Tag Archives: wisconsin

Walla Walla: travels to and from

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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.

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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.

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“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

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We’re back!

Our winter hiatus from travel is nearly over and we are just about ready to start this blog up again. We’ve spent the colder months burrowed in a small, cozy room on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound. A 20 minute ferry ride from West Seattle, we’ve spent most of the past six months on the island and inside our house.

I believe we last left off as we were leaving Bozeman, Montana. Of course, that was over at a different URL so those posts aren’t on this blog. However, we’re sticking to this blog now. I think. I guess. We’ll see.

We had a lovely time in Bozeman last fall and then took our time driving to Spokane. We spent a lovely day on a secluded mountain trail somewhere really high up in Montana or Idaho. Absolutely gorgeous.

That was August or September 2011. We spent a month in Walla Walla, Washington, living in my parents’ basement. They have two puppies who we are absolutely in love with. My paternal grandma had a stroke and died while we were there. My sister flew up from Texas to attend the funeral so my whole family (plus Casper) were in the same house for a few days there!

We left in October planning to travel the West Coast down to Eugene at least. We spent a week or two visiting my dear friend Sean in Chehalis, bopped down to Portland for a day to pick up a friend who was looking for a ride to Seattle, and then headed for Vashon Island.

Our plan was to spend a few days on Vashon visiting some of my old friends from when I was 14 and 15. We spent a week in our car near a lovely Seattle library doing writing work so we could afford the ferry ride to the Island.

Once on the Island, it was about a week before we decided to take the room they had available. It measures something like 14’x10′ and has lots of storage-like shelves up high. The walls were kind of beat up so we painted them boldly with quotes and art and the like during our stay. It very quickly became a cozy little home for us. We called it the Bunkernest.

Our roommates started out being Ben and Cosmo, folks I know from when I was younger. It’s a four bedroom house. A guy named Matt joined us November 1. Kyle kept sleeping on our couch while walking from town to a house south of us so in January he decided to move in. He sectioned off half of the living room with beautiful tapestries and I’m not actually sure what he was sleeping on for a bed back there… Brian, a friend of Kyle’s, started sleeping on our couches regularly sometime in March, I think. An older couple, Heather and Thom, took Matt’s room when he left in February.

As of April, the four bedroom house was home to seven housemates, one couch friend, three cats and over a dozen computers.

Right Now: Octavia
For the first time in a year and half, Casper and I are apart for more than a week! I’m in Wisconsin with my sister and he is back on Vashon.

My sister became known to the Vashon household because she stayed with us for a week after getting knee surgery and then at other points as she was flying to and from Texas. On the last visit, she was thinking she would need a second round of surgery so I offered to drive to Wisconsin with her to take care of her post-op.

We spent a few days with our parents in Walla Walla, picked up her dog Oso who was staying there, and then up to Spokane to visit our brother. The car, a rickety little thing named Antonia who has been through some stuff, was packed to the gills. I had a backpack and a bag and the rest was Jess’ worldly possessions and dog.

One of those possessions was a yurt she built. We set it up the first night on the road at some BLM land outside of Billings. It was easy to set up but bloody cold. We ended up in the same sleeping bag and full of giggles at 2am as we froze our asses off.

We hit the road at daybreak and managed to get all the way to the Twin Cities. It was, like, a 12 hour driving day. Jess did most of it; she’s a rockstar. We spent the night at an apartment in Minneapolis where some of our childhood friends live, though we didn’t actually see them at all because we got in after midnight and then slept in late.

In the past week, we’ve been housesitting outside of Menomonie, Wisconsin, for some old friends (actually the parents of the people with the apartment mentioned above!). It turns out Jess just needs a lot more physical therapy and not surgery so we’ve just been enjoying ourselves! This has included eating delicious gluten-free things that Jess makes, setting up her yurt in the valley where we grew up, yoga and tea on the front porch, talking about how cute her dog is, andmore. We’ve also been working a bunch on her midwifery business stuff – business cards, advertising, medical forms, licensing, tools of the trade, etc.

