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Posts Tagged ‘bus’

I have done it – traversed the Oregon Coast by public bus (almost) – coming out to the coast in Crescent City, CA and stopping in Astoria, OR today, though i may continue north through Washington – yes by public bus. I have done sections before, but never have gone from end to end, and this time i did it in reverse, taking my time, camping out on the way.

Most of the coast is linked by county transit systems, as Greyhound stopped running out here years ago. There is one 24 mile gap between Florence and Yachats, and i have heard murmurs of a connection coming one day. I love this mode of travel, for here the riders often talk to each other on the bus, and you get a view of the coastal communities you would not otherwise. It is not fast – most systems run 5 or 6 days a week, with sunday service non-existent, and there are only a few buses each day. I like to camp which is an inexpensive option with the hiker-biker sites in the Oregon State Parks. Although most buses make flag stops along the way, i often carry my pack several miles. The transit system can also be handy for anyone walking the Oregon Coast Trail, or cycling the oregon coast bike route  (most buses have 2 bike racks)

These are the transit systems i used going from south to north

To Crescent City (or Brookings, OR)

SouthWest Point from Klamath Falls (OR) Amtrak,  Medford(greyhound, ashland) or Grants Pass (Greyhound) – passing through towns on the way. I got off in Hiouchi, by Jedidiah State Park (redwoods) to camp for a night.

Crescent City to Smith River (for connection north)
– Redwood Coast Transit
also connects from Arcata (Greyhound, Amtrak bus) and highway 199

Smith River to Brookings to Coos Bay
Curry Public Transit runs up the coast as far as North Bend, stopping in the communities of Port Orford, Gold Beach, Bandon, and Coos Bay, and allows for flag stops on the 101. I took several days to make this trip, stopping off at State Parks enroute .

Coos Bay – out to Charleston (side trip)

Coos Transit   travels around the towns of Coos Bay and North Bend and out to Charleston, where Cape Arago is only a few mile walk

Coos Bay to Florence

Porter Stage Lines will take you to Florence (also to Reedsport) and inland to Eugene (Greyhound, Amtrak) and Bend and beyond

Florence

There is no bus service from Florence north to Yachats (about 26 miles). I must admit, i hitched this stretch this time from the north end of town, though i walked it southbound a few years ago, over a few days. Rhody Express will take you to the north end of town. The Oregon Coast trail, takes you both along the beach and the road. There are several campgrounds, both state and forest service along the way.

Yachats to Lincoln City (and Otis to connect north)

Lincoln County Transit  serves the many communities along this section of the coast, with buses from Yachats to Newport, Newport to Lincoln City (and to otis for northbound connections), and to Toledo inland. There are also local services in Newport and Lincoln City. With many towns, a variety of trails and landscapes, and four state parks with hiker biker sites, traveling this section of the coast is a breeze. At Newport – you can go inland to Corvallis and beyond on the Valley Retriever

From Otis through Tillamook to Cannon Beach

Tillamook Transit connects through to cannon beach, with service into Portland as well. The system has several bus lines that will take you to Pacific City, Oceanside and Netarts, Garibaldi and Rockaway Beach, and up to manzanita and-Cannon Beach, with connections made in Tillamook. In addition to the state and forest service parks, Tillamook county offers several county campgrounds with hiker-biker sites.

From Cannon Beach to Astoria

Clatsop County transit – Ride the Bus – has a direct bus line that will take you from Cannon Beach to Astoria, stopping in Seaside and other communities. At time of writing, this transit system had experienced major cuts (from almost hourly service to a few times a day etc)  but hopes to rebuild.

Beyond Astoria

once in Astoria (or seaside, cannon beach( you may go back to Portland  on NorthWest Point or continue North to Washington via Pacific Transit  to Aberdeen and from there up the Olympic Peninsula to the tip and around – or take the ferry to Victoria BC and north, or inland to Olympia and from there to Seattle and beyond, the inland side of the Peninsula.

Along the route you will meet many people and see places in a new way. the journey is not quick, but life is a journey and not a destination.

Update 2015

I once again spent the summer travelling the coast by bus – the system has greatly improved. with the North by Northwest (OXO) system linking the various transit systems and offering 3 day ($25) and 7 day ($30) passes that include a return between valley and coast and unlimited coastal travel. http://www.nworegontransit.org

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10/27 – salt lake city

I am not a car. I am a human being. This i want to yell. I yearn for a place that is geared towards people rather than cars. I yearn for a place that is built on a human scale. At times i wonder if cars have become a species that is taking over, like in many a sci-fi film for it seems that in America the landscape is geared towards them. What i am writing is nothing new, not even to me, but i can ignore this feeling no more. I have wandered north america, and the usa for too long, and the landscape makes me sad. all too often it hurts to walk, the body is fine, but the soul screams out and feels overwhelmed. there is no where i want to go. I am a person in a land built for cars.

I feel this more intensely here, in a city designed for the car, but it is something that has haunted me for many a year – in so many places around the continent. Why not just learn to drive again and somehow buy a car – you ask. Perhaps i could, and i am just being stubborn and refusing to accept the society we have created. Maybe i am, but i feel that something has been lost, something that must be reclaimed – somehow. But how?

