Going Back the Way I Came

Back the way I came - RedheadWritingTuesday morning, 6:02 AM PST saw the Beatrice Olivia the Mini Cooper packed with two bikes, two dogs and one redhead and headed up the on ramp to the 134 freeway in LA. Day one of my journey back to Denver…back the way I came.

But the car and the contents and route I drove were (and remain) about the only thing the same as my journey that began January 1.

I’m sitting here in the carpeted basement of my new rental in Denver. I’m not pretty. Smartwool ski socks up to my knees, two mismatched sweaters, leggings and pajama pants. My sheets are a yoga towel and my blanket, the furry throw thing that the dogs were sleeping on in the back of the car. It’s roughly zero degrees Fahrenheit outside and I’ve just now realized that the basement of this duplex has no heat vents.

In my discombobulated state, I’m sitting as described with a bike water bottle filled with hot water between my legs and feeling much like a character in The Golden Compass who’s been separated from its daemon.

I don’t know what I set out looking for over a month ago when I turned my Mini into a high payload capacity vehicle. Mostly the goal was to be elsewhere for awhile and to unplug from the same. In those two regards alone, I succeeded. I was most certainly elsewhere and there wasn’t much the same (aside from work) in my day to day.

The hot water bottle is nice, but I don’t have much grounding. Over 1023 miles and two days, going back the way I came produced the following pile that I as a human must now sort through and make sense of. And it’s not bad – it just is. Life’s handed me bigger messes and this is far from being unmanageable.

Geography: When I left Denver, my intentions were to return here and begin the mortgage process. As I drove back, I never felt like I was “heading home.”

Cycling: I left Denver to train for a month in the 70 and 80 degree weather surrounding Los Angeles. I return wishing I were riding down the PCH, sea air filling my nose and longing for the camaraderie of the community that surrounds the LA velodrome. Instead of just riding, I want to ride and ride for a purpose. Curious as to how I’m going to get that here.

Friends: Meeting new ones, spending time with ones well-seasoned, surprises…my emotional experience in LA was delicious and has my head swimming with thoughts I don’t quite know how to categorize yet.

Revisiting: When I left Los Angeles in May of 2005 for the sands of Las Vegas, an upheaval in my life awaited a few months down the road. In the process, I forgot everything I loved about LA and focused on leaving it all behind. A chapter closed. Yet some of my life’s greatest smiles came from a tapas dinner here, a sushi night there, walking to Trader Joe’s or the farmer’s market and a collection of friends who were…always there. And still are today. By revisiting, I gave myself the chance to see Los Angeles through another person’s eyes: the one I am today instead of the one I was six years ago.

So going back the way I came – sure, the GPS sure looked the same. The lady behind the wheel? Different.

Different, indeed.

I don’t know if it’s possible for us to go back the way the way we came. Something will always be different. Did I expect otherwise? Seems so. Seems that I expected life to bop around to some hold music while I gallivanted off to the coast like Don McLean’s father, son and holy ghost.

And now? Back to the business of living where my stuff is again. My POD arrives tomorrow and somewhere in that motherfucker are three space heaters. With no hesitation in my voice, they will be the first order of business when it comes to living where my stuff is.

***7:51 AM update: PODS tried to deliver my unit this morning at 7:30am when all my neighbors’ cars are still on the street. There’s nowhere to put it. It’s 7 degrees outside. There’s no way I could block any more parking. Now, I’m haggling for redelivery with no additional fee.  Please sacrifice something to the POD gods. All I want is my damn futon and a space heater.

