Category Archives: California

Walla Walla: travels to and from


Thanksgiving evening on the side of the freeway in Grants Pass.

We spent Thanksgiving hitch hiking through Northern California. The night before we got a hotel room in Eureka. We were trying to get to Eugene but called it a night in Canyonville, after a trucker dropped us off at a truck stop near the casino. We made it to Roseburg the next day via a local bus and took Greyhound from there – Casper to Eugene and me to Portland.

Foggy mountain morning

Foggy mountain morning

It has been 15 days since we left Humboldt County. In those two short weeks we have seen a lot of extended family – me in Olympia, Seattle and Walla Walla and Casper in Eugene – and we are exhausted from the combination of transition, travel and visiting.

My parents reside in Walla Walla and I came home with them the weekend after Thanksgiving. Casper joined us a week later via Amtrak from Eugene.

That was four days ago. Tonight we board an Amtrak train headed east. Saturday morning my sister will pick us up in Minneapolis and yet another life begins. We will descend into yet another world.

And that is what we do, you know: we place ourselves over and over in new worlds. We watch and listen a lot; don’t speak as much as you might think.

And right now we’re thinking that we want to do more of that.


On top of a parking garage in Roseburg, Oregon.

My mom will join us out in Wisconsin for Christmas, and a good friend of Jess’ (who we met when we visited her in Texas last year) is coming right after Christmas. She is house-sitting a little house in the same valley where we grew up and our own self-built house still stands.

Sisters are magical; I expect great beauty and growth for all present in the next three weeks. Also there will be a lot of really good food and my sister’s beautiful laugh which is contagious, particularly for me.

After Wisconsin – January? February? – Casper and I are flying to Mexico City! “Another white dash,” I think when I contemplate our latest leap of faith into a new world – and “once more with feeling”. Pack the bags. Reconsider your few belongings: what is now superfluous that last week was essential? what new items have taken top priority? We leave behind the ripped sleeping bag that was our only blanket this summer and trade out Casper’s threadbare backpack for a big duffel bag. I get to pack dresses, my paints and brushes, more than one pair of shoes. Every item we use regularly is re-examined for its worth in our new situation. Every possession is chosen.


“Please understand I have been waiting to leave ever since i figured out there were roads willing to take me anywhere i wanted to go.”

In Mexico, we plan to live in Xalapa. We know what we want to do with our time and just need the space to do it so cheap rent and foreign culture beckon us. We are excited, though this morning our minds and hearts are caught up in the present transitions of leaving Walla and arriving in Wisconsin and the dreamy travel-time of Amtrak in between.

Oh, and I’m making solstice cards and I want you to want one. Send me your address in the next week or so for best results. <3


San Francisco…

California dreamin’!

…is full of beautiful people and small dogs.

…smells like piss (or worse) <i>everywhere</i>.

…has ultimately been very kind to us.

We’ve been here – what? A week? Something like that. It’s been really wonderful. It’s the first big city we’ve been to while traveling by thumb and it has treated us well. We happened to be out of money while here, too, and so the plethora of downtown meals made our lives much, much easier.

A few weeks ago we got a ride into the city on our way south so we only spent a few hours here. We then spent a week and a half south of Santa Cruz – absolutely dreamy! – and then came back up to San Fran for a real visit.

We spent a day on Haight Street – great anarchist infoshop and we counted double-digits of head shops! – and today were in Castro for the first time. Golden Gate Park has been wonderful, too. We’ve been to four different libraries and traveled on three of four kinds of transit.

Tomorrow morning, we are hoofing it over to the Golden Gate Bridge to hitch hike north. We remember fondly our days in Garberville and are greatly looking forward to a shower/swim. We’re ready for warmth, too, as even the nicer days in Santa Cruz and San Francisco have been windy because of the ocean.

We have a few different ideas of what to do once the weather gets too cold to live in our tent. These ideas include Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Texas, Louisiana and Vera Cruz!

A Gluten Free Testimonial!

I’ve been off gluten for about six months now. It isn’t hard because I get so freaking sick when I eat even a little. I used to eat pasta and bread all the time; I figure my body was just a mess from that so I never saw direct correlation between my symptoms and those foods. I mean, for the past ten years or so I’ve been in chronic pain of some sort – unexplained body ache, headaches, stomach pain, digestion issues, etc not to mention my mental health which has been less than stable.