At times i have been yearning for Central America or Mexico – the lands where i was last winter, the lands where public transit and public space looms large. A place where you could almost always find some sort of transportation – from a deluxe bus that puts greyhound to shame, to a chicken bus – the school buses of my youth, to the back of a truck, where in the cities buses, collectivos (communal taxis) and in guatemala tuk-tuk (three wheeled motorized taxis) could take you anywhere. Though it is not just the transportation, it is that despite the crazy traffic, many places are still built to human scale (though the big cities are the sprawls of the car). They are designed for walking though the sidewalks are narrow and uneven and suddenly disappear, and the cars zoom through and do not stop and park anywhere. The Cars are part of the equation, but they are not it. People still walk as a means to get around, and for fun. A pedestrian is not an anomaly. Still, the danger looms, making it less safe to walk around.

I am in a city where in many areas it hurts to walk. the neighborhood where i stay is older, one of the first, and is built to a human scale with narrower streets with sidewalks separated by a median of grass and trees, but once i leave i am faced with the wide boulevards full of cars. And even in this area you see few people on the street, and i think that is it.

Public transit in this city is fairly good, with buses passing in many areas every 15 minutes to half an hour. The trax light rail train runs more often and the system is being expanded, as is the front runner train to link the communities to the south. But once you get off, there is little around. The trax to the south is built upon old railway tracks, and stops at park’n’rides with little else around; buses run to and fro but it is a wasteland to the eyes.

In town the blocks are long and the streets are wide – sidewalks exist separated from the street, but few walk along – only those like myself, the poor, the young, the homeless, and the occasional other person. While walking is possible on the main streets, you are overwhelmed by the cars – they are not to human scale. you must push a button to work the pedestrian crossing light (yes it exists) and if you come as the street light changes, you must wait an entire round. The effort is made but you become overwhelmed, and feel visible and exposed as a pedestrian.

The problem is lack of the public sphere – few people walk here and the only ones in parks are the homeless or barely housed so it seems. Yes people are busy and days are getting short, but lunch breaks, and after work – at home alone or with a few others in private space in front of the tv.

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Waiting Stations

It is the early hours of the morning. My train got in at 4am – i wait in stations for the sun to come up. It is 5:15 am – the Amtrak station – a small simple waiting room – has shut for the day. it won’t open again until 10:30 pm as trains pass through here in the late night and wee hours of the morn. The greyhound station across the way has opened up and we are allowed to wait in here.

Waiting in this station is my one experience in salt lake city several years ago – a layover and bus change on a sunday morning i believe. It is all i know of this city, so can i really say that i have been to SLC. I remember the area as being more hollowed out than it is now with the light rail and city bus stations that are here. The station too is brighter and cleaner than i remember.

I feel hollowed out – my bag, my boots, even my socks are worn down, and i feel that way myself. And i feel that way not only from the 17 hour ride, and waking up at 330 am (which was 230 for me). I seem to be the only solo woman in here, and others seem as bleary eyed and worn as myself – or more so. It has been raining and i enter bus station zone. Vending machines with their loud hum, bright fluorescent lights (that actually light up the room), metal benches – kindly with some arms removed so a few people can lie down – others sleep on the floor – a TV tuned to the news channel. It is a fairly industrial building with an exposed ceiling of tubes. They still have lockers here, and game consoles, an atm, and even an internet console – but it still is bus station zone – one of the nicer ones i admit – with multiple doors to the outside, and names of destinations overhead. It is fairly empty at the moment, a while until the next buses come or go, so it is missing the lines of people and bags standing in front of the doors.

The greyhound station may be nicer since it is part of a larger transit center at the edge of downtown – with the frontrunner, trax, buses, amtrak and cabs – a waystation of people coming and going, and with nowhere else to go. I listen to the hum of the machines and feel their vibration. Despite the bright lights all seems dull. It is a waiting rule – a room of waiting, and that i do.

In that sense it is similar to other waiting rooms – hospital, doctors, government offices and more – for the action here is waiting – the difference lies in what you are waiting for. In each case you are dependent on someone else to grant you what you need – the bus to take you along, the official to grant you something, the doctor to cure or advise you. It is a type of enforced stillness, but often you are not still. A waiting room is a place between, a holding zone.

A man paces. Another who had been sleeping on a metal bench on top of his stuff now sits, staring blankly at the screen. At this time of day there are no children; those at the amtrak station caught a cab, and were not waiting long enough to become too terribly restless. The place is fairly empty, so few engage; proximity does not force them to interact, or turn away.
Do i find myself here, sitting in this place, because that is what my life has become – a waiting, a waiting for something, a non-doing but not in the positive buddhist sense, a passivity. Others, like myself, sit with the cheap worn baggage that they carry.

It is a place of deader eyes and dulling skin, and i realize this can be the look of the poor and the down and out who spend so much of their lives waiting – not only the self-induced waiting on a miracle, but waiting on things, for that is part of what it means to be poor – waiting on officials, waiting to fill out forms, waiting for answers, waiting for housing, waiting for food if you do not have money to buy, waiting and waiting and being on hold. How much has my life been on hold – waiting?

