WanderlustBy Sam Lepore

Subject: Wanderlust 2000.22 - San Francisco, Home
Date: Mon, 01 May 2000 21:27:35 -0700

    Some say you can never go home again. Maybe, perhaps not. If home is where you make it, then you are always at home if your mind is there. Traveling alone for a long time gives one the chance, the opportunity, the necessity to contemplate what you are, where you are in the time of your life (while having the time of your life), and where 'home' is.
    Home is not where you have to be, it is where you want to be. I was ready to go home.

    My mission for the day was to ride along the edge of the Sierra foothills from south to north avoiding multi-lane roads as much as possible. Mission accomplished. My mission for the trip was to see places I haven't seen, to enjoy again people and places I had encountered, and to learn whatever traveling could teach me. Mission accomplished! Perhaps I am being overly kind to myself feeling 'successful' for simply having gone on a long trip, but what more can one ask for? I encountered wonderful feelings and I shared them with friends. That seems successful to me.

    Yesterday I commented I intended to see if there were any roses to smell along the way. So guess what I did. Yes, twice upon suddenly encountering a line of rose bushes, I stopped, got off, and actually smelled them. There is a Country Club in Porterville on CA190 with a mile long fence planted with roses. No I didn't smell them all, but they were a symbolic start to a representative day for "the traveler". Later in the day I caught a view of a huge bush of yellow roses in a curve at the corner of a property deep in the country. It must have looked strange to the woman tending her garden up on the hill across the road for the motorcycle to screech to a stop, turn around, and leave after a quick bend at the bush (without disturbing the flowers). I hope I didn't damage the public image of motorcyclists ...
    Later the morning continued on a theme of floral aroma as wave after wave of citrus perfume washed over me. Lemon Cove is vividly in bloom - not with lemons but with oranges. If anything could suggestively make one thirsty for a glass of orange juice, this was it.

    After the difficulty I experienced with the sand and too curvy roads, today's route was set for a lower elevation along the hills. That is until I took a wrong turn at North Fork. That took me past Bass Lake and up to the entrance to Kings Canyon on CA41. It was prime RV territory, they were coming out of hibernation like mud frogs after the first rain, and sure enough traffic was slower than fog off a fresh cowpie. More than 30 days on the road and here I finally gave in to temptation, passing over the double yellow. (But officer, it was the only safe thing to do. I was being asphyxiated by burning brake pads!) Luckily, I am not a serial sinner. Having yielded once, ok, twice ... um ... only a few times, really, I was able to get back where I belonged (in front) and suffered no more from 'rolling road barn' constipation.
    The town limit sign for North Fork said "exact center of California". I suppose it depends where you draw the line, because my playing with a map shows the center lines cross in a place labeled Beer Keg Meadow, which sounds more appropriate.
    Anyway, after the unintended extended uphill excursion, time and distance began to intrude on the leisurely roll through the countryside which made both the myths and the truths of the gold rush. At Oakhurst I picked up the highway named for the 'golden year' and for the miners, CA49. Ahwahnee, Bootjack, Mormon Bar, Mariposa, and Mt. Bullion flew past. Finally turning due west it was time to make short work of the central valley and get back to the world left behind.

    The last few miles of any trip are often the most difficult. It is familiar territory that can't be over fast enough, yet there is the reluctant draining feeling of something ending. The mind is already home and contemplating things to do, things that must be done. Now is exactly the time to remember the past and be grateful for the present.

"How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you - you leave bits of yourself fluttering on the fences - little rags and shreds of your very life."
    Katherine Mansfield, 1888-1923 (English writer)

Welcome home.

364 miles
Porterville CA65, cr J37, Yokohl Valley Rd, CA198, CA216,
cr J21, CA245, CA69, CA180, Elwood Rd., Trimmer Springs Rd.,
Maxon Rd., Watts Valley Rd., Burrough Valley Rd., Tollhouse Rd.,
CA168, Auberry Rd., cr 222, CA41, CA49, Old Toll Rd., cr J16,
CA99, CA132, I580, I80 San Francisco

Total Trip: 9,743 miles, 35 days, 19 states, 1 Wanderlust
Sam Lepore, San Francisco

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