‘Sal, we gotta go and never stop going till we get there’
‘Where we going, man?’
‘I don’t know but we gotta go.’
—On the Road by Jack Kerouac
And go we did. 4024 miles, four states and two Canadian provinces later, we are back in our little house by the sea, a needy cat making her presence known. The laundry pile is impressively and oddly large for a pair that essentially wore the same thing for 3 weeks. Dudley mentioned that it’s nice to drink out of a glass.
This year’s trip was a little harder than the last–the weather wasn’t as cooperative, and our destination wasn’t as clear. Because we traveled essentially in one area of the country, we saw how the West is burning up: it’s dry and devastated. But we had a wonderful time and met many traveling souls who would agree with Kerouac—they were just going until they got there, wherever It is. Like us, they were out there crafting their lives: finding joy in nature, meeting people and seeing the world.
As Kerouac also wrote, “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” We rolled all over the Northwest, through the volcanic Cascades, along the mighty Colombia River, into the desert of Washington and into Idaho. Then north across the border to the glaciated mountains and aquamarine lakes of the Canadian Rockies. We went everywhere until ended up back home in Moss Beach and although we were joyous at seeing the stars in so many beautiful places, it’s nice to see the stars, here, too.
PS. See below for the non-sentimental segment of The Last Blog. Spoiler: It’s the seedy underbelly of living in a van and traveling 4000+ miles with one other person.
Last year after our trip, we posted what was known as the shadow blog. It told the unseemly side of traveling in a van with 1 person for 3 weeks.
This year’s shadow blog isn’t very shadow-y. We contemplated why and decided it was because we included the shadow as we went along: if the weather wasn’t good, we told you. If we were kevetching about the van, we wrote about it. If Dudley didn’t see the point of stopping for food, we mentioned it.
Here is as shadow-y as it gets this year:
- Dudley and Laura went through some heavy existential dilemmas regarding travel while in the Rainbow Campground outside Estacada, OR. For Dudley, travel mostly means to stay off highways and see as much as possible. From the car window. Laura likes to get out of the car.
We had decisions to make, weather to contend with, people who wanted to see us and whom we wanted to see. Covering 4 states and 2 countries. In 3 weeks.
We are fussing and pouring over the map and kicking around ideas for at least an hour after a day of driving for 8 hours.
“It’s a journey,” opines Dudley, metaphysically, during a break in negotiations.
Laura (lovingly and tongue-in-cheek) might have said something like, “Oh shut up. Don’t give me your new age California bullshit.”
- Laura lost her sunglasses about 5 times a day. “Have you seen my sunglasses?” was the most-oft-heard Laura question.
- “I don’t need to eat. Do you need to eat?” was the most-oft-heard Dudley question.
- Dudley secretly turned on the air conditioning rear vents for Taylor, his guitar. Gotta take care of my girl, he was heard to whisper.
- Dudley is the most optimistic person on the planet. If he loses hope, look for the apocalypse soon after. That’s what happened on Friday morning in Jasper. It had been raining for 15 hours and the weather had teased us mercilessly: It’s raining. It’s brightening. It’s raining. It’s brightening. Dudley started getting bitter: The museum is boring. I don’t want to hike anymore. Laura had to leap into action: we need to get out of here. So we did. Phew.
- If Laura sees another peanut/almond butter and jelly sandwich before 2016, it will be too soon.
- Dudley and his slight OCD, moving the van 78 times (1 inch at a time) to get it just right in the campsite.