I have usually avoided arriving in places at this time of the day – early morn with time to kill. I have avoided that expression in recent years “killing time”, but that is what people are doing here in this waiting room, what i am doing, killing time. This killing is why these places often feel “dead” or “lifeless” despite the people who are within. It is a time of impasse, of inaction, of dull eyes, and i feel myself as being more down and out. That feeling dominates these places, and can breed.

It has been a while since i have been in these stations. No, that is not true. I recently spent time in San Jose Diridon station, an hour less than a week ago, a station with dark wooden benches and dim lights, and while it felt similar it was also different. For one, i spent time outside, talking with others and thus was engaged. secondarily, it is also a commuter station of people quickly passing through as part of their daily lives, so there is rapid movement among the waiting. A week of so before after just missing my connection to monterey,i waited, and waited, killing time after i had managed to wander downtown. I had waited in the train station in Merced as well, a place i have waited a couple of times, sitting in a room with others who are doing the same thing. But i forgot about that, for these are dead zones of time, and though i have spent much physical time here, i bracket it and do not include it as part of the experience . it is “other” – a place in between, and somehow is not “real” or important, but it is.

This station, and other waiting rooms of travel, seem different from bus stops at the edge of the road, or even the transit center of short distance commutes like the transit center in santa cruz where i spent 45 minutes, but there i was talking to someone, and the movement around passed more rapidly. And it is different from the benches outside the ferry building yesterday morning where we waited for the bus to take us to the station in emeryville where we were to board the train. The action of those waiting was similar, a dulled expression, or a nervousness as people looked at tickets and the time, and over to the direction from which the bus would come. Outside on the street the energy of waiting is less contained with others walking by and street life around.

Buildings are containers of the energy, they enclose it, and it can bounce off the walls. It is like waiting rooms in airports – people glance around but do not look, some read or play on laptops, but rarely is this energy focused on the action at hand – it is more diffuse – and at times tense or bored. Sometimes there are more distractions at hand, the tv that plays the news, games, places to eat, but they are distractions at best.

I had forgotten about this zone, though it was not so long ago that i was here. It comes back to me, and i wonder how much time i have spent here. but that is like a return to any zone – for they are landcapes of the mind as well, but there is a sucking into lethargy here.

I think of the last time i arrived in a city before dawn. it was in Oaxaca last spring. I waited in the first modern bright bus station i had been to in a long while. I drank coffee at the cafe in the station – amazed by the modernity of it all, and the middle class life that was around. But still, it was a waiting, a waiting to move on in to the city. This is a poorer waiting zone – especially at this time of day. a place of worn cheap running shoes and discount baggage. And it reminds me now of Seattle and Eugene, the last greyhound stations where i have been, and they were much grimmer than here – Seattle – dull and grey without enough benches to go around, and eugene a greyness that surrounds. Here is brighter and modern and kept up and clean, but it still has that sucking feel.

Since those places i have waited at many transit stops by the edge of the road or stood with my thumb out waiting for a car. But somehow they are different – for you do not feel isolated, and connect with what is around. Even the ferry terminal in Vallejo was different, for i drank coffee and enjoyed the break, and was engaged in what i was doing.

But how much time have i spent here in this waiting zone? I now feel like i am back in travel zone – the one zone i wished to avoid, and i wonder if being here is my will or gods call. Memories of times in this zone come flying up – a long night in the port authority bus terminal in new york a few years back, of “killing” several hours in Guadalajara airport this spring, of a night in dallas or was it houston in 2002 – it does not matter for all i saw was the station late at night. I remember familiar bus stations – vancouver with wooden benches and the outside, calgary – a dark weird zone but with a cheap breakfast appearing cut off from the town, edmonton, where i often left my bags and went for coffee and dinner and then returned and waited inside – the list goes on and on. In some places i just wait, and in others i engage a bit and transform the zone – or at least a bit, for there is part of me that is waiting.

I think of central america and the chaotic bus zones – with food sellers and people yelling, and much action around – and there it seemed a bit less like waiting – the action was less contained and i was engaged in the moment to an extent. And i remember recently waiting at a bus stop in Tuolumne meadows in yosemite park, but the edge of the road, with sights around, visible to all who drove and walked by, and though i was not in a physical zone, or one that was apart, i had entered that waiting zone of the mind, focused on and worrying about when the bus would come – in that in between place of tense waiting and nothing more.

How much time have i spent in waiting zone – not just in the physical stations such as this, but in life, waiting for something to come or change, waiting for the next step of my journey, waiting – neither here nor there but in-between. And i have also spent so much time in it’s cousin’s zone – the decision-making and planning zone – no not the action zone of that, but the fretting zone, the zone of impasse and inaction. The zone that is not engaged.

Maybe that is why i find myself sitting here in these stations once again. I have been here over an hour, and it hits me – am i still in waiting zone, or am i engaged, for i have been writing all of this down and exploring the concept of zones, and so i am not merely waiting.

