Monday, March 31, 2008

Highway 1, CA: Biomimicry

We were supposed to plan out our trip on Thursday night at Cake's house but we were having too much fun so we said we would plan over email on Friday but didn't (hangovers and bruised bodies.) I met Laura, Katie and Josh (two industrial design ASGFs and one painting ASBF) instead on Saturday morning with wanderlust for the north and a few bags of food from Trader Joe's. We boarded Coco and headed for Highway 1, just past the Golden Gate. Coco is Laura's 1986 Volkswagon Synchro. She decked out the interior with a couch that converts into a two person bed and a double burner stove so that she can live on wheels during prolonged surfing trips along the coast. Coco fared well navigating the coils through the littoral mountains - we however did not do so well (barf!)

Once we hit Point Reyes we started looking for a place to pitch camp. We first tried Samuel P. Taylor State Park but it was full. We then tried Dillon Beach but were repelled by the hundreds of Winnebagos and their aggressive barbecue stations. We tried to open shop on the side of a rocky road facing the bay but it was too narrow. Finally we drove and drove and dove until we couldn't drive any further. We made it through to a large livestock farm that ended just before the Pacific. When we first pulled off-road our carriage hit a muddy gully and sunk: Coco was stuck. We got out of the van to assess the situation. In empty pasture, there was little to use for traction but Katie and I found a few pieces of old fence. Laura worked the gas while the rest of us pushed. Poor Josh got completely splattered as did Laura's face. After fifteen minutes of heave-hoing Coco gained freedom. Exhausted and dirty from the struggle, we decided to stay in the meadow and found a dry spot atop the hill with a view of the ocean. We pitched camp and geared down for the night.

Just before night fall as we were sitting in the van making dinner, starting to trip, we realized that a heard of cattle was slowly moving from the horizon toward our hill top. Within the hour we were surrounded by several curious bovine friends. They would take turns coming up to the fan to peek inside. They eventually left and settled for the night at the bottom of the hill in the very gully that had trapped Coco. It was hysterical. We stayed up late, alternating between the van and the blankets outside, listening to Carla Bruni, the Beatles, and A Gun that Shoots Knives, drinking Meade. We laughed our asses off and each one of us had tears from our eyes and bellyaches at one point.

I had only been camping outdoors once before, when Chris Wait and I went to Upspalla in Menzona last year. There is no camping tradition in my family so "getting down with nature" doesn't come naturally to me. I can reference several exurbana experiences and whenever I am beneath the starry skies I feel connected to those times. I think of Sasha's country house in Connecticut and think of my friends back home. I think of Dine's birthday in Mar del Plata and feel connected to my friends who were there. I think of the sky above the ocean in Spring Lake and miss my family. There is indeed a lot of reflection that comes along with being surrounded by absolute nothingness. This must be the attraction for people, but for me it is something I only want to do on occasion.

We awoke around eight in the morning to the sound of a rancher herding sheep in the neighboring field. Before long, someone was herding the cattle in our field too so we decided to head to town. We drove into Point Reyes for a Mexican breakfast at an organic restaurant that ironically served beef from our host livestock farm. I felt really strange back in civilization -we truly looked like a gang of dirty hippies with David Byrne blasting out of our mud covered VW, ethnic ponchos, and hair flowers - and people noticed. After lunch we went to Chicken Beach on the bay side so Josh and Laura could fly a kit and Katie and I could guzzle a framboise lambic on the sand. We then went to the ocean before heading home in the evening.

I am so happy we all went camping. I really enjoyed myself and Katie even busted me for getting totally groovy at one point. My only wish is that there could be more glamor in the whole act of camping. Perhaps a tent and sleeping bag set decorated in red, gold, and pink to look like a Venetian carnival? This is something I will meditate on in preparation for our next outdoor adventure.

Next stop: Synchro de Mayo! (I hope Lauren is in town for this)

Dillon Beach; Point Reyes National Seashore

When Coco got stuck in the mud

Camp!; cattle moving closer...

Katie with sheep behind her; the herd descends on our camp

Laughing our asses off


Phillip said...

what a little adventurer!! welcome to california, land of cow fields.

Katie said...

That was the best flower power session. I have trouble eating beef now... but it was worth it.

RG said...

you are living the dream