting picked up by some other Grass Valley bound woman beforehand.

I got dropped off at the grocery store in town and Candice was right behind us, I caught her familiar smile I loved so much, hopping out and saying thanks to the woman, then hopping in alongside Candice. I swear she was a hardcore gangster in a past life, but in this one she's a hippie space farmer, thriving off awkward beats and surrounded by animals.

We got some beer and headed back to her place, this was the first I'd seen it. She had a fair sized garden, several, the animals of course and a roommate or two, buried in the trees alongside a sloping hill.

I spent a few days or so with her there, running around the river with her dogs, meeting a few of her friends and seeing their places and wandering in the woods.

I got my hands on DMT, something I'd never tried, I made my way into the woods down some trails and then off to trail to give it my first go. I made myself comfortable, sitting on the ground in the smallest of clearings amongst the trees, raised the pipe to my lips, lit it and inhaled. Again. Things started whooshing a bit. Suddenly the trees turned to glowing neon wire frame. The air hollowed out and there was only the tinkle of the neon in the echo chamber without echos I'd found myself in. I looked down at my arm, neon scales of a rainbowed reptile.

This stain glassed holiness faded quickly. I lifted the pipe again for a larger take. Things shot up dramatically, things were neon again, but now they were sludgy, darker. I felt heavy, slurry, suddenly I wanted water and had none. Beer, I thought, I do have a beer. I was plastered into my position though, even if I could locate and retrieve the beer (which was only inches to the right of me), I couldn't fathom the possibility of managing to open it under this state of mind.

Water water, I needed it I thought. I was dying out here, I felt my mind slipping away. This is how it all would end, I'd be found, eventually maybe, collapsed in the woods with a bottle of beer and a DMT pipe. Not possible, I'd never heard such things about DMT I thought. I fell on my back, the sky! It was beautiful, I sighed a huge sigh of relief and audibly let out, "Thank you, Donna!", I felt amazing. For some reason I'd remembered or conjured up some thought of my friend Donna talking about trippers at Burning Man who simply needed to hop in some friendly tent with easy going vibes to snap out of weird trips, the sky did it for me in a snap.

I laid there, back to bliss with the appreciation of escaping death, whether I actually had come close or not didn't matter now, either way I was alive and it was amazing. The trees were swaying wires in the wind, the air was clear, the world was melded.

After another day or so relaxing and helping Candice with her garden a bit I ended up cruising out with one her roommates to another property a ways away. They were gearing up for the growing season, there wasn't much for structures there though, we all tented out after a night of some beers and stories.

They did a little work in the morning, then I got a ride with one of them to Yuba City. I hitched a ride from a woman there down south of Sacramento, at this point I was aiming for my brother's place north of San Diego. An older guy gave me a ride near Modesto, then I walked a good ways in the heat, pausing at a rest area to drink as much water as possible, then continuing on foot along the freeway as it started getting dark.

A Mexican guy picked me up before it got too dark, we cruised through the night, pausing a couple times to take a nap, finally he let me out in the middle of the night in Santa Ana. We'd gotten off the main freeway somehow, I walked until I finally hit the freeway again, now with the sun coming back up.

It didn't take long for a cop to stop me on the bus southern California highway, he frisked me and had me hop in the back of the car, then just took me to the next exit saying I was ok to hitchhike, just not walk on the freeway.

From there I realized I was close enough to just hop on the local bus, a short ride and little more walking later I was at my brother's place. I spent a few days with him, we brewed two beers. First a wit beer, the next night our flagship Imperial Campfire Stout. It would prove to awesome on top of awesome.

Now it was time for me to make the cross country race to New York City in time for the fourth of July hot dog eating contest. California to New York hitchhiking in less than two weeks. Easy.

June 6, 2012 to June 19, 2012