The Sequel To The Sequel To My First Redwood Trip. I Should Just Quit Kidding Myself And Move.

In hindsight, it wouldn't have been a bad way to die. I've been on vacation you see. I set up that Space Invaders post to publish while I was away. I can be sneaky like that. While you were reading about the great interplanetary war of the early 80's I was once again spending quality time with the giant redwoods.

First though, I would have to get across the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Bridges freak me out you see, which was always a great source of amusement for a past significant other. She never failed to make light of this alleged irrational fear whenever we had to drive over one. Every time I would explain to her that the fact I can't swim made my phobia the height of logic, and every time she would inevitably come back with some sort of garbage about how giant steel bridges don't just collapse into the sea. Every time we made it to the other side and she would get just a little more smug. It pissed me off.

This time though, about halfway across The Golden Gate Bridge, I got sideswiped by a guy who drifted out of his lane.  If things had gone a little differently it would have been perfect. I could have had "I told you so" carved on my tombstone and I would have been remembered as some sort of psychic. As it was, it was just a little love tap that messed up my drivers side door to the point where it would only open halfway. We exchanged insurance information and I carried on. 

Later I noticed a Quest Diagnostics car. Again. This has been my third trip to the redwoods and every single time I have passed one or more little econoboxes on the highway north of San Francisco emblazoned with the Quest Diagnostics logo. 

What's going on here? Seriously. Why is there a constant army of Quest Diagnostics vehicles making its way out of the city? Is Quest Diagnostics involved in some sort of plot to remove the kidneys from homeless people living on the streets of San Francisco in order to transplant them into the more affluent population of Sausalito and Novato? I'm not saying that's what's going on here, only that it would be far from the most irrational explanation you could come up with.  

Three-quarters of the way to my cabin I pulled over at a rest stop to pee and eat one of the sandwiches I packed. As soon as it was unwrapped a little hippie girl came out of nowhere:

"Excuse me sir, but do you have any extra food?" 

"I thought you were gonna hit me up for some change"

"No, we're saving our money for gas but we're really hungry"

By gas I suspected she meant meth, but my heart softened and I gave her a couple of my sandwiches. I knew how hard her stomach had to be sending empty signals to her brain if she could feel them past the speed, and methhead or not, she definitely looked like she could use the protein. Five minutes later she was back. 

"Do you have any mayonnaise?"  

My goal on these trips is to have more contact with elk than people, and so far the people were up 2 to 0. I think you can see why I was rooting hard for an elk comeback. 

Day 2- I rounded a curve and saw a lady pulling up her pants beside the trail. An incredibly unattractive lady. I suppose if you gotta go you gotta go, but....make an effort at discretion? Sigh. People 3, Elk 0. 

I ended up in a redwood grove named after a man who made a fortune in the lumber business. A guy who basically paid a shitload of money to slap his name on a few of the trees he couldn't get around to cutting down while he was alive. If you look closely you can kinda see a face in one of the trees in this grove:


I'd like to think that the Redwoods, being the force for good that they are, captured the spirit of the lumber baron, and that's him trying to get out.  

That night I fell in love with Jim Knipfel. Awhile back an anonymous commenter tipped me to this guy, and I owe the anonymous one at least a gallon of scotch in gratitude. Jim is a writer for those of us who realize that most of those we share the planet with are irritants and life is most assuredly not a happy ending. Check out his past newspaper columns here and go buy a copy of all his books right now. I read "Ruining It For Everybody" in one sitting.

Day 3- The night before, as I was fading into sleepyland, I heard what what sounded kinda like a chick getting nailed......aaahhh-UNN.....ahhh-UNN.....ahh-UNN!!! Over and over. As the fog descended over my brain though, I remembered I was in a cabin, and therefore didn't have neighbors in the next room. The sound also seemed to be moving, up the highway, and then back around to the other side of the cabin, then slowly away. I assumed it was just Bigfoot and went to sleep. Now though, in the bright daylight of morning, the sound was back, coming from yet another location...

aaahhh-UNN.......aaahhhh-UNN...

Maybe it was an evil spirit waiting to be captured by a redwood. I figured I should get moving. 

On the trail though,  progress. Seventeen miles and not a human to be found. Here's where I wrote a Drug Topics column you'll probably see in a couple months:

I saw my favorite group of redwoods and asked them wassssup. They asked me if it was just them, or if there was less fog around than there used to be. I said I'd get back to them next year, which is like 2 seconds in redwood time probably. 

That night I started "The Big Short" which may turn out to be the most readable account of what exactly happened during the great financial meltdown of 2008. It did not make me miss humans at all. 

Day 4- GGGGGGGGGGGOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thirty minutes into the day's hike I see this guy:



Here's the view from where I spent most of the afternoon:



I read more of "The Big Short" and learned that one of the few people who saw the subprime mortgage crisis as the economic time bomb that it became was a doctor with Asperger's Syndrome who quit medicine because he couldn't handle the required contact with people, started a hedge fund he ran from a room in his house where he kept the shades drawn most of the day, bet against the big boys on Wall Street, and made 800 million dollars. My hero. Oh, and he has a glass eye. I love the fact that one of like 10 people who saw this mess coming had a glass eye. 

On the way back I ran into this:


I counted twenty of them, which put the elk back in the lead. The buck in charge took a few steps toward me, then walked alone along the other side of the meadow at the same pace as I did. Evidently he was like the small town cop who follows you to the edge of town to make sure you're just passin' through. It was the most logical interaction I had with another living creature all week. I wanted to hug Mr. Elk, but I'm pretty sure that would have gotten me gored. 

That night I faded too sleep with MSNBC's "Lockup" in the background, and I'm pretty sure I heard someone say "These kids today don't know how to act like proper gangsters anymore." I'm not sure whether to take comfort in or be terrified by that statement. 

Day 5- The last day of these trips are spent as a windshield tourist, my body usually being sore and broken and in need of a rest by this point. This is an actual sign you'll see by the road smack dab in the middle of Redwood National Park:



Uhhhhh....yeah.....thanks for that. I was definitely back in the land of the humans. I tried to keep it out of my mind as much as I could by spending most of the day pretending I was actually an elk on some sort of undercover spying mission. 

When I got home, I saw the blinking light on my answering machine and knew it was my insurance company. Sigh.

At least I have reason to be fearful of bridges now. 
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The Sequel To The Sequel To My First Redwood Trip. I Should Just Quit Kidding Myself And Move.
The Sequel To The Sequel To My First Redwood Trip. I Should Just Quit Kidding Myself And Move.
Reviewed by malaria
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Rating : 4.5