Muir Woods was a welcome respite after the prior days expedition. It offers to Hikers/ or Bikers a $2 communal campsite, where we quickly pitched a tent (no pun intended) on top of the least moist area available.
The weather at Muir woods was incredible! Why, for instance, clouds raced just above our tents, leaving behind through the trees it passed fine droplets of moisture which collided and grew as they fell, bouncing off of leaves and dancing downwards while caught within the pull of gravity, at last unleashing a rain like torrent down upon our tent.
And yet... Literally no more than ten feet away, the ground (away from the trees and their co- conspirators, the clouds), was as dry as could be! We took Mai Tai on a path (which is rare for most State Parks to offer this feature), to enjoy ourselves even though we were exhausted. We saw deer, were chased by bee's, and sweated under the hot sun before wee came back and hit the hay. We woke up at 12 in the afternoon (which is also camp check- out time), enjoyed some coffee, then realized it was past One O'clock, so hustled out. The Camp Ranger was very cool about it too.
A gentleman with his two young children, saw us and asked some polite questions, then offered us a ride down to Stinson Beach.
We were completely delighted to accept.
At Stinson a young Hispanic lady picked us up in her van, and took us along about ten miles, where we were picked up next by Kenny, another first time Hitchhiker Picker- Upper (sounds like an energy drink, eh?), who admitted to this when I asked him (he seemed fairly nervous). He then mentioned that he was drawn to us due to Mai Tai, stating "Anyone with such a cute dog, must be nice enough people for me to pick up", so with Mai Tai combined with our infectious smiles, he felt secure in offering us aid.
Kenny took us a good forty miles, just south of Bodega Bay, where he had to head inland to school.
We were only waiting there for a few minutes, when a car races up. I look the driver in the eye (he is at a stop sign, which makes this easier), then wave him over to our stuff. He just pulls right up, his snazzy little 2 door manual sports car, and lets us load all of our stuff inside it.
He takes off, introduces himself as Calvin, then barrels down the narrow Highway, on into Bodega Bay. He lets us out at the Bodega Dunes State Park, where he took off and we explored the details of camping there. We were sad to find no laundry facilities even though we thought our camp guide mentioned it, and since we did not require a shower, we hiked out along the edge of the park, until we found a suitable place to stealth camp.
Shawna was really nervous since it was our first time stealth camping in a State Park, her true concern being spotted by Rangers, but once our tent was situated with its near invisible camouflage, we felt much more secure, so ate dinner and went off to sleep for the night.
Stealth Camping requires rising early with the the songs of waking birds and tromping through the mist sodden fields to avoid being detected. Our clothes were very damp by the time we made it back to HWY One.
We ended up walking for hours that day, almost all the way through the Sonoma Coastline, on along dangerous turns that forced us against bluffs and into sharp Thistle plants, unable to catch a ride even when a suitable shoulder was available to stand upon, forcing us to hike even further along when our patience ran out.
We keep walking until we hitch off of a driveway, around 3 P.M., and finally receive our first ride of the day from a young lady named Sarah, a cool Hippie whom has traveled like us herself in the past and was reciprocating karma by offering us a ride in our dire desire. I hopped in the back with Mai Tai while Shawna and her talk up front. Sarah takes us a little further out of her way to drop us off in Jenner (a much better location!), a tiny town where we recharged with Monster Energy Drinks (*TM), and met Jose.
Jose was not very fluent in English, but was able to clearly offer us a ride for 20 miles further north, where he dropped us off in Fort Ross. We attempted to get get a ride in front of the only store in Fort Ross, a Gas Station, and waited and waited. We were beginning to become a little discouraged, so I had the idea to purchase us a beer, so that we were "Enjoying the wait", instead of stressing over it.
We crossed the road to smoke a bowl and discreetly enjoy our brew, then returned back in front of the store, where I started Playing Harmonica and Shawna was Singing our Gypsy song, and before we knew it, a station wagon pulls up right in front of us. Stoked, we hustle into the ride.
Jack had seen us hitchhiking earlier, but was going the opposite direction. He liked our look, and since he was now going our direction, offered us a forty five minute ride, where he showed us a private co- op owned Surf beach to stealth camp at. While looking around for a good spot for our tent, Shawna spots two odd looking stones in the ground, for they had holes along one side, so picking it up, she is surprised to discover that they were a pair of Abalone shells!
