August 23rd – Driving Again

    It is very nice to have a bed. At the moment I do not have one, and I am missing it. But you don’t know where I am yet, so I’ll have to tell you.

    This morning I woke up at the bed and breakfast where I fell asleep last night. Imagine that – no kidnappings, no teleportation, no sleepwalking! Everything was going right so far. It was 6:30 A.M when my alarm went off and for once I got myself up to make it happy. I got dressed and made it out the door. This was my basketball day. My younger brother, Sam, and I had spent Tuesday and Thursday mornings at our local sports park during the summer, working through dribbling and shooting drills. I have sternly instructed him not to give up the discipline during the fall. Since he will be faithfully working out (right Sam?) I cannot let myself fall too far behind. I spotted a basketball court as I drove through San Luis Obispo yesterday, so this morning I went there to keep up with Sam.

    I didn’t take too long – about forty minutes to get through everything. The weather was amazing. Overcast and sixty degrees – perfect for basketball. Once I finished, I went back to the bed and breakfast for a shower. My friend met me there when I was done and we had breakfast together on the veranda. We continued our conversation from the previous day for half an hour. Then it was time for me to leave and we said our farewells.

    I got started driving around 9:30, but an hour into my journey I knew that I was tired. I suppose waking up early does that sometimes. So I pulled off the road and found a shady parking spot, then took a nap from 10:30 A.M. to 12 P.M. That refreshed me and I got back on the road. And drove. And drove. Today was a long day of driving. I hit some traffic (figuratively speaking) through the outskirts of San Francisco and was stuck in it for about an hour. Eventually, I made it through. I had hoped to camp at a place just outside of San Francisco, but all of the spots were taken. Most of the campsites I plan on visiting are free but do not accept reservations. I will just have to be flexible and have many layers of plans. In this case, I did have a Plan B, which was a campsite west of Sacramento. It was quite a distance further north from where I was, but there was not much traffic on the way so I did not mind the extra time. On the way, I stopped for a break in the small town of Esparto. There is a park in the center of the town which still has swings and metal climbing bars, unlike our boring, “safe” plastic playgrounds in Southern California. I guess, as the cross-street explained, you only live once.

    The remaining miles went quickly and I saw quite a nice basketball court along the way. I thought about stopping to play for awhile, but it was already late afternoon and I wanted to get to my campsite.

    When I arrived, I took out my camping gear and set everything up for the first time. I have a large, green, balloon-like cushion which is intended for use as a sort of lounge chair. It is very comfortable. I set that up and put it inside my tent, intending to sleep on it. That ended up working out rather poorly. The contraption – which I shall call a balloon chair – was indeed comfortable. It was also tremendously crinkly. You know how, when you open a plastic bag full of cookies that you are not really supposed to be opening, your imagination tells you that the sound is so loud that everyone in the house can hear it? Well using this balloon chair on a quiet night is the same as that, except that the whole world actually can hear the sound. I was glad that there was only one other camper at the site, and he was several hundred yards away, behind a little hill, in an RV. Even with all that, I felt like I was making too much noise. I made it through the night though.


    I did have to wake up at one point to get my sleeping bag. During the day it had been 90 degrees and at 9 P.M. it was still 85 degrees. I figured that since the sun had already been down for an hour, it wouldn’t get much colder. I just wore pants and a jacket to bed and squished myself into the balloon chair to keep warm. Around 2 A.M. though, I woke up to find my mistake – it was quite chilly. I gave in a got my sleeping bag. After that, I slept like a baby again.

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