It’s raining when I wake up – I’ve slept in and have finally caught up on sleep. I like waking up to rain, especially when I don’t have anywhere I need to hurry to be. I get up, go pee, grab my notebook and my book and decide to go to breakfast. Dexter is going to shower and Energizer isn’t ready yet, so I head out. The first place only takes cash and I haven’t brought any, so I go to the next one. As I walk, my brother calls. I talk to him for a half hour. Family is hard. It is hard to navigate how to help, what is not helping, what is and is not yours to carry.
We get off the phone and I go inside the cafe. The server and cook are happy and laughing and it’s a good atmosphere. I write. I want to practice writing free-flow, kind of like morning pages, see if I can find rhythm again. I miss writing poems. I have to get less self conscious, though, practice flowing. Stop drafting and deleting in my head.
At 9:30 I start heading back to the campground. I need to pack my tent (I hope it’s dry) and my pack – we have to catch a bus at 11:20. It’ll take us 50 miles, past big chunks of road walking and dunes. As Energizer Bunny and Dexter finish packing, I walk to a nearby bookstore hoping to find some poetry, but don’t find anything that jumps out at me and I run to catch the bus. We wait and wait and wait for the bus, but it doesn’t come. I call the transportation office and they say the us broke down and won’t be coming until 5 pm. Damn.
We try to come up with another plan. How much is a taxi? $125. Too much. The bus was $60 for all of us. “Well, if we stay here all day we’ll spend an extra $20 each on food anyway…” Dexter reasons. But we decide to give hitching a try, though we haven’t had much luck sticking our thumbs out. And surprise, after only 15 minutes a man named Al Johnson, who is heavily involved with the trail, stops to pick is up. He takes us all the way to North Bend, where we can catch a bus for $1 to Charleston, which puts us only 3 miles from where we plan to go.
I sit in the front (as usual) and chat with Al. He tells us some interesting facts about the area, he went to grad school the same place as Dexter, and he and I talk about creative writing – he was an English major.
I am realizing one of the most interesting parts of the trail for me is conversations with people who help us, even without entirely knowing what we’re doing. What makes someone stop for a hitchhiking hiker? Or offer us a ride at a viewpoint? Or share their campfire? I don’t think it’s that these are people who are always generous and altruistic – it seems to be a combination of right time, right place, right mood. They seem to pick is up because it offers them their own bit of adventure right when they need it.
Al drops us off. I peruse Goodwill for poetry but don’t find any, then I grab a burrito. The bus comes and we take it to right outside a deli called Davey Jones’ Locker, which I look at quickly and then hike on. I realize later that I should have looked closer, because I am low on food and 1.5 days away from town. That’ll make things interesting.
It’s a roadwalk to the Sunset Bay Campground. We’d initially planned to drop our packs and hike to and back from Cape Argo, but we decide to do it in the morning instead.
When I go to pay for my campground I realize I’ve lost my driver’s license. I’m pretty sure I had it in my pocket with some trash and when I threw the the trash away the card went with it. Oops. I’ll have to order a new one.