With a roof cargo box on top, two bicycles hanging off the back, and an interior loaded to the hilt with camping supplies, the Ford Focus looked ridiculous.
This was to be the maiden voyage of the newly-conceived #HatchbackCamper, which now boasted a variety of retrofitted enhancements to make life on the road more enjoyable. Other people might have Sprinters, Sportsmobiles, and Westfalias, but we have a 2000 Ford Focus hatchback with over 200,000 miles on it. It might not be the ideal vehicle for this sort of travel, but it is the vehicle we have.
We were headed for Portland but planned to see as much as we could on the way up. Topping the list was the Redwood National Forest, Umpqua Hot Springs, as many breweries in Portland as we could afford to drink at, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, and Lake Tahoe. There was a lot to see, a lot of distance to travel and a woefully insufficient amount of time to do it all in.
In fact, we had hardly gotten past San Francisco when we got the feeling of “I want to go back and check that out someday” or “I wish we had more time here”. Each town we passed had it own unique character and distinct charm, but all we could register was a fleeting surface-level impression. It was as if we were speed walking through an art museum, but hadn’t the time to stop at any of the paintings. All we could manage was a passing glance.
The trip, therefore, began to feel like flickering frames of a montage. Pieces and fragments here and there, stitched together to form a whole. Altogether a very enjoyable experience, but definitely not the full picture.
In a few days we had made it to Portland and in a few days more we were heading back down. Our hopes of visiting Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe were dashed by a late-spring storm, but we made the most of it at some natural hot springs near Bridgeport. It seemed that time was continually accelerating and before we knew it, it was Saturday afternoon and we were coming up on Lone Pine on US-395, heading south. The trip was almost entirely behind us.
Usually, on the return leg I’d be the first to suggest powering back to LA, back to a familiar bed and warm shower, However, here, for some reason, I didn’t. Neither one of us wanted the trip to be over. Neither one of us wanted to return to the monotony of our daily lives. To unpacking the car, doing laundry, getting ready for work on Monday. Why not stay out on the road a little longer? Why not keep the adventure going for just one more day?
So we turned up into the Alabama Hills and had one last night under the stars and talked about going on a trip without an end.