Going Solo – The Solitary Man hits the road

I’ve recently started typing and editing Book V of  ‘The Mt. Whitney Journals’. My writing process is slow, but it works for me. I write out my draft longhand and once finished, I sit in front of the computer and hammer out the words, constantly editing and revising. I still have most of Book V to type and all of  Book VI, the final chapter. Today’s excerpt is from Book V. After four failures to reach the top as a 1-day hike, I’m attempting to reach the summit as a 2-day backpack trip. I’m doing this trip alone. Because of my finances (not very rosy in 2009), I considered cancelling the trip. I decided to go ahead just 3 weeks before leaving. This excerpt takes place the morning I left Oakland for the mountains. Happy Trails to all!

Eastern Sierras

I am consistent and predictable, if nothing else. I endured a terrible night’s sleep from the childlike anticipation of leaving for the mountains. At three a.m. my brain was a cyclone of thoughts and emotions centered on the trip, my three jobs, and dollar signs. The only way I could think of quelling the internal noise, short of swallowing a muscle relaxer, was to sip on some warm Lactaid while watching half an episode of Voyager on YouTube. Such is the life of an anxious, lactose-intolerant Trekkie.

With visions of Jeri-Ryan (7 of 9, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01) in her post-Borg unitard dancing in my head, I was able to squeeze out a couple more hours of sleep, but I was still up before my 6:30 alarm.  With my housemates, Jackie and Chimene on their own trip to Wilbur Hot Springs in Colusa County, I have the house to myself. Our neighborhood, a mixture of Victorians – renovated, semi-renovated, and ramshackle – smaller houses, and tenements, isn’t a war zone like some of the areas along International Boulevard toward the Oakland Coliseum. It’s not the safest either. Recently, a neighbor was mugged at gunpoint in front of his own home just two houses away on 11th Avenue. The street in front of our house on 19th Street is well lit and open so it’s safer, but I still didn’t feel it prudent to pre-load my gear and equipment in my truck and leave it overnight. However, I moved most of it downstairs to the foyer ahead of time so packing the 4Runner this morning goes quickly.

To the sounds of Camera Obscura’s ‘Let’s Get Out of this Country’, I pull on to the freeway, Highway 580 eastbound at Macarthur, at 7:35 with a full tank of gas, fresh Peets in the cup holder and a bag with two doughnuts (one glazed, one chocolate) on the passenger seat. This is always one of my favorite moments of any road trip, the first exquisite seconds of being underway towards fresh adventures. I know I’ll be treated to numerous blissful moments over the next few days, and as each of these moments present themselves and unfold, I will swear I‘m in heaven.             


About victorvolta

I am a freelance photographer/writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I grew up in the very suburban city of Santa Clara. Education: San Jose State University (class of '84) BA degree in Journalism with concentrations in Photojournalism and English. Favorite Foods: Ribeye steaks and Stan's Doughnuts (separate plates, usually). Favorite Drinks: Strong gourmet coffee and Trader Joe's Blood Orange Italian Soda (separate cups).
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4 Responses to Going Solo – The Solitary Man hits the road

  1. Ewa says:

    I have been quite tempted to do Whitney in one day. One of these days I will try.
    Aren’t you glad you are not living in Oakland?

  2. victorvolta says:

    Ewa, thanks for the response. I’ll probably try again this year. I need to fill in some gaps for my book. Certain parts of the trail are a bit foggy in my memory, especially the last 2.5 miles between Trail Crest and the summit. As for Oakland, there are actually some wonderful areas that I would love to live in: Piedmont, Rockridge, Claremont, Montclair, Rose Garden area.

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