Day 1 (Federal Way, WA to National Forest Land near Lincoln City, OR) and 2 (to BLM land outside of Reno, NV)

I left home on Thursday, September 9. Goodbye’s, or, “see you later”, or “until next time” are tough. I’ve always lived within 60 miles of my parents. Now, I won’t.

I left later than planned in the morning. I loaded up the rest of my car, rearranged a few times, and said goodbye to my mom, uncle, and aunt. I forgot to get a photo with us, but my mom got a photo of me.

As I left, it was only a short drive to say goodbye to my dad. I showed him the final car arrangement, chatted for a few minutes, and then went on my way.

First stop, REI. Again. I was not sure where I put my knife, spoon, and fork. The thought of trying to stir my mixed nut butter during lunch with my finger was not appetizing.

I picked up a new set and headed out of town.

I chose to go down the Oregon coast from Astoria to Lincoln City. The Oregon coast is magical. Beautiful. Rugged. Magical.

I stopped in Lincoln City for nostalgia. I grew up visiting my grandmother in Lincoln City every summer. I visited the old arcade, ice cream, and food place – Eleanor’s Undertow. They were closed, but I took a photo of myself outside anyway.

Next, I walked the beach looking for agates. It is one of my mom’s past times. I was surprised by the number of people on the beach. It was a Thursday afternoon and early evening. I’ve spent so much time indoors working over the past 10 years that it’s strange to see what goes on outside of the one square block I lived 7 a.m. until sometime between 5 and 8 p.m. depending on the time of year and day.

I found five agates. As I was walking, I had strange feelings. I could do anything I wanted today. Yet, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Part of me kept going going going because it’s the only speed I’ve known.

How often do you do nothing? How often do you decide 100% for yourself what you are going to do?

I’m still not sure what to do. It’s weird to unplug. I can feel my stress levels come down, but I’m still going. My excuse is that I want to make it to Utah to do more hiking and focus more of my trip in that location. We’ll see if I hold true to myself.

I continued walking the beach. “Never turn your back to the ocean” my mom would tell me as a kid. As I watched the ocean current, still as fascinated by its strength as when I was a child, I thought of how the ocean and beach are great teachers for children. A child ran by with his family. Ah, to be young again.

I found a spot off a National Forest road to camp. It was not a very good night of sleep. I woke up multiple times. Sleeping in my car feels a bit claustrophobic, and the battery I am using to power the fridge sometimes makes quite a bit of noise. I finally left the spot around 5:30 a.m. Pro tip: Know where your headlamp is in the morning even if you have a lantern.

I started down the Oregon coast with Crater Lake as the destination in mind. I stopped along the way to photograph the coast at first light. Magical. And because it was a Friday, there was hardly anybody out. The photos had empty beaches – something that never happened when I vacationed.

Although Crater Lake was smoky, it was beautiful. I’d like to go back in winter. I walked around for a bit and had a key decision to make – camp a little south or push on to Nevada. Since California has closed its National Forest lands, I couldn’t stop in the spot I had originally planned the night before.

Nevada it was. It was a long way of driving. Some parts of California were beautiful. Eagle Lake looked magnificent. Some of the forests were gorgeous. Much of the drive was quite boring. I finished Greenlights as an audiobook. My first audiobook. Mattew Mcoughney is entertaining. I listened to music, called Molly, started Becoming by Michelle Obama, and listened to a podcast.

I was a little worried because I was set to arrive at the destination I had in mind around 8 p.m. – about 45 minutes after sunset. I never made it to my destination. I found a spot about 20 minutes from it on BLM land. As I type this, I’m parked in my car. The stars are shining. People are off-roading in the dark. I’ve never stayed in a place like it. It’s dark – very dark.

I hope I sleep better tonight. I’m not sure where I am headed tomorrow, but likely somewhere outside of Las Vegas.