Day 14. 1/25/2016. Starting Odometer: 144977. Final Odometer: 145069. Mileage: 92. Total Mileage 2825.
I woke up in Sequoia National Park with a mission: I wanted to see all three of California’s crown jewels on this day. My time was running short. My wife, my life, and my future were waiting in Portland. I had discovered that everything I wanted wasn’t going to be found on the road, it was back at home. But there was still something out there. Something I needed to find, something I needed to do. I felt like there was something I still needed to do. I hadn’t come all this way without seeing Yosemite.
So here I was, leaving Sequoia. Kings Canyon National Park was just (relatively speaking) down the road, and Yosemite was just a hop, skip, and winding road to the north. All three are a few hours apart from the central hub of Fresno, California, where I grew up. I stopped by the Sequoia National Park visitor’s center, talked to the Ranger about the King’s Highway — a mountain road that links Sequoia and Kings, and found out that not only was the road closed for the winter, but even if it was open, my rig was too long to be allowed on it to begin with.
I had to take the scenic route.
Before I left, I got a good glimpse of the Mercedes RV I had spotted in the middle of the night. That is one impressive zombie-apocalypse-wagon, if you know what I mean. A lot more “Utility” than your usual Sport Utility Vehicle can boast, that’s for sure.
I ended up taking a circuitous route around the outskirts of the Sierra Nevada, keeping the mountains to my right, and the foothills of the San Joaquin Valley on my left. With a storm coming in behind me, and a storm leaving ahead of me, the sky showed a cacophony of grays and whites as the sun fought to break through a varying cloud base.
Halfway between Sequoia and Kings Canyon I discovered something remarkable. I found myself near Hartland Christian Camp, where I had been a camper for two years, a counselor-in-training for two years, and a counselor for two years. I recorded my feelings about discovering it on video, which is here, in today’s Roadcast:
When I got to King’s Canyon, I went to one of the only parts of the park still open — the park was heavily snowed-in — Grant Grove, one of the biggest Giant Sequoia groves in the world, and home to General Grant, a huge freakin’ tree (General Sherman, the largest tree in the world, is in Sequoia). It was here that Baby Groot wanted to go, to talk to the trees of our world, and thank them for being allowed to go on this trip with me.
We found the grove undisturbed, exquisite in its beauty, breath-taking in its regalia.
Baby Groot was transfixed by the size of these trees.
He whispered to one of them, plaintitively, “I am Groot?”
And the tree answered.
With a bolt of lightning, Groot was restored. The sacrifice he had made for his friends had been rewarded. His faithfulness had been proven. Groot was back.
I realized, as I carried Groot from tree to tree, that it was time I started being faithful. It was time for me to make the sacrifices my family needed to survive. I had spent a month looking for myself, a month trying to figure out what made me tick, a month not doing the things I needed to do to restore my manhood, my self-respect, and my personal sense of Groot.
It was time to go home.
I had one more stop before day’s end.
I hoped I’d arrive on time.