Goodbye Steens

July 1, 2008.

Anticipating a LONG 8-9 hour drive home, we hit the road early, without much fanfare, so we could git ‘er done. Maddy joined us today, as the rest of the crew was going to play for one more day. We all got in a “day in the car” mindset and glumly waved this place goodbye. The scenery along the way was spectacular so I really couldn’t complain.

We stopped in Burns for gas and fresh food for the road. I picked up some magazines and got myself a tasty sandwich. The old man preparing my sandwich noticed the blueberries I was holding to buy and mentioned an article he read about blueberries being “brain food.” Soon we were engaged in a conversation about life and intelligence. He said he was educated at Yale (explained the accent) and worked for the U.N., among other things. He came to the conclusion that he’d rather be stupid and happy than intelligence and involved in all the complexities he got himself into. He left me with, “have a happy life…” I appreciated that pearl of wisdom. You never know what experiences people have had and what they learned. There is so much depth to individual humans that we often take for granted. I am realizing that it is impossibly hard not to judge others. I am humbled by what people have to offer me. I just need to learn to be more open. Thanks, Safeway guy. You made my day.

The blueberry purchase was the best decision I’d made today. Their juicy deliciousness was just the right complement to my turkey-avocado sandwich. I was fat and happy, driving through the nothing, leafing through a yoga magazine and taking the occasional picture.

Eventually we began to see more and more cars driving in the opposite direction and it hit me that we were driving home. Argh. Once we got close enough to Bend to have cell signal, I called Brad to give him my ETA. “Want to stay out there for a couple more days?” he asked. Um, duh. Where do you want to meet me? So we made plans to meet up near Sisters.

Driving through Bend was sad. The return to civilization is always sad. Soon enough we were out of the urban mayhem and back in the boonies. Kristi dropped me off at the Indian Ford campground just west of Sisters. I unloaded my gear onto a picnic table at a site near the creek. As soon as the car took off, I waddled down to the river with Dr. Bronner’s soap and washed up as best I could. Then, back at the site, I tried to lay down for a nap.

My attention was distracted by a pair of chipmunks who would not stop harassing my stuff. I thought I’d put all my food into a bag right near my head, but it turns out random food items were still scattered through my things. After trying to scare off the rodents with sticks and yelling, I finally got up, gathered every last bit of food up and put it all in one bag. I hung the bag from a tree and finally got some shut-eye.

A few hours later Brad arrived to whisk me away to my next destination…

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