Moments on the Road: Southbound to a Town

The first thing I remember was the current of the river that was the woods ring out a smell that wafted underneath my nose. Pure, perfect undertones of the trees, ferns, and the woods came wafting through the flaps in the tent, a light breeze shaking the thing, moving the canvas up and about, and shaking the poles in the ground. I unzipped the tent flap, and through the white netting, I could see it all. The large brown trunks, screaming their roots up and about into the sky. The pale-green leaves, rustling in the wind, and singing a song so sweet that only the musician of nature can bring about. A serene scene, a chorus and percussion of sound and an orchestra so wonderful looking, unlike anywhere else in the world. A singular place. A cut of perfection, in a slit of wonderment.

So it was with little time that Erich and Hayden rose from the golden notes of their sleep. A yawn. A sleeping bag unzipping. The tent zipper. The flap in the wind. Beautiful. A truck roared passed us as we rolled up our tent, bouncing around on the unpaved, paved road, with little reason to stop or to bother anyone.

Once more, the car was stuffed with all our little trinkets, wares, and needs. Time was not even made for breakfast, offering to settle to stop somewhere, wherever it was, upon America’s highway shoulding the coastline. The Subaru shook and groaned as it made its way out of the tall pines, the jungle vegetation, the clean and serene peace that only a voyage through the woods of the northwest jungle could provide. A place like no other, an experience like few I ever had.

Once out of the constricting woods and the choking depths of the forest we once knew as a home, we, for the first time, were greeted by the blue wonderment. The ocean. Upon a cliff, butted only by a small fence made of rock and mortar stuck together, did we see it’s waves rippling forever onwards, to a horizon with no end. Hayden kept peeking over to see the Pacific thing, as I started to concern about the sway of the car upon each little distraction.

The car was stopped for a breath and an exhale as we came upon a large overlook. Sand dunes, dancing a song of wind, fog, and drops of rain, rolled on and on for miles, their curves wonderful and lucious and absolutely splendid in the infitenesses of them. It bended and curved in a serpentine pattern, the waves washing for only bits and pieces upon the shore, before returning to their home in the blue beyond, the white foam washing away any trace of the evidence once stood there. Large dunes butted the whole thing, swirling and misting in their finicky depths and bounds. Behind them, hills rolled quietly with the brushes and dots of green dotting the lands before turning turning into the avalanches of trunks and leafs that Oregon is so incredible for.

We rolled amongst the winds, floating down the landscape in a car gripping every little touch of road it could. Onwards and downwards, did we descend, the trees streaming high up into the sky. A thin, little road skitted through the land, and the car flew amongst the top of it, sailing the downward roll it found roving on. Hayden spun the helm a hard right, and we began to move into a state park governing the rolling part of heaven here.

Upon a road, whipping and spinning through large ferns and brush before splaying the car with sand, did a small machine tremble and jump around. Up and down, up and down, up and down, left and right, left and right, sideways and about, up and around. The bounce of the car had us all weaving up and down upon a torrential downpour of holes in the road and the bounce between the road losing the battle to the sand. Hayden spun the helm again, and we found ourselves parked right up against a path leading to the peaks of the dunes. The ship was sailed into port, and we all got out and got ready with all the little things we wanted. Next to us, a lady walked nearly ten bass hounds on back from the top of the dunes, their brown furs and drooping ears seemingly in a frown as they sprinkled a dance of movement upon the splays of the sands. Nowhere else, can such spectacular characters exist, as upon the valleys of Oregon.We stood in a amazement as she packed all the dogs into her van, and still stared on strangely as she pulled away with all the things. But regardless, we moved on. Stranger things have yet to be seen. The walk began up the dunes of the sands.

One foot forward, nearly three steps back, did each bounce in sand find us. High pounces and jumps were needed, and deep paddles of muscle and movement were needed to climb the million pieces of time. The steady click of a camera, click, click, click! followed us, as Hayden popped photos here and there. Upon the cusp of the hill, small little green grasses still swinging in the wind, did the ocean give out and let us see it’s endless canvas. The waves crashed, screamed and yelled, and the wind whipping across the waves and sand. It was a loud place for such a serene scene.

Hayden led the charge on down the hill, and Erich and I followed. Each step, once more, had to jump just to make a good amount of movement. Hayden was far off in the distance and snapping pictures, when I waved out to him. He looked over,and I rushed up, and suplexed Erich into the sand, via a mean RKO. Hayden stood and shot picture after picture, giving us a laugh and a memory to remember for a long time.

We sailed with the wind down the sands, forthward on down with the waves and the winds and the sun. The wind made almost a wild fog upon the winds, and we were sailing a lonely ship of footsteps upon the quickly disappearing crest of waves. Wild jellyfish washed up, with enough to the point where it became indiscernible what was sand and what was living. Regardless, we jumped on between the things. A mob of jeeps and motorbikes rumbled in the distance for a bit, and us running after them for a ride back, but they took off before a yell could jump on the wind’s waves. We walked back to the car eventually, heaving and panting footsteps upon the dunes and waves of the sand and ground. A memorable time was left with only the shell of footsteps, and moments stuck in time on a camera.