I used to eat Mentos all the time. They are that chewy mint candy? I needed change the other day so bought a pack at a gas station even though I hadn’t had them in literally years. As soon as I swallowed the first one, my throat felt tight and then I started feeling my mind get really anxious. I know anxious and this just descended upon me.

I checked the ingredients: second on the list is some sort of wheat glucose thing!!! My stomach hurt like hell – the weird kind of stomach aches I’ve had for a long time but couldn’t figure out the cause of!

And a week ago a waiter forgot to check if there was wheat in the soup and there was (but very, very little – less than the Mentos, I think). I woke up the next morning and started sobbing. I felt so desparately sad and crazy and out of myself. These aren’t symptoms I’m unfamiliar with from other mental health experiences, but this came out of nowhere.

It’s pretty bizarre how quickly gluten it effects me. And it turns my stomach/digestion into a war zone for at least a week afterwards.

The cleaner I get my body, the more I see how gluten hurts it. I smell bread and donuts and the pain associated with those gluten-y foods makes me not even tempted – plus I’ve learned to enjoy smells without the promise of consumption.

I’m still learning a lot about this. I don’t know if I have celiac or just an intolerance or what all. I can get a test done but to do it I have to eat gluten and right now it’s just not worth it. Some weird things have gluten – like Mentos and apparently some kinds of vanilla extract. I’m still determining whether the gluten in oats bothers me – most people say it doesn’t affect them like wheat gluten but others say it does – and the same is true for distilled liquors.

Also? I am finally seeing cause and effect in my body. For so long – all of my teen years – what I ate and did never seemed to have a direct effect on how I felt. My body pain, sense of self, mental state and emotions were all so inconsistent. Even when things weren’t chaotic, they still didn’t seem to follow a pattern. Seeing a pattern, seeing improvement – it has made me excited about feeling better, whereas in the past it all seemed like an unreasonable doom to even attempt to feel good.

San Francisco!

Man oh man. When did I last write? We are outside of San Fran…or, I suppose, San Jose to be more exact…a town (suburb?) called Gilroy. It was the farthest south the San Fran transit could take us. And we’re hoping we’ll have more luck hitching out of here than in the middle of a big city.

We were in Arcata for a week. We slept outside and it was cold and foggy. Then we hitched south – decided to spend a few days in Garberville, then Laytonville, and then I got freaked out by the heat so we headed back up to Arcata.

This time around we were planning on staying in Eureka since we had already “done” Arcata. But Eureka is called Eu-Tweak-a (hey, I don’t make up the nicknames) for a reason. So we went back over to Arcata (they’re like 15 miles apart). We found a fantastic couchsurf. The house we stayed in (or on their lawn, actually, is called the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology and it’s all about living simply/lightly/well with the earth. At least, that’s my take on it.

While there, many other couch surfers came through. That was really wonderful. We met, I think, five other people using the couch surfing website. One was a lovely girl named Anna, an Aquarius who I ended up having quite a bit in common with. When we arrived, two French guys were staying there and spending their days playing dijeradoo by the natural market. We never did determine whether they were hitching with that dij or if it belonged to the house. I have never heard of a travel dij…but I can believe it.

On the second to last night of our stay, two Canadian bicyclists arrived. They pitched their tents near ours and then departed the same morning as we did. In fact, they passed us later that day in Myer’s Flat and none of us would be surprised if we end up running into them again somewhere along the line! They are from Vancouver Island (and possibly Montreal, I think) and have been biking for several weeks from there all the way to Sonora, Mexico!

The housemates at CCAT were phenomonal, too. Three students live there each semester and every interested student is allowed to stay for two semesters. We arrived just as they were planning the upcoming semester together. It was awesome to see people working in meetings and checklists to get such a large program running. It is an organization (possibly a non-profit) and the residents of the house trade running the place for living there.

