I can’t describe how close I am to my former neighbors from Berkeley. I hated the city. I loved my dock neighbors. There are probably 20+ people I still keep in touch with just from that one dock, and I’ve been gone for a year. They are very special to me and I can’t imagine how living on a boat would be without such awesome neighbors. Wait. I can! I don’t have any neighbors anymore and I truly miss their presence. Who do I complain to when I can’t get anywhere on a project? Bear and Zita, and I can assure you they have no sympathy for me.
My favorite former neighbor, Ted, quickly became my dog sitter upon moving to the dock. His oldest dog, Tiberius, got to pig out on turkey legs, pigs ears, and got to see all his best doggie and human buddies today. He is 17 years old now, and in between his heart attack, heart arrhythmia, strokes, and chronic seizures his back legs have finally given out. He doesn’t know it, but today is his last day. I hadn’t shed a tear until a passer-by asked if it was a doggie birthday party. I pointed to the old man on the blanket in the grass and I told her “uhm.. it’s his last day today.” I didn’t know what to call it, but we were celebrating him and showing him as much love as we could.
She couldn’t believe it, in tears telling her husband what we were doing. She thought it was so beautiful, she came back to take pictures. It really was a great way to spend the last day with the old man. We will miss him. <3
The last stop on my road trip last year was Arizona (and Vegas, but more on that later). I really miss this place sometimes. It’s the Florida of the west coast. Backwards politics, full of old folks, and at times is embarrassing to be associated with. I did call this place home for four years, so I did grow attached to it.
From being able to catch up with former co-workers and classmates, to eating at my favorite restaurants and hiking my favorite trails, I had over a week to see and do everything that I had missed so dearly. Not the typical AZ stuff, but my AZ stuff. It was really refreshing to be able to actually take the time to relax and enjoy everything.
For the sake of simplicity, I opted to be Reese Witherspoon from Wild for Halloween because I loved the book and was super excited to see the movie, which was due out shortly after. All I had to do was buy a blonde wig and wear my “regular” clothes! I was reminded at the Halloween party of why I left Arizona when some douchey bro-dude was insisting I was homeless when explaining my “costume”. I assured him I did have a home, and just because I wasn’t at my home it didn’t mean I was homeless. There is no cure for being a douchey bro-dude!
The last last stop on my trip was really Las Vegas, to visit some family friends. Their health is deteriorating and it breaks my heart to hear that. They were always there for me when I lived in Las Vegas, and they invited me into their home as if they’d known me forever. Christmas, Mothers Day, birthdays, you name it. They wanted me there. I am so lucky to somehow find a family wherever I go.
And last but not least, I wanted to actually see that iconic Las Vegas landmark. I lived there two years and never saw the dang thing (probably because I was working 7 days a week for over a year, something I will NEVER do again). Finally: check! Plus, Las Vegas is where my adventures with the Bear and the Zita began. <3
And I would like to say I am happy to wrap up the road trip extravaganza. It was almost too easy to get around in the Jeep with the doggies and my camping gear. So easy that I am planning another road trip to the East Coast in the future. And by “planning” I mean “day dreaming” and when I say “in the future” I mean “whenever I can, really”.
On a side note– I am super jelly of all my fellow bloggers who are continuing to do boat work and make improvements to their vessels, or are visiting new ports and cruising around!! I love reading about it, especially because I can’t do anything right now. I hope to have some greasy posts, or a post about anything boating really, but it’s still a ways away.
I am in the process of going through every single one of my posts and thinning things out. Gurl was running out of storage, and I updated the website and wanted to make everything streamlined. It was like going down memory lane looking through all the old posts. My first haul out, my first sail under the Golden Gate, and the simple sail to Sausalito with my neighbors that inspired me to want to circumnavigate (really, that’s all it took!!).
Life may seem sucky sometimes, but thankfully time keeps moving forward and those moments are just bumps in the road. I am so glad I have documented this inspiring adventure, the good and the bad. I realized I talked a lot about 1) desperately wanting a bigger boat, and 2) hating creepy men. Now that I have Coconut, I’ve got the bigger boat. I got her a year ago today, hence the name of the post. I’m no longer in the People’s Republic of Berkeley* either, so I’m no longer around creepy men! Seems like I got what I wanted after a shit ton of suffering hard work.
When I look around on the blog and in my daily life, I realize I have fallen madly in love with sailing. I bought a cheap wallet from Target that’s got tiny little white sailboats all over it. I hate it when cheap stuff breaks, but I also hate it when wallets don’t have cute little sailboats on them. I saw a scarf with sailboats on it and I had to have it. I got angry when I noticed how wrong a sailboat was painted on a backsplash at the Dr’s office. At any beach I’m most likely looking to see if there are spots to anchor, and surveying how protected it is. While there’s a lot that gets me excited about life, I look forward the most to many more years aboard my dear Coconut.