23 comments
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Alysson
Alysson

Now and then we all face down defining moments. These are the moments that determine who we are, how we are and what we want from this thing called "life". In spite of the overwhelming tendency for the shouts and incessant noise of life to drown it out, that little voice inside is still there...whispering away. That little voice both asks the questions and gives the answers once we quiet our world enough to hear it. On a side note, I visited Southern California for the first time when I was 8 years old. I'd never felt so at home. And that "where I belong" feeling comes back with every mile I drive up & down the PCH each time I go back. When that little voice sends you back to LA for good and you decide you want a roommate, you know where to find me. ;)

Jasmine, Eat Move Write
Jasmine, Eat Move Write

I am about to go on a journey of my own, leaving behind Sunny San Diego, which has been home to me for only three and a half short years, for Portland, a place I only visited after deciding to move there. I understand thoroughly the journey of self that goes along with a journey of miles. I sometimes feel like I've journied more than my short-of-30 years should allow, and I guess what I'm trying to say is that in all that travelling, I, too, still feel like I'm looking for home. I don't know if that makes sense. I'm just trying to say that I feel ya, girl.

Matt Given
Matt Given

Hey Redhead, I have no profundity for you today except for some cycling tips. As a year round Colorado cyclist, here's my 2 part game plan. You can trust me, biking is the only thing that keeps me out of therapy. 1) Learn to love winter riding. Gear up, and unless it's downright blizzardy, ride outside. It gives me extra mojo, as in "no one else has the balls to ride outside right now. I am clearly the most hard ass MF'er around" 2) Learn to love the trainer. For extra fun, I put powercranks on the trainer bike (http://powercranks.com/) and rock out to some spinervals with coach Troy (http://spinervals.com/). It doesn't totally replace riding the PCH, but it makes you strong like ox. Last, you could always come visit us at the velodrome in BO, CO. Spring is right around the corner....sort of.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Oh, I'm at BIC often. It's where I first picked up a track bike :)

Sarah
Sarah

hehe, looks like you got the CA bug too, girl! Hurry back!

Jayrowsey
Jayrowsey

I love your blog. I'm glad I found it. Your posts always hit the spot. It's nice to see others that have the same types of problems that we all have.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Problems - yes. Universal, those things are!

Cheryl Harrison
Cheryl Harrison

I feel like I change everytime I go away from home. Even for a weekend. It's bizarre.

The Redhead
The Redhead

The good news is I can still remember how the music used to make me smile.

Cortney Jacobs
Cortney Jacobs

Now that the scientists say we are in a harsh winter swing (possibly 2 decades long) I am thinking Costa Rica. Wanna come? ;) Glad you made it safely back... Hope you got the motherfuckin' space heaters out and cranked.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I still have no space heaters. It is everything I can do to not tell PODS to hold the container, pack the car, and drive back to CA. #pissy

Diane
Diane

Ugh. Moving is so horrible. I hope the Pod gods were merciful and you're getting warm and settled now. And yes, huge internet points for the American Pie reference. Nicely done.

jim
jim

"As I drove back, I never felt like I was 'heading home.'" While home is wherever you decide it to be, that above was a pretty important sign. How are you going to interpret it?

The Redhead
The Redhead

Love me some Neko Case...and you're right - those lyrics fit to a tee.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I know. I was telling a friend last night that I have no doubt some of my frustrations stem from driving for 17 hours, being in an empty, cold house with no creature comforts and having eaten pure, unadulterated shit for two days straight. I'm of the mindset that when the Universe gives you opposition, it's because you're on the wrong path. We'll see what the next bit of time holds!

Jeff Harbert
Jeff Harbert

With apologies to Mr Wolfe, you *can* go home again. You could probably leave your space heaters behind, too.

The Redhead
The Redhead

Riding with purpose...I guess I could clarify that. WIth goals for the season, focusing on what I want to do with these two-wheeled wonders. Setting benchmarks for improvement. Yes. With purpose, instead of all willy-nilly and full of "wheeeeeeee!" The "wheeee!" will remain...just wanting to add a new dimension to something I've come to love.

Kris @krazy_kris
Kris @krazy_kris

Ahhh - quite the journey. I love the "it's not good or bad, it just is..." It has been a treat watching on - I promise I'm not creepy - just curious and enjoying every bit of it. Also - ride with a purpose? I'm not sure where you're going with that, but I'm reminded by the life-changing experience of a few of my friends who did the AIDS ride from SF to LA - yes, much of it on the coast. Who knows? More coastal air exhales?

Killian
Killian

The seamless American Pie reference made you win the Internets for the day. Hope you get warm fast.

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