On Friday while we were there, we walked with Stephanie (Pisces housemate) and Anna the other couchsurfer to a nearby CSA garden. A handful of other people were there, too, and we all worked for four or five hours on harvesting. Then, since Stephanie had been cooking while we worked, we all sat down to a fresh, local meal. It was beautiful and nourishing and lovely. The Cancer who runs the place has great energy and a lovely laugh – compounded by a great willingness to laugh, from what I could see.

A roommate of ours from Vashon, Cosmo, happened to be headed down the coast with his parents on their way to his brother’s graduation in San Jose. Tuesday morning early we left CCAT, caught a bus to Eureka and met up with these folks. They had their pup, Creole, with them, too, so Cosmo and me and Casper and the pup all crowded into the back. The seats were down and we had pillows and there was much pup-petting and conversing and general loveliness.

We’d heard of the Lost Coast and Cosmo’s stepdad was headed just that way. Beautiful! Man, I love the ocean! This just furthered by desire to get the hell to San Luis Obispo so we can be on the beach and live like that for a while.

The ocean pulls me. Tugs me. Moves me in a way that I love to move. I’m not alone. Listen to Dar Williams’ “The Ocean” and Ani Difranco’s “Swim”. The great gravitational push and pull of the moon drags our bodies of water from side to side and I’ll be damned if I can’t *feel* it tugging me, too.

Arcata and Garberville

We spent four or five nights in Arcata. Setting our tent up after nightfall and packing it up at 6am as the sun rose. What a practice! Building our home each evening, taking it down each morning. Working together. Handling every single pack of belongings every single day.

We keep getting rid of more – a shirt, nail polish, a book. I just finished my first Hemingway – The Sun Also Rises. Loved it from start to finish but got nervous near the end as I saw there was not going to be any great climatic point (at least compared to other stories) and wondering how the hell he was going to pull it off.

And he did. One line – that Casper knows by heart and spoke to me just as I set down the book, wide-eyed – and he explains who he is. All this describing place and people and dynamic leaves the reader wanting to know who the watcher, the writer, the observer is. And then boom. Sigh. I am still high on that last page.

After a few nights in Arcata, we hitched down to Garberville. Two rides with less than a half hour wait. We climbed a hill behind a KMart and read and napped in between the rides, a midday rest. Such luxury! We are soaking it all up. We live very limited lives in some ways, but it clears up so much time to enjoy simply!

Our next plan…we’re not sure. Sacramento was the idea but man it is hot over there! Garberville has sun that in the heart of the day is way too hot to be out in, but there’s a beautiful clear river that is just the depth and speed for cooling off. And shade is relatively easy to find.

After cloudy, windy Arcata we thought Sacramento would be grand, but we find we’re liking this 70 degree weather just fine and plan to leave the 100+ heat to other fools.

Next, we think, will be Laytonville to get ready for Gaia fest! We may even score a job helping a vendor so we can get on the inside. Michael Franti is playing!

Maiden Moon blessings to you all. Don’t forget to look at the sky today!


We had such a good time at the Oregon Country Fair that we’ve been looking for other festivals and fests of all sizes. Being in northern California puts us in the hotbed for this sort of thing, too, it seems.

So Saturday we got up at sunrise, packed up our gear and headed to the highway. We caught a ride right away with a videographer also headed to the the free day of the local Folklife festival. It was only 8 miles a way and quaint and amazing. It was held in a historic building. Two stages, one in a natural grass amphitheater, and and vendors and free workshops.

We went to the Beatles Sing Along workshop and joined 40+ people of all ages singing along with a guitar, bass and sometimes piano. The room was so crowded I sat on the floor inside the circle. It made me think of my childhood and other similar gatherings – WWFOR at Seabeck, Not Back to School Camp, etc.

We saw Lyndsey Battle perform. She was absolutely adorable up there on the stage – a big grin throughout while gazing out on the audience sitting on hay bales.

Check it out:

We also heard was Good Company. They did traditional Celtic music – everything from instrumentals to ballads and drinking songs. They were super laidback on stage – made me think of the band at a contra dance.

The festival went on until 7:30, but we decided to leave around 5. I wrote ARCATA on the back of an envelope and we walked to the highway. A tiny gray Porsche picked us up, saying, “If you’ll fit…”. I climbed in the tiny backseat and the rear view window right by my head made me think of being in a space ship but I was seeing cows and green fields instead of stars.

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