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Outa the Wild

survival key: exit strategy

How to hitch hike in modern days (just outside of a tourist suburb):

You can't be carrying a whole lot of equipment. Actually you can't be carrying anything (and no baggy clothes). If you just carried a hundred fifty pounds of equipment down a mountain, then you need to stash it and do something about the way you smell. Change your shirt. Wash your face and your pits. Deodorize. Do your hair.

Now:

Look distressed. Good. Whoa! Not too distressed. Wave your arms and get in the road a tiny bit. Look. . .sadly distressed. Don't walk. Find the best spot where people will have to ignore you for an unbearably long moment before they pass. Again, no smiling while waving. Just about every person will smile and wave right back as they pass you by. Like, "Hey! Look at this nice young man. . . just waving at everyone. How friendly."

Oh yeah, Don't forget the most important thing: If someone by the grace of God stops, then lie like there's no Jesus (He'll forgive you).

A guy passed me by and my first instinct was that he completely disapproved. The look could be pondering "Hmm." with squinty eyes. But, it seemed like, "Grrrrr!"

It ends up he was thinking about picking me up. . . and he did! I told him that I got dropped off this morning for a hike, while my girlfriend went shopping (which would have been totally true. V loves shopping in Sedona; trendy; touristy; but not excessively so). I told him that her car broke down and needs to go to the shop.

I introduced myself and broke the ice and we chatted about the Sedona area. His name was George. He told me he wouldn't normally stop, but I looked distressed. He said that it was lucky I got picked up early, because after sundown, I'd never get a ride.

We drove for about twenty minutes and I found out that he wasn't heading past Safeway, so I told him that my girlfriend would meet me at the Burger King right at the circle in the middle of town (just like all my favorite modern wealthy towns, Sedona had almost no traffic signals; just beautiful roundabouts with flowers in the center).

It was about 1:30, so I had some time before I had to get the bike and drive up past the freezing mountain of Flagstaff and to our motel in the desert. I sat down with a double whopper and a water cup (I used to be able to down a triple on occasion and Whoppers are BIG. Yeah. . . I was a fatty at 15% body-fat). I got some free pop because I had nothing but water on the trip. It was very satisfying at first. Then I had to become a pompous philosopher as usual (God! Always ruin a good thing).

I was sitting across from a couple with a baby. They had dark skin, but I couldn't tell if they were Latino, native Indian, or something. They looked like working class Americans with plain clothes. He had a short crew cut, and they were both. . .very. . . large (fatty's!) Their baby was so cute, but I imagined him getting a little older. They'd bring him to Burger King and what could they do? They couldn't eat in front of him and not get him a meal. I looked at the future fatty and his dad with a double whopper and super fries. My burger stopped tasting so good 3/4 through. I stopped getting the little cup filled with pop and went back to water. I remembered why I quit pop years ago. Then, I wasn't disgusted. I smiled. I always harp on America, but it is a great place. So many things are possible that can be nowhere else. Excess can be beautiful; especially after living on a mountain with no water or game. That's why I formed the sharp piece of metal band on Justin's spear into a rose. It symbolizes the sharp beauty of modern technology, that I learned when I was without.

The only sad thing was that they seemed kind of sad and empty, eating there. Every point of space-time where you exist, will test you; and you will learn eventually. What matters most is to find the place that fits you best. That is why I'm on this trip; not because I wasn't happy in America, but because it didn't fit me. I was happy to have my burger again and I enjoyed the last few bites. . . slowly (Vanessa always likes to watch me eat because I enjoy it so much).

I got up and started running. This was nothing; no problem. After that trip, my calves were sharply sculpted. I bound like an antelope (what's an antelope; never seen one). It was a few miles. I ran a mile and a half as I took in the beauty of my favorite bowl formation in Sedona. A lush forest of bright evergreens curved down from one huge red rock, and up to another; up on a pedestal; surrounded by smaller light green desert bushes.

