May 24, 2010: 9:15pm PST. Weott, California. 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Cloudy with a chance of rain.

It doesn't feel like rain, though. It's actually a great night for camping! I am solo and absolutely love that I can type on my Mac right now. I do hope my battery does not run out. Winni is sitting silently at my feet. It is very dark below these giant redwoods looming above me. "Loom" is not really the right word. It sounds so foreboding. I don't feel that way at all. It feels tranquil. I am truly on my own. Beginning a new life, in many ways. Continuing the old, but moving onto a new stage - a stage that feels very clearly defined. When you pack everything you own into 14 boxes, wrap them up with miles of brown packing tape, and spend $400 to ship them to another coast, the impending "new stage" seems very certain. This is definitely a move - emotionally, spiritually, geographically. When you end an engagement and know you are thereafter going to put 4,000 miles on your car to get to a new and final destination, yes, the relocation is real. This is a colossal shift. If I were born an Indian, I would be a Lakota. A nomad. I actually love to move. I love the excitement of packing a car, selling your Ikea shit...I mean, your Ikea couch and chair and desk, and having only a well-worn US map and a dog to keep you on track and company. It is truly invigorating to feel so free of all "things" and only the open road to answer to. Sites to see. People to meet. Challenges to face with just a pocket knife and a Coleman lantern. Well, in the grand scheme, I really have quite a lot of "things" with me. I've packed a gas stove to cook on, a tent that will keep me sheltered and dry, a mummy sleeping bag to keep me warm, a headlamp to light my way, a book, a computer?and, yes, a cell phone. I have friends and family to see along the way. I'm no native. Nor am I a Jack Kerouac. His travels were much more rudimentary. Drugs. Beat poetry. Women. Booze. And a car that went. I wonder, in all, how many times he traversed the country out and back? This will be thrice for me.

Winni just broke my concentration barking at a passerby. I hopefully yelled, "She's friendly!" Really, she is. She just likes to let folks know we're here and this is our campsite - #13. That's another thing. I'm in a campground under the redwoods, yes, but there are other TENT campers around, and the campsites are numbered. Sorry, that could be considered selling out. However, I capitalize "tent" b/c I want to underscore the fact that I REFUSE to camp in places that allow RV's. Yuck. To be harassed all night by a generator and green and red chili pepper lights draped across a camper door - ugh. I avoid this at all costs. So, please know there's no pool or miniature golf course here. Just campers, like me.

I would love to go even more rustic, I assure you. It is my dream to hike part of the Appalachian Trail. I guess I could go even deeper - Mt. Kilimanjaro sounds cool (while reading Hemingway, of course). I just LOVE the outdoors. Could do this always. So quiet. So tranquil. So real. So not man-made. At least tonight, it is. I know weather can turn and rain can be quite a bummer. But with a good buddy, it's never that bad. I like to camp with a pal. A friend. This is actually the first time I have ever camped alone. Yep. Now that I think of it, aside from my "solo" in Outward Bound when I was 18, this is it. Pretty cool. A testament to the new beginning I am embarking upon - solitary, free, peaceful, happy. The wind is gently shooshing above. There are a few fires burning in nearby campsites. I can hear them crackle. Occasionally I hear laughter, or muffled conversation in the distance. But mostly quiet. My ears welcome the sound of quiet. We need to hear nothing more often. It's so good for us. I didn't feel like doing the fire thing tonight. First of all, it's not that cold and second of all?, it's too much work. I'm going to bed early, so I can rise and shine, make some coffee and eggs, pack up and trek the rest of the way north to Portland tomorrow. Until then ~ signing off!