Upon leaving Tucson, I left this little sausage with my best friend J——. She’ll stay in Arizona until I’m stable enough to overfeed her again.
Her real name is Pixel, but I’m calling her Sausage until she drops a pound or so.
It was a lonely start to the drive. When I’m leaving, my head is full of plans and dreams and excitement over the new places I’m going, and I don’t usually feel sad to go. It’s not until I’m about an hour out of town – coffee already drunk, new highways and merging and checking the map all out of the way, bike tied and re-tied to the car, and little travel bumps worked out – it’s not until I’m settling down for the long haul that I realize I just said goodbye and I won’t see those friends again for a while. It’s a lonely realization, and I feel even worse thinking that maybe I didn’t say goodbye the right way, that I should have cried or carried on or said “I’ll miss you” more. Am I a jerk for not coming to this realization earlier? I wonder if I seem cold when I’m leaving. I hope not.
A lonely drive up to the Utah border, but the scenery helped me forget my internal self-torture for a while.
The dam on the Colorado river that created Lake Powell
I cheered up even more when I saw the beach where I was planning to camp.
Not pictured: approximately 1 billion RVs
However, this is where the misadventures began. First, I neglected to actually remember my tent when I hiked down the beach from my car (the adventure wagon is tough, but this was some seriously deep sand). Then, I made the mistake of following the instructions on my tent. The instructions read “it if is very windy, stake down your tent”. They really SHOULD read “If it is EVEN A LITTLE BIT WINDY LIKE WITH A GENTLE BREEZE OR EVEN REALLY ANY TINY BIT OF WIND AT ALL, stake down your tent”.
Sure it’s cute, but no fun to chase across the sand while the RV dwellers give you weird looks
Tent successfully staked down, I swam in the freshest, most perfect waters as the sun went down. The stars began to come out, the sky darkened…
…and the neighbors in the RV brought out their ATVs.
I knew what I was getting into at this beach – every review online mentioned the noise from the hundreds of RVs and the lack of respect for quiet hours. It wasn’t surprising, it was just… loud. And obnoxious.
I’m new to camping, and I didn’t realize how difficult it would be for me to sleep with the noise of the tent flapping in the wind (to me, it sounded like rodents or insects trying to chew through the tent). I was irritable and having trouble getting comfortable, even on the soft sand. After the sound of the ATV’s died down I slept, only to be woken again when the same campsite began a profanity-laden screaming match. At that point I gave up on sleep for a little while and stepped out to enjoy the moonrise. A perfect yellow crescent made its way up through the clear, brilliant stars.
Long exposure of the moonrise
A little before dawn I slept again, and got up with the sun.
Much preparation and independence are required, but this I could get used to this camping thing.
I would have stayed longer at Powell – truthfully, I should have stayed another day. But I’m not used to this complete freedom. I produce my best work under pressure, not when I’m given no restrictions. I’m not yet used to traveling with no schedule, being allowed to change my plans and stay an extra day. I didn’t know then (and I’m only just learning it now) that you can still be spontaneous when you travel on a budget.
That’s one of the reasons I’m taking this trip, this long hiatus. I know that I work well under pressure, when more is demanded of me than I might think to demand of myself. I did well in my previous job when I took on a management position with no experience and little support. I achieve more at a fitness class than I do in my own home practice. I’ll keep seeking out those structured opportunities that stretch me – but why shouldn’t I also learn to stretch myself? What an interesting challenge to learn how to build structured goals for myself that challenge me to grow my potential.