‘My Big American road trip’
I’d first met Bill and Paisi outside a gas station in Washington state way back in July, on the first few weeks of the trail. I’d liked them at first sight.
Bill passed around cans of Coors Light and introduced me to his parents – John and Sandy. They were driving and meeting their son and daughter-in-law each evening. I was stuck by both their genuine interest in my ramblings and how tight they were as a family.
Fast forward 4 and a half months. I’m standing around a morning camp fire, having finished the PCT yesterday, about to go on a road trip to spend Thanksgiving at Bill’s granny’s home near Houston Texas.
It’s chilly so I’m standing as close to the camp fire as I can. There are 5 other hikers here with us, young lads, who are about to tag the border. We’ve a long 2 day drive ahead but none of us wants to leave. We linger and share stories of the trail. These guys are hilarious. It’s all so random and perfect. We hold on to our trail habit of going with what’s here rather than rushing into what’s next.
I’m riding shot gun in John’s Tahoe. Bill and Gregg are in the back and John’s driving. They rotate out drivers but always insist I keep
this seat. Miles pass. We eat at In N Out Burger, snack on hot peanuts, drink a beer or two, play DJ.
By night fall we find a campground near the border in New Mexico. There’s a strong warm wind. Weary from travel, we cow boy camp. Laying in our sleeping bags next to each other, like 4 peas in their sleeping bag pods, we talk and laugh under the stars. I don’t know these men very well but I feel as safe and content as I’ve felt every night on the trail.
I slip into sleep with a feeling of contented anticipation. It’s not sunk in that I’ve finished the PCT as I’m still journeying into the unknown. I feel I’ve a new openness to adventure and a new – but fledging – ability to let go off the need to be in control. The trail, my teacher.