What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare.
---William Henry Davies, “Leisure”
There have been longer trips. There have been trips more challenging. There have been few that have been as peaceful and fun. La Coachasita provided some moments of concern but returns in good shape with only small wounds to remind me of this northwest adventure.
I saw old friends, old places, and new places, met new characters, had excellent weather and except for the one storm, it remained warm until the end… As I left the Redwood Coast on Wednesday there was frost on the ground and the cold weather was clearly coming. The wind that had been suspiciously absent most of the trip was up, and it felt colder than it probably really was.
It was time to move south. My last stop was in the Santa Yenez Mountains behind Santa Barbara for three nights. It is a favorite place where at migratory birds from eagles hawks, ducks on the lake, and song birds to numerous to catalogue or name can be seen this time of year. The weather turned warm on the last day as the clocks changed and it seemed a good time to go home.
The trip plan, as the poet said, was to find a place I liked “to stand and stare.” It is good for the body and the soul, something we should all do now and then. I have seen television once in six weeks, read two newspapers and generally turned down the cacophony of the appliances of the world to find the serenity that can come with such silence. It would seem I missed little except the continuing saga the news reports of things there when I left and some boy who was and then wasn’t in a balloon somewhere in the Midwest and two Continental Airline pilots-- now former pilots-- who forgot they were en route to Minneapolis.
It is nice to have such wonderful weather to end the trip. Surprising this large and now green park due to the six inches of rain last week is quiet. The fishermen are at the lake for the day, but the campground is largely unused.
There are exceptions. An LA flock of four thirty somethings in a motor home and a trailer arrived on Friday, unloaded two mountain bikes, four bicycles, a remote control plane and a kite of vast proportions. They are affable bunches who yet wear their wireless phone devices even while kite flying. I am not sure have ever seen so many toys come with four people who have spent the last two days either sitting and laughing, or sitting and eating. I was fully prepared for more noise than I thought I would find necessary but so far they have collapsed into the arms of Morpheus early and remained there late. I will no doubt wake them all when I pull out tomorrow from across the wide road here.
The only other constant companions until today was a man and wife who, so far as I could tell, never uttered a word while in camp, insisted on parking in the space next to me (there were many others available) and were actually in the park and awake or out doors for perhaps six hours in two days. At about one today, I came back from the lake and found they had gone. This is not the sort of place that attracts those who park and go off to see the sights. This is the sight they come to see usually as it is miles from any town. While here and out, he wore a sweatshirt advertising a tattoo parlor, a straw hat and smoked a large cigar. When they arrived, she remained in the truck until trailer had been parked and arranged. When it was done, she ambled in and an hour later they left and returned around midnight.
Somehow, this seems all the confirmation I need that I am back in Southern California.
Home will be a good place to be tomorrow. Thank you all for coming on this rather short—for me at least—trip of 2200 miles. I have enjoyed your company, your e-mails and posts on the blog. Spring is the next significant trip with a book to publish between now and then. I will be going I am certain, where is yet a question. North Carolina and the Great Smoky Mountains have only been cursorily explored and that is in my mind now.
But much will happen between now and then, so we shall see.
There will be pictures later and perhaps some words over the winter. I hope you all stay well and stay in touch.