One Last California Leg of the Marilyn Adventure

Writing has been put on the back burner for the last while, but it's about time I continue to catch up before memories fade. As it stands I'm a year behind anyways, so let's jump back to August, 2013.

I'd spent the last couple months or so traveling around the US and a piece of Mexico with Marilyn, a girl I'd met a year earlier. She'd taken a leave of absence from her Indiana nursing job for the summer to come out adventuring. With three weeks until she needed to be back, we found ourselves in Portland, Oregon about to thumb our way south to California for one last spin through.

We walked to the busy freeway and our thumb quickly began to bring in the day's rides. First was a guy heading to Salem, then a glass blower to Eugene a pot grower to Grants Pass next, then a guy heading to Medford to sell his plasma for some extra bucks.

From there we got a ride from a sort of hippie couple heading to Ashland, they were heading to the river and invited us to join, but sunset wasn't all too far and we were eager to potentially hit Chico before the day was done.

The next ride came from a woman heading towards Sacramento, the big lift we needed, she got us all the way to Red Bluff, even taking us to the far side of town where we'd have a better chance of getting our next ride.

That last ride came before darkness could spoil the day, a petite rad looking girl with a haircut that Marilyn later described as a "micro-bob", she was a nude model for local artists as well a trimmer during harvest season. She dropped us off directly at my friend's house in Chico, all was perfect.

We stayed in Chico several days doing the sort of Chico things that keep me coming back; eating amazing home cooked meals, visiting the brewery and generally running around having a good time.

In the mix of all this there was one interaction that would end up being pretty impactful going forward. While at my friend's, she was in the shower, I was looking at the computer reading about a contest Sierra Nevada was having, about a couple dozen winners would get to go to their Beer Camp. While I was reading, a knock came on the door, a guy introduced himself as Jerry.

He was coming to see my friend about one thing or another, but while he waited we began talking naturally, I brought up how I was going to try and get into Beer Camp. This intrigued him, he was growing his own hops up the hill outside of town a little ways and had at some point bought some homebrewing equipment he hadn't yet learned to use.

By the time he talked with my friend and took off we'd arranged to meet up the next day so he could drive me up to his place and pay me to brew up some beer using his hops. This was a no brainer.

His hops looked great, I got to brewing and several hours later it was all stashed away, starting to ferment with happy days to come. He handed me some cash and told me I should come on back for the real harvest to deal with the hop plant's cousin of sorts, everything was clicking.

That next day my friend gave Marilyn and I ride to Oroville where she needed to run an errand, that gave us a nice little boost towards Sacramento which was our next stop. We hitched a quick ride with a guy going to Gridley, then got our second ride from a guy heading all the way to Sacramento where my friend picked up.

We spent the next few days there drinking good home brew and filming our videos for the Beer Camp contest. We were feeling pretty confident, our hopes were high that we'd get to, which would mean three days at the brewery culminating with getting the chance to brew our own beer on their equipment.

From Sacramento we headed to San Francisco, we managed to only have to hitch a single ride to get there, a nurse who was heading only to Vacaville, but decided on a whim that he'd just take us all the way which we were incredibly grateful for, always happy to get some travel magic.

We wasted no time before finding ourselves some good food and then bouncing around between some breweries and top beer bars. At some point we took a stroll through a foggy golden gate park, crossing paths with a math teacher who'd hitched from Boston who wanted to share a smoke with us.

Eventually we met up with my friend Walter, he'd flown in from Europe for some techie confrence kinda deal, I jump at any chance to go share a beer with Walter, in fact this was the main reason for us coming to town.

Another friend of mine eventually picked us up, we were spending the next couple nights with him. We spent the next day hitting up some more breweries we hadn't gotten to yet, then that night I joined Walter for a tech talk in some office building, a few beers after, then eventually heading back to the house.

Next we'd heading up the coast, up and east, now looking at just less than two weeks to get Marilyn back to Indiana, but there was plenty of distance to fill with some good times before this trip would be in the books, onward as always.

August 11, 2013 to August 20, 2013