Once more, the ship brimmed to life, the radio pounding right back on, and we sailed upon waves of brown dots and black islands as the car skidded and skirted amongst man’s small endeavors into the dunes and oceans. We rattled back onto the road, and rode on through America’s little dreams and hopes, and forgotten landscapes of the woods. Small little aluminum shacks housed the villagers of the small places here, little cities with little names; North Bend, Fourmile, Sixes, Port Oxford. Places of quiet people, and loud oceans. Places of lonely souls, and plenty of lonely landscapes. Breakfast was a Denver omelette, fresh and salty in a little diner that felt like it had occupied a home than a place of a restaurant, as we were led around living rooms and kitchens before getting sat. It was a cozy place, one with warm smiles from the servers, and constantly flowing coffee that absolutely was a godsend for the last few days had been spent in woods and hills.

Highway 101 is a dangerous stream of darkness through left America. It will stop and twist and bend on you at a moment's whim. It will send you straight into trees before turning so sharply into faces of rock. It will have you sailing upon the cliffs and bluffs and peaks of the end of the continent, enticing you with deadly views and rocks upon the bluffs. But the sharpness of the things and the roar of the waves gave it a slice of heaven from a seat in hell, but this seat being in a car turning around each bend at a speed that nearly had the car churning on two wheels.

A gaggle of large redwood trees looked down upon us as we slammed the car doors shut and walked into the woods. The coastline was so welcoming, so enticing, so grandeur, that we found ourselves stopping every few minutes to take it in. In particular, this time, at a pull-out in the road, the three of us walked down a poor excuse of a path down a steep slope painted with the jags and strokes of ferns. The path was absolutely choked with the things, with a steep drop to the roar and clap of the waves against a cliff, and the other, a steep ascent into the heavens of the world. On a little wooden walkway, one seemingly lost in the madness of it all, an overlook gave us a spectacular view of the world. A large stone arch, stepping over for a minute to allow water rush underneath it, found itself before our wondering eyes, a natural stone henge in the magical wilderness of the woods here, lost among to many of the eyes meeting the skies here on the 101.

The three of us walked down the comically steep slope, everyone slipping here and there, and laughter of amusement as some slips happened just near the cusp of falling down into the maelstrom. We climbed over roots, kneeled with our backs hunched over, around the trees waving with the wind. A crack to move through. A scene to chase. Eventually, the bottom of the world fell out, and all three of us were greeted with a near panorama of the depths of the Pacific ocean. It was upon this patch of dirt, with only roots to grasp, that a roaring and powerful wind from the skies far and beyond thrashed it’s head amongst us. The current of nothing cut and rippled across our clothes, twisting and pulling our clothes in swathes of dizzying proportion. We met a few people already there, but a silence was kept for the most, due mainly to how loud one had to speak to be heard. But that was fine with all of us, as we looped our legs and arms around the web of roots. Specks of rock in the distance, lost in the rough and tumble and whitecaps of the ocean, sat in a distance, giving the landscape the feeling of eternity, her not yet washing away these poor marooned souls of stone and time. 

A quick detour was made, as we approached the arch. I led first, and walked out as far as I could. A drop into rushing ocean waters was only stopped by a six foot wide walkway, with quick curves into the Earth on both sides. A near hundred foot drop was present on both sides. I only inched my way out, carefully sidestepping across the natural rope. If only my mother could be here to see this! I stopped eventually at the midway point, being a larger piece of me, and with a need to climb instead of simply walk. I rolled over the thought in my head, but under the influence of a joint smoked at a little point before, the thoughts just ended up backstepping up the ridge. I wasn’t about to miss the next show!

Hayden and Erich did the same, examining the thing, before a consensus was reached not to miss the next show. So back up the hill we went.Up, and up, and up into the ceiling of the sky. The trees continued to moan, I continued to move, and so the day went on. The car was back on the road in no time, and we continued moving about the coast, excitedly talking about all the sights, the sounds, the wonders, the sky there, the rocks here, the trees there, and so far on. 

The engine marched on and on, the landscape came through the mists as well. The trees were so unnaturally tall, such natural monoliths, and quiet strong structures of an otherworldly manner. The trunk produced all it’s own little mountains and hills, rolling vertically to the sky. Branches shoot about, dropped a leaf here and there, and continued to roll amongst their business like nothing before it. Movement of the car down the road was just another feature of this place, yet did the feeling and pervasive of ‘otherly’ overcame us. The sheer beauty, the absolute velocity of the incredible sights, the unimaginable bounces, curves, and jumps of the American landscape was that found itself on the right side of the car was a statue of immense size. One painted over millions of years by the pounding of oceans, the thousands of storms, and the steady tick-tock of time. And here we were, but a blip in time, enjoying the thing as so many others will in the machinations of the clocks that still tick with them. Innumerable stops were made amongst that coastline, and innumerable sights to be had. So much to see, so little time. Truly a life time could be spent in this dreamland of green, brown, and blue, with all but a truly black road spitting across it.