The machines still hum, a woman smiles as a yawn, a muffled announcement is made, more people shuffle though after a night on a bus, and others place their bags in line for one that will leave. a few men still sleep on the floor. it is still dark outside. The place begins to suffocate. i will go out and to the town and walk around

(I type this the next day, for the station in the early hours of the morn is not the place for to have my computer out. i went to town, and walked around, and realize in doing that i had returned to waiting zone – the internal zone that is not necessarily linked to the place outside)

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I am camping in Jediah Smith Redwood, my tent planted between three old growth redwood trees, and it seems so small compared to their grandeur. and so do i. My site, probably the best in the park, is circled by many more of these ancient life forms – hundreds and hundreds of years old, and others in the campground may have seen a thousand or more. and i think of all they have witnessed in thier lives, standing, growing tall, enduring the changes and catastrophes of the years , the endure and thrive and have such a rich presence. and i thank god for bringing me here. and the park of this morning on the coast, and the towns i passed through and bus rides i took seem eaons away.
my energy has calmed since being here – was rushing through and off kilter for the early part of the day. i woke at 3am and never really went back to sleep and packed up my tent in the damp grey before 7am and walked into town to catch the bus south at 8:45 not entirely sure of where i was going to. and by the time i got to brookings at 8am a steady drizzle was coming down as it would on and off for the ride south to crescent city california.
and i could feel the energy, the twitching in my face and movements of my arms, overnight and i felt more and more that i had to get off the coast. the afternoon before when walking back to the campground, i had a feeling of walking in that twilight zone where all seemed a bit unreal – and i felt that life was going on but something big was about to give. and at night in my tent the cool damp earth beneath seemed less stable than it usually is.
the first bus took my south to smith river, the convenience store beside the casino, and the whole ride down i felt not myself – a transformation or something, that energy rush that i had experienced in santa cruz and down the coast – the landscape seemed sad beneath the grey, the homes and people all worn down, a guy at one stop before 10am out in sock feet, drinking a cheap can of beer and smoking a butt, but giving another money so he could get on. Crescent city was still a grey sprawl. I thought of previous times i passed through and hated it here, sitting in mcdonalds for 2 hours in the rain waiting for the bus to continue on a few miles south when greyhound ran through back in 2001. and i try to remember seeing the beauty, but that was another time in the winter sun. i still felt like the earth was about to give and could i get away soon enough, and i sat by the bus stop waiting, waiting, for 45 minutes but what seemed like days hoping i could get out of this place. And that energy and those feelings kept on rushing through.
I catch the bus out of town and get here to this magical place, down highway 199 which twists through the ancient groves. i feel calmer away from coastal air. But, then when i go to the bathroom i see a sign marking the high water level of december 22 1964, the tsunami from the huge alaska earthquake, and the line was over the top of the bathroom door.
the sun broke through for a few hours – at about 330 pm. i sit at my picnic table in this quiet area and thank god that i am here. and tonight i get to sleep beneath the trees, my tent in an alcove surrounded and dwarfed by three. And i feel their presence within me and marvel at their lives. somehow the magic of the world has come back alive.

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i arrived in brookings about 3pm – rode the bus this time. was not sure if it ran today but after standing on the side of the road by humbug mountain for almost three hours, at times almost descending to tears, i prayed that it did. and i have to admit i was glad to be out of there. And i am not too sure why – for it was a beautiful place; set along a stream, with mountains on each side, plenty of trees and some with leaves rather than just needles, and access to the scenic beach. But after my first night when i moved from the overflow to the real hiker biker camp my mood started to change. was it something about the specific locale, on a hill instead of in a wide area of brown grass beside the stream, something in the air, the influence of the sun, or was it just me.

I wake up in the sun and the sun shines throughout the day. and i am no longer in that twilight zone. I spend the day at humbug mountain – not feeling like moving on. i am nearing the border to california and running out of oregon state parks. I awake and the sun is shining and it shines throughout the day – and how different i feel now that i am no longer in twilight zone – the movement inside is no longer sluggish, and crackles a bit.

I am at peace and then i move from the overflow to the real hiker biker area and i feel the energy change – i don’t know what it was and i feel better now – was it the threat of being moved in on and wanting one of the designated areas to myself and feeling greedy about that which made me feel this way. is it the sun itself or maybe limited caffeine.

I tell myself i will climb up humbug mountain itself – to get views up and down the coast and walk through some old growth that is there – but part of me just wants to relax and read and not put on my hiking boots. i sit in the sun feeling warm and then feel yes i should go for a hike – i put on my boots and across to the well groomed and graded trail, and begin my hike, thinking oh lethargy will just go away, always better once you start- i go about a mile up, see two families coming down, the trail is fine – ferns, salal, trees with some old growth giants, and a fair amount of poison oak – but i still do not want to hike. i continue on where the circle is and then turn around. yes, this is what i am supposed to do here – but it does not call to me.

and i have been feeling a bit like a fraud again – not a true hiker on the oregon coast trail, making much of my way by thumb and bus and i feel like i should be hiking more – and should is the operative word. i remember how last summer as i bussed around lake tahoe camping at the few hiker sites, i then too felt like i fraud, like i should be doing the pacific crest trail, as many of the other hikers were. but i know i am not a backpacker in the long distance hiking sense of the word, and while i love the wildlands, at times i prefer tamer parks.

