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Whirlwind Tour

By | February 13, 2011

November 23 to December 8, 2010

It was hard to leave Reno! I loved staying with Nathan and Marie and their awesome kids, Maya and baby Nash! I loved it even though my room was unheated and in their garage. I had layers of cozy blankets and spent most of my time in the house. It was fun to feel like part of the family. I got to take Maya to gymnastics lessons and I had a great sewing set up in the office where I could craft while Marie worked, as long as I stopped the sewing machine while she was on the phone. There was never a shortage of whipped cream for our hot chocolate in the Gilbert household! I didn’t even mind having to get an ice scraper to keep in my car for the first time in thirteen or so years.

But, the point of traveling is not to permanently stop at the first place you go, so towards the end of November, it made sense to move on.

I made plans to spend Thanksgiving in San Diego. At first I felt a little silly, seeing as how it had barely been a month since I’d left. But I really was excited about visiting my friends. So I packed most everything back up in my Corolla and tried to leave Reno.

Unfortunately there was a dramatic snowstorm the day I planned to leave. As the afternoon wore on, the sky seemed to clear, so I thought I would take a chance. It seemed like if I headed east on the “spooky desert route,” I would stay out of the mountains until I was far enough south to clear the snow. Ten miles down the road, the snow had returned and redoubled, so I turned around and headed back to the Gilberts at ten miles an hour on the freeway. Luckily I got behind a big yellow school bus. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to see where I was going. When it got off at the exit before Nathan and Marie’s, I had to follow it. I parked at the gas station just off the freeway until it was clear enough for me to drive the last mile to their house.

The next day I left with chains on my tires. The storm had ended, but chains were still required as the first part of my trip took me up into the mountains and over Donner Pass. As all California school children know, no one wants to get stuck at Donner Pass! I crept along, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, not going over 30 miles per hour, per the chain instructions, for about 50 miles over four hours, enviously eyeing the suv’s with 4-wheel drive and snow tires that sped past at normal speeds in the left lane.

As it turned out, the road was by and large clear of snow and ice, but the chain restriction remained in place. Worse than the road surface was the bright sun reflecting off my windshield, which got increasingly dirty as larger vehicles sped by and sprayed slush at me. It was still too cold out for my windshield wipers to work that well.

Finally, with relief, I pulled over behind a Subaru and some big rigs removing their chains. Chatting with the Subaru driver, we both concurred that, as far as we could tell from the signs and the radio, we were still supposed to have our chains on. But the roads had been clear for miles, and all the truckers were removing theirs, so we would too. I was thrilled to take off at normal speeds and drove ten more hours to San Diego so I would arrive in time for Thanksgiving. Whew! Thankfully, and surprisingly, there was no traffic through L.A.

I went to three Thanksgiving dinners, including one with a DJ, and got to see just about everyone I know in San Diego. Yay!

I turned around a few days later and headed north to the Bay Area with a co-pilot. My friend Mankx had several events he wanted to attend in San Francisco, including Santacon, on the same weekend I was signed up for an acroyoga workshop in Oakland. I was getting used to hours and hours of driving, but it sure was nice to have company for this stretch!

I had been to several of Jason and Chelsey’s (the Yogaslackers) workshops in Tucson, and it was exciting to be able to attend one in the Bay Area. Originally, I had heard that this workshop would review material from their Tucson events, introducing nothing new. I was really looking forward to this, because there’s no way I can remember everything after 16+ hours of hard acroyoga in one weekend. Their teaching pushes my limits, and I could have used the refresher.

Of course, they couldn’t resist throwing in some new material. So much for the review, but their creativity is part of what makes them great teachers. One thing they did differently this time was to work on progressions to prepare you for the “big” move. So if you couldn’t quite get the whole thing, you had something specific to practice that put you in the right direction.

For example, here they are showing a progression to prepare you for the London Spin.

video (I apologize. I am not able to post the video I would like to yet, though I am going to leave this here with the intention of figuring it out.)

Eventually, the London Spin rotates all the way around, with the base using no hands at all. Imagine this, but faster and without the base grabbing the flyer’s feet.

video (See above excuse.)

Sunday evening, after an exhausting weekend, Mankx flew back to San Diego. I got a good night’s sleep and drove back to Reno Monday morning to retrieve the rest of my stuff. (I had had to leave some things there, or there would have been no room for a passenger!)

Tuesday I drove to Eugene, Oregon, where I stayed with my friend Rita and her daughers, Hannah and Sabella. I got to join them for a choral concert at the girls’ school, but left early the next morning. I would have loved to stay longer, but I had to be in Seattle to start an acroyoga class on Wednesday evening.

So instead of leisurely exploring blue highways, (Sorry, Ellen!) I was rushing down the freeway to be somewhere on time again. That wasn’t what I expected from my travels. But I was excited about where I was going. Lux is an amazing acroyoga teacher, and I was going to be able to take his class for eight weeks!

As far as I could tell, I was missing a lot throughout Oregon and Washington, too. Everywhere looked beautiful! Trees, mountains, snow, rivers, and I was flying by. I’d have to find time to come back!

I did take the time to stop at the Mt. St. Helen’s Visitor’s Center. It was right off the freeway with a view of the volcano. I spent about an hour hiking around the bog there and practicing my artistic photography.

It was so nice to get out of the car and walk around, and I felt like I wasn’t completely ignoring all of the natural beauty between Eugene and Seattle.

This brings us to the evening of Wednesday, December 8, when I arrived in Seattle, in time to have a small dinner with the amazing Bernadette, who was going to let me stay at her house for two months, and to get to the first class of Lux’s 8-week Intermediate AcroYoga series at 7:30!

When I began to envision my travels, I did not at all expect I would be rushing around from deadline to deadline. It turns out I have no motivation to move on, really, until I have scheduled something in another place. And also that winter is not really the best time for exploring, even in the relatively mild weather of the west coast.

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