Our stay at Lisa’s house was a bit more lacsidasical than we had planned due to Sarah’s continued sickness. We watched some eighties movies and I was surprised to find that Cocktail was not really the Jamaican Love story I remembered , but mostly a deeply disfuncional bromance with a bloody suicide tacked on for no reason and an unplanned pregnancy subplot. We went to a thru hiking presentation put on by REI at a local brewery. There we met several people with a lot of thru hiking experience and they let us gawk at their packs. We learned of several thru hikes we never knew existed. I was pleased to see that most of the men who had completed many 2,000+ mile hikes were not the tall wiery lean muscled people I had imagined, but were rather slightly over ideal weight. This gave me hope. Maybe a slower metabolism could be helpful in long distance hiking. Probably not though. The big takeaway for me came from a brief round table regarding what each of the presenters wish they had known before their first thru hike. It was this: you will shit your pants. One guy said it unashamed, the others nodded or chuckled a little. One of the other presenters offered up his own pants shitting story that involved passing some dayhikers with their children. I asked a third if this was true. He, being a bit more modest than the others, just said “yeah” quietly. I wanted more explanation but felt I wouldn’t get any. So I guess I have that to look forward to. We left Portland after around a week. We left our dog Truman behind with Lisa and Jason. This was the only time I got the least bit emotional. Probably for two reasons. One is that my dog is the goddam best. He really is. “But my dog is pretty cool too” you might be thinking. Stop it. You are being delusional. Truman is the best dog and possibly mammal ever, and I will hear no argument to the contrary. Just look at this guy:
Well , that one was supposed to be a gif of him wiggling and moving his ears back and forth while he literally smiles at you, but I guess the software isn’t compatible. Whatever, you get the idea, case closed. Secondly he doesn’t know what is going on or when we will be back. Six months is a long time for a dog. I stayed on the verge of tears about this the rest of the day. I am getting a little sad just recalling it. Here is a picture of us saying goodbye that Lisa forced us to take. Lisa’s stepson insisted on being in the picture for some reason. You will see him behind us, stone faced, holding a dog he will not be saying goodbye to:
Our aloof cat trapped in a Terrier’s body is in Sarah’s arm. Her name is Riley. Note the look of indifference if not outright disdain. I also don’t know why she was in the picture. We took her with us to Havasu. She has little affection for us and probably had to be captured to take part in this photo.
Sarah continued to feel ill for the duration of the trip to Havasu. We had planned to take several days traveling down scenic highway 101. Our itinerary was the Redwoods, San Francisco, Big Sur, then Disneyland.
The sky remained dark through the Oregon Dunes and the redwoods. It poured rain almost constantly with the occasional snow break when the road would gain elevation. Every time I would run into a patch of snow at 400ft I would be reminded that the seirra mountains would likely be a nightmare. But that is still a long way off, sort of. We stopped in to the redwoods interpretive center. There were three old lady volunteers in the mostly empty building. If they noticed our presence they didn’t let on. They were embroiled in a backbiting session about an unseen volunteer coworker who once had the temerity to sit in Martha’s chair. They were all on the same side on this: fuck that guy. He’s just going to roll in here at 65 and plop down at Martha’s desk and start working to educate the public for free like he is hot shit just because he still walks without a cane?! You put in your time youngster, build up some tenure and maybe in five years we can talk desk. For now you sit your happy, age spot free ass front and center in the folding chair by the log wagon and work your way up like the rest of us. Asshole.
The weather was shitty. Sarah was exhausted. I was weary from driving. Many of the famous trees had fallen down. The whole thing had an air of “let’s get this over with”. Here are some pictures of redwoods, a rip off broken down drive through tree held up with cables on a ruined road, a fallen log with asphalt on top you can drive onto and then back off of for six dollars, if that’s your thing. Also pictured is the highlight of the Redwoods: pretending to fight Paul Bunyan and his ox Babe. It’s hard to see but Sarah is working the speed bag.
The next day it was off to San Francisco. The rain and snow continued for most of the drive with a little hail mixed in for good measure. Sarah continued to hack and sneeze, I would occasionally request she sneeze or cough into her elbow. “I’m turning away from you” she would say , then aerosilize streptococcus all over the dashboard. It was clear to me I would soon share her fate. We didn’t have an itinerary for San Francisco, so we didn’t do much. The Golden Gate Bridge was nice. We ate some overpriced food next to a couple of douchbags who say things like “here’s to swimming in bow legged women” and “if your not going to give me at least 1.6 then forget about it.” Real impressive fellas. The next day we walked downtown and saw the wharf, Giradelli Square, that crooked street and the Presido. Sarah thought that the homeless of San Francisco were classier than the homeless in Seattle. She was right. Definitely less scary. Maybe less heroin? Also I couldn’t help thinking “we are homeless”. Having nothing in mind to do and Sarah still loaded with the virus that would soon infect my body, we decided to leave at around one. It turned out that much of Big Sur was closed due to flooding. We decided to forget Disneyland, abandon highway 101 for I-5 and drive the 700 miles to Lake Havasu that day. The road was full of semis and one extremely drunk driver. We arrived around midnight. It was exhausting.