Woooo I’ve been a busy little jumping bean! In the past month, I moved out of the room I was renting and into a cab over camper.
Naturally, this process hasn’t gone smoothly at all, and I’m writing this post on my phone in an auto shop waiting room because my old truck needs new springs and air bags in order to carry the beastly camper, which has been resting on jacks in my best friend’s driveway for a month now.
I’m using my iPhone because my laptop is currently out of commission. Everything is falling apart and getting upgraded!
I also have a big race coming up this Saturday!
Basically, I’m spending ALL my time tinkering with nuts and bolts, chasing my wildest dreams, ridding myself of material possessions, training for a beastly 50k and debugging the fuck out of my life.
Amidst all this shifting ground, I take whatever opportunity I can to write and edit photos. I’m really taking this whole vision of living off-grid as a nomadic, freelance writing run bum to the next level of nutty gritty reality. That was a deliberate nut.
Here’s a quick rundown of an excellent adventure I had over a month ago, when Bruce and I drove from California to Colorado and back for my grandpa’s 90th birthday party.
Better late than never!
I rented a minivan that had less than 20 miles on it when I drove off the lot. Ten days and over 2,000 miles later, I returned that baby to Medford, convinced she would follow me home, begging for more adventures.
I gotta say- minivans are fucking rad. I love my old pickup truck to pieces, but hot damn is it nice to drive comfortably in something zippy. And then, you can just park anywhere, open up all the doors, and take in the scenery.
There was only one night I bothered to set up a tent, and one other when I slept in my hammock. Otherwise, I slept in the van, next to Bruce’s kennel. He loved running in new places every day and sleeping in the front seat while we drove from state to state.
Day 1, Medford, Ore. -> Susanville, CA
Nothing exciting, except that I found my camping spot based on a recommendation from the sheriff that pulled me over for disobeying a sign.
Day 2, Susanville -> Elko, Nevada
This was awesome. We found a sweet spot to camp 30 miles north of civilization. It had a little mountain to run up, bat caves and tons of bunnies for Bruce to chase.
I spent the night in Elko, watching the Perseid meteor shower with my head sticking out of the back of the minivan and drifted off to sleep with my sweet hound dog right next to me.
Day 3, Elko -> Opal, Wyoming
Yeah, so.. I don’t remember where I was “planning” to stop and camp on this leg of the trip, but I do know it wasn’t Opal. I got sick of driving and really needed to run, so pulled over as soon as I sensed BLM land.
This is what I found…
The Opal bench is the most mindblowingly gorgeous geological formation I’ve ever had all to myself.
Even better, a thunderstorm rolled in as I was finishing my run.
While my senses couldn’t have been happier with the scent of ozone, sound of raindrops hitting the roof of the van and brilliant spectacle of cloud-to-cloud lightning nearby, I also felt a little nervous about this. While running, I noticed a lot of caked mud on the road. It was clear this area flooded frequently from heavy spills. I had already broken van rental rules by taking my dog on board and was definitely doing some off-road exploring. I couldn’t help but imagine how the rental agency would respond when I called to tell them the van had washed away in a flash flood in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming.
But, thank Goddess, my dog is okay.
The storm ended up passing in 15 minutes, and then the sun went down.
Days 4 and 5 were spent with family in Loveland, Colorado to celebrate grandpa’s 90th birthday.
Day 6, Loveland, CO -> Snoshone National Forest, Wyoming
I drove back up to Wyoming because I got this idea in my head that I REALLY needed to see The Tetons. I didn’t make it all the way there before dark, so ended up camping at Pinnacles campground in Snoshone.
It was the first campground I actually paid to stay at on the entire trip, but the decked-out pit toilets made the splurge totally worth every penny.
Pretty sweet shitter, eh?
After spending most of my trip in isolation, I was getting kind of fussy with all the tourists and traffic around Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole area. I didn’t want to stop at any of the designated vista areas to take pictures of the mountain range, and was pissed off that the lighting conditions were thoroughly unfavorable.
So, after that huge detour JUST so I could see the Tetons, the only photo I took is this piece of garbage below.
Craggin! (The above photo is not from my road trip, I just put it here for crag comparison.)
After that whole thing, I decided to drive through Idaho, simply because I’d never been there. I really need to go back with a destination in mind, because what I saw reminded me of Kansas. Nobody likes driving through Kansas.
This just made me more edgy. I needed to go back to Elko, to that same magical place where I watched the meteors fall and Bruce had all the bunnies in the world to chase after.
When I got there, I went for an epic sunset run with B, then ran naked up a hill to watch the day disappear and howl away every bit of pent up stress that had been accumulating over the past few days.
While I was running around the desert naked just, “because I can,” it’s also a great way to freshen up when you can’t shower. Ben Franklin used to take “air baths” all the time, so I’m told.
It was another wonderful night in Elko, and I saw even more meteors.
I rambled back to Mt Shasta the same way I left her, and stopped at Burney Falls along the way.
NorCal is really the most beautiful place ever. I mean it. No matter how far and wide I roam, it feels so good to come back to this place and call it my home.
Freelance writer. Trail runner. Relentless savage.