Welcome back to Wing’s World’s annual morph into travelogue! This will be the TENTH cross-country the Mate and I have made together, from our wee island home in the northwest to visit our previous lives back in my home state of North Carolina.
Yes, we do realize we really couldn’t make it a longer trip unless we lived in Alaska and journeyed back to Florida. Yes, we are deeply uncomfortable with our carbon footprint. But we are also deeply in love with Brown Sign Nation—all those national and state and regional parks which belong to us all—and deeply committed to friends and family scattered across the continent. This pilgrimage keeps us close to all of them.
Then there are our beloved Tarheels, and our beloved Tarheel Tribe that assembles in the second week of March to cheer our team on and eat greasy southern food. The way the Heels have been playing this season, we’re more likely to be weeping over our BBQ than cheering. But I’ll save my bitterness for another post (since I doubt another Dukie will break his shoe this year).
Let’s get to it!
We left Lopez on a windy Valentine’s Day. I took one farewell walk out to the ocean, where the foam was flying through the air like cottonwood fluff.
In a departure from tradition, we turned north from the ferry and spent the night with dear friends in Bellingham. This didn’t really feel like part of our road trip, though, so I didn’t take pictures. And next morning, driving to Eugene, the weather was so atrocious I spent the whole drive being an extra pair of eyes on the road for the Mate, who does 90% of our driving.
But Day 2 in Eugene dawned gorgeously. With our friends, we went for a walk in the reserve of Mt. Pisgah, just outside of town. The default ecosystem there is oak savannah. Now, since oaks are among the top five things I miss about the south (my parents, the Tarheels, BBQ and Mama Dip’s chicken being the other four), I was immediately in heaven.
Ever notice how much lichen and fronds sound like liking and friends? I don’t think that’s an accident.
After two nights with two separate sets of very dear, long-standing friends (cuz I don’t want to call them “old”), we headed out for another set of dear friends…California’s coastal redwoods.
The most amazing thing about this visit? It WASN’T RAINING.
Day 5, we said goodbye to Humboldt County and headed for our cousins’ home in Oakland. In the little hamlet of Legget we stopped for gas and chatted with the young man at the pumps. As I enthused about the beautiful sunny day, he looked around at the surrounding redwoods and informed me that it hadn’t rained for almost a month. During rainy season. “Take a good look at these trees,” he said. “Might not be here this time next year, if it keeps up this way.”
I immediately felt bad for my cheer about the sun, and offered to send him some rain from my home state. And I thought: green. Yes please. More of that! And that’s exactly what we got when we stopped for a bike ride on a rail-trail path in Santa Rosa a couple hours later.
Green is what saves us. Green is what keeps us from catching on fire. And green is what we’ll soon be missing as we take that big left turn and head out across the Mojave. So we’re filling our eyes as full as we can of green….just as we fill our hearts with frondship. I mean friendship. To our lichen!