And while the rvers and tenters come to relax and enjoy the sea, here i feel i should be hiking. and a place often calls up an activity and do you feel it inside. And there are places for hiking, for working – of different sorts, for partying, and for so much else. and do you jive with the activity to be performed? If not, you often feel out of kilter and out of tune with the dominant vibe. And the activities often define a place – be it in a home – a bedroom or sleeping place, the cooking place, and the place to pee, and within cities there are now so many specialized zones, and likewise with areas of the country or towns up and down the coast. And i here i feel out of kilter

in the evening i go down to the beach to watch the sunset over the sea and the standing monoliths or rocks offshore. but i do not feel calm and become impatient with how long it takes to descend; and have to chuckle when a man on a nearby log boos when it goes behind the bank of fog that remains offshore here.

I get up in morning and it is sunny again – and i feel a floating agitation coming over me. and this is what i wrote as i sat at my picnic table before i left – feeling off balance here. The fog is gone and the light is clear and i feel unnerved, crackling and sad and this has happened before – many a time in fact. The veils of the fog are gone, and that heaviness and twilight sense of a dream disappear, and the illusions are revealed as the edges become sharper and more is seen, And at times you wish the fog to return, those veils that made all so much softer and slower, and a different type of comfort despite the chill. It has been warm here, i did not shiver in my tent, and even awoke in a sweat after my afternoon nap in the sun, and though it is beautiful here, i sense a different loneliness and being off the path that seems more intense – and it is the intensity that the brightness brings, a shock to the system and movement of all that gathered in the grey. It seems harder, harsher like the the bright paintings in bright primary colors with well defined shapes, not muted or blurring into one another, a vision of separateness, and in the greys all mingles more. and i feel like i am not camper or hiker girl though i can do both and it is a part of me, and i do not wish to be a vagrant upon this land.

I stand by the road and watch the cars pass me on by and a feel like a leper, a taker of life. i stand for an hour and then wonder if i will hit the trail, i go back to find it, and the ascent is steep, too steep for me with all my gear, as it heads over a smaller mountain. the road curved before me, and i am by a long wide pullout – rvs and cars and all go by and i wonder if i should cross the road and ask myself what the hell am i doing here – i start to dissolve, my smile to the cars is ultra forced, and they probably sense the discomfort in me. i am almost out of food – an energy bar and a few peanuts, and some instant oatmeal that i guess i can eat dry, and i have not had a real coffee in two days – some tea made with warm tap water, and a can of seattle’s best latte, if i stay here will i climb into the bush? I go up check out the trail but the ascent is way too steep for me. I know the day is nice and i am in a beautiful locale, but i am feeling desperate now – what the hell brought me to this place. i wonder if it was port orford, the town 6 miles up the road, with that strange vibe, and undertow of sorts, like a hippyville gone bad. and some others at the campground also commented on that town. And i felt it coming through a couple of years ago – and even in the 80s this was the place where thumbing was not good. and i wonder if it is because i am closer to california, and i regret leaving the kindness of the people to the north behind. And i tell myself i am heading to nothing, what is down this road for me?

The bus finally comes – glad the schedule that showed 5 days a week instead of the old 3 was correct, and pulls over when i flag it down. The driver is grumpy, and the signs telling passengers not to eat or drink have none of the kindness of those in the other county bus systems. he is curt, and i pay my fare – expensive here in Curry county – $4 to gold river and another $4 to brookings. There is one other passenger, a wanderer just like me, had all his belongings stolen when he left them in some bushes in port orford as he looked for a place to hitch – or so the story goes. his voucher he had gotten for food was in the pack and gone but the charities there gave him a voucher for the bus on down to here – looking for help in brookings where he might spend the night – walked out of a bad relationship in michigan two years ago and has been walking ever since – to florida for the winter, Tennessee in the fall.

The coast is beautiful here with the rugged cliffs and rocks offshore but grey has come in once again. The bus whizzes by so many
lookout points where i would love to stop but i pass on through. We get to gold river – another long spread out town with another weird vibe to it and a girl in jeans about 5 sizes too large gets on. The ride is beautiful, but i wonder if i am going the right way.

I am sad when we get to brookings – another ugly sprawl along the road. i grab a coffee at an espresso stand and then go grocery shopping at the large fred meyers wheeling by backpack around in the cart. here at least the state park is closer to town than listed in the brochure – the 1.6 miles walk seems easy despite the weight of the food.

A nice woman greets me at the check-in gate, chat with her and there is a good hikerbiker site with space and plenty of trees – I take a hot shower and now i do my laundry (yes a laundromat here) and now feel better, like a different person, having eaten a meal and now wearing clean clothes.

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I almost gave up – put my pack back on and started walking – imaging that i would have to stay at jessica honeyman again – a wonderful park but this time it was not where i was called – and i had seen more cyclists on the road, and at this time of the day – just after 5pm, i had seen quite a few that i imagined might be stopping there – and i did not know if i could stay, had spent my 3 days (the maximum allowed in a hiker-biker site) and was not sure if you had to be out 4 or 7 days before you could stay again – i had been out 5 though it seemed much longer than that. But i withheld lighting up my cigarette that i had taken from my pack, and walking forwards i stuck out my thumb, and a car pulled over for me and was going past where i wanted to be. i had told god i would accept whatever, but that morning back in newport i had been so sure and all day i felt the energy pouring through me and my face, body and molecules loosening up and transforming once again.

