For me, and I suspect at least some of the crew of 20+ who stayed at the Kehlet Mansion/Meeks Bay for the best wedding weekend I’ve ever witnessed, the energy on Sunday was somewhat connected to the exhaustion and both the alcohol and emotional hangovers everyone was beginning to recover from; for our newlywed couple, it was in fact the first day of the rest of their lives. For others, it was the last day of summer before school started, and for so many more unmentioned, it seemed like either the day after something ending or the day before something new began. For all intensive purposes, it was the lull day, and based on the conversations I was having with everyone I spoke with, it seemed like the event or the location didn’t make a difference because everyone was feeling the same energy.
It was as though the 24th was the last day of summer and the 26th was the first day of fall, and the 25th was just this calm, almost motionless, pause of a day in between. I know fall doesn’t technically start until September 22nd, almost a month away, but I feel this energy every year, right around the time school starts; even when I’m not in school, I was enough of a nerd my entire life that I always looked forward to starting school and the long, too-hot summer finally starting to cool down, and in a place like Reno-Tahoe, you can always tell if school’s in or not based on how busy things are at the lake. This year, that energy seemed to be even more pronounced because of the summer adventure I was on, and the wedding weekend serving as a huge culmination, and final event, of this wild summer ride. I may have mentioned before, this wedding was the one and only thing that I was certain of all summer, or all year for that matter; I knew my plans would change, the destinations of my trip would vary, and that the future was a grand mystery, but I also knew that no matter what, I would be in Tahoe to celebrate the wedding of two of my dearest friends. And now it’s over.
After leaving Mendocino, I was feeling pretty good about how my trip had gone so far and was settling back into my solo adventure as I headed North on Hwy 1 to 101. With the Redwoods only a couple hours away from where I was, I thought it would work out perfectly for me to arrive there midday, go for a hike somewhere, and then decide en route if I would be camping in the Redwoods or continuing north in the direction of Crescent City.
Just before I reached the junction for 101, I noticed a sign near Leggett, CA about a drive-thru tree park and figured it’d be a good place for a quick pit stop before I ventured into the guaranteed amazing-ness of the Redwoods. I was ecstatic to see the trees getting bigger and knew I was headed in the right direction, so without wasting too much time, I got back on the road.
Just after getting onto 101, I noticed that despite my car’s usually great gas mileage, it seemed to be draining very quickly. I pondered what might be causing this phenomenon, exactly how sure I was about when I last checked my gas gauge, and thought, Caleb and I were talking about our tires this morning and I totally meant to check them before I left! Hmm…
So, post Pleasant Valley Sanctuary and my time spent at Snug Harbor, it was time for me to keep heading west and north until I hit the coast, aiming for Mendocino as my first coastal destination. Over the drive up the coast, I couldn't help but think to myself, "things just keep getting... better," but then would second guess the word choice of better, because that would imply that one experience was superior to another, and I wasn't feeling that; rather I was feeling that every experience has and would be amazing in it's own way, and they were surely not getting worse.
It’s hard to believe it’s been two weeks since I left my first spot on the road trip – Pleasant Valley Sanctuary. It’s been a whirlwind of a trip so far, keeping me busy with plenty of things to do besides write, but really I think I’ve been putting off writing about this particular experience because I feel there may not be words to appropriately capture everything it was. Time seems to be flying by though, so it seems like I should at least try…
I arrived at the sanctuary the afternoon after they had finished a three-day silent retreat, so the resounding energy was a stark contrast from the world I felt like I was leaving behind. Though it seemed nearly deserted, I was greeted by one of the two owners, who gave me a brief tour and guided me to my tent. After, I was greeted by another gentleman who was there on a work exchange, and who gave me a full tour of the property before taking me down to a spot on the Yuba river. Swimming in the cool, clean, refreshing waters revived me, and when we got back to the sanctuary, I was eventually acquainted with the rest of the people there and the daily schedule. The entire sanctuary functioned on this schedule, and though I wasn’t a part of all of the activities, the schedule shaped my time there. It was a simple but transformative schedule that looked essentially like this:
...on an island in the Sacramento Delta river, and it seems to be all by the graciousness of the people who have generously hosted me for the weekend. I came to join friends to wakeboard (and a variety of other water sports), barbeque, and enjoy the landscape and company, and I feel so blessed and beyond lucky for my time here.
After spending a week at the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, an Ayurvedic yoga & meditation center, it was quite a change of pace to be at this social gathering of friends, family, summertime, and alcohol. It wasn't too tough of a transition to make though, because I still found time to meditate and do yoga, and I was happy to feel like I could connect on some level with everyone there, without participating in the drinking.
From the moment I arrived, I was excited to be there, and within a couple hours was spending time in a hammock swinging over the grass and water; have I mentioned before that hammocks are one of my favorite places in the world? Needless to say, I was excited about my newest location, and...
Stories from the road-trip that inspired moving to the PNW, and other travel adventures.