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California Road Trip 2012: The Hip-Necks

August 7, 2012 by Kiersi

Look at that charmer.

Day… who cares?

At this point, I don’t remember what day it is. That’s what I love about my friend’s ranch up in Bodega. It’s just this place where you can go without cell phone reception, without an internet connection, and just see life for what it is–days passing one after another, not towards any particular goal, just an endless journey meant to be enjoyed.

So, yeah. Northern California was a good time. I can see myself returning here again and again as a writer’s retreat, just to get away from the connections and the distractions and focus on the craft. Just a week at this place, with the dust and the pool and that weird boat somebody grounded (and now lives in), and I could see some serious first-draft magic occurring.

I think the pictures will tell it better than my words ever will, though I will occasionally narrate with funny stories.


In exchange for getting to stay the night at the ranch, I helped wrangle some goats. After we watched the boy-goats fight each other for a while, my friend showed me how to milk the girl goats in the barn. I was a natural. Please. Of things to be a natural at, I pick goat milking. It just figures.

I headed farther north to my other friend’s 80-acre family plot. Takes about a thirty-minute drive down single-lane, winding mountain roads to reach the property, and it’s totally worth it. These are people that know how to spend the day-to-day. “Hipnecks,” they affectionately call themselves, shooting game on the weekends and growing all their own organic food the rest of the time.

What a life.

So after all this, I must return home to Portland and, by extension, responsibility. Not that responsibility doesn’t grow and prosper like some kind of mold while you’re gone–it definitely does, festering in your inbox like toxic waste.

I guess I can just forget that responsibility exists here.

The next evening I begin the eleven-hour drive from Fort Ross back to Portland, intent on getting home in time for my YA writer’s group meeting. Four cans of Red Bull and a midnight taco later, I pull into Portland at 5 a.m. I’m a little disappointed to be back. I tasted freedom and it tasted like goat milk. Goat milk and dog fur and home-cooked meals.

But I’ll remember this view from the car window as long as I live.


  1. I think I’m living vicariously through you. 🙂

  2. mo says:

    this is such a great little story!!! Thank you! Love the pics :))

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