As I’m gathering everything in preparation for my journey, my old friend Matt and his family are moving to Austin, TX. Matt asked me to list his house in Visalia, so I drove up there to take photos, sign contracts and see him one last time in California. A few years back, Matt, Marty (another long time friend) and I explored the twisty roads of California and the neighboring states on motorcycles over a period of 6 years. Each year we packed up our bikes and took off for a week to stay off the highways and pursue the “twisties” on our supersport crotchrockets. Our adventures came to an end as families were growing and their vacation time from work was needed to be spent time with their kids – as it should be. There are so many photos and memories from those adventures, but Matt’s “Running Man pose” was taken all over and will forever represent those good times.
It was nice seeing Matt and his family as they were getting everything ready for their own new adventure to Texas, where both of my sons currently live. Matt and I took the time to sneak away for a few hours to do some fishing in the nearby Sequoia National Forest. A beautiful area to explore and contemplate the roads ahead for all of us.
Whether you are spiritual or superstitious, some things that occur in life cannot be anything other than a sign of good luck – like this butterfly that landed on my hand 3 times while we were fishing…
After leaving Matt’s house, I had to swing by the Kern River for a little more fishing and to test my new tent, cot, sleeping bag and inflatable pillow that I will be using on my Alaska to Cabo ride.
Everything worked well. The two person tent gave me a little room to move around inside, the cot was firm, sleeping bag was comfortable and the inflatable pillow worked well after I let out some of the air to soften it up.
After setting up my sleeping quarters, I relaxed in my camping chair and played with my guitar as the sun sank behind the hills, while I enjoyed a glass of white wine and muched on some fried chicken that I picked up at a deli on the way up the river. The sky continued to darken and after a while I heard some rustling nearby. I looked down and there was something trying to get into the bag with the fried chicken right next to my chair. I couldn’t immediately tell what it was until it turned a little and I noticed the white stripe! Yes, a finger-licking-fried-chicken-loving skunk! I politely shoo’d him (or her) away as I didn’t want to test his self-protection skills. Ahhh… OK… back to my guitar and wine. Wouldn’t you know it, that little chump came back and tried to get in the bag again! Once again, I shoo’d him away, but this time I took the bag with the chicken and put it in my truck. Sorry I don’t have a photo, but I wasn’t thinking about capturing the moment at that time.
What I did think about after that experience, was the importance of not having food near my campsite in Alaska. Why? Bears. My research indicates that it’s more than wise to do all cooking at least 100 yards from a campsite, do not get food scents on your clothing, put all food in a bag and tie the bag high up in the trees at night. Maybe that little skunk was nature’s way of stressing the importance of those Alaskan back country survival rules.
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