Just now, when I typed that title line, “Weekend Camping Trip”, I had accidentally typed “Weekmend”… which actually seems appropriate. I mean, don’t people spend the weekend resting, refueling, relaxing…. Mending themselves after a week of work?
Anyway, I tried to make reservations for the beach campgrounds along the PCH, but was too late. Must be 48+ hours in advance, and they were all already full. So I took the subway then metrolink trains into Simi Valley, where Mike, my ex-husband, left his Chevy Silverado pick-up parked and waiting for me. I had told him I wanted to take the dog camping, so in the truck was also a bag of dog food, a collar, his treats, etc. I stopped at the house, got a doggy bed, a crappy old sleeping bag, and Boomerang, my dog.
He did NOT want to get in the truck. I let him ride in the cab, not the bed. I had to pick all 80+ pounds of his hairy ass up and place him on the passenger seat of the truck. Hell, *I* have to use the handrail to get in the thing. We camped the first two nights at Malibu Creek State Park. M*A*S*H was filmed there; it’s steep sided mountains, cactus, big sycamore trees. This dog, at age 11 and 3/4ths about, had never BEEN camping, and only went to the vet in car trips, so it’s it’s no wonder he wasn’t all happy and waggy about getting into the truck, and I assumed that, since he’s never really been tied up, been camping, etc, that he might whine, be an idiot, pout, etc. He has been REMARKABLY well behaved, sweet, happy, … just his usual self. I think he’s having a really good time. Lots of attention, treats, walks, meeting people, sniffing rocks, trees, buildings, car tires, other dogs’ behinds, getting petted by strangers.. what’s not to love?
He’s crashed out on his doggy bed by a fire I built. He sleeps well here, eats fine, doesn’t seem put off by all this.
I need to reserve the charge on the battery in this laptop, so I’d better get off. Just can’t wait to get home.
There are some persons in Cody I am missing a lot.
I can feel the softness and warmth of his skin. I can hear that one breathing deep in his sleep. I can smell his cologne. His smile, even in my memory, still melts me. I smile myself, at that man’s nonsense jokes and stories as I remember them. And the little things, like how his mustache twitches when he blinks, that little space between his front teeth, the sky blue color of his eyes…
Usually when I miss someone, it’s just being in their presence I miss, and when I think of them, my senses aren’t usually involved. But for some reason, yesterday and today, I can smell their cologne and feel their muscles under their skin, like I am with them, or just was yesterday.
It’s making being away from my friends that much harder. I have a handful of men friends that I share a special relationship with. Those guys mean a lot to me, I love them all, and I miss them. There are so many people, male and female, that I miss. Some close, close friends, some lovers, some casual buddies, some girlfriends, all have a spot only they can fill, and those spots are empty right now. And the places I would go the most, and the mountains that surround Cody I miss, … even the weather; I feel incomplete, misplaced, empty. It’s called being homesick.
There’s a woman I became friends with via Facebook. She used to date one of my best friends, years ago, before I knew him. I’ll call him “Forrest”. I was quite in love with this man, a while back, and thought I was over him… but have realized that I’m not. With all my yearning and occasional tears, and him being in my thoughts morning and night of every day, I realized, as I kind of knew deep down, that I’m still in love with him. Anyway, I drew a rather good likeness of this fellow, and posted a photo of the sketch on Facebook. Because Forrest had looked his ex-girlfriend up one time from my Facebook account, her name was still in my chat history. So, when I posted the drawing, I contacted her to see if she’d like to see what Forrest looked like today. She commented back how he hadn’t changed, and we chatted briefly on and off.. then the messages became more personal, more inquisitive, and a lot longer, and we actually became friends, though we’ve never met face-to-face. She’s quite a sweet lady.
