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From Applegate to Shasta

August 30, 2009
Mazie Jane and Tortie (Gold Hill)

Mazie Jane and Tortie (Gold Hill)

The past week we spent in close-knit, independent Applegate Valley in southern Oregon. These are communities where we would consider living. The little tiny general store in Williams has more organic, fair trade products in its small crammed shelves than the Good Food Store.  And in Takilma, where we just pulled off the road in ‘town’ and slept, neighbors acted as if they expected and welcomed campers in their backyards every day. There are many knowledgeable herbalists in these areas, there’s a lot of natural building, and many community and alternative educational enterprises. Then went up to Gold Hill near Medford to spend a few days with my good friends Terry Tessmer and Sharon Carlson, where the kids got lots of attention for a few days and Trent installed all sorts of things to make our lives easier, not the least of which are the kick-ass solar panels that magically top off our batteries by mid-morning each day.

My cousin Terri Gamble sent a big care package of homeschool materials to Mazie Jane and we are immersed in them – she is throwing herself into learning right now and her reading has taken quite a leap and she’s fearless in her writing.

Too much to tell, but there are a few characters I wanted to record…
We stopped a crinkly-eyed, slightly prickly fellow in a homemade leather sun hat to talk about the area, and he immediately got us to laughing and we realized I have known his brother for years, another unique soul in the Hot Springs area, a minister and gem dealer. This guy completely schooled us on a discussion of health care, something I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about. He rapid-fire laid out a detailed well argued plan, based on his experience in the VA, while eating pork rinds and drinking PowerAid, then laughed and excused himself to go to a Dr.’s appointment. We had to unravel his plan and debate it together in the camper later.

The other day in Ashland as we were leaving Lithia Park, we were stopped by a man who offered a knowledgeable discussion of the sacred geography of the places we are going and leaving, and of the historic uses of the areas. He and his wife offer shamanic journeys and work as mediums for akashic record retrieval, and he cheered us heartily on our journey.

Today in Weed, California’s street market (ick), as we had already turned heel back to the camper, a young woman who looked like a librarian walked past us and said “I’ll work on myself on your behalf…… I just love beauty.” This last was accompanied by a sweet, strange little shimmy of her shoulders and upper body. Well, You go, sister, I get it. It’s beautiful. And at the very same time, I may just find myself mocking the “I just love beauty” dance in the years to come – she may be right, but she’s a little bit funny too.

The Cascades from Mount Shasta, California

The Cascades from Mount Shasta, California

Spent the last two days on Mount Shasta in northern California, a tremendously grounding and soaring place to hike, so we hiked quite a bit. The rocks glow. But our kids never do stop talking. Sigh. They did tackle two long hikes at 9000 feet, carrying their own backpacks and ample snacks for fuel and motivation. We camped where a ski resort was removed in 1978 when an avalanche took out its main lift.

Driving through Redding tonight on our way to Whiskeytown Shasta Trinity national recreation area where we swam and are camping tonight, we spotted our first palm trees.

Tomorrow marks two months since we hit the road, and we hope it goes on forever. The inner alchemy of this gypsy lifestyle has been invaluable for our intuition and inner perception/dialogue. I never want to complicate things again. No more three bedroom houses and mowed lawns. The first things we want to build whenever we do decide to settle on our own land again are an outdoor kitchen and composting toilet.

Hiking on Mount Shasta

Hiking on Mount Shasta

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