Right Now: Casper
I am leaving Wisconsin on May 2. Casper has been a rockstar, judging from afar, about getting our car ready for the road, our belongings packed and the bedroom walls painted. I am taking Amtrak out west and will meet him at the Portland train station on the 4th!

The Plan
The plan now is to do the West Coast. Anyone who has been told of our “plans” before, though, know how much these things can change! We go as the wind blows us, seeking bliss and adventure.

In our future: Portland, Salem, Eugene. We want to spend time on the coast, in ghost towns, on friends’ couches, and deep in BLM land. We’re excited to be back to moving again. Those four walls on Vashon were a comfort but by March were starting to feel like chains. We want to be away from people for awhile, not living in community and living instead by our daily whims.

And this fall? Europe. One way ticket, friends. I am so excited my feet have trouble staying in the socks they aren’t wearing! So far, I know how to say “yes” and “no” in Icelandic and am feeling really good about my future plans!


Madison

I haven’t really written about Madison, I suppose. We were only there for a few days and it was pretty hectic emotionally, but I’ve been wanting to say a word about some of the folks we stayed with down there.

A week or so before we got to Madison, I looked up what Food Not Bombs action was happening in the area and got in touch with one of the folks who is starting it. Madison used to have a group, but it’s just being re-started now. It was so great to sit with a group of organizers! There was an agenda, checklists, people volunteering for different jobs… I miss that! I haven’t organized for years!

After the meeting, we all walked to a church that gave out free bread. Two of the organizers, Kristin and Jackie, offered to share their apartment with us for a night and we were quite gracious. One of our couch surfing hosts had flaked on us and we were not looking forward to more cold nights in the car.

Farm animals need love to!

Jackie, originally from Virginia, was living on Kristin’s couch and both work at the Heartland Farm Sanctuary. We never made it out to visit (Casper was busy puking the day we were supposed to go out there), but we wanted to tell people about it anyway.

Their mission is to “provide care for farm animals in need, nurture people through the human-animal bond, and foster respect and kindness toward animals and each other.” Pretty rad, right? They run a farm animal rescue, not just saving cats and dogs like a humane society, but horses, cows, sheep, goats and more! They also tame and find homes for feral cats, lead barn tours and educate folks about human treatment of animals.

Here’s the info Kristin sent me about it:

“We were founded in 2010 by Dana Barre when she came across this staggering fact: Wisconsin is home to more than 35 million farm animals, but does not have a single dedicated farm animal shelter. With nowhere for abused and unwanted farm animals to go, Dana was determined to create a safe haven that they could call their own. At the same time, Dana saw the possibilities for helping special needs and at-risk youth through contact with rescued farm animals, and teaching kids to treat all animals with compassion and respect.”

Check them out at heartlandfarmsanctuary.org and visit if you’re in the area!


Milwaukee: Our Meal at St Ben’s

A pretty house in Jason's neighborhood.

After having our long talk and scanty breakfast, I can’t rightly remember what all we did. We were limited in terms of sightseeing since we were saving our gas. I’m pretty sure we drove to a new library and did our usual thing. We also left my phone charger there, which ended up having many repercussions since the library wasn’t open again until Monday.

That evening, we parked in Jason’s neighborhood and walked the several miles to a free community meal at a church called St Ben’s. Some parts of Milwaukee appear to be as run down and vacant as Cincinnati, though more industrial than slummy. I was worried about the walk (my usual lack of energy + a lack of food) but it turned out to be quite nice.

Lots of people were gathered outside the church doors as we made our way inside. We arrived near the end of the meal and the line was short. We were graciously served delicious meatloaf as well as milk, coffee, dessert, fruit and more. It was the first time in days that we’d had a complete meal, much less one at a table with clean silverware.

Receiving free food when you’re hungry is an incredibly humbling experience. I wanted to cry and then hug every one of the servers. So many people giving so much without asking any questions. I didn’t have to explain, defend or qualify myself.