And she’s in a town in Western Colorado, easily on my way from LA to Cody, rather near where my best friend lives, so I am hoping to get to meet her as I pass through. Problem is she’s moving to another state in the next couple weeks, so I am now in a hurry to get out of here so I can avail my only chance to meet this charming woman in person. She even suggested perhaps she could ride to Cody with me, as she used to live there, and would like to see it again, before she catches a bus to her new home.
I have found a few trailers on craigslist, but getting with my ex to do this, to buy the trailer, is difficult. I would REALLY like to buy the trailer before I leave for Wyoming, as there are more to choose from here, the prices are decent due to saturation of the market? Desperate, broke, jobless sellers? I don’t know why, but they seem reasonable here. And I’d like to try it out before I haul it 1200 miles away.
So, I may slip away and go camping in Malibu, to get out of this congested, dirty city, and hopefully come up with a concrete plan for getting a trailer, getting a schedule, and getting home. I’m ready to start selling stuff, to get back into my walking routine, and to utilize my senses with those “missing persons”.
Saturday morning I woke early and packed for a weekend, and caught the subway to Union Station in downtown LA. Union Station is pretty neat looking, very Art Deco in style, and the signs are all in a very stylish retro Art Deco font. Anyway, from Union Station I took the Amtrak Surfliner to Simi Valley. It’s about an hour ride by train, and quite a nice ride. The scenery, save for Chatsworth, is standard urban trash, but the train had nice cushy seats, a dining car, a bathroom and was largely empty. A lot more luxury than the subway and metrolink trains. Costs twice as much as the standard commuter rail, but twice as nice. Near Chatsworth are tunnels and passes and curves, and the rail-trail runs near where Charles Manson had one of his hippy communes, there in Box Canyon.
So after I bought the boots, I went to the beach campground, and now it was wide open. I chose a campsite, attempted hanging a hammock from the picnic table and the truck, but it was just too low to work, so I slept in a sleeping bag thrown onto the sand, right by the nice campfire I made.
Now for the possible changes. As I’ve stated, technically I’m homeless. By that I mean I have no actual domicile. I have a mailing address in Cody, but no apartment, home, room, campsite, anything. MIke said he’d let me use his 3/4 ton Silverado pickup till March, when I’d return it and fly to NJ to start walking. But now he is considering GIVING me the truck and buying me either an in-bed, cab-over camper or a camping trailer. (I’d prefer the latter). This way, for a few thousand dollars, I’d have a place to live no matter what. I could work at a state or national park, in town, out of town; I could “escape” from Cody and stuff and go into the mountains to camp. I could have my DOG with me. Owning a camper, motorhome, trailer, or other mobile living unit was, is, my ultimate goal, at least right now. For those reasons listed above, to be free to move, work where ever, travel, etc. Having a camping trailer would change my next few months a LOT. Right now, although ready to go back to Cody, I haven’t a place to stay. And to throw in that I’ll have an 80-pound hairball (Boomerang) with me…. As I figured, all those raised hands just went back under the desks… I guess that, if all that fell into place, I’d still return it all in March, to Mike here in California, or I’d come with just the dog, as I don’t think he cold handle this trip; and finding water for two, food for two, a place to stay for two, would make an already trying trip more difficult. Besides that, when I leave, Boomerang will have just turned 12, he’s a big dog, and big dogs’ hips go fast. How could I tell if he was tired, or REALLY tired, or dehydrating, or sore, or sick.. and 20-30 miles a day on a dog that age… I hope to try to get him in better shape in Cody, he could walk with me there, and he’d love the cooler weather and all the attention he’ll get.
My ex-husband Mike is always VERY busy, crunched for time, in a hurry, etc. But he came up with the idea of giving me the truck and a camper, (probably from already knowing that I wanted one) and now we have to find time to go together and see what would work for me for now.
And if I do end up with a trailer to live in for now anyway, I can get rid of my apartment and house stuff, like a bed, a couch, a dresser, etc, cause it’s all included and built in. Gets me down to one smaller storage unit, and just less SHIT.
