WHIPPLE GOES WEST
Have you ever driven on a road trip across a whole country? Were you doing it alone or riding with friends? Did you have a very specific place in mind and a particular route planned out? Was there an impulsive sense of urgency which propelled you to arrive at the destination, or allow yourself to slow down and enjoy the seamless unraveling of dynamic scenery?
These are just a few overarching questions I reflect upon and submit to you when considering the different types of people who decide to embark upon such a lengthy endeavor.
One day, the confirmation came that I would be dearly departing Filthy-delphia. I spent the last bit of my time making sure my car was ready for the road, figuring out where to go and getting all my material possessions sorted out. All things considered, my best bet was to head back to my home state of Oregon and live on a farm somewhere near Portland with my brother. He and I have always gotten along and I was looking forward to being out in the country.
I had barely just enough financial assets to comfortably complete this mission. I packed my car, double checked my chocolate stash and grabbed a bunch of Stumptown coffee from the boys at my favorite shop. As soon as I cleared the city limits, I put on some music and felt free as a bird. It was liberating to be on the road again and my previous levels of stress were soon replaced with increasing sensations of a peaceful presence.
I didn't accumulate many miles on the first day, so I got a cheap motel room and decompressed with a few beers and a well deserved rest. The next two days flew by fairly fast, as I simply wished to assemble as much distance as possible from where I had been. Those two days were spent traversing the toll taxing turnpikes and sleeping with some sort of secrecy at their fancy service plazas.
The good times really got rolling after squeezing through the bottleneck of Chicago. Traffic was less hectic and more natural scenery came into view. It was smooth sailing on the seas of cheese as soon as I was in Wisconsin. Taking a short detour off the main road, I located a spring water source up near a quaint mountain town. I took the opportunity to fill up my large glass containers with this precious fluid.
In fact, I largely predetermine my routes based on where these springs are located, which can be found through this website, that I've been gratefully using to refuel my drinking water supplies since 2008. Taking trips to these sacred sources and sharing those experiences with others is one of my favorite things to do.
Crossing into the next couple of states uncovered flowing springs, more beautiful landscapes and camping in secluded sites with a simple hammock. The solitude was peaceful and listening to audiobooks, podcasts and music was a delightful way to pass the time. But this ambiance was to be broken in the middle of Montana.
During a break at a rest area, a car came to a sputtering stop and left a young couple stranded right next to me. These two were also intending to travel from east to west. Their story was one of desperation and my intuitive conscience couldn't just leave them there. I sacrificed some of my insignificant items in order to accommodate two bodies and their basic belongings. They ditched everything else, attached a note and crowded into my lifeboat.
We shared four days together with relative ease. They'd never camped outside or drank real spring water, so this was all quite an exciting experience for them. Even though my silent personal space was compromised, their company was mildly engaging and they contributed to my cause by collecting money for filling up on gas by employing customers at every station with a sad story. We eventually parted ways upon passing through Spokane Washington, where I encouraged them to hitchhike for their first time. They were heading north to Seattle and were scared to be left out in a descending storm, but I've heard from them since and they ended up arriving safely at their destination.
Relieved to be alone once again and with a lighter load, I sought shelter from the dark stormy night and found a cheap motel in the middle of nowhere. This would be my last evening spent on the road, so a shower and a bed sounded like a good idea before the following days long drive to arrive at my destination. This was a perfect time to reflect back on the fun I had so far on this trip. 13 days in total with statistical averages of 50 mph, 6 hours of sitting at the wheel and accumulating 300 miles a day.
A key to maximizing physical pleasure during a long haul in the gravity seat is allowing plenty of time outs to take a rest for stretching, bouncing, breathing or anything to balance out the compression, tiredness, fatigue and stress. Plus, I'll admit that I'm amused at the rage most speed freaks express when passing my sage ass. The fists of fury really do a number on my ego. Must suck to be so pissed off.
It was nice to finally be back in the northwest after being away for a few years and the curved path through the Columbia River Gorge is a grand sight to behold. I found the farm where my brother was at and after a warm reception, began settling down for the indefinite future. Dusting myself off and taking account, having only to change one flat tire and coming in with only a few dollars decorating my worn wallet. (In all honesty, without the creative ruse of those two hitchhikers, I wouldn't have had the money to pay for enough gas to get where I was going.)
I've been on this farm now for over a month and it feels good to be living simply out in nature. There's some work trading to do and the odd jobs to keep the finances afloat. This area has a lot to explore and there's at least one sweet source of living spring water in the nearby forest that we visit frequently. Of course it's not altogether ideal, but it's a temporary sanctuary which provides me with an opportunity to get back into writing, reading, prioritizing my agendas and plotting the next position on my path.
As always, who knows what the future holds in store. I'm opti-mystic and have hope in the colorful pallet of options. I'm just happy to live in the present moment without any anxiety or fear about the uncertainty of tomorrow's dawning.
The mysteries of life are not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
It's refreshing to slow down the pace and streamline a situation in life when the contrasting culture puts so much pressure on people to act fast and scramble frantically on a mechanical wheel that keeps turning around. I think it's an important reminder to meditate in some way on the quality of ones life purpose that can only be found reflected outside of popular patterns. Try a new approach for a deep down soul-searching change.
Because of the kindness of others, I'm able to live through amazing grace. In reverent gratitude I salute you sacred soldiers of society who sacrifice so much in service to your sisters and brothers. But when all is said and done, I fully embrace the belief that I'm responsible for my own actions and outcomes. I guess what I'm searching for in my life is a seamless blending of self-sufficiency and interdependence.
Thank you sincerely for taking the time out of your personal life to read my writing. It means a lot to me. I hope you find some interest and inspiration here. Any and all feedback is appreciated.