Out of LA

I’m writing to you from the frigid air-conditioned hell that is who-knows-where near Los Angeles. Worse, I’m in a Starbucks using the free wifi. Worse? I slept in my van in a Walmart parking lot last night. After pulling over at 3:30 and waiting four hours for LA traffic to abate, I hopped back on the freeway and crawled almost to Temecula. But thing is, it felt like I was still in LA. Lights, zooming cars, huge homes EVERYWHERE! Seriously, after dodging the cities the best I can the past year, this is a shock. I had to pull over, park, and I had to sleep.

It’s Thursday. I left the California border early on Monday and drove down highways 101 and 1, hugging the coast and redwoods. On the Avenue of the Giants, I picked up a couple of “hikers” who were perfectly happy to ride a couple hundred miles with me. One of them, “You” (at left in the photo) has left a Japanese monastery of some sort to go on a long walk/quest. He didn’t know about the PCT and was walking along the coastal highway, so I reoriented him. The PCT permit is free, and the trail is mostly open to dogs, and there is always help and trail magic and weed along the way. He was extremely thankful for the tip and looked really excited to have new direction. I’m really hopeful that I got someone headed down that path instead of along the highway. You is in for a big treat.

Which reminds me, driving along 101 so much in the past few months reminds me all the time how INSANE I must have been to ride my bicycle from Portland to San Francisco in 2007. How the heck did I survive that? The past couple days I saw several cycle-tourists on the 24-inch highway shoulder on cliffs bordering the Pacific ocean, and just could not imagine them surviving their trip. Pray for them!

Anyway, it’s a Thursday, and today marks one year since I set foot on the PCT at the Mexican border. I had never been backpacking before.

(Hee hee! Look at me! So ignorant of what was to come!)

Today I am driving back to the PCT, and by the end of the day I’ll have met a bunch of 2014 hikers and have set foot on the trail. Tomorrow I’m headed off on a 92-mile hike with a bunch of 2013 PCT hikers. We’re hiking into the Annual Day Zero Pacific Crest Trail Kick Off (ADZPCTKO) party at Lake Morena.

Donate to the trail Angel Fund!

Sometimes people need a little help achieving their dreams. I’m still dreaming, but now my dream includes helping other people (like “You” I mentioned above) achieve theirs. Can you help?

Notes: Money from the GitTip and PayPal links go directly to 2014 PCT hiker treats. I will cancel the GitTips for trail magic in late September. So far I have gotten no PayPal donations. I have separate budgets for my van and personal food. This summer is all about helping and living vicariously through other people on life-altering treks. I want to give back. And you will see photographic evidence of your benefactorship. I’m really excited about it.

Other Goodies

My good friend Elly Blue is publishing Volume II of “Bikes in Space.” You should back it if you can, if only to have a copy with my cover art (!) in your hands.

My hiker friends Outburst and 30 Pack have launched the best hiker tee-shirt company there is (I’m not sure there was one to begin with). There might be something you or a friend might need to have. They’re also on a continued outdoor adventure, and have quite the trail love story. I remember the first minute I saw them at Golden Oak Spring, the night after I almost choked with dehydration. Walking party; a sight for sore eyes is all I gotta say. Check them out!