Day 1: Portland to Mt. Shasta
As usual, I didn’t get out of the house until at least three hours after the time I had initially convinced myself was “crazy late.” Late is the new early. I started listening to the audiobook of Marie Lu’s Legend. Holy cow, if you haven’t read it already and you’re a fan of dystopian YA, Legend is a great find.
Anyway, it was a five hour drive or so to Mount Shasta, where I navigated my little rear-wheel-drive Squirtle-mobile over road (or what passes for “road” in places like this) that was probably only intended for four-wheel-drive vehicles. Well, c’est la vie, Squirtle.
I pitched my tent and heated some soup. Rather, I tried to heat some soup, but I’d forgotten a can opener (and a cloth, and soap, and a knife, and a bowl). Hmm. No can opener.
I started my experimentation on opening a can without an opener by banging the can on a rock. But the can was upside-down and soup began to drip out. I found another rock, smaller, broken off from a larger piece so it’s a sharp slice of limestone or granite or whatever, and kneeled down in front of the soup can.
Then I just started attacking it.
So, long story short, the can was not so much open as oozing through a gaping wound in the lid. But I digress. I poured it into my magical new JETBOIL (seriously if you are a backpacker this is the best device in the known universe) and we were off to the races–meaning I had dinner.
Inside the tent surrounded by nothing but total silence, there’s a distinct lack of… distractions? Interruptions? My mom says (and to preface, she’s not a new-ager or anything) suggests it’s a lack of human energy. That people, somehow, give off an aura or energy that can disrupt the creative flow and interfere with your own thought processes.
Out in nature, surrounded by silence and stars, it’s easy to think that’s true.
I got to re-writing the first couple pages of The Aeronauts based on some feedback from my writer’s group. Essentially, the feedback was that Maria seems too flat in character, and too unconcerned with linking her last memories with waking up in a strange new place. She’s a firecracker with a temper, and that doesn’t come out at all until a good way into the story (once I’d discovered her myself).
The new introduction features a hospital scene, and there were so many exciting things I got to do with it that the previous introduction had left out. Her relationship with her mother. Her true reason for signing up for the experimental surgery that would likely end her life. The desperation of life in a hospital.
After a few hours I got tired of doing neck crunches because my mummy-style sleeping bag doesn’t bend at the knees, so I went to bed.
Day 2: Shasta to Santa Rosa
The next day I chatted with a fascinating retired guy up at the base of the mountain who had been a carpenter at Disneyland for over twenty years.
That afternoon, I ended up in Santa Rosa to see a friend. Went and made a nuisance of myself at the local Wednesday street market.
I’ll be driving through Napa Valley again soon. It was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, even if it was only from a distance. Though I’d really wished that silver Civic in front of me would have learned how to drive before going down those twisty turns on highway 128.