I’m camping tonight in a ditch. Actually, in a dry creekbed. Cramping, too.
It’s far away from mostly everything. I’m about a hundred yards off the roadway, which has hardly any traffic.
A few minutes ago I heard a car stop and a door slam. Then I heard footsteps. It was a couple of sheriffs who had seen my tent. They were friendly and gave me great intel on the road tomorrow.
“Narrow, with a nasty 10-mile climb up and over into Ojai.”
I’ve had lots of nasty today and yesterday. Got rained on, a freezing rain deluge for about 15 minutes. My rain pants worked, and what really saved my ass was my wool jacket. The rain never penetrated it. Fucking unreal.
When I stopped at the Von’s a lady drove up. It was raining and damned cold. “Do you need a coat?”
“I’m okay. This is pretty warm.”
She thrust her down jacket out the window. “Please. It’s going to snow.”
I thanked her profusely and declined. People are so decent and kind.
I made some bad choices and the 75-mile ride into a chill, all-day headwind became 90, with another five or six to reach camp. I was bonking, so I stopped to eat some nuts. The sun was out but I was still wet on the outside. A trucker came to the intersection and saw me nonchalantly eating, in the middle of fucking nowhere, having obviously come through Noah’s pre-flood.
We made eye contact and he grinned, then pumped the air with his fist.
I felt fresh again. Just a little encouragement was all it took.
The camp host told me there was a convenience store “about a mile up the road.” I knew he was lying because motorists have no idea how far a mile is. A mile is driverspeak for “too far to walk.” I was out of food so wheeled around, into the headwind, and cursed the host every one of the three miles to the store.
Though I should have thanked him, because they had a Ben & Jerry’s freezer.
Anyway, the sun is setting in my gully. It’s going to freeze in a few hours. The ravens are calling across the orchards while a light breeze buffets the fly of the tent.
It’s so quiet you can practically hear the sun go down.
This is what I came for.
This is why I’m here.
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