we made it through washington, the smoke never came back, we cruised into oregon, the land of someone else pumping your gas. so here’s the story, we cruised down hwy. 97 through the middle of the state, got to bend to get gas and couldn’t find a gas station. you would think they would put them easily accessible to the hwy, nope, had to take 2 different exits to find one and when we finally found one, i jumped out quickly and started pumping my own gas, take that oregon!! as i washed all of the bugs off the windshield, two attendants came over and carefully watched over the gas pump to make sure they took it out of the tank and gave me a receipt.
just a reminder here, we were in flip flops that whole day, beautiful weather, views for miles. we slept at a rest stop that night and woke up to rain and cold temps., as we drove to the california border, it started to snow. we stopped for gas in weed, california and wandered into a coffee shop bakery to warm up and watch it dump. there wasn’t any accumulation on the roads, but a good inch or so along side in some spots. cassandra got a coffee and a croissant and i got a day old bear claw. caught up on some local news, a climber died on mt. shasta, which we couldn’t see at all because of the snow and clouds, and the local community college softball team is having a great season, 6 homeruns in 2 games.
not too much farther down the road we came to an exit where the pct crossed under i-5, so of course we stopped, checked out the crossing, hiked a little bit of the trail to see what it will be like and took some pictures. we loaded back up in the van and went to the little outpost of castella just a mile or two south on the freeway where we will be getting a mail drop and resupplying with some snacks. we wanted to go in and look around, but didn’t want to be weird, so we ended up buying some postcards as we scouted out the place.
from there we drove down to just outside san francisco where we stayed the night with our good friend bonnie, who is staying for a week with her parents. they are a beautiful family who graciously opened up their doors to let us stay overnight. right now as i write, cassandra, bonnie and bonnie’s mom are doing a work out in their gym where bonnie’s mom is a personal trainer.
we are thankful for friends and good counsel about marriage.
thanks chalmers fam!!
we are now off to southern california and maybe even some more pct road crossings.
we live in north central washington state, so why do we want to road trip all the way down to the mexican border, isn’t that like doing the pct in a vehicle before you walk it? yep, except you do it in three days instead of five months. my thoughts were, if we are going to attempt the trail, then let’s jump in with both feet and do everything that we can to get submerged in the whole culture. the kick off is like a big pep rally for pct hikers, around 700 people show up including thru hikers, section hikers, trail angels, groupies, organizers etc. we will all congregate at lake morena state park out side of san diego, 21 miles from the border right along the trail, for 4 days of getting to know new people (hob shnobbing as i call it), listening to people share about water sources in the desert, food ideas for the trail and even watch some short movies that people have made from previous trips.
neither one of us has been to anything like this before, although cassandra has been to some rainbow gatherings in the past, this will be a new experience for us as a couple. one of the exciting things is that since we will be going southbound, this will be a chance to meet some of the hikers that we will potentially be crossing paths with later on.
there are also some details that we haven’t fully figured out and this is the perfect place to get some answers, such as how to load the trail points onto the gps, which by the way, i sent the first gps back because i was having trouble loading what i wanted to load and it wouldn’t take the shaded topos.
anyway, we are going to try not to be tourists and do our best to fit it. oh yeah, and of course, life is all about relationships and this is a chance to build some new friendships and make some connections with people. we’re just jumping on the ship, the fellowship.
don’t be a goofus, don’t be a goofus
ps. i’m actually in it mainly for the movies, i’m addicted. rumor has it, the national geographic pct documentary might be shown.