I felt weird being white, young, from a middle class background, relatively educated. I was afraid someone would question us being there, question why we weren’t taking more advantage of our privilege, question why we were “choosing” to be low income. But no one did.

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Madison: Georgia’s

Saturday morning, Jason slept in so we didn’t have to leave too early. He had told us at the beginning of the stay that he had another surfer scheduled for Saturday afternoon so we’d need to leave before that. We packed up, cleaned up and drove off. Jason was still in bed looking sleepy and obviously enjoying his day in.

Again…not really sure what we did on this day. My daily diary just says, “Slept at Georgia’s.”

Georgia, our second Milwaukee Couch Surfing host, lived a few miles from Jason in a one bedroom apartment. She has a degree in packaging and has a job designing boxes, but she’s also a musician and an artist.

We arrived outside of Georgia’ apartment building around 6 or 7, but our phone was dead (and the charger was at a library that wouldn’t be open until Monday; it was Friday) so we had no way to let her know we’d arrived. We knew her apartment number, but the door to the building itself was locked. The buzzers didn’t work and no one seemed to be coming or going.

We tried to find wifi on her front step, but no luck so Casper walked to a nearby café to email her. He returned and, just then, a man came out of the building. We went in, knocked, met Georgia, settled in. Later that night, two of her friends came over to “base fade”, as Casper calls it, which apparently means drinking some before going out. I, to no one’s surprise, had not heard the term before.

One of the friends who came over was another Milwaukee couch surfing host who we had contacted us. All five of us hung out for a while, chatting, and then they went out to some clubs.

I slept on the couch; Casper on the floor. Just as Casper does better going without eating, he does better with inadequate sleep, too. Either one of those things and I’m a freakin’ mess. (That’s me justifying the couch vs. floor arrangement.)


Milwaukee: A Lack of Petrol

Salem exploring! He doesn't mind the harness at all, though he did escape it once. This was the first time we used it - on the lawn of a Milwaukee library.

The gas light turned on somewhere in Milwaukee. It was making Casper very nervous but I was less concerned. We slowly used up the last few dollars of cash we had, but it wasn’t much and the gas light – or, the nightmare it warned us of – became a regular topic of panic and discussion. We were soon down to 55 cents total. We had a day or two of waiting left before his tax refund transferred to my PayPal account.

I have never run out of gas before, but I’ve definitely jumped from dying cars on busy roads to push them out of the way of traffic before their momentum petered out. Plus, we had just watched a Seinfeld in which Kramer had exuberantly pushed a car past the gas light stage to see just how much gas was left.

By walking some and driving a whole hell of a lot less, we somehow managed to not run out of gas. We stayed within a few miles of Jason’s house for two or three days before the money finally came through on May 22, Casper’s birthday. We immediately drove to a gas station and gleefully filled up the tank of our car, our home, our trusty steed with the ill-begotten juices that make our current lifestyle possible.


Milwaukee: the First Morning

The only unfortunate thing about staying with Jason was that he left each morning around 7am and only had one key for his door that only locked from the outside. So, after our first night, we were up and out of the house by 7am. We packed ourselves back into the car, drove to a nearby park and sat feeling dazed and half asleep for a while.

We were both feeling grumpy but it was a sunny day so I convinced Casper to lay out our blanket, rest, talk and sort out the day.

Casper was feeling off and we had a good long talk about that. I think I cried pretty good at one point, but that’s kind of the usual regardless of whose emotional health we’re discussing. (And, after several years of being unable to cry when it had always been a saving grace in times of panic, it’s a blessing how freely I cry these days).

Casper nomming on saltine buffet night in Palatine, Illinois.

Eventually, we talked our way beyond the tenseness and stress and enjoyed our time in the sun. We headed down the trail that led from the park along a beautiful river. We cut down on a smaller path so we could be right on the riverbank and found a fire pit. Casper was just about to really engage in the wilderness when I brought up the unfortunate fact that I was weak with hunger and unable to paint due to panic.

