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Bus and Ride – Oakland (April 26th – May 1st)

Oakland! I am not entirely unfamiliar with Oakland, having spent around 6 months learning urban survival in the area a few years ago. It seems like every time I mention that I’m in or going to Oakland, people get wide-eyed and tell me to watch out for thugs, as though the entire city is composed of nothing but ne’er-do-wells. I get the same response from most people when I mention an interest in going to Mexico. Of course, nobody who says these things has ever been there. Too much television.

I fully admit that I think this building looks hilarious.

I didn’t see too many horses in downtown Oakland…

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Bus and Ride – Big Sur to Oakland (April 25th)

I awoke to a cool morning with a light, misty rain and wind gusts. I packed up my tent quickly after taking a photo to “destroy the evidence” that I’d been tent camping there, and then took some time to appreciate the gorgeous views while eating half a sandwich from the previous day. It amused me greatly that I was in clear view of highway 1 – dozens of people must have seen the tent if they’d only bothered to look up…

You know, the tent might suck, but some people pay millions of dollars to wake up to these views…

Proud of myself for managing to camp for free on some of the most expensive coastline in California (even the campgrounds charge $30+ a night), I headed north on the 1 into the mist.

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Bus and Ride – Angeles to Big Sur (April 24th)

I awoke late. Sleeping was awkward and fitful with this gear. The tent was not nearly long enough that I could sleep in it like a normal person without touching both my head and feet to the ends of the tent, (thus becoming covered in condensation,) so I ended up sleeping diagonally. Was this tent made for children or something?? The cheap, bulky bag from my youth meant that I was chilly all night, and the lack of footprint and poor waterproofing meant that the sleeping bag was soaked on the bottom, but thankfully dry inside. This was around the time that I decided to upgrade my gear when I got back to Portland.

I took my time warming up, making some hot spiced cider and eating some dried fruit while I packed up my gear.

It really hit the spot.

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Bus and Ride – Slab City to Angeles (April 23rd)

(I didn’t take too many pictures this day, due to bad weather and being in a hurry. Sorry!)

I woke early after sleeping fairly well; the cold shower the evening before definitely helped in that regard. After packing everything up on the bike, I had a bowl of cereal and a bit of banter with Frank. I tucked some donation money into their can as a thank-you for the fantastic hospitality, watched the water truck refill the cisterns, and left early in an attempt to escape a repeat of the blinding heat death of Sunday’s adventures.

I’d had a chat with a good friend of mine who had been staying in Oakland, while taking advantage of East Jesus’ free wireless internet. She was getting a bit antsy to head back east, so I was on a definite schedule if I wanted to see her before she left. It’d been a bit over half a year since the last time we hung out, so I figured I’d better boogie. I scrapped my plans to check out some nearby mud pots, an abandoned building, the Salton Sea, and Joshua Tree for the time being. Without a specific path in mind, I aimed myself North.

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Bus and Ride – Exploring Salvation Mountain and Slab City (April 22nd)

After an hour or two, Chris and Beth were on their way out of Slab City, so I asked if I could hitch a ride to Salvation Mountain, with the intention of walking back through the slabs and seeing the sights. I filled my gatorade bottle with as much ice water as it would hold, and set out on my quest.

Water cistern. Precious resource in the desert…

Salvation Mountain looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. The bright candy colors were a sharp contrast to the drab, desaturated hues of the desert. The creator, Leonard Knight, was in the hospital, so I didn’t get the guided tour and instead randomly wandered around the huge structure.

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