It’s good to take risks. Unless you take risks to break out of your comfort zone to try new things, your world stays small and you never know what joy you might be missing.
*Disclaimer: I have a lot of solid friendships from my time in Bezerkeley, but there are a lot of 5150’s there and it was annoying dealing with constantly.
One of my faults, besides being brutally honest (sorry, not sorry), is being completely incompetent when it comes to organizing events. I’d invited several friends from several different states who wanted to join in on the adventure to backpack the Grand Canyon at Havasupai Falls. Where is everyone going to stay? How are we all going to get up to the Reservation? After almost six months of very vague planning, I told everyone where I was going to be and when. It was too late, though. Other plans had been made, not enough notice to get off from work, etc. I did the hike by myself which worried a lot of people, but I don’t know why. It’s such a well travelled area, and on my 10 mile descent I counted twice as many females as males. The only problem I encountered was with a crow. More on that later…
Many don’t know that the Supai Reservation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is home to 400 people. They use mules to bring down their supplies, and some backpackers even pay to have their packs taken down for them (cheaters!). This was cute and charming and all… but beware: you will be dodging land mines for 20 miles.
The descent into the canyon was fairly easy, about two miles downhill which is mostly unshaded. The weather at the beginning of November was perfect, so I wasn’t terribly bothered by it. The rest of the hike was flat, with a very thick bed of loose rocks enveloped by giant orange canyon walls. I’d have to “pull over” at the sight or sound of the mule-train coming. It was such a unique experience, one that I had dreamed about for so long. It was a picture of what the old days must have looked like.
As we neared the town, I made my way to the visitors center to pay for my two night stay. I got the sense that the village, much like myself, is stuck in the 90’s. I passed a woman wearing baggy clothes who had some speakers in her Jansport backpack. Aah, a familiar sound. Snoop DOGG. I had to chuckle. No matter how far I try to get into the wilderness, you will be reminded its still 2014 and even a small village at the bottom of the Grand Canyon knows and loves their rap. Besides that, Zita made friends with these local horses who came from the other side of the field to sniff sniff.
I didn’t quite make it to the campsite before dark, but I found a spot to set up camp for the night. I was held up in the morning leaving Phoenix because my friends made me a beautiful hiking stick made out of Saguaro cactus. Picking the hiking stick up (it’s now named Warren G) in rush hour traffic set me off a couple of hours, but it was well worth it. Along the way to the official campsite, I passed the beautiful Havasupai Falls. I can’t get enough of these waterfalls!! Besides their bright blue waters, I couldn’t understand where the hell all this water was coming from. Natural beauty is such an amazing gift.
I found a sweet camping spot thanks to a backpacker who was taking off as I was coming in. The river split into two, leaving a small chunk of land with flowing water on both sides of my tent. After setting up camp, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself so I started wandering around. I’d see a picnic table on the other side of the river, but no obvious way to get there. How does one get to the picnic table? I must know! It felt like a scavenger hunt. Bear and Zita love crossing the river, it’s like running up and down the stairs but in the wild. We had fun exploring the area, but when it came to exploring Mooney Falls I had to leave the kiddos behind.
I spotted the railing first, followed by the “Descend at own risk” sign. If I hadn’t been told about the spray painted arrows pointing the way, I might not have noticed them. Then there were two cave-tunnels to pass through, to be met with descending straight down a muddy and wet ladder with slippery (yet secure) chains to hold on to. Eek. Eek. Eek. I’m terrified of heights, but it was a much grander water fall than Havasupai and I didn’t come all this way for nothing! Once I safely descended, I followed the river climbing around and crossing where I could. I have zero interest in rock climbing, but I feel like I bouldered my way to a secret little spot where I took a quick and chilly dip into the limey water.
The whole month and a half I’d been on my road trip I was surviving mostly on Top Ramen, beef jerky, dried nuts and fruits, and water. I don’t know why I thought that would sustain me hiking 20 miles, but it didn’t. While in Colorado, I bought a fancy $11 dried spaghetti meal. I didn’t have money to have $11 meals every evening, but I figured I’d save the fancy dinner for the biggest adventure. I got the campsite cleaned up and ready for dinner and walked around with the doggies to take pictures. When I came back to the campsite the bag of spaghetti was missing. Being that I didn’t think someone would just straight up take my spaghetti, I started investigating. A damn crow had broken into it and spread it all over, he and a buddy crow were chowing down on it. OH HELL NO! I called B+Z over and let them eat it, which they happily did. So a crow ruined my dinner. I was so mad I didn’t eat anything that night.
The ascent was much more difficult, especially being that I wasn’t really eating enough and didn’t have the right foods. We all made it though, and I’d love to go back one day. Finally I can say “I did that!” instead of “I want to do that!” Below are photos of the official (and unofficial) King and Queen of the Supai village. One looks over and protect the land and the people, the other barks at mules and eats their poop.