SUN CHASER: BACK TO THE MOTHERLAND!

It sometimes seems as though titling this last trip blog as 'Sun Chasers' was either fiercely appropriate or completely misleading.  Yes, I spent most of my trip chasing the sun, No, I was not necessarily successful in catching the sun.  This winter has been insane on so many different ways, I sure was glad that Alison and I made the decisions last year that led to the level of comfort we enjoyed while traveling this winter.

 I almost caught the sun, but then it disappeared behind that line over there and I couldn't reach that far.

I almost caught the sun, but then it disappeared behind that line over there and I couldn't reach that far.

After Nevada I spent a little over a week with a pro cycling team filming to create for them a handful of promotional videos, which will be used throughout their social media campaign.  That experience, like it was last year, was a whirlwind of fun with a dollop of stressful.  Shooting video for a cycling team is no easy task, especially when you do it alone, it's a whole lot of run and gun shooting with an emphasis on running.  I was set up on the couch at a friends place where I stayed and slept for the week.  One thing I noticed really quick was that being inside, comfortable and warm immediately made me really complacent.  I'd go out to shoot but then return to the couch where I was staying to work then I'd watch netflix the rest of my free time.  It was beautiful outside, but I never went out to ride...it was kind of sad.  I'll get back to this in a bit...

 My last night on the California coast was spent like this.

My last night on the California coast was spent like this.

My week in San Francisco came to a conclusion and it was soon time for me to leave the comfortable confines of my temporary office.  While driving around that week I had begun to notice a slight vibration in the truck, yes, another one.  I quickly deduced that it was, in fact, the driver side rear wheel bearing, the last of the wheel bearings to be replaced, just my luck.  This new development left me with two options: 1) Drive directly home as quickly as possible before the wheel bearing blows up 2) Go slow and take a few days to make it up to Canada, maybe visit some people on the way.  At the time of my departure I was a little more inclined to take it slow and attempt to visit with some people while on my way North, that decision changed fairly quickly.  The day I departed from the San Francisco area I had been on the 101 for no more than two hours when rain began to pelt my windshield.  I wasn't entirely worried about it because it was still warm and the rain seemed only to be coming in patches.  I drove through periodic rain showers till I reached the South Oregon coast where I pulled off the highway for the night and slept.  The next day when I woke up I exited the trailer to find oppressive clouds skimming the low mountain tops behind me and howling wind assaulting everything in its way.  So, the decision was made to drive, and drive all day.  Turns out it was 15 hours of driving when all was said and done.  I left the South of Oregon at 8am and arrived at my parents doorstep at 11pm, I had rain on my window the ENTIRE way, that means I experienced a rain cloud that was two states long, welcome back to the PNW I guess.

 When approaching the highest bridge in Oregon one must stop to explore.

When approaching the highest bridge in Oregon one must stop to explore.

 Not surprisingly the Oregon coast has been placed on my 'return to' list.  I'll probably go back during the summer though, it was a little too cold and windy for my taste on this particular trip.

Not surprisingly the Oregon coast has been placed on my 'return to' list.  I'll probably go back during the summer though, it was a little too cold and windy for my taste on this particular trip.

 Tallest bridge in Oregon right there...

Tallest bridge in Oregon right there...

 When I came over the hill and spotted these dunes from afar I was lead, rather strongly, to go investigate.  

When I came over the hill and spotted these dunes from afar I was lead, rather strongly, to go investigate.  

 My final camping spot, not a bad one.

My final camping spot, not a bad one.

I've been at my parents place now for three weeks.  I've had a chance to catch up with friends, do some riding, explore some places and do some much needed repairs to both the truck and trailer.  For about two of the three weeks that I've been here I have slept in the trailer which is parked in my parents garage.  When repairs/ renovations began I had to move into the house.  This made me oddly depressed and I realized how much I enjoy living in a confined space that is truly mine.  Ironically, Casper is now for sale, but that's another matter.  I also realized that I've been drawn into the grasp of wifi dependency and have had a lot of difficulty prying myself away from it.  I can't say I like this fact, but I think I can slowly remedy my addiction to wifi and the couch by exposing myself to more outdoor living.  I forget if I've mentioned this fact on this blog before, it is my intention to, within the next five years, move into a vehicle and travel North America for a year, hence my decision to sell Casper.   

 This is Gracie, Matt's new puppy.  I was able to go for a couple walks with these two and I'm sure there will be many more...hopefully with a friend for Gracie.

This is Gracie, Matt's new puppy.  I was able to go for a couple walks with these two and I'm sure there will be many more...hopefully with a friend for Gracie.

 She's an athletic, albeit clumsy, puppy....

She's an athletic, albeit clumsy, puppy....

 I ventured out with friends TJ and Brenden to do some shooting.  Brenden decided to drive through a nice deep puddle which led to an ECU full of water, we didn't see any four wheeling after that unfortunately...

I ventured out with friends TJ and Brenden to do some shooting.  Brenden decided to drive through a nice deep puddle which led to an ECU full of water, we didn't see any four wheeling after that unfortunately...

 TJ in our high sophisticated pursuit rig.

TJ in our high sophisticated pursuit rig.

 Harrison Lake

Harrison Lake

 I'll let you in on a secret.  He wasn't actually walking...

I'll let you in on a secret.  He wasn't actually walking...

 Andrew and I went to Jones like for a little exploring/ outdoors time, we found a lot of snow and ice.

Andrew and I went to Jones like for a little exploring/ outdoors time, we found a lot of snow and ice.

Throughout my travels this winter I've realized that I sincerely do not like towing.  Despite the many benefits that Casper brought to our travels I couldn't get past the fundamental annoyances that traveling with a trailer presents.  I feel bad about having such a short run with the trailer but I have to remember that the whole trailer thing was an experiment from the beginning.  If towing a trailer had been the perfect scenario for me I'd be excited for upgrading Casper right now, but I want to try something different.  Over the next five years I plan to purchase a full size diesel and build my own camper, something that will be fully customized to what I want to do with it and reliable and fuel efficient enough to trust it going deep into the back country.  

 I leave you with a view of Jones lake and whatever mountains lay beyond.

I leave you with a view of Jones lake and whatever mountains lay beyond.

What lies ahead of me now is two months of spring planting and crop spraying, then it'll be off to Alaska and the Yukon with a group of people for another month and a half.  Before I depart from British Columbia I will be visiting with Alison in Cyprus for 10 days.  The truck is getting some upgrades for the AK trip and I hope to be adding a new member to the family soon.  So, stay tuned for more adventures, they're coming...