After a surprisingly good night of sleep, I woke up at 6 A.M. to see the sun shining down on me. I appreciated its kind attempt to get me up, but I was too cozy. I slept for another two hours and got up for real at 8 A.M. I packed up my campsite quickly, ate a ham and cheese sandwich for breakfast, and reorganized my car. I left my campsite at 9:30 A.M. and began my drive to Klamath National Park. The drive was uneventful and I continued listening to my audiobook, this time learning about China. I pulled off the road at a rest stop for a few minutes to get this picture of Shasta Lake.
I got back on the road and drove another several miles to Shasta City. I stopped at a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop to obey nature and then grab a cup of coffee. I walked around the city for about twenty minutes but found nothing intriguing. I found out when I left that I had stopped too soon – there was a much nicer downtown area a mile up the road. But I didn’t know that at the time, so I turned around and went back to the coffee shop I had seen. While waiting in line, I met a young man about my own age, named Kevin. He looked to be of the adventuring sort, so I asked him if he was traveling through, or lived there. He said that he lived in the city and had just come to have a cup of coffee while he read. I could sympathize with that! Before I could ask him what book he was reading, it was his turn in line. After him, I ordered my usual ultra fancy beverage – iced black coffee. It came out quickly and I wished Kevin well before walking back to my car.
Now I was in mission mode. I had realized earlier that my destination for the day was across the Oregon border. This presented a problem – I had not done my two hundred push-ups in California yet. As my mind always does, I started trying to worm my way around doing pushups just yet. This was only California, I had done thousands here before. I could just skip them and start in Oregon. Then, if I decided I wanted to do some in California, I could do them on the return trip. But I knew that was silly – I wanted to start this off right. So I looked for a nice spot to do them. Sadly, exercise facilities are not a part of the tourist attraction business. I looked in vain for several miles before it occurred to me that a local park would work out perfectly. I pulled off the road and found one and here, again, I went through the mind-games of avoidance. I feel quite foolish now, writing about it. I walked all the way around the park (which turned out to be very extensive), taking pictures of the gold mining equipment they had and exploring the mountain biking trail head. It’s true that I got a good walk in, but I ended up right back where I started. I finally decided to stop wasting time and get going.
I hoped to break the two hundred into sets and chug systematically through them. As I got close to a hundred though, I realized that wouldn’t work – would need a rest before I was ready to do a hundred more. So I did the first hundred in nine minutes, took a twenty-minute break, and finished the second hundred in eleven minutes. Some people will wonder how I did them so slow and some people will wonder how I did them at all. I’ll let those two opinions balance out and just try to do a little better each time.
I got back on the road after taking a quick shower (using the ingenious portable shower device suggested by my brother, Andrew – don’t worry, there has never been any Roundup in this one).
The remainder of my drive took me through increasingly exciting mountain passes, ending with a single lane gravel road with a sheer drop down the mountain on one side. Well, it may not have been a sheer drop, I’m sure one of the giant trees would have been happy to catch my SUV halfway down – though I doubt that trees know the meaning of “gentle.” Anyway, I did meet two other vehicles coming the other way (both were GMC pickup trucks). We made it safely past each other with at least six inches to spare on the cliff side.
I found the Mt. Ashland Campground almost empty, except for one large RV. I picked the spot farthest away from the RV. I get enough of close proximity in the city, so I reclaim my personal space when camping. Five hundred feet please, keep your distance people.
I set up my tent around 4:30 P.M. and sat down to read. Ater an hour I got up to stretch my legs and explore the camping area. This is the most beautiful area I’ve been so far on my trip (which isn’t saying much, since I was driving through California), and the temperature was perfect – around 65 degrees.
When I came back to my tent, I called home to update my family, then went began writing. Eventually, I got tired, and now, around 10:30 P.M. I am quite ready to get some sleep. Tonight I am using a traditional sleeping back and thin air cushion since I don’t want to wake my neighbors by flopping about in my balloon chair.
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.