Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Preview of the End: California

Sounds positively like we are entering the anteapocalyptic period, eh? If I'm lucky the geologic catastrophes thought to associated with our inevitable destruction will move California under water and severely shorten my walk. The new Lake Tahoe, now with beach lots. I know this sounds callus, but look at it from my point of view. This country is really large. I thought every state would be the size of Delaware. What could a little trim off the sides hurt? So we would have to miss out on "Transformers 6."
On a serious note (momentum I am unlikely to maintain) the state of California at least has the decency to sport the least amount of ADT mileage of the five I will pass through this summer, a mere 376. Within those miles lies one of the most infamous sites in our nation, Donner Pass. Most people I have talked to ask whether I shall visit the dreaded place, home to the famous party which included some menu items not yet sampled by even Andrew Zimmern (to my knowledge). Those I have talked to have frequently placed the Pass within the Rockies, but the Sierra Nevadas, an almost equally daunting range, is the home of Donner Pass.
I don't want to venture into such a region unprepared. Therefore, I am currently taking applications to join me for this portion of the hike. Applicants should have a little extra junk in the trunk and must smell like bacon when cooked.
Assuming I am able to clear this last obstacle the rest should be easy going. Fortunately, my ability to fail in spectacular fashion even the simplest task will prevent such a mundane finish. Perhaps I'll challenge mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento to a game of basketball. Maybe I will swim across the San Francisco Bay to Alcatraz, while reenacting the script from "Escape from Alcatraz" backwards. More likely I will get lost and wander in circles for days, perhaps running into one of those vile marijuana farms I will hurry away from with haste.
As I have subtly alluded to, San Francisco is amongst my destinations. Included is a trip past Fisherman's Wharf shortly followed by one across the Golden Gate Bridge. That should be the finish line right? The ocean is right there. Not so fast. My good friends at the American Discovery Trail decided to place the end forty miles up the coast at Point Reyes National Seashore. I suppose I could just stop at the bay and call it a country crossed, but darn it, I've sort of vaguely occasionally followed this trail at times all the way across our nation. Why quit just before the end?
On that note we will end our preview of part two. Mapping and talking about the walk have been quite a lot of fun, but as a wise man once said, pornography is great but it just ain't the same as sex. In less than one month I will finally get it on.

Thanks to our recent contributors:
Joey Espinosa
Tim McGrath
Mark and Melissa Normington
Michael and Duffy Petty
Tedo Simeonov
Ryan Watkins

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wounded Warrior Donation Forms

It has been brought to my attention that some people are having trouble with the link to my donations page. If you are in this category or would simply prefer to make an offline donation you may request a form from me at alastair81@aol.com. I'll mail one your way as soon as possible*. Thanks so much for your help with the charity!

*Once I've restarted the hike in late April it may take me as much as a couple weeks to respond.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Prefer Dessert : A Preview of Nevada

Many travelers have entered Nevada in the past only to leave with their dignity stripped and their wallets empty. Gambling, whores, alcohol, and other vices too vile to mention (meet me in the secret blog chamber for further discussion) are the norm in America's modern version of Sodom and Gomorrah. Somehow many visitors leave satisfied and come back time and again. For these degenerates, swilling a beer while spinning the roulette wheel at 8:30 in the morning is an acceptable way of life. There's just no accounting for taste.
I'll be skipping these questionable activities for the most part, as my hike through Nevada does not include the flashy lights and gauche architecture of Las Vegas or the tacky charm of Reno, the biggest little city hosting a show about ineffective law enforcement.
Instead, my highlights will include the bustling berg of Ely, desert, some infinitesimal towns, desert, more desert, and finally Virginia City, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe. I imagine I'll be ducking my head in the cold waters of Tahoe for some time if fate allows me so far down the trail. I do plan on visiting a little place in Virginia City called the Bucket of Blood so don't bet on me.
Without question, as with Utah, attaining water is the greatest difficulty I should face in Nevada. No state has less rainfall, so natural sources are rare to non-existent. People are even rarer in this section, so there won't be a lot of houses where I can beg for liquid refreshment. Did I mention the temperatures can reach the 120s? A dry heat, so I'm sure that won't be any problem. My mother has promised to help through part of this stretch and God bless her for doing so, Nevada during high summer is not exactly a prime vacation destination.
There are fourteen different mountain ranges in Nevada, so I can hope the increased altitude will ease the heat in some spots. Hopefully I can finish the five hundred miles of trail without mimicking the Wicked Witch's last line in "The Wizard of Oz."

Next time we'll theoretically finish this thing in California.

Thanks to recent donors:
Dot Bishop
John Byrd
Karen Lawton