Jack took off, mentioned town was a few miles away, and said he might see us in the morning at the Coffee House. We went uphill and found a grove of trees with a spectacular view, and camped for the rest of the night.
The next morning, we had to walk all three miles into town. Funny thing was that we were trying to hitch, and we saw a few people who passed us by while in town enjoying our own cups of coffee, who apologized to us for not giving us a lift, for they "Did not know" we "were coming here".
An older gentleman walks up to Shawna and hands her half a joint after petting Mai Tai, and mentions a Farmers Market with Hot Showers on the Pier. We go, and Shawna sells one of her Abalone, I sell some animal balloons, and we both shower and spend a few hours hanging out. I jumped in with the Live Band that was playing there, busting out a patented Rhythm on the Conga for a few songs, to the appreciation of the listeners and the band, whom insisted I play a few more songs before I could break away... though I could've stayed all day.
We hitch out of there almost right away, with a girl who takes us to the edge of town, where we eat a burrito before catching a ride from a distinguished older gentleman, a proud Point Arena local. He took us up a few miles to a nearby K.O.A. Site that offered the laundry facilities that we so desperately needed.
Standing out front of the K.O.A. Office, and thinking of just using the facilities on the "Down- Low", we were startled by an employee who asks if she may assist us. She was able to indeed, allowing us free access to the laundry room, and being very friendly and informative to us.
We book out of there a couple of hours later, and hiked along Highway One for ten minutes or so, before we saw a break in the fence and some enticing trees way off in the gathering mist. Along the way, we stumbled through five foot tall weeds, huge pokey Thistle bushes, and came within feet of a poised Skunk!
Nighttime has nearly fully settled by the time we make the tree line through natures trippy gauntlet, and erect a tent by means of Stealth Camping once more, crashing for the night.
The next morning we hike a few miles to a good shoulder, and patiently wait a couple of hours until a lady with very high energy swoops up and hollers to us to get in, music playing loudly. She sings out of key and has horrible timing, but her energy is so positive we cannot but feel uplifted along with her. She only takes us a lil' ways, says she must get back to her house afore her hubby gets mad and a wonderin' about her whereabouts.
An international traveler from Holland picked us up next, on his own adventure across America's Beautiful States. He mentions "CouchSurfing", and backpacking/ hitchhiking in other countries, and we form an instant rapport on our way to Fort Bragg, while sharing of experiences and enjoying the scenery along HWY One.
We resupplied in Fort Bragg, ate some more overpriced Mexican Food, then headed out of town. It was a hot day, and Shawna was ahead of me with Mai Tai, me lagging behind, fortunately, for I hear some one call behind me and I see this kid walking up. Our eyes meet, but he doesn't really give me the "Hey, wuz up bro" look, so I turn to keep walking when he says "Hey Bro"... I turn again and he holds his hand out saying "Take this, I'm a Street Kid too, I'm only wearing this," motioning to his button up shirt, "cuz I'm about to move some herbs down south".
I accept his gift, bow, and bless his journey, turn and walk up to Shawna who has stopped by then, and tell her what just occurred. The Cannabis Gods favor us mightily indeed!
We walked to the edge of town, and stood near a storage facility, sadly watching car after car drive past, even though we smiled and waved to every one of them. Once more, just as our luck was down, a truck that drove past the first time comes back, and says "You three are just too cute, hop on in here".
Richard (As his name came out to be discovered), had his young boy Richie with him, but still picked us up. He asked about our trip, then eventually offers us a place to camp, right on the ocean, in his own back yard! For those whom have not seen the footage uploaded to Facebook, it was a most incredible view, overlooking two coves and sat right along the edge of the bluffs.
Richard lets us shower, restock on water, and even offers us a ride a few hours North if we want to wait until the next day, since he has to load a trailer up that way anyways. We joyously agree, and camp that night. The next morning, the departure time was pushed back, so Richard showed us one of Fort Bragg's Prime Attractions, Glass Beach.
Before the 1940's, all trash was thrown out to sea. Modern laws prohibit this now, but such large amounts of glass was tossed into the sea that it has been washing up along the shores, polished and of various hues, each with a differing rarity, the Blue Sea glass being the most prized and hard to find. We found some cool pieces of sea glass to wire wrap, and enjoyed a day of playing, before Richard picked us up and we headed out towards the Valley of the Giants.