Left Lulu's in Redding about 12:30 that night, got to Swasey Drive by 2:40. I'm only walking about 2.6 MPH with my pack. Not good.

Before leaving Red Bluff, the wind was in my favor going to the Greyhound station, so strapped on the old skates and tied my poncho to the pull handle on my hydration pack. Fell down almost immediately, but forced myself to try again, and soon I was sailing down the highway. Woooooo! Now, to improve on this, I need a combo bivy bag/rainsuit/cape/ribbed sail, preferably made of Gore-tex.

Another idea I've been playing with is a 12V line with a ground grid, for skaters. Some kind of pulley rides the overhead cable, driving a motor in the skate wheels, and a metal brush provides the connection to ground.

I need lights for night driving. I knew this, that's why I installed lights on a previous hat, but I lost that one, dammit.

Books read lately: Thoreau, The Maine Woods; R Is for Ricochet, a mystery by Sue Grafton that I'd started at the coffeeshop in SF and finished at the library in Chico; most of Singh's The Code book and Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.

It turns out that Greyhound only goes to the Eureka area through San Francisco; they won't risk the mountain roads 36 and 299. That's why I ended up taking the bus to Redding instead, hoping to hitch from there.

I'd had 2 pints at Riverside bar and 2 at Lulu's. Spaced far enough apart that I needn't worry about a hangover, but was already feeling the acidity which warned of GI tract discomfort the next morning.

For next year's Kinetic Sculpture Race, I'm thinking about a 6 or 8 foot longboard with at least 12 inch knobby tires. Sails over land and water. The wind seems to be predominantly from the North here, which is ideal.

I didn't find a working water filter bag before leaving. I'd like to find a good in-line filter I can use modularly with my Platypus 6L tanks, but in a pinch I bet they'd work OK for SODIS.

The highways in northern Kali are marked irregularly with the county abbreviation, miles, and hundredths. using those, I calculated about 21 of my paces to a hundredth of a mile (17.6 yards), making one of my paces about 30 inches. A way to measure progress in places where signs are fewer and farther between.

On the road from Redding to Arcata, after a moonlight nap near Shasta, I got stopped by rangers; no hitchhiking in national parks. OK to walk without sticking out my thumb, though; also OK to hitch anywhere else on this highway.

Despite what they told me, I never saw the sign indicating I was out of their jurisdiction. It wasn't until I got to the County park at French Gulch till I realized I could safely hitch again. I made a bigger sign with a piece of white cloth I'd found on the roadside: ARCATA. Car after motherfucking car passed me by. I didn't want to walk any more for several reasons. One, there is a wide shoulder right there, and it can get pretty goddamned narrow other parts of that highway. Also, the day was starting to get hotter, which meant I'd be losing more water to sweat. Walking at night and in the cool morning air, I used relatively little water. Last, there was a river right there for washing and possibly drinking. I didn't know the details on SODIS at the time, though. I figured 5 hours in direct sunlight would be enough, but the Wikipedia article recommends at least 6.

Eventually I gave up and went down to the river to wash, then slept a bit. Entering by the parking lot would have obligated me to a Day Use charge, which I didn't think was fair and in any case didn't have enough cash with me; so I pulled the 50-foot rope out of the bottom of my pack, and rappelled down the highway embankment instead. Ultralight doesn't have to mean underprepared.

After the nap, brief as it was, I felt better. Not long afterwards, a guy named Mike pulled over, took me hell-bent over the hills, and dropped me in the Arcata plaza at about 5:05PM local time. Whew. Found free wifi and power at Humboldt Brews on 10th Street, and also at the Co-op. Met a kindred spirit, Paul, AKA Everest. He's an admitted Luddite, but I'm hoping to convince him of the need for the tribes to stay in communication this time, to avoid the emergence of another destructive anomaly like this 10,000-year-old thing we euphemistically call "civilization".

Found a TAZ in the marsh, acessible going South on G or I streets. It's unlit, but you can walk the paths easily by moonlight. I could pee to my heart's content, and found a hidden place to sleep for a few hours. No cops in sight, and apparently no other humans until dawn. Other than that, the town is somewhat homeless-hostile. There are exceptions; the 24-hour donut shop downtown will let you nurse a coffee all night, but they don't provide a restroom.

One final thought before I go looking for a place to nap. A walker-friendly world would have a place to buy water every 10 miles at minimum. Better yet, a shebeen.

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last updated 2013-01-10 21:15:09. served from tektonic.jcomeau.com