And now i sit in my tent in william tugman park, just south of reedsport and in less familiar land. i have been through here a couple of times, but going south from florence i left my familiar stomping grounds. and though i travelled only about 60 miles, by bus, foot and thumb, it has been a long day passing through zones and with various encounters, and i feel like i am in another place.
This morning the sun was out when i got up before my alarm, and though the fog threatened to roll in, it never did – at least where i was. I had a few hours before the bus south to yachats where i would have to stick out my thumb. I had a leisurely breakfast – the standard fare with a coffee from the hospitality hut, and packed up my tent in no great rush. I walked out to the highway where i would flag down the bus – i had told the driver the night before i would be there, but wasn’t sure if he did the morning runs. I got out there with 10-15 minutes to spare and stood watching the traffic flow by. and i thought to myself the edge of the road can be a very lonely place – i stand exposed to all who pass by – so obvious with my bag.

the bus comes with the woman driver who took my from yachats to beachside last saturday, she is sweet and seems to remember me. this run is empty unlike the last one of the day which i had taken from town the past two nights. i feel lighter and smile as we drive down the road and feel like i am going in the right direction – two hikers get off at seal rock, and i think of the time i hiked from there a few years ago – the fog came in thick for a short while and i could barely see in front of me. we pass through waldport, pick up a remote teenager whose hair covers his entire face, hiding away and i think of how my hair once did that. I notice more cyclists on the road and wonder where they all are coming from as the hiker-biker site where i stayed had only five plus myself. We get to yachats such a different vibe, with the larger resorts going into town, and a few galleries and a sign in front of a store advertising organic fibers. i had been thinking of scones and coffee at the green salmon, so of course i had to stop in there. It is almost noon and the place is filling up and there is something different about the vibe – and as i sit down a 50-60 something man with short styled grey hair and understated dress pulls out a ipad and explains all his apps. he and another local lament the lack of a health food store, but praise their special loose green tea. and the people seem much less weighed down, but at the same time more reserved; they are the “good people” the liberal alternative professional or rich young seniors who make up this place, and with good manners they also hold back a bit.

I pick up some emergency food at the overpriced small grocery store – odwalla bars on sale and peanuts as i still have cheese, fruit and radishes from the other day – and walk over the small bridge to just south of town – take a break and look at the bay and think it wouldn’t be so bad to get stuck here and walk out to cape perpetua – but then i remember the uphill climb on the amanda trail and how for several miles there is not a straight stretch on the road, and go back to the highway and stick out my thumb. I’m still amazed at what a totally different world this place is from that other town just eight miles up the road.

The sun still shines and the wind is a heavy breeze. I set down my bags and watch the packed cars go on by, not whizzing as the exit the 25mph speed limit zone – some go on by, a few avert their eyes, and i’m sure some comment on me – but i stand and wait about a half hour until finally an older hippie looking guy pulls over and gives me a lift as far south as florence.

His car is older and looks out of place with the shiny vehicles in this town and the rv’s that ply this road. He has three long braids hanging from his chin, longish grey hair, a fuller face and a cigarette in his hand. I give him a glance and take a sniff – not high or drunk from what i can tell or smell, and get on in. As he tells me some of his story, talking a mile a minute was we drive down the coast, i learn he’s been sober for 13 years and an ex-druggie for about as long. he lives in florence but drives this route almost everyday just to get a view – on his way back from taking a hitchhiker up to lincoln city. We take the curves of cape perpetua and he says he comes to see it each day, the waves and rocks and cliffs and more, his place is inland from the sea. he tells me of a mountain lion in his yard, of gathering abalone near cambria and visiting hearst castle as a child, about collecting rocks near hecate head when we stop for a traffic flagger going over the bridge, we talk of global warming and icebergs melting, and then he points to a picture hanging – says that’s my daughter – though 7 years ago – how he had a fling in las vegas with his first wife, while married to the second, and that resulted in this girl he dotes on, and he told me all about her. We get to florence before i know, and he drops me at the fred meyer at the north end of town.

now florence is one of those long towns spread out along the 101, so i decide to wait for the bus that will take me to the other end. I know it goes there, but not sure where or when it passes but find a cart attendant who is willing and happy to let me know – i have about 40 minutes so i decide to go inside. I have to pee but am not sure what to do with my bags, and dump the backpack in the hall outside the restroom and then into a cart as i buy some dinner and breakfast for the next day – natural peanut butter is on sale, and the aisles and produce section overflow and it make me want to cook (and i do not venture into the other sections).

The bus is empty except for an older couple who ride the bus for fun; they know the driver and he knows them. The radio is on playing classic rock and the drivers harley jacket it over his seat. Being a small town bus route we go all over to get from one end of town to the other – circling around some blocks what it seems to be several times – past all the grocery stores, the library, the seniors center and the hospital. and as we drive around i know i could not settle in a place like. The driver waves at people on the road and in other commercial vehicles, and finally drops me by the bridge where i thank him for the tour of town.

