March 16, 2016
First day on the rails. It was great. It’s finally a bit more like wilderness, getting to see jack rabbits, geese, ducks, swans and fellow hobos. I’m rockin’ it. I was worried before we started with the extra gear, but I can still move a big pack with ease. I wish we could cut food down a bit and run fast jaunts, like the air assault course (12 miles, 128 minutes) or even the 4 hour 12 mile we did in basic, but by the time we leave Emandal, we should be much more ready for faster days.
Woke up at 6am after our first night Guerrilla Camping on the side of the railroad tracks. Packed gear while still in tent, waking ryan when finished then made cocoa and oatmeal as she packed. Moved like bats outta hell, passing over, under and besides the freeway. Came across two other camps. One was a full fledged shanty built from pallets, scrapwood, tarps and a three mattress bed, complete with a full length wall mirror. The other was an entrenched coleman tent with a 12ft boat tarp tied over it. Ryan noticed hypodermics on a nearby bridge.
After passing under the 37 freeway we had lunch; anothe rastronaut meal. Spanish rice with beef. Good, and we want it again. Slightly cheesy, slightly spicy. I decided the shepards pie was too much work, so we’ll eat it for dinner tonight.
As the food steeped, I ran up a nearby hill to see if a disappearing track on our map, actually disappeared. Instead, it was an insanely cool bridge, a series of well supported ties and two old rails that forced you to stare down between ties at terribly brackish water. The bridge brought us into downtown Novato, charming in a polished sort of way. The type of small town where boutiques seem open with out customers, and the local cafe has three kids working, and not a soul at a single table.
I wanted a postcard of Novato to send to mom, so I left Ryan resting at the Cafe to find one. Journeyed to a bookstore, the chamber of commerce, and finally stumbled upon the Novato History museum. Two incredibly nice women helped me find something even after we found something. Got a picture of a burned out building next to the traind epot and got little note cards of the train building.
Boked through miles of wetland, passing a very brave coyote standing upon a mountain of trash int he landfill, finally setting our tent up next to Neil’s Island, just a few feet into Sonoma county.
Back hurts from hunching over the notebook, but only minor aches otherwise. No blisters or hotspots, slight indentation from hip strap. In great spirits. Wish we could go farther, but Ryan is great, even when I drive her to the breaking point like today. “Petaluma in sight, oh the joy!”