I’m ecstatic at the idea of having the truck and trailer to use this winter before I leave for trip. It will enable me to sell off a lot of household stuff I can’t use, like dressers, couches, etc. and make a little money for this endeavor, which I badly need for things like a down (packable, stuffable) sleeping bag, a jet-boil, etc.
I have to close this here, as I don’t know how late the buses run from Santa Monica to Hollywood.
Years, MANY years ago, when I lived in Memphis.. I might not have even been married, on the news was a story about 2 dudes and a girl crossing the country in a horse drawn wagon. They were crossing Memphis and over the bridges spanning the Mississippi River. Shortly after they crossed into Arkansas, they doubled back and were abandoning their trip, due to personality and perspective differences I assume. My husband (or future husband, as I think this was before we were married) ran into them, and offered to help.
Mike, my ex husband to whom I was married for 25 years, owned and operated a horse and carriage tour service, for which I worked. That’s how I met him. Anyway, he had a barn with a couple available stalls, so we let the young men stable their horses with us until they got everything sorted out.
After the horses were sold, or trailered away, and the trio returned to their respective homes, Mike and I stayed in touch with Jeff, one of the young men. We’d occasionally hear from him, and he often seemed to be off on some adventure, living off the grid, or something interesting. He came by one time when he was traveling with a cat, another time he motorcycled across the west.
Fast forward to now. I never forgot Jeff, and one day I looked him up on Facebook and “friended” him. He’s not online much, but tonight he just read about my upcoming sea to sea walk, and posted this:
Jefferson XXXXX Shawnee, I’m never on the computer. Walk across the country? Are you nuts?
Who would attempt such a ridiculous endeavor? Go for it. Don’t think. Go.
I like it. ”Don’t think. Go.” I take his words as “expert advice” since he has taken some unusual road trips himself. ”Go for it.”
I think I shall, Jeff. I think I shall.
There are four and a half hours left until I “officially” become an AARP target, considered a “senior” at some restaurants, and give in to my white hair growth.
I was actually born at 10:35 at night, 3 weeks past my due date. My mother told me, as I was the fifth of five, that I was supposed to make the October 1st deadline for being admitted into school in September. I was a few weeks late being born. My mother told me she took rough rides in my father’s Willy’s Jeep on rough roads to try to SHAKE me loose. I ended up, having made my unceremonious arrival on October eleventh, going to a private K-12 school a town over, so I’d start kindergarten at 4. With that many kids, I don’t blame my mother for starting me early and getting me out of the house. Plus, although young, I was smart enough to keep up with my 5-year-old elders. Oddly enough, although the youngest in my grade all the way through to high school, I was still the first girl to grow boobs, (and did I grow them!) and have my period, and grow tall and stuff. But the last one to drive…
Ironically, a few years ago, I had to have surgery due to spinal damage most likely caused by off-road Jeeping. Guess it was in my blood before I was even born…
People born in 1961 have a life expectancy of like 71 years I think.. people born in the 80′s have about 75 years ahead. So that means I am entering the final 3rd of my existence. And what can I make of it? The first third (0-25) I learned to walk, shit in a can, and I went to school, got married and had 2 kids. The next third (25-50) I raised kids, found out I wasn’t happy, got divorced and moved to Wyoming. Now, facing the last one, the last “Trimester” of life, 50-75… what will I do with it? I PLAN to walk sea to sea, but THEN what, assuming I don’t get murdered, whacked by a car, cannibalized, or otherwise incapacitated….
In the movie “City Slickers”, the friends tell their buddy he can have a “do-over” .. like they did in kickball and stuff as kids. At 50, when you discovered your marriage wasn’t working, your kids were grown and you were getting hot flashes, can you pull a “do-over”?? Is it too late to try again???
Fuck, just a few more hours and the Klan will be after me.. the AARP klan…..
About 4 or 5 years ago, I had 2 back surgeries for spinal stenosis. Since then my back gets hurt a bit more easily.