This curtailed Casper’s plans and I felt guilty about that, but no one wants to see me when I get hungry. I get incredibly weak and fuzzy-brained and grumpy. It’s just a fact that we adapt to because there’s really no way around it. I am on two different psychiatric meds; the least we can do is make sure I am fed.

So we walked back up the trail to the car. We acquired some food, which if I remember correctly was along the lines of the saltine buffet we had our last night in Palatine. Because saltines are cheap and we were broke, we had tuna with saltines, beans with saltines, and a little bit of cheese with saltines. I’m really not sure exactly what we ate that morning in Milwaukee, but I’m guessing it was along those lines.


Wisconsin Memories: Jason’s

My daily diary and Fruity, Jason's adorable beagle.

That first day in Milwaukee, we woke up in the car and drove to a nearby library to get online. We confirmed a place to stay for that night and, I think, just spent most of the day there at the library.

I keep a daily diary to jot down the basics of where and how we are each day. I started it August 13, when I was living in my parents’ basement last year. Originally, it was to monitor my meds/moods and to help me live each day intentionally. On August 17, it says, “told Mamá about Ohio.” Six days after that, I was on the road to Cincinnati with Casper, and I kept up the daily entries until November 3, 2010.

I picked it up again May 1, 2011, the day we left Cincinnati. It’s just the basics: usually half of a half-sized page per day. And sometimes, as was the case for our first full day in Milwaukee, it says much, much less.

Jason was a dashing young man with a sweet dog, a messy apartment (he was moving at the time), a passion for bicycles and a job in advertising. As you can see, I’m not really sure what we did on Thursday the 19th of May, but I do know we spent the night on Jason’s futon.

The comfy futon was in what I presume was the living room. Jason had rad art on the walls and bikes in various states of completion throughout the apartment. It was a really cozy place to be and Fruity, the pup, was a beagle of epically sweet proportions. Jason had a cup in his bathroom that said “I LOVE BEAGLES”.


Downing: photo post!


Downing: Staying with Peggy

My valley!

Peggy was an incredible host. She works nights and spends her days catching up on sleep and packing up her house. I honestly did not see her sit down the whole time we were there, except for half an hour when we first arrived.

She’s a busy bee. She’s a traveling nurse – working everywhere from Boston to Sacramento for a few months at a time – and has decided to rent out her house while she’s gone. The renters move in July 1 and she has years and years of life to pack up. We helped her out some with weeding and moving a big pile of rotting wood.

Me and Casper adopted a midnight to 9 or 10am sleep schedule – particularly nice since we’d been on a stretch of four and five hour nights. Peggy made sure we knew we could eat any of her food, go through her humungous garage sale pile, and generally make ourselves at home. It’s been such a huge relief for us to be able to settle in for a good week. I even brought my suitcase inside! I’ve never done that! We never stayed with anyone long enough to make it worth it.

Casper doing his morning stretches in our room at Peggy's.

Notable moments from our stay here:

  • Seeing four deer play in Peggy’s front yard. They were chasing each other around and having a grand old time!
  • Salem appearing after hours of absence with spider webs in his whiskers, ear whiskers, and eyebrows. Peggy thanked him for helping her clean up.
  • Visiting the Mabel Tainter. It’s where I went to church (Unitarian Universalist) growing up. I used to take the small path through the woods between our house and Peggy’s every Sunday and go to church with her and her kids. It’s a historic building and they’ve renovated it in the past few years. Casper was awe-struck.
  • Chess. In Madison, we found a $7 chess board on Craigslist and we’ve played four or five games since then. Casper is better than me, but it’s never a slaughter and I’m getting better. Our games – played on couches, in the car, in parks or in cafés – last about 45 minutes. I’ve always enjoyed chess but never had the attention span to really focus. I do now, though, and am so grateful that I can spend an hour with my brain locked in on the little wooden pieces.
  • Playing guitar on Peggy’s porch. My free Nashville guitar is staying in better tune these days and my mom sent me my music book! So much guitar playing. My fingers are getting calloused and I love it. My voice is getting better, too.
  • Visiting neighbors I grew up with. Our last evening, we went walking at dusk, when it was no longer 99 degrees out, and stopped in at Vicky and Terry’s. Only Terry was home and she gave us popsicles and then joined us on our walk down to Stephanie and Carol’s. They had visitors over – Craig and Lucy, who were part of our community out here and whose farm we used to milk cows at – and we all sat in their front yard and chatted. Their 7 year old kept us entertained with impossible riddles.