You can see half of the bowl in the left side of this picture that we took last time we went through Sedona:
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I lost sight through suburbia and pushed hard. EEEeerrrr. Something feeling eastern made me slide to a stop. I turn into the parking lot of a nice hotel. A fountain statue stood in the center of a circle of flowers. Cars pulled around the circle to drop off people in the two story old wooden-looking hotel. I took a pic with my phone, along with a nice lady. The statue was of Merlin. But, he was balancing on one foot in a stance that looked straight out of an old Kung Fu movie. His knee was up high; foot tucked; cradling a crystal ball with his arms curving in a shape a bit like the Tai Chi.

Speaking of eastern influence in hippie towns, start running past a cool looking surfer dude. We smiled at each other. He was wearing shorts and flip-flops with a bright tie-dye shirt and a bunch of long necklaces. He got into his truck and I thought, "He'll give me a ride." I waited at the end of the driveway and waved him down after some tourists pulled out looking frantically at maps or where they were going. He couldn't hear me from the passenger side but nods and waves, then reaches over his stuff and just barely opens the door that didn't work from the outside. He had a very cool surfer dude accent; not over the top.

"Heheeey! Sorry about the door. It's an old truck, you know how it is. Man, I saw you, and I knew you felt my vibe! We connecteddd. Where do you need to go?

"I'm going to the Safeway to pick up my bike."

"I'm going next door, but I'll take you where you need to go."

"Awesome." (I was getting into the surfer vibe) "I spent a week in the mountains, but now I'm running to get the bike and meet my girlfriend in Vegas."

"Cool, man. The mountains are a great place to meditate and find your center. Now you're ready for Vegas! My name is Mondo, and I'm an artist here. I make little things." He pats his giant Tupperware that is between us. We talk about my trip and he loves that we're going to India. He drops me off and says, "I love everyone, man. I love you and what you're doing."

"I love you too, man"

"Here's a present from me; homemade." He hands me a little plastic wrapped necklace with a cool red card attached that has designs and describes Armando the artist. The necklace is on a leather cord with an arrowhead attached with neatly twisted silver wire. It has a metal bead with designs that slides and tightens the necklace. I think about giving it as a present, but it means too much to me, so I wear it.

I get on the bike and I have no helmet or jacket. Oh, well. Life is too short to not be reckless sometimes (make sense of that). I pull my goggles out of the glove box and start happily waddling along with the bike through the parking lot. I get up enough speed to drop into first gear and give it gas. The bike literaly kicks into gear and I speed off. Luckily the Safeway didn't tow the bike because I asked them and the police if I could park it there and they both said, "You'll only be gone a few days, right?"

I put the goggles on my forehead, so I can enjoy the beauty of Sedona as I cruise. Oh, my God, I've missed this feeling. It is like starting all over; riding for the first time; cruising with the wind and the hot Sun. Except this time, my first time riding was through one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world. The warm Sedona valley was an Oasis for my mind; my whole body; an oasis from my mind too. I think of nothing, and my smile permeates through everything; the whole universe.

The road in Sedona valley is relaxing and warm. It smoothly rolls over hills and I smoothly flow around the roundabouts like waves flowing over rocks on the beach. I head North out of Sedona and up the mountains to my mountain. I carve back and forth on a much more challenging road. Here is my favorite sights of the whole trip. The mountains North of Sedona are absolute paradise. Riding through them made me think of living in a video game with the greatest graphics ever. In a racing video game the designers can put anything in the background. The imagination is unlimited. This road would be unreal, if it didn't feel so powerfully real. I was so happy.

Here's some crappy pics of this area that I took from the convertible last time. They don't come close to conveying the paradise of fall colors, lush greenery, and every shape and color of rocky cliff.
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It was past five in the afternoon and it was a little dark. We could see everything great, but the camera made things blurry trying to grab more light. We couldn't stop because there's nowhere to pull off and we had to find the campground before dark.

I had to start ducking low behind the windshield because I had no helmet and a T-shirt. It was getting late in the day; and high in the mountain. It was a little chilly. I grabbed all my stuff from my stash and quickly strapped it to the bike. I had Justin's spear sticking out the back. I climbed up past Flagstaff, and met V on Route 66.

Posted by - Rain 15:03

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