The Journey

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    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Seattle, WA - Melissa's Apartment

    This morning I awoke in the apartment of Melissa, my half-brother's half-sister, on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Jason and I slept on the floor each cozily curled up upon sleeping pads. How we got here (and how Jason ended up coming along) is a bit of a story in itself.

    Two days ago, it was a sunny day in Bellingham, and I had just finished packing my gear on my new bike trailer. My plan was to cycle the ~90 miles to Seattle in two days: I would bike the first 50 miles south and camp at Wenberg State Park, right on the shore of beautiful Lake Goodwin. The next day I would finish the remaining 40 miles and pull into Seattle by mid-afternoon.

    Jason, the hippy guy I was staying with in Bellingham, offered to escort me out to the highway to send me off on my journey. As we were biking out to the highway, Jason had an epiphany and he exclaimed: 
    "What am I going to do as soon as I get to the highway? Turn around and let you go on your way? I love this - Biking. This is what I love to do. Why am I not cycling to Seattle with you right now?"

    "Come along man!"

    "I've got to finish painting this room, buy a trailer, and pack my stuff. I'll meet you at the campground tonight."

    And so it came that I biked 50 miles south to Wenberg State Park, and several hours after I had given up hope of Jason's arrival, he pulled into my campsite in the dark.

    "Holy crap man! You made it! What the hell!!" I was incredibly surprised.

    We made a campfire and slept under the stars that night. The next morning we rode a grueling and 40 miles to Seattle, pulled into Melissa's apartment complex, had dinner with her floormate, and crashed hard -- bodies aching from the intense ride.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    Bellingham, WA - Jason's Hippy Commune

    For the past four days I have been living in what I can best describe as a cozy hippy commune on a Bellingham mountainside. Physically, it is a 4-bedroom house with a large front and backyard. The place belongs to Jason, a 20-something guy with recently-dyed-red-hair who, in May, decided to rent out his room and instead live in a tent out in his backyard. Once I saw his backyard, I understood why. A cozy backyard dominated by a large central apple tree whose branches touched the edges of a large lush green garden. It was an Eden.

    Jason's place felt very self-sustained and resourceful. They used grass clippings and compost to fertilize the garden, dried out weeds for use as fire kindling, and used recycled containers for a plethera of miscellaneous purposes. One of the housemates even used a steel wire to turn a pair of earphones into headphones.

    In the backyard, under a large arching tarp, and feet from Jason's tent and hammock was where I slept. I arranged a situation with Jason to work for my stay -- to help him with the garden, the house, whatever needed doing.

    The first day, Jason and I mowed a large lawn -- he weedwacked the edges as I mowed the rows. That afternoon, we painted a room -- he painted the edges as I worked the roller. And the next day, we cleaned carpets. I made $80 --- not much in the way of big money -- but that wasn't the point. The point was joining in, enjoying myself in the simplicity of living this awesome community.

    For four days, I joined in on that community and added work to keep the wheel turning. But tomorrow, I head for Seattle.