March 21, 2016
Leaving town, we stopped for an hour to hit the internet at the library. I posted quick updates on GNN and MySpace. Saw a copy of Steven Levy’s Hackers in the used book bin. Had an email from Bryan and saw that Ed had posted out postcard online. We then stopped on city green, and books on the green, discovering the town was founded in 1992. So much for old town. Bought postcards anyways.
Leaving town, we encountered a span bridge over a fairly busy road, with a plague indicating it had been built in 1905. We stopped for a brief rest and snack, enjoying the first truly gorgeous day of the trip. While leaning against the truss, a hispanic man in knee high rainboots stumbled towards us. Holding a three gallon water jug at chest height, he offered congenially, “Aqua?” as the effort of the task caused him to drunkenly stumble off the side of the tracks as he past us. Feeling introspective, I leaned over the edge of the bridge. Every third or fourth car honked and waved.
Welcome to wine country.
Leaving the bridge and heading north, we soon came to AquaMan’s presumed camp or hangout, a well placed tarp amid a mountain of half crushed beer cans.
We paused again at a picnic table on the outskirts of Healdburg to heat up some of our homemade dehydrated Chili. Breaking off to grab a couple of cold beverages, I returned to Ryan sitting next to our camp stove, the dehydrated chili resting/burning dry in the pot at high heat. We all get tired sometimes.
Entering Healdsburg we came across another amazing yet decaying truss bridge across the Russian River. In the sandbank below, two boys and a girl sat smoking cigarettes. We shouted briefly back and forth about the trip. Looking back, Ryan was stagger stepping across the bridge curing how she hated it, fearful of it’s immeninet collapse.
We stopped for coffee at a newsstand coffee shop in downtown, getting the familiar mixture of curious and disainful stares as we changed our socks and read the newspaper. Leaving, a near toothless woman asked us about our packs and upon hearing our route implored us to stay off the tracks as she still heard trains every night.
As we hit the tracks, we began seeing quite a bit of tagging from “Sur 13 El Vatos Locos” which encouraged us to get a bit more distance north before stopping for camp. We made camp about 100 yards south of the Simi winery, able to hide our tent between two small trees with the help of our camouflage ponchos. Knowing it was saturday night, we wanted to avoid attention from any drunk teens who might be out wandering the tracks.