This is another hub on the coast and the traffic is heavy – i cross the bridge and look for a place to stand. I try a bit in one locale – no – walk 3/4 mile up the road and stand for 25 minutes more, then continue on where i wait over half an hour – before almost giving up. I had felt the energy flowing through earlier that day, and now i ask myself just what have i done, should i have gone inland to eugene and beyond; should i have taken a bus inland from newport? am i deluded once again?

But then the car stops. i hesitate – a harder looking 20something guy with a wicked tatoo on his arm, another messy older sportyish car with cans lying around – but i glance at them and they are piles of monster cans and other energy drinks. he is going to coos bay, i say i’m going just south of reedsport, and get on in. he feels like a coos bay guy, that rundown town with edge, and heavy metal comes from the radio but at a low volume than god, and he drives carefully, very carefully i’d say, like he wishes to avoid getting stopped and has probably done some time and has seen the lower side of life. still he comes from his landscaping job, and while is quiet, tells me a bit about camping here along the coast and says tugman is a nice place to go, and asks if i mind before he lights up a cigarette. He’s originally from california – i did not ask where – but i imagine somewhere in the south – and says he doesn’t really know north of florence when i tell him i started today in newport.

The road changes south of florence, inland with trees and lakes formed by the dunes – gently windy and it feels more isolated and wild. I feel like i have entered a new zone. We pass through the sad towns of gardiner – a small patch along the road with white houses and what appear to be mainly closed down stores (and a bar), through reedsport – also kinda sad – 2 grocery stores a pacific pride and an older safeway, and a mcdonalds and DQ and a few smaller shops, and up the hill a shinier health food store, that like most i have seen in this state, announces that it accepts the food stamp cards. Another town that struggles though and where life goes on – and through winchester, which has a bay, and a few small motels as well, then back to the tree lined road (though i peer behind and see more than one clearcut) without homes or shops and then by this lake and you don’t really think you are near the sea (except for the now stronger wind of course). and now i am here and it is getting dark and tomorrow is yet another new day.

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On some journeys all doors open for you, tickets come cheap, a ride comes through, and all runs on time. And then there are other trips where delays stand in your face. My trip here to San Francisco in January 2008 was one of those. in fact, there were considerable delays. I came again this time from Oregon, not from Eugene from where i had come in the previous time less that three months (but seemingly years) before, but from Seaside where i had spent 40 days and nights and then some more. And in between those times, i had criss-crossed the country as well.

It was January (2008) when i arrived, and it was not until the middle of March that i would leave the area for a good time (until February 2009) not really expecting to come back again. But then again, the last time i was here, i did not imagine to be back so soon. In those three months i went south and north, alone and with my father. Though it became a time of frenetic movement, I did not leave California. But the story of my movement, the story with my dad, began and ended in San Bruno, a suburb of town near the airport, and will not be covered here.

But as i said, my journey was delayed, and i wondered if it was a good decision made, but it was an experience lived. I had been in Seaside over a month, and felt the slowness come over me, i felt like my time there was done. I wanted to start the new year in another locale, but i stayed the night and went to Portland new years day instead. The weather was Oregon rain, and despite the glitter of that city, i wondered why i came. My call was to go to San Fransisco, but i delayed and procrastinated for a few days, sitting in the public library, soggy, in front of the computers in the main hall, or one in the side room, looking at lands afar. By the time i decided to make the trek, the Amtrak fares had gone up high. My shoes were wet, i made a decision, i was going to go, so i went down to the dull greyhound station, a bought a ticket for 6:30 pm the following day, saving several dollars that way.

Now in Portland the greyhound and Amtrak stations are just next door to one another, but they are worlds apart, both are older, but amtrak is welcoming, has wooden benches and service with a smile, while greyhound is more concrete, with dim lighting, low ceilings, and a few plastic seats.

The day that i was to leave a storm came in – i spent the day drinking coffee, and at the library trying to keep myself dry. I went to the station early and got my baggage tags, but i felt something was off, i did not know why. The woman at the counter tagged my bags with what seemed to be hesitancy, but read me the gate and told me the time the bus would load. after i got in the security guard came in, and set up his table where he screened people through. I went out for a butt, heard some people murmuring about the bus and snow. I asked myself, was it delayed and when would it come, and then i looked at the ticket desk and saw some with bags walking away. I waited for a call to see if the bus was cancelled because of the storm. I looked around and the at the clock and then at 6:10 i went to the desk. The bus had just been cancelled, the pass has been closed due to heavy snow, there will be no more buses out tonight. my ticket was non-refundable, and the hostel was booked that night, i checked the time and then asked by chance, can i use it again at anytime. They stamped the ticket with the date the bus was cancelled, i could not get a refund, but could use it later.

I ran over to the Amtrak station where the bus to seaside departed i believe at 6:35. I had just a few minutes to buy a ticket, a couple dawdled in line, but i got the ticket and ran out to the bus just as it was ready to pull out. Now people in Seaside had told me i was crazy to want to go to San Francisco, a big city in California to the south. And i had wondered about my trip, somehow i was brought back to the place, something drew me back there. Another storm prevented my departure from Seaside, almost a month before, and now another brought me back there. I had thought that chapter in my life (still to be written) had ended with the year 2008, but like the circles back to San Francisco, circles had, and would again, take me back to Seaside.

