Many cars passed by, and the day was gray and cool. The on-ramp to I-5 at the south end of Ashland wasn’t very busy, so I heaved the heavy pack onto my pack (that thing must weigh 50 pounds!) and hoisted the laden duffel bag with both hands, and awkwardly walked down toward the highway. Just a few feet down the on-ramp I noticed a very large hawk perched on the top of a the guardrail post. It was humongous and beautiful, and had a very large gray dead and bloody squirrel in its talons. I talked softly to it as I approached, wondering how near I could get before it took off. It seemed to be listening to me and watching me closely, but not afraid – I must have been within 20 feet of it. Suddenly a loud moving van style truck roared by very close to both of us, and it flew away with the dead squirrel dangling. Beautiful Fall scene of nature – it perched further away off the road in the Fall tangle of orange and yellow trees and shrubs. What a wild and wonderful sight!
More cars zoomed by, and finally one pulled over. A young woman and man hopped out, she with hike boots on. Fellow hikers! Yay! What a lovely couple. They met in the Peace Corps in West Samoa, and had tales to tell, which they shared all the way to Weed, California, where they left me off at the on-ramp.
Struggling again with my heavy load up the on-ramp to the highway, I ended up turning down several rides before a large Class A motorhome pulled over and a young man hopped out. It was his coach, but he had another young man driving. Adrian, the owner, and Cooper, his driver, proceeded to head south with me sitting in the middle between the two up front with a view that couldn’t be beat, going down the highway. They were headed to San Francisco, and even got invited to a party there for that night on Adrian’s I-Phone as we drove! Technology – Gotta Love It!
They pulled right into the TA Travel Center in Redding where Ray, my next ride to go across country that I had lined up through Craigslist, had told me to wait. What a fun ride with Adrian and Cooper that was! Thank you again, guys!
Ray drove up within a few minutes and I spent the afternoon resting and emailing, preparing for our departure across the country to Attica, NY. We planned to leave first thing the next morning, Sunday, as dawn was breaking, and arrive in New York on Wednesday afternoon or early evening, which would’ve made it a four-day trip and reasonable as far as driving time goes. Little did I know it would be a marathon whirlwind ride, and much faster!