Today has done a complete 180 from start to finish. I woke up in San Francisco, at 4am because of street cleaning, lulled myself back to sleep for another couple hours, blogged, then packed up my shit to get out of there. Except 9am on a Monday going from Oakland into SF is plenty of shitty traffic. Then I tried to go to Dynamo Donuts (they’re closed on Mondays) and then to Tartine. Where it took me 15 minutes to find a parking space and then I had to wait in line for 20 minutes. The worst part is, the bread pudding from Tartine was so fucking good that I can’t even entirely hate San Francisco. Ugh.
I drove north, and once I got far enough away from the city, and started seeing more trees and less smog, things eased a little. I briefly stopped in Santa Rosa to pick up some beer from Russian River. Promised land. Even if they didn’t have bottles of some of the sours I really wanted.
The drive through Calistoga is stunning. Windy, hilly roads that feel like a video game or roller coaster, with lush green trees creating a canopy above. You drive through Napa and see ranches and wineries and all the stress from the last 4 days starts to disappear.
I stopped at the Petrified Forest on the drive. It was pretty quiet, so I discreetly took some photos and kept driving.
I checked in a Harbin Hot Springs, and I feel like I found my haven. Everyone’s naked. No one thinks it’s a big deal. Everyone’s kind of a hippie here, or European. I wonder what an East coast hot springs retreat would look like.
The first thing that happened when I got there was a deer came to chill with me.
I put some of my things in my room (I’m staying in this weird clay dome dwelling that looks like something from a Dr. Seuss story), and went down to the springs. I ended up talking to a woman named Starla who had moved to the town where Harbin is just for this. I lamented to her about wishing I could take photos, and she suggested I draw things instead. SO I DID. I got in the warm pool and I’m not sure how to describe the feeling it gave me other than compressed. Like I was being hugged, or gently crushed. It made me conscious of my breathing, because it became an effort to expand my rib cage. I took deep breaths into my stomach and let it fall out of me like there were hands squeezing my lungs.
I laid down in the sun naked for the second time on this trip, and I haven’t found anything else that feels as good. I got up and went to a yoga class. The one main downside of this place is no photography. I guess not everyone enjoys being photographed naked? It’s gorgeous here and there are deer just wandering around, feet from you without being frightened.
Yoga class was in a big, round building with a huge skylight. The Temple. Easy yoga. More stretching then any strength building, but after sitting in my car for what feels like ages and tense from the stress of the last few days. this class was exactly what I needed.
When we all left the building, there was a cat sitting on the water fountain, waiting for someone to push the button for it so it could drink. Cutest thing ever. Promise.
Brown rice and veggies and tofu and garlic sauce for dinner.
Today: Driving to Bend, Oregon. Drinking Whiskey.
Food Rations: Organic everything