A series of unfortunate events left me in the condition I’m in.
When I was moving out of my basement apartment, I felt something pull in my back when I tried to lug a big box-laden dolly up the stairs. When I got to Hollywood, I learned not to text and walk, as the sidewalks are busted up. I tripped on the sidewalk and wrenched my back. The only seat available on the city bus faces sideways, the lurching of the bus tweaked my back. And lastly, carrying groceries 3 blocks with an already compromised back did it in.
So I call the doctor Tuesday morning. An urgent care place, actually. I told them my problem, sciatica, and asked if they could help. ”We don’t administer cortisone shots, but we do have an anti-inflammatory shot called Torridol (sp) we can give..”. ANY relief for the pain I was in would help. So I took a bus to the clinic, waited the usual impatient wait period, and saw a woman doctor’s assistant or something. She asked me if I wanted the shot, then told me, oops, they were out of it. She said she could write a scrip for a pain medication. I explained I already had a scrip for Norco (a Vicodin type drug) and that in order for it to get filled, it would need to NOT be hydrocodone. I have filled a hydrocodone prescription in less than 30 days. The stuff doesn’t work, anyway. I have to double (or more) up on the dose to get pain relief, so the bottle never lasts me the full 30 days. She says, “if it won’t go through, have the pharmacy call us, I’ll call in something else.” So I hobble out of the clinic, back on to the subway, and go to Walgreens. They have me sit a while, and then call me back up, and say the prescription was “cancelled”. Nothing else was called in. I left Walgreens, and called the clinic, asking, “What exactly, did I get for the $69 I paid? I already knew it was sciatica, I you told me you had a shot, which you then said you were out of, and you wrote a prescription for a drug I told you they wouldn’t fill.” I told them I was returning to get my money back.
Which they did comply with. The lady who saw me did tell me there wasn’t really anything to do for sciatica, other than pain management, and to rest, and so far I’d been back and forth on subways and buses and had NO relief. After I got my money back I walked up Hollywood boulevard, stopped at The Kush Doctor, got a medical marijuana license, and bought an eighth. Works better than hydrocodone anyway, and I can refill it when I need to.
So I’ve spent the last few days on the couch in my son’s apartment. Not fun. I’m just hoping that some rest will heal this faster. It hurts like hell, no position is comfortable. I’m just trying to stay numb right now. w.o.o.h.o.o.
Being away from the little city of Cody, Wyoming has made me feel some strange things. I’m not a native of Wyoming, I hail from New Jersey, but I feel like I am… I have a loyalty to Cody and Wyoming as if I grew up there.
And there are people I knew I’d miss, and some I thought I’d knew I’d miss, and some I didn’t think I’d give a second thought to.
I’m going to use names, but one particular man, whom I half-way “saw” briefly, but who has remained a good friend of mine.. hasn’t left my mind. I click through the pictures on my hard drive until I find his, and I open it, and just gaze at his face. There’s a man I’m in love with, who I’ve spoken to since I’ve been here, but the Unexpectedly On MY Mind man is…
It is strange, like sifting through sand, what comes to the top, and what slips through the sieve of our minds.
In my last week in Cody, my friend Nick Frank and I were having beers together at the Irma. Nick told me he had a wagon he wanted me to take across the country. He told me how he’d found the wagon belly-up in tall weeds, pulled it free, and asked the property owner how much she’d take for it. She requested $20 and Nick bought it. He has since extended the handle a few inches (since it’s a kid’s wagon, it hit his ankles when he pulled it), and it now sports lawnmower wheels instead of it’s original ones. He told me he wanted me to pull it behind me all 3000+ miles, and wanted it covered with bumper stickers from places I’d been on my walk, and brought back with a lot of stories it could tell.
I left off with Andy, the cross-country bicycler.
