It’s Christmas night. Katie and I are somewhere over The Rockies on a Southwest flight from Chicago to Oakland, heading home. The flight should land around 9:40pm, PDT. With Baggage claim and Jay picking us up, we should be home before 11pm.

After five nights of little sleep and hanging with friends & family during the holiday, there’s only one thing we’re thinking of doing once we get home: scoop up the dogs and drive all night north 680 miles to the Oregon Coast.

Yup, it’s the life.

The idea was further validated by a conversation we had with the lady in the window seat.

He name is Cassidy Arkin. She’s a live television producer flying in from New York City who recently got to interview Ridley Scott for his movie, Exodus, right along the same time he’s receiving accompanying racial flack for his heavily-Angloed choice of cast – but for the slaves who were very much of African-descent. And she doesn’t know I wrote about the conversation so, Cassidy, if you read this, thank you for the inspirational advice and color scheme advice.

Cassidy told us her mentor was none-other than iconic concert promoter Billy Graham – Wolfgang himself – a friend of her father. She learned a lot from the icon but when push came to shove, Cassidy had to branch out from her father’s shadow and make it on her own. It’s something Katie and I could easily bond over with her.

She keeps calling us, “real peoples,” a nod of respect for our lives of adventure and risk. Katie told her about idea of sleeping in shifts in the car so we could we hustle our ass up I-5 to see sunrise over the Oregon mountains. Cassidy bug-eyed marveled about it, discussing her love of Northern California and the energy it emanates: free, revealing & rejuvenating (but her words were better). She gushed over missing her college all-nighter trips down I-5 from Olympia, WA to Marin County, CA.

We told her how we hoped to see Mount Shasta in the light of sunrise, and at the same time we all inhaled & exhaled as if this recycled baby shit for cabin air was the fresh crisp smell of Shasta’s redwoods & pines.

Lest we forget The State of Jefferson and Weed , CA.

The 51st state, if Northern California got their way.
Yes. Weed, California was a place before the rules change.

Then we described Garibaldi, Oregon, the little fishing village adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. Garibaldi is snuggled warm by a crescent moon-shaped run of myrtlewood-insulated foothills. We’d guess she’ll find her way there before it’s all over.

“[Katie] is a keeper!” – Cassidy

She cheered us on to pull the all-nighter. Not as a dare, but more to push us a little but further until we could sweet salty taste of the rush of moments to be found on the road in Northern California. One mile at a time.

Like we couldn’t do it.

The only real question is whether or not we get to drive my car for a change.

Following morning update.

We just got out of the traffic backup on I-680 northbound in Martinez, California by the Carquinez Strait. The reason for the backup was because the manual toll booth lanes had half-mile waiting lines. It’s amazing how many folks haven’t yet gotten a FasTrak automatic pass. While shouting unspeakables at bikers who have the unfathomably legal right to weave in and out of stopped traffic, we started to look east, waiting for the strait to come into view. After a few hour-long minutes, the bird reservoir opened up and spilled into a secluded sea adorned with cargo ships and channel locks. It was the beginning of the delta. We could feel it on our skins, the energy of the road recycling from domestic into unabated charges. Napa, farms and groves, mountain ranges, preserves & reserves, Shasta and the rest of the wild, willy-nilly road now lay ahead.

We wanted to start at midnight, but when even the McDonalds & Safeways weren’t going to be open till 9am because of Christmas, there was going to be a better-than-average chance that we were going to be stuck at a Redding gas station at 3am, waiting 6 hours for the doors to open. Therein lies the fusion of adventure and practically.

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