ADZPCTKO here we come!! so we just got our van back from the shop and told them that we wanted it to be ready for a trip down to southern california. maybe that wasn’t the best because they found all kinds of things to fix, things that i didn’t even know the van had. it now has a new windshield, new tires, new axles and even a new flux compacitor and we are ready to go.
it started off like all trips, throwing everything we needed in the vehicle, hoping we didn’t forget anything and saying a prayer that God’s will be done. after 3 or 4 tries, it started up and off we went, sun shining, flip flops on our feet and smiles on our faces as we step out on this adventure. then it happened... about 45 minutes from home, cassandra starts to see smoke coming up through the vents by the windshield and says that this is exactly what happened when our engine caught on fire three years ago and i need to pull over!! of course i think she is overreacting, i don’t see any smoke, and i take my time to find a spot. i get out, walk to the back, open up the engine compartment, really hoping that i don’t see flames and smoke billowing out like before.
thankfully, no fire, so i went back to the front and cassandra is quick to point out that the smoke is still coming out of the vents and this time i see it. the road trip seems to be fading right in front of my eyes, my mind racing to a million questions for God about why we dumped so much money into this van, can we rent a car and still make it down there, what about last minute flights and on and on.
i’ve noticed a few themes in my life, and one of them is that is something seems to be going wrong, just wait a little bit. i crawled on the ground looking underneath the van, then got up and looked in the engine compartment again, then walked back up to the front, mainly to give me a chance to think and to make it look like i’m actually doing something for cassandra’s sake. so there we are, sitting on the side of the road, no cell phone, not sure what to do, just waiting. so i get back in, start it up and hope everything fixed itself, a little bit of smoke came out, but then it stopped, we looked at each other, kept the windows rolled down and said, let’s just try to see how far we can go.
these are the things that road trips are made of, adventure, uncertainty, suspense, laughter, new scenery and meeting new people.
its crazy how fast time is going by. we have just over 2 months before we hit the trail and still have quite a bit of work to do, but its coming around. we spent a few hours the other day scheduling out our maildrops so now all we have to do is figure out what to put in them.
we got our adzpctko(annual day zero pacific crest trail) confirmation email, so now we just need to get our van back from the shop so we can make it down to california. it was the typical car repair scenario, take it in to just make sure its all running smoothly, get an exhaust leak fixed and BAM!! it seems like everything else needs to be fixed. needless to say, cassandra isn't so excited about it and feels like we are getting scammed, but i trust that this is a good scenario. i've had the van for ten years and haven't had to do too much to it, so its about due. i just hope that after all of this, it will be good for quite awhile.
alright, back to backpacking... last night we finished our sleeping quilt!! pretty sweet. we realize that it is going to take a little getting used to, but its a part of us now that we spent hours and hours making it. it definitely saves weight, but in saving that weight it just means that we will need to sleep really close and constantly make sure that there are no places for the heat to escape. its a blanket ow, not an easily tightened mummy bag. the next project is our net tent that goes under the tarp to keep the bugs away.
well, this isn't a very exciting post, but its just a step in the process, more to come later.
well, we made it, our first trial hike together. we started our journey at 3pm on tuesday and put in about 6 miles before setting up camp on the top of a sweet knoll. had some freeze dried mountain house vegetarian lasagna for dinner made over a vienna sausage can alcohol stove. some minor problems getting it lit, the lighter was empty, (mental note always check lighter fluid), and with a back up spark igniter, i couldn't get it close enough to the alcohol to get it ignited. so we had to start some dried grass on fire and then drop it in the can.
the tarp set up went well, although it wasn't the ideal set up. with the forecast saying rain and snow, i figured that the wind would pick up, so i tried to drop one side to the ground to block the wind, but that didn't allow for getting the other side up very high. fortunately it didn't rain or snow because when we woke in the morning, the tarp was about three inches from my face and we had to crawl out from underneath. it was only the second time we set it up, so at least it didn't collapse.
breakfast was oatmeal and granola, along with some hot chocolate. the sun was out, we packed up and headed out. we were feeling pretty good about ourselves and hiked about 4 miles on trail down to a road and did another 10 miles of road walking for a grand total of about 20 miles in 24 hours. we felt pretty accomplished, no blisters, just some sore calves and hip flexers, but the hot tub later that night definitely helped the situation. we just need to link about 149 more days together and we're there.
more will be posted later about the gear, the weight and some pictures.
ps. stickpic update, after all that excitement, i accidentally left it on the kitchen table and didn't even get to use it on the trip, unbelievable!