I found my way back to my hidden moped and strapped everything back on heading out once again. This time I was heading north from Seattle to Marysville to visit my Grandfather. I drove past Lake Crescent, took another swim and stopped in Port Angeles to visit a thrift store then stopped for the night in a little town called Sequim (pronounced Squim). The town reminded me of my hometown, Deep River, Connecticut. I stopped at the local pizza shop and noticed a cop followed me there. I was used to this by now after being pulled over two other times. Once, in Sonoma County by a CHP officer who seemed intent on giving me a hard time. He asked me where I was heading and upon hearing a primitive skills school his whole face changed. After talking for awhile he gave me back my ID without running it and let me be on my way! The second time was when I was riding on the shoulder of a highway in Monterey. The cop pulled me over, heard my story, and when he found that I came from Long Beach, told me he was from Torrance! He wished me well and gave me some directional advice not believing I drove a moped that far. Now in Sequim comes round three. The cop follows me into the pizza place and asks if that's my moped out there. Trying to be as polite as I could, I nodded and then he said "I don't want to bother you but, did you ride that all the way from California?" My answer did not disappoint him. We talked about my trip for awhile and I told him where I came from and he told me a story of getting stabbed in San Pedro (where I just moved from). "Yea, it's that kind of place", I said. He told me I had more balls them him to ride a moped that far and asked if he could take a picture because the other guys on the force wouldn't believe him. Being a sucker for a photo op I obliged and was glad I was three for three on run-ins with good cops.
I can't really explain my attraction to Sequim. It's not the pizza but maybe the giant concrete skate park that I took the moped through going off jumps, and carving the 10 ft. bowls. Maybe it was how everyone seemed pretty nice. At burger king the girl working hooked me up with a ton of extra food! I later paid for it in toilet time but luckily the town smelled good. Turns out Sequim is famous for its Lavender festival! I called Brianna on the Big Lots pay phone and talked into the night. It would be only about a week when we would meet up again! After our conversation a stray dog took a liking to me and I tried to cuddle with him as I slept behind the Big Lots. The next day crossing two ferries I made good time to Marysville and met up with my Grandfather.
He lived on a Native American owned trailer park that had 2,000 people in it but you would never know. Residents aren't allowed to drink alcohol outside their trailers or cut down plants and trees. My Grandfather lived there with his significant other, Jean, who was now unfortunately stuck in a wheel chair, so he had to look after her. We hadn't seen each other in a few years so it was good to catch up. I planned on staying for a day or two then heading to the Gifford Pinchot forest just northeast of Portland. By this point in the trip my back tire was bald. Being a retired mechanic, among other things, Gramps insisted on getting me a new tire. