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Thread: Adrift in Space

  1. #81
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2
    Thank you so much, Phoo! Absolutely loved following you on your trek. You write really well, felt like I was there. Am taking a break from trekking because am taking care of my elderly mother right now, but some day I will be back out there too.

    Best wishes, peace to you,

    Lori, born in Pennsylvania, rambled across the country, in Oregon for now, on the move in the future.

  2. #82
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Greeley CO
    Posts
    986
    You have to do what you need to do Canyon Eagle. I took care of my mother for several years but she was fun to take out on a ride when she turned around to flip off somebody that was tailgating us.
    Phoo, just keep going on.
    1992 FG, 1994 Hallmark camper.
    1961 CJ3b, V6,OD,PTO winch etc.
    1969 Jeep Commando.
    1998 Harley.
    2, 1982 XT 550's
    1953 Buick Special, that I get out about once a year, 62K original miles.

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    154
    I feel like this is the end of a chapter. Well, since it isn't the end of the book, what's next!?
    Nathan

    2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon "Build" Thread
    2015 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4x4

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Greeley CO
    Posts
    986
    Whatever you create for yourself is the answer.
    1992 FG, 1994 Hallmark camper.
    1961 CJ3b, V6,OD,PTO winch etc.
    1969 Jeep Commando.
    1998 Harley.
    2, 1982 XT 550's
    1953 Buick Special, that I get out about once a year, 62K original miles.

  5. #85
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Waaaay out there
    Posts
    77
    iluvdirt:
    California is indeed, amazing! I did manage to spend the better part of a week in Death Valley, way back in January, followed by a couple of days in Joshua Tree, and oh so briefly stopped in Anza Borrego just a couple months ago (was still rather hot, or I'd have stayed longer). That state, and the deserts as a whole deserve much more of my time. I will be back... someday.

    Canyon Eagle/Lori:
    Oregon ain't such a bad place to be stuck! I'll admit, I got quite comfortable there and had a difficult time leaving.

    Next adventure(s)?
    Well, Spacepod's adventure will continue in the hands of a good buddy/frequent co-conspirator/part time mad scientist, as he embarks on Expedition-Parenthood. I will be restocking the piggy bank, raging on weekends and making the most of vacations. Time to leave the continent, me thinks. Snowboard mountaineering in Patagonia has been an often discussed topic, but Iceland has been calling my name for a while too!

    I'm going to try to write something that smells a bit like an epilogue in a bit. Hold tight for one more post to wrap up this whole saga...

  6. #86
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Waaaay out there
    Posts
    77



    Epilogue//Interstellar Meditation


    Ultimately, it's all about time and space. No known beginning. No foreseeable end. Somehow, there is never enough. Constrained and cramped by infinity.



    Enjoying a fantastic show of lights, a few miles from the Alaska-Canada border.


    The older folks at my office would often joke about the ever accelerating passage of time. It typically went something like “Just wait until you...”, paired with one of a rotating selection of milestones:
    “until you buy a house”
    “until you get married”
    “until you have kids”
    “turn 40”
    etc.

    Any or all of these would initiate the presumably inevitable, flaming dive-bomb from my supposed youthful exuberance. I'm going to gain 50 pounds. My remaining hair will fall out. Maybe my crappy vision will get even crappier. I'll probably just mow the lawn for fun. I think I can handle being bald, blind, pudgy and slow, but the real source of existential terror is the ever creeping pseudo-reverse-time-dilation effect they all talk about. Worse yet is the fact that I can already feel it at the ripe old age of 36.
    “Been here 30 years! Just went by in a blink! Don't know where the time went...”

    Thus began, in earnest, the longest year of my life in recent memory.


    I won't go into exhausting detail, but let me just say that the simple act of unplugging from life and disappearing for a bit is considerably more complex than one might expect. Assuming that the camper-van, sailboat, motorcycle, bike, hiking boots or whatever you are using to get around has already been purchased, and you've dropped the uncomfortable news on your employer, there's still some work to be done. Personally, it took a few good weeks get the vehicle registration settled, figure out how to insure myself, deal with the surprising volume of material artifacts tucked into every available corner of my grubby man-cave-apartment and convince my loving family that I wouldn't be eaten, kidnapped, or fall off of a mountain.
    Eventually, all of the pieces fall into place. At some point the key turns and everything is set into motion. A daydream turned bad idea turned obsession turned plan turned reality, finally backs out of the driveway and rolls over the edge of the cliff. I think that for most adventurers and explorers, this is about where it really hits home...
    I have no idea what I'm doing.
    To a certain extent, that's the point of this exercise. To get comfortable with being uncomfortable.



    T minus one day before liftoff. At home, in the driveway, prepping the van.


    In my first month on the road, I had my share of magical, picture-perfect moments. And these things were absolutely necessary. Critical to morale and crucial to forward progress.



    Somewhere in Colorado. My first non-truckstop camp.



    180 degree, double rainbow sunrise that I suffered through, just north of Joshua Tree NP.



    Over the edge at Death Valley NP.


    That first month consisted largely of fleeing east coast airspace, crossing the mind bending void that is the mid-west, outrunning all manner of bad weather and generally figuring out how to survive in this abstract state of existence. With all of this came a very special sort of daily grind. The sort that challenges you in a different way everyday.
    Sleeping at noisy, brightly lit highway rest stops.
    Trying to cook dinner on a backpacking stove, at said rest stop, without drawing unwanted attention. Testing the limits of the van's traction control system on a peanut-butter-muddy forest roads.
    Wondering why my coolant keeps disappearing.
    I could write about the time I was nearly strangled by the draw-chord of my crappy, budget sleeping bag one morning, but that would probably worry my dear mother. So I won't. But I did buy a new bag the next day.
    Of course, there's also the countless hours and endless miles behind the wheel. Just getting to somewhere.



    The un-glamor that is parking lot oatmeal.



    Torrential rain, greasy-slick, unpaved BLM roads, and testing traction limits on the way to camp.



    Chasing the horizon on that endless black ribbon.


    The dirty little secret is that it never truly becomes easy. Certainly not by the commonly accepted definition of that term. Easy, is sitting on the couch. However, the good news is that hard (or perhaps just un-easy) is a state that can be adapted to. With time and experience, I started to figure things out.
    I now have an intuitive feel for just how big of a rock (ditch, water bar or whatever) I can get the van over, and most of those scraping noises are not nearly as bad as they sound.
    I found the source of that coolant leak. It got worse. Much worse. It was my water pump.
    I'll also note that my new sleeping bag did not make another attempt on my life.

    Logically, once that which is perceived as hard, becomes apparently less hard, one should in turn, seek out that which is more hard (try to keep up, eh?). In my particular case, getting used to living in a confined space necessitated adding an extra person to the equation. The return of spring's warmth and sunshine, thus required heading north into the mountains and waiting jaws of winter. Similarly, gaining familiarity with a particular region, resulted in a mad dash over the horizon. Obviously.



    The van rearranged for a five week side-expedition to AK and back with an accomplice. (Photo credit: C. Betzel)



    I'll always remember that amazing blue sky and perfect snow, but I'll also remember this as the day cold enough to freeze the beer.



    The enchanted land of Squamish (aka Squampton). World class mountain biking, rock climbing, fried chicken and tacos. All at once! We are definitely not in Kansas anymore.


    Masochism aside, there is a point and consequence to seeking out situations of discomfort, uncertainty and even fear. I'll stop just short of saying that comfort is the enemy, but it should rarely, if ever, be the end goal. In this nebulous thing we call adventure, as well as in life itself, the path of greatest friction often bears the sweetest fruit. Nearly twelve full months after zeroing the trip odometer and blasting out of my normal routine, I can still recall almost every long day of my trip with crystal clarity. Of that tall stack of memories, those which I treasure the most typically occurred either during or after some significant outpouring of effort, endurance or outright suffering.



    Waking to a rain shower of condensed sweat and breath vapor inside the van, squishing into soggy boots and dodging bus-eating crevasses are a small price for getting cosmic on Thompson Pass, AK.



    Just a few miles into a 12 hour through hike of The Enchantments near Leavenworth, WA



    Surfing down through the wildflowers on Teton Pass in Wyoming.



    The rumors are true. Not much oxygen up high. Just shy of 12K at Georgia Pass on a Colorado Trail overnighter.


    During my time adrift, I found another, unexpected effect...

    Once upon a certain physics midterm exam long ago, we had to calculate the relativistic time lag (dilation, that is) experienced by Mojo Jojo and his gang of flying monkeys (ref. Powerpuff Girls (yeah, my prof. was a strange dude)) as they orbited Earth at trans-warp velocity. Special relativity and cartoon super-villains. Probably the most bizarre math problem I've ever encountered. But it's lacking something. There's also a certain dusty old idiom pertaining to the flight of time whilst enjoying one's self. But that's not it either. There's a completely different phenomenon at play here.
    It happens in times of uncertainty. It occurs when each day presents new challenges. When the simple act of living fully occupies the mind. It is the anti-routine. Thinking back to those grainy, yellowed memories of childhood, the world was new, fresh and exciting, and each summer vacation felt like it lasted for years at a time. This is the antithesis to the office-life temporal drift. Being in a state of perpetual motion, this past year truly felt like the passage of a decade.

    While going to work, buying groceries, taking the kids to soccer practice and yes, mowing the lawn are all important, forsaking the comfort of routine for the possibility of discovery lends a certain degree of life perspective. Such experience tends to clearly delineate the needs and the wants, the substance and the filler. In my universe, falling off the grid for another full year is unlikely, but in between all of the “normal-life” obligations, I'll continue bending time and space to slow things down, even if only for one weekend at a time.

    Hopefully I'll get to keep my hair.



    Empty space. Bonneville Salt Flats, UT.

  7. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by Phoo View Post
    Stardate: 2017.12.09
    . . .

    “... meat waagin in da haamah laaayne... mile markeh one fifteh foh”


    - END TRANSMISSION -
    ... planets align, a king is bowen"

  8. #88
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    North west Indiana
    Posts
    26
    incredible trip and incredible writing. thank you for sharing!

  9. #89
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Middle TN
    Posts
    151

    Default So it goes

    "Thinking back to those grainy, yellowed memories of childhood, the world was new, fresh and exciting, and each summer vacation felt like it lasted for years at a time. This is the antithesis to the office-life temporal drift. "

    Yes. Enjoyed following your adventure while languishing in my 9-5 rut.

    So it goes. (Vonnegut)

  10. #90
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    352
    Was great fun to read, though it sure went quick.

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