Standing in the middle of the street outside the Boyceville library.

Continue reading


Downing: Hometown

Standing beside my hometown's population sign.

We arrived at Peggy’s on the 31st of May. A month on the road and we’ve made it home! Well, my home at least.

My family moved from Washington to Wisconsin in the early 90s, when I was a toddler. We moved out here with Peggy and her family. Her two kids are about the same age as my sister and I. We bought 80 acres of land from Jody and Kurt. They and their two sons became a huge part of our life. We lived several places for a few months at a time before we moved on to our land.

By that time, Peggy had gotten divorced and she and her ex each took ten acres of the land. My family took the 20 acres in between. Peggy lived in Boyceville, a nearby town of about 1000 people, before building a lovely house on her land and moving back to the country. Her kids were homeschooled at first but later went to Boyceville.

The view from Peggy's front porch, south towards the land I grew up on.

My family built our splendid home over many years, moving back to Washington in 2003 when the Lyme disease and winters got too bad. The house we built was far from normal; running on solar powered and having the fridge in the mudroom were the least of its unique features. We had a latrine; no hot water at the sink; a wood stove; unpainted walls; a claw foot bathtub; and electrical wiring on the outside of all the walls. It was home; it was a beautiful, glorious house.

And still is, actually. My family built that house by hand. It was the only house my parents’ have ever built and it is clear they learned construction as they went along. Since we left in 2003 – a traumatic move for all of us – we have all been back a few times, but no one has gone to see the house. A lady named Terra bought it and though we knew she was planning on farming and keeping the place strange and beautiful, none of us wanted to see our house changed.

But I did, this time around. Terra was gracious enough to let us wander her land as well as tour her house. It’s different now; very different. But I like it. It’s like I had to give up something very precious to me and give it to someone I didn’t know anything about; I didn’t even know her name back then. And now, eight years later, I discover that she has not only kept the heart and soul of the place alive, but that it is still just as unique, cozy and grand as when I left it.

It’s not my home now; not my house. But I’m not sad about that anymore.


Winona, Part II

A beautiful day in Winona, MN.

Casper woke up in the car in the McDonald’s parking lot in Winona around 9am. He joined me in McDonald’s and we talked a bit, found directions to a Walgreens for my meds and located the public library.

The Winona public library is the cutest thing I have seen in quite awhile. It has three or so levels – it’s hard to tell. There’s a basement and a second floor that lead off of the entrance on the ground floor. And there are books everywhere. Metal staircases tucked into corners lead to the different floors. The basement rooms, where fiction resides, look more like a book store than a library. So compact! So adorable!

The Winona public library.

We left Winona around 3pm and arrived in my hometown a couple hours later. Our first stop was the Acoustic Café, where I have been enjoying hoagies since before I could see over the counter. We got the corned beef hoagie, because that is what I always get, and a lemonade because Casper is a big lemonade fan and my sister loves their lemonade and she’s a connoisseur of the ‘ade as well.

Then we drove out into the boonies. We stopped along the road and played chess. Casper was freaked out by getting his first tick. Upon him winning (I’ve never beaten him, but I’m getting better), we drove a mile to the valley I grew up in. It was an exquisite day and the green and blues of the Wisconsin landscape were freakin’ out of the world. Perfectly blue, smooth sky with pure white clouds. I freakin’ love this part of the world.

