Saturday, September 10, 2011

On the Road to Morro Bay: Excerpts from a Stream of Consciousness

OH man. I don't wanna leave the Little Farm. Don't wanna donwanna donwanna. Don't wanna leave that delicious food, don't wanna leave my doggie friends, don't wanna leave my people friends. I am sad, sad.

Is this what I'm setting myself up for with this road trip? One continuous series of painful goodbyes?

Actually, if goodbyes are the most painful part of this journey, I'll be lucky. In fact, if I don't visit some places I'm downright eager to leave, I'm probably doing it wrong.

Haha, remember yesterday when I didn't realize Maya let the pigs into the yard before I got the ice cream churn and the milk bucket put away? And then I was like, oh no, pig enthusiasm is threatening the well-being of the ice cream churn again, I cannot allow this to happen? Especially after that amazing bourbon vanilla ice cream we had at lunch? And then I let loose with a war cry and charged them at full speed? And then they didn't even glance up from the spilled milk until I was right on top of them. Pfft, all that hollerin' for nothin'.

Aw, those pigs. I still have mud on the knee of my clean jeans, from where Papa Pig smashed his snout up against it this morning. I like to pretend he was saying goodbye but really, I think he was looking for food and I was in his way.

I am glad I got to see the concrete poured for the new house/barn. I got to help a tiny bit digging out the trenches for it, so I felt kind of invested in it, and also it was interesting to see how that part of the process worked. Lots of people came out to help, and we had a huge delicious triumphant lunch afterward. And hand-churned bourbon vanilla ice cream. It was a good way to spend my last day at the Little Farm.

Why is that old guy honking and yelling at me. What is he yelling at me. Oh no. I bet it's... did I forget the... "Gas cap! GAS CAP!" Oh man. I shift into park, run around the back, crank it back in and slam the little door. "Thank you!" I shout, and point to the Oregon plate by way of explanation. He shrugs. I jump back into the car just as the light turns green, and a couple miles down the road, as he passes me, we exchange a friendly wave. Aw, I like it when people are nice.

But I'm still sad.

Come on, there are going to be plenty of things I won't miss about the Little Farm. Right? Right?
 - Mosquitoes. And flies. Flies and mosquitoes. Although I suppose they have those in other places, too. Hey, is that a fresh bite on my leg? Is there a mosquito in my car? Hey!!
 - Have to admit I'm pretty excited about returning to the land of toilets you can sit on. Toilet seats: I am such a fan. 
 - That stupid rooster.
 - Well actually I might kind of miss that rooster. A little bit. DANG IT

But there are plenty of things to distract me. There's music, because my parents sent me an FM transmitter for my MP3 player, and it works beautifully out here in the middle of nowhere. And there's so many things to look at. The mountains, shaggy with evergreens, fade away into a dryer, flatter landscape studded with oak trees. Then there are olive orchards.

A truck trailer is parked in a field with the words "HIS BLOOD WAS SHED FOR YOU" plastered across the side, which I guess is one way of getting around paying for a billboard permit. It takes me a while to realize that the picture below it is supposed to be a blood-drenched arm with a dripping hand reaching out. I dunno, I'm not entirely sure this is the most effective evangelism technique.

Look, a palm tree! Whoa. Only one, but still: that means something.

A casino billboard says, "YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!" Ha ha, very funny, billboard. You can't fool me.

I think I'll stop in Sacramento for lunch. I'll find myself a grocery store and get some healthy things to eat. Hmm, what do I want to eat for lunch?
 - Cheese. Yes. Cheese.
 - Oo, baby carrots.
 - Maybe some nuts? If they're not covered in weird oils.
 - Kombucha. Oh man, I could really go for some kombucha right now. I might have to find myself kind of a hoity-toity grocery store to get it, though.

The treeless hills in the distance look like crinkled brown paper.

A flock of birds swirls over the roadway, dividing and merging. A flock of birds is a very different sort of thing than you would ever guess based on observing individual birds, or even small groups of birds. Hmm.

Kombucha is maybe the most refreshing road trip drink ever. Even when it's warm. I wish I'd bought two kombucha bottles, instead of picking up this other juice drink at a gas station later on. Bleah, it's terrible.

More palm trees. I'm not even kind of in the Pacific Northwest anymore.

The dry hills are getting closer. Their curves, yellow with dead grass, remind me of... potato chips? Maybe it's time for a snack.

Signs in the fields read: CONGRESS CREATED DUST BOWL. I don't know what that's about, but I suspect it has something to do with the topic of a book my hosts were reading called Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water. They said it was really eye-opening. Apparently the landscape of central California would look quite different if it weren't for how much water has been diverted by dams and irrigation.

Agh. You know what I hate the most about road trips? Not knowing for sure if you've missed your exit. Not knowing whether you should keep going or turn back. This might actually be one of the things I hate the most about life, too. Forging ahead when you don't know if you're doing it right or not is just excruciating. So stressful, all that second-guessing.

Hmm, wow, I never realized that about myself before. It's true. That is a thing I really can't stand in any context.

You know what, why am I even doing this to myself when it's totally avoidable? I'm gonna pull over at the next rest stop and buy an overpriced roadmap. I should've done that a long time ago.

Up close, the barren hills are mesmerizing, undulating, cloaked only in a stubbly layer of dry grass. They go on and on. They remind me of something. I want to say they're like the flank of an enormous beast, maybe a colossal camel or something, but that's not quite right. No, the grass isn't like a real animal's fur. It's too mangy. It's like... oh, I've got it: it's like the fur of a well-loved teddy bear.  "Hills like the hide of a giant, motley stuffed animal, worn with years of affection." Oh yup, better put that one in the blog.

There are a few trees scattered on the hills now. It's kind of exciting after so many miles of no-trees. A couple of trees, and then a few more trees, and then... vineyards! And finally, a sign that says Morro Bay, and a winding, hilly road that demands my full attention for a while. (Whee!)

I suspect this woodsy bit of the drive is the prettiest part, but I can't really see it because it's getting dark.

I wonder if my friends in Morro Bay will have any dinner leftovers they might want to share with me. I wonder how much of a monkey wrench I'm throwing into their lives by crashing at their place for the weekend. I wonder if we'll talk about anything besides tall ships and their new baby.

It's okay if we don't talk about anything besides tall ships and their new baby.


  1. Hi Lindsay, got here via Google+. Sounds like you're on an amazing journey and I look forward to following along vicariously.

    Cadillac Desert is indeed an eye opening read, and if you're going to be in the rural areas of California much, once you read it you won't be able to see anything other than the distortions and impacts.

  2. Nice...
    I'm seein' it.
    I feel like I'm there.

  3. Great description of the CA central valley. I've made that trip down I-5 many times. That bloody arm billboard is only about 30 miles from where Tammy grew up. Crazy huh? ;) Thanks for sharing all the crazy push and pull feelings you are having. I've been enjoying the vicarious journey. ;)

  4. I once wrote about the idea that the best thing about baseball is that you know when you've rounded second and are heading towards third making progress for home...In life you never know, it seems, where the bases are, where the ball went, and sometimes even whether you're in the field or up to bat.
    Hillbilly Mike

  5. i really do love your writing.

    and what's kombucha? sounds like something i want to try!

  6. Thanks, all, for leaving such kind words here.

    Acorn, kombucha is basically fermented sweet tea, with live cultures that are good for your digestive system (kinda like yogurt). When you buy it in the store, it's refrigerated and often sweetened with fruit juices (mine was mango). As the bottle warmed up in my car, the cultures started getting more active and gave an extra sweet-tart zing to the fruity flavor. I highly recommend it!