The Roaming Ho

I made it!


I’m sitting at home at my desk surrounded for the first time in eleven days by familiar sights and smells. I had a pile of packages awaiting my return, new pants and a new watch that I wish I had had for the trip. Also bills but such is life.

I’m so pleased by the sunshine here! I spent much more time than expected in the one pair of jeans I took with me. Considering the bulk of the trip was in Southern California, I spent very little time feeling warm. The cool weather followed me down and back up again until finally, on the night before heading home, I got pounded by an icy deluge on the way to dinner. Sigh.

Highlights! Florence, OR is beautiful and I could have spent several days there. I will put it on my list for the next, shorter, road trip as a destination and I will absolutely venture a few miles south to revisit only the best deli I’ve ever been to! In Reedsport, just on the other side of the Dunes coastal park, is a place called Back to the Best and they smoke their own everything. I had a half a Reuben with home cured pastrami and fennel seeds in the soft, squishy rye and ran off with a half pound of chewy, sweet and salty jerky. Meat candy at its best.

After Florence was Redding, boring and blah, but during the hop from Redding to Sacramento, a tourist attraction sign reading “Olive City! Olive Oil Tastings” caught my eye and subsequently my wallet. I don’t usually get distracted by silly street signs but when you’re on a road trip through central California and you can’t do wine and drive, oil is the thing to try. Lucero Tasting room in Corning, CA has a huge selection of oils they harvest and press on site within hours of picking. They let you taste and assess different types and my olive oil education more than doubled. It has subtle and delicious flavors just like chocolate or wine. I walked away with a vinegar, three oils, a jar of olives, and some fantastic mustard. If only I had the pastrami from two days before!

After a quick turnaround in Sacramento and a medium drive to Pasadena, I registered for classes and had a fairly relaxed visit. I learned about pediatric massage and sat through an… interesting ethics class. Sex work always comes up in massage ethics classes because it’s often done under the guise of massage and so some clients expect licensed practitioners to provide sexual services. You get some truly odd interactions sometimes and I had to bite my tongue often during the four hour conversation. I learned a few new self care techniques and met a few lovely local therapist, and some from as far as the East Coast. Very cool.

The best two locations in Pasadena are Union, a tiny hole-in-the-wall that serves excellent food and personable conversation. The wait staff was not only beautiful but highly competent. Comparable to a few of my favorite places around here and by far the best high-end food I had the whole trip. The best bar to my taste is Der Wolfskop. The downstairs was dim, quiet, cheap (for California), and played old movies with the captions so I could watch while I sipped my brown liquor. Oh, and for lunch one day I decided on a ramen joint with a long line out front. I figured the line was a good sign and oh my god it was. Rich, salty broth, fatty pork, and a soft boiled egg with some hot green tea hit the spot perfectly after sitting in a chilly classroom all morning. I can’t wait for Seattle to catch up with the ramen craze. The last time I tried ramen in Seattle it had fermented bamboo shoots in it. No good.

The plan was to stay an extra night after my classes were over but I got done at noon and had had just about all I cared of Pasadena. I called my AirBnB hosts at the next place and asked them if they had room for us a day early. She made some adjustments and slid us in two nights instead of one. Morro Bay is an adorable little seaside town ten minutes north of San Luis Obispo with happy people and a tiki bar that serves 32 ounce cocktails for 12 bucks. It also has easy access to walking trails, beaches, and more. Even more fun, however, is just up the road at the Libertine Pub. 72 beers on tap and incredibly chill waitstaff made for a pleasant evening, capped with barbecue from a little joint around the corner.

Wandering around in tide pools that I’m pretty sure we weren’t supposed to be in, I noticed a wet shiny blob that looked suspiciously like a stranded sea creature. Sure enough, a closer look revealed a fly-covered octopus about the size of my hand. My heart moved at the poor creature’s plight so I nudged it onto a seaweed sling and moved it to a little pool close by where I watched. At first, there wasn’t much movement. I figured I was probably too late, the exposure had done him in and all I did was delay the inevitable. After a few minutes, though, I saw some movement. His color changed and his siphons started fluttering. Then he inked at me!! I figured that was a good sign and sure enough, a few minutes later, he struggled to push himself deeper into the collected seaweed and away from my line of sight. It felt a bit odd to celebrate a cephalopod’s survival like that but I felt it was good preparation for my future wildlife rescue efforts.

Later that day we toured Hearst Castle, the magnificent and unfinished home of media magnate William Randolph Hearst. I would have been happy with one of his four bedroom, two bathroom guest cottages or one half of one wing but when you have that kind of well funded imagination I suppose theres nothing to stop you from creating a magnificent castle in the California desert. Some people simply don’t know when to stop but then again, if he had, it wouldn’t be there for us to ogle some half a century later.

The next day ended at Monterey, standing a few miles north of the bridge made famous in Big Little Lies, watching a pod of whales and a flock of seabirds demolish a shoal while seals and sea otters frolicked in the foreground and the bright orange sun sank slowly behind. There are some moments that are simply magical and that was one. Cold, windy, scrubby cliffside gave way to a glittering marine tableau… Its exactly the kind of drama I like in my life, haha.

After Monterey I only had a couple more days, one in Arcata, tucked in among the Redwoods, and another halfway back, in Springfield, OR where I had the third best food on the entire trip. I may have been biased because it was my first salad in a while but it was at this little joint called Plank Town Brewing Co. Good beer, good food, and really good cocktails.

I could have planned better, but I really enjoyed the more relaxing pace of a flexible schedule. I’m definitely going to have to revisit the Redwoods. By the eighth hour of the longest driving day, I was not sorely tempted to get out and hike for another few hours so I feel as though I didn’t give that leg the time it deserved. Ah well. There’s always next year.

This is just a summary. It’s difficult to convey in text the exhaustion, boredom, awe, curiosity, and pleasure I felt by turns along the 3000 miles getting to know my Prius better. Once I get settled in and start reconnecting with my beloved clients and my darling colleagues, once I sit back and work on some tasks, and once I get back to normal eating habit again, I’ll have more time to reflect.

Thank you. One of the greatest things about doing what I do is the ability to take off for a couple of weeks, knowing that when I get back, my beloved clients will be eager to get together, my bills will be paid, and having the freedom to change my plans at the last minute and afford it without stress. I love that I wasn’t trapped in my schedule by a tight budget and I want to thank you for making that possible. I live a magical, beautiful life.


Now for a salad and a long walk.