We arrived at Peggy’s, hugged, unpacked, ate, talked, set up our bedroom, slept. Salem loves it here!


Winona, Part I

Our car top carrier, covered in Mississippi River bugs.

After the nude beach, we drove north to Winona, Minnesota. We got gas, were awed by the amount of bugs we had collected while driving along the Mississippi and then drove to the top of this big hill. It was incredibly windy but warm. We parked near a cell tower on the grassy crest of the hill.

We tethered Salem out so he could get some fresh air and snack on some grass. He escaped at one point, leaving us with an empty harness attached to the car door. Luckily, he’s not the running type and was huddle a few yards from the car. The flashlight caught his eyes so he was easy to find.

Where we slept in Winona.

After watching some TV in the car, we set up our bed next to the car. It was a gorgeous night: windy, warm, bright stars. Unfortunately, we couldn’t sleep. The wind was just too loud and…busy. I couldn’t feel settled, no matter how many hours I laid there. I got a few hours of sleep but Casper only got one hour. A few rain drops hit us around 3am and thought it never actually rained, they convinced us to move back into the car. We tried sleeping for a few more hours and then, around 6am, I woke up for good. I asked Casper to drive down the mountain (as we like to call it) to the McDonald’s so I could get online.

I played Tropico 3 and blogged while he slept in the car for two more hours.

The McDonald’s was nuts! Continue reading


Madison Memories: Mustard, Nudity, Etc

Monday morning, we left Jolien’s (a couch surfing host) with our sites on Middleton, less than an hour outside of Madison and home to the Mustard Museum. We stopped in there after repacking/organizing the car in Madison.

I have never seen so much mustard. Seriously. There was herb mustard and horse radish mustard and mustard with whole mustard seeds packed to the brim. They had antique mustard pots from the early 1900s and from around the world. They had vintage (extremely sexist) mustard ads. Apparently, in the 30s and 40s mustard was a pretty new thing; the ads were all about how to use mustard correctly. And how they would make your man strong and happy when at work. They also had a quiz thingie which grabbed the attention of us trivia geeks. Do you know which country exports the most mustard?

From Middleton, we headed to where we had heard a nude beach was. We had to ask directions at a liquor store and then from a canoe rental place but finally found it. There were tons of cars and dozens of bikes parked around the entrance. We joined them and walked a good quarter mile down to the water. It was hot. Casper was still feeling weak from a few days of sickness, but we made it.

So many naked people! Playing volleyball, sunning themselves, wading in the wide, sandy river, boating. I loved it! We took our clothes off pretty quick so we could get sun screen on. A guy named Michael came up and talked to us about the beach. He said, “It looks like this is your first time in the sun this season” and we both laughed. Casper is a ghost (thus the name) and we’re both suspicious of the sun. He burns hard but I just freckle. Either way, we both were kinda glowing from being so untan.

Michael told us that he’s been going to this beach – Mazo Beach, between Sauk City and Mazomanie – for 20 years and is involved in the group that is defending the beach against local religious groups who are trying to shut it down. We’d read about this conflict online, too. He told us that certain parts of our bodies we should apply sunscreen on ourselves instead of letting the other do it and that if we were going to walk anywhere off the beach we should put a towel on.

He said they’d just cut down all the brush around the beach to cut down on the “riff raff”. Since Casper and I were sort of looking for a more private place, we later came up with the stencil idea “we are the riff raff” and are quite proud of it.

We waded and swam. Casper takes a lot longer to get into water than me; I claim it is because I have so much blubber to keep me warm and he is just skin and bones. There was a sandbar half way out into the river that we waded to. The whole river bank and bottom were *so* sandy. Casper found a fist-sized rock with his feet and that was the only rock we ever really detected. The beach was sandy, hot and surrounded on three sides with dense forest. So beautiful!

We spent three hours there and we hadn’t brought books, cards, chess or anything. We just spent three hours – that felt like one – basking, wading, etc.

Heaven. Seriously.


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