The California coastline was ahead, and we were still slithering amongst it path. A quick stop for an inspection happened at the border, but they stopped and only asked us something about fruit, to which the answer, regardless if we did or not, would probably be ‘no’ regardless, as to not invite a search. But that was all that happened, and we were further waved on to continue down America’s winding and innumerable roads. Down the 101 did that small ship of smiles and feet up on the dashboard did another car sail, just another passing thought to many, just another car to pass on the highway, and just another pair of four wheels spinning viciously on the ground.

Amongst the interior did the coast fade away, and leave us with rolling hills of gold and purple and blue and gray. The sun was fading as the three of us stepped out of a convenience store, with only amenities bought for breakfast, as the prices in California began to drown us. The sky was once more doused with a kaleidoscope of colors, and the darkening mountain peaks losing themselves behind the grids of wire fence and wooden posts. The car became a part of it now, as it began to wash the place with an absolute black, that only grey in size as the car dumped back onto some little exit among the hills.

Long, black roads, straight here and there for a farm, eventually got thinner over time as the car sailed up into the cloud of trees in it’s foreground. The speed of the car grew slower and slower as the road became more rough, as small little gullies of Earth were passed, and as the road became nothing but trodden dirt. Dead trees found themselves reaching over us, choking our vision of straight, behind, left, and right. The moon barely was made out between the webs and spikes of the branch above. I was spinning the helm too and fro when Erich finally was awaken by a giant natural pothole, in now what was an absolute monstrosity of black. The trees held no remorse as every inch of light was slowly being blacked out by the branches. Now we were on our own, with no service, rolling down this bump hill up to nowhere.

Eventually, after nearly ten miles of driving on edges of cliffs in the cold wood, the ‘road’ levelled out. The car swayed a little slower as a turn was made down the hill. The car dropped to an uncomfortable feeling of “this might be a one way road” angle, with the brakes being pushed hard to ensure no slippage and no wild rides down the slope. Once more, the plane leveled out, but only for a blink before the car began trudging up a steep and slippery dirt path. I stopped the car at one point, and asked Erich and Hayden if we should just stop here or keep going. The decision was made yes, throw the handbrake, sleep on this steep cliff.

A little reception bled through the waves and hills of the mountains and got to our phones in the complete dark. We were far from the screams of highways and the hush of the rocky roads. Far from the chitter-chatter of radios and car horns. Only the whisper and scrape of the wood was left. Unpacking the car, I found it almost comical at the angle we were about to endeavour our tent on top of. It was nearly a forty-five degree angle, and when sitting inside, it was tough to resist the pull of mother Earth down the vinyl siding of the tent.

As the ritual finished, of the movement of the tent, of the stakes, of the bags, and of the unpacking, the group of us sat down in the tent, and packed a quick bowl to enjoy. This whole meanwhile, with the little licks and spats of reception I got, I became fascinated by the nature of mountain lions through searches on the internet.

“Hey, did you guys know mountain lions pounce at the neck and kill instantly?”

“Wow, I can’t believe this mother had her child taken by one.”

“Oh man dude, look at these teeth!”

A collective shout at me punished me back into quietness, and locking the phone.

The night washed over us not only in color, but in sound. Like a blanket of black and wind, it overcame us, and the only rustle left was the slip and slither of the branches and the leaves. Everyone struggled to keep themselves up and about the steep surface that our packs felt on. Erich found sleep easy in the tent.

It was at some moment later on in the night that I heard it. A loud snapping of branches, much too loud for any deer, woke Hayden and I up. We looked at each other, with a similar feeling of “you heard that?” between the both of us. Collectively, we both pulled out our large hunting knives out of their sheathes. Hayden moved towards the door with a large flashlight, and I walked over to the zipper. I unzipped it quickly just to open the thing, and hopefully steer away whatever was near or looking at the tent. Nothing, but black and the reflection of the light bouncing off the car, was seen. The light was tipped to the left, and right in a quick sweep. Erich woke up, and looked up to see me and Hayden in our pajamas, huddled up near the door.

“Yo, we gotta MOVE!”

In a collective high moment, with smoke still probably coming out from the tent from the session an hour earlier, we ran out the thing, got dressed, collapsed the tent, and rolled back into the car all within a quick five minutes. We just threw everything in no rhyme or reason, and took off. I didn’t even question for a second plowing the car up the  slope. I just wanted to slink away from this place.

We tore back down the road, back to the sleeping surface of cars, people, and light posts. Back onto the 101 the car slinked, the three travellers incredibly tired and wanting a place to sleep. I wanted to go no further; only sleep now, as much as I only wanted to move on, and on, and on. A dirt pullout was found, butting up against a river, and the lot being completely empty. I pulled the Subaru in, perpendicular to the beam, and we found sleep there. Once more, the spines were spun here, there, everywhere, left, right, sideways, and parallel just to fit in the grooves of the trinkets and the things we lived on. The sweet song of the river rolled on, even with the windows closed up, and gave a cloud of sound to sleep on as we all met the similar slip and fate of the night’s tug of sleep.

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