So Andy spent the night on Clint’s couch. Sue, his white dog, slept with him. Gambler, the pup, played, chewed up a poster I’d gotten for my son, and used the carpet as a bathroom. He’s just a couple months old.
In the morning I shared a muffin with Andy, and then decided, since I was hungry and going into town anyway, to invite Andy to breakfast. He pedaled down to the Irma, and I walked, stopping at a store to buy a bag of dog food for his companions. At the Irma he tied the dogs up and we went in to the lounge. He got, at my insistence, the All-You-Can-Eat Breakfast Buffet. And boy did he EAT! He had been living on meager rations apparently, and so he “tanked up” while he could, his plates mounded with pancakes and grits and bacon and eggs. He saved quite a large portion of bacon “to go”.. for the dogs. What a treat for both of them. I tucked a $5 in his trailer, he found it but I insisted he keep it, he had no cash at all. He used my phone (didn’t have one of those either!) and soon he headed off towards Thermopolis to visit a friend.
On my final day, I woke at Clint’s, and my friend Kevin was there and another friend Jessica. They woke still drunk from a party the night before. I needed to take my bedroll and some other stuff to my store room, eat breakfast, and get to the airport. Ended up they helped me with that, we had breakfast together, and they drove me to the airport.
So now I’m in Hollyweird, California. I’m not going to last long.. I forgot how much I dislike LA, especially after living in a quiet safe little town like Cody, Wyoming, where people don’t lock bikes or doors and they leave keys in the ignition. My outgoing mail got stolen, weird drunks, drug addicts, sleazy looking people share this apartment complex. No one seems particularly considerate of others… I think that may sound like a generality, but it’s true. Everyone’s in their own little bubble. They want loud music late.. they PLAY loud music late. They steal. They don’t say excuse me if they bump into you. Me me me.
Hollywood Boulevard is a major tourist draw here. Seems most of the tourists are foreign. I don’t hear much English, or non-accented English anyway. My son’s apartment is one block off Hollywood at Highland, a MAJOR intersection. Grauman’s Chinese Theater is a block from here, (where the footprints in the cement are) , wax museums, the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum, the Walk of Fame, lots of smoke shops, lingerie shop, weird shoe shops, wild clothing shops, and the sidewalk is PACKED with throngs of tourists, people hawking bus tours, movie star’s homes tours, “free” CD’s, and people dress up like famous people. Walking to the grocery store 3 blocks away I often pass 2 Jack Sparrows, 2 Marilyn Monroes, (one looks like an EXHUMED Marilyn Monroe!), 2 Michael Jacksons, a Darth Vader, a “Halloween” monster, Mickey Mouse, Tom Cruise (identical!), some Transformer dude or other mechanical character, and various performers, such as a guy drumming on a 5-gallon overturned pickle bucket, a guitarist, and break dancers, and several homeless or otherwise needy people, who ask for “spare change”. (Some I give credit to, one man offered to play a song on his guitar for a quarter, so I obliged.. another wielded a sign stating that he needed money for “alcohol research”.) Plus hundreds upon hundreds of people standing around taking pictures, some walking (or trying to as is the case), bicyclers, skateboarders, people waiting for tours, .. it’s very aggravating trying to tote a 12-pack through the crowd. Oh yeah, and before I learned to double-bag my beer, homeless alcoholics would ask for one when I passed.
To stay sane, I frequent Santa Monica Beach. A 1/2 mile walk to the bus, and I hop a bus that deposits me on Ocean Avenue, a block from the pier. I’ve had lunch with my daughter a couple times, and went to MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, in Los Angeles. (Where several very famous artists’ works hang, including Cody’s own Jackson Pollock.) The subway and bus system is pretty good, so, carless as I am, I manage to get around okay. There’s a lot to do and see around here, but it takes a lot of money, even the zoo is $14.
So here I am in Hollyweird, California, and I’m about ready to leave, except I have not yet been to my old house and seen my dog and mule and donkey and bird that I left in the care of my ex-husband.