Hello, one and all! It’s been weeks! Weeks since I’ve written. Weeks since I’ve had a steady connection. Weeks since I’ve organized my thoughts on what’s happened on the road. I’m staying put for a few days in Napa, California and will once again be filling your inbox with posts from The Stretch 2012. In the meantime, here are some things I’ve learned since I started this trip almost two months ago.
1. As soon as I start feeling really sad to leave a place, I know it’s time to go. I’ve learned that part of that sadness is actually fear that the next stop won’t be as special. But, every single stop is spectacular in its own way and you just never know what’s around the corner.
3. Dining alone is not so bad. I actually like it. I don’t even bring a book with me anymore. Most of the time someone will invite me to join them. If I end up alone for the whole meal the bartender usually sends a round on the house.
4. Earthquakes scare the crap out of me. People who live in California sleep through 3.8 earthquakes. I contemplated packing my bags and leaving the state as soon as it happened.
5. Hospitality is the true sport of kings. I now fully understand what it means to make someone feel at home and welcome.
6. Saying “yes” leads to way more interesting happenings than saying “no, thank you”.
7. Broken bones heal. It just takes a while.
8. Above about 3,000 feet one cocktail feels like two… or more.
9. Sex cult members would like for you to join them but if you don’t want to they don’t seem to mind and still want to be your friend.
10. Esalen in Big Sur, California houses the mac-daddy of all hot springs experiences. I wish I could show you pictures but photography would likely be discouraged at this clothing optional enclave. I now judge those who take the option.
11. California Highway 1 is the coolest, spookiest, most harrowing drive I’ve ever taken and I’ll do it again and again.
12. Seeing two national parks in one day is seeing one national park too many.
13. Sacred Peace Pipe ceremonies are usually not open to the public and are not advertised on the community bulletin board.
14. Checking your car’s tire pressure is super easy and when all the tires are right it’s a huge relief.
15. I like wearing the same four outfits over and over. I wish I could ditch half the stupid stuff I brought with me— like the sequined tank top that’s shedding shiny discs all over the bottom of my suitcase.
16. Everyone has a story and everyone has the propensity to be a teacher.
17. Gas station attendants across America agree that beef jerky is the most popular snack sold.
18. Lying down on the double yellow line of a quiet freeway gave me a sense of freedom I’ve never felt before in my life. I hadn’t seen another car for more than two hours so I stopped my car in the middle of the road, blasted a random CD I bought in Austin, and laid down on my back right on the double line. Like a star fish. Stared at the sky. Laughed and cried at the same time.
19. At one certain pueblo, no one wants to discipline the War Chief’s unruly and aggressive dog. He’ll goose you and then back you into a corner nipping at your ankles. The dog, not the War Chief.
20. I’ve fallen head over heels for the car I’m driving. When I spot it in the parking lot I all but skip toward it and give it a hug. It holds the contents of my entire life, provides shelter, and takes me to every single new adventure.