I arrived, walked in and dumped my bags, your back rick said, now working the desk. The bus was cancelled i said in a rush, the pass was closed with the storm. I went to my old room, and to the familiar bed, and slept tight for the night, feeling like i had come back home, and glad now that nick had left. I got up early the next morning, to see if i would have to catch the bus, not really wishing to. I called the greyhound toll free number and got the recorded message that listed cancellations from the week before. i logged on to the computer before the front desk opened a bit worried the manager would discover that i knew how and checked the website. No buses were going south that day. I waited and waited and kept checking back, but for 3 days the message appeared, the buses were cancelled from Oregon to California, it had been another major winter storm.

The room was not to remain my own the following night, a girl came in and moved in there, a student on a winter break trip, but one with a car. the next day was nicer, the rain had slowed, and we went for a hike on Tillamook head, the wind came up and i caught a chill, but still went out to look at cannon beach and caught the bus back to seaside on my own. I had been feeling like i was catching a cold, had almost not gone on the hike the truth be told. But i had a chance, a lift in the car, to take me to the headland and more – and i missed the trees and the rocky vista, and after all what was a little rain. But that night the cold took hold, and though the buses started up after two days, i stay for over a week recovering, sleeping and reading in bed.

David, the sweetie despite his alcohol and methadone, kept warning me of the city and to stay away. He’d been to Portland, into the city for a few days, and was glad to get back to the serenity of winter in a coastal oregon town. Rick was working harder, and with Nick gone away, maybe there was place for me. I was lulling back into seaside zone but the dramas also pushed me away. I was tempted to change my plans, but i still had the ticket in hand, one that could not be returned. The dramas got stronger as the week went on, the young guy who lost his baby to social services after trying with his ex to raise it in a cheap motel room had his part-time hours stocking groceries at Safeway cut back even more, and there was talk of him having what work was around there. And then there was the crazy who looked at all with suspicion, she finally talked, became incomprehensible, and had to be taken away.

My last night a new man came in, from a sunnier place, to relive his youthful memories of summers spent in Seaside. We talked outside of many things, the chatted and drank cheap beer in his room with the young guy. The conversation got esoteric, and the kid left very soon. He fell into a trance and told me details of my past and drew a picture of a lion exactly the same as i had once drawn. he spoke of my future and called me a blocked artist said i need not go to San Francisco – that my future lie neither here not there. I knew i was leaving and so did he, and said maybe i would end up near there – near the russian river – but not right away, may take several journeys first. We more drank PBR, that awful cheap beer, and talked away till late in the night. When i got up my legs were wobbly, and i spent time over the toilet bowl throwing up. My elation turned to sorrow, it felt like my life were coming on up, and if i had come to hug a toilet bowl i just had to get away.

The next morning i peeled myself out of bed, said goodbye to seaside and got out on the road, taking the amtrak bus back to the city. The trip seemed long, my head did hurt, so i caught the first greyhound out of Portland. It was the schedule i avoided when i booked my bus, with a five hour layover in Sacramento in the middle of the night.

The bus had the usual cast of characters – a girl out of prison, another fighting for custody, a guy on a last leave from the army and more – and for much of the time i had to share a seat. I remember the break in eugene, got coffee at the starbucks but little else except that the pass over the mountains was clear.

We arrived in Sacramento just before 2am; the bus to SFO would not leave til 7. I sat out back and had a smoke, listening to loud rap coming out of a souped up car and looking around the corner watching a drug deal. I went into station, talked with one of the smokers who i met on the breaks, he knew the place, and me and two guys walked the deserted streets of downtown to a Dennys in the middle of the night where a middle-aged waitress with big hair kept filling our coffee cups. i forget their stories now, one out of jail to start a new life, and the other in a transition of sorts, and on the way back one smoking some crack. still it was he who digged deep and gave the man sleeping on the street in the ragged long coat $10 of his own.

I got to san francisco to the grisly greyhound station and walked to the hostel where i was to spend my time. It rained for several days i think, and was it this time i discovered the beach, went on more walking tours, spent time at the library and walked to golden gate park, discovering the city and remembered to meditate. The story of this time remains a blur, mixed up with my time here just months before. A time of transition, of calm and panic, for i no longer knew what i would do, and the polish of the city was gone. I made so discoveries but also lost some of the dream that was contained in this place. (that time here is another entry, written together with the time before)

I was out of cash, and began to worry and made my way down to santa cruz and monterey. It was there that I found out my dad coming out for a visit and i would meet him for a few days back here. i came back a few days sooner than hoped for I enjoyed my time in monterey and did not want to leave. The manager said could stay more than the allotted time – but one day he was not there an employee instead, and told me i had stayed too long. I came back up here to wait for my dad, staying down at Fishermans Wharf. Walks around, in the moment, a sense of calm, but a storm brewing underneath, i wanted to stop this existence of mine. A few days later i was picked up at the hostel by my father and headed out to the suburb of San Bruno, and another month long chapter of life on the road in a circle back to the suburbs again and then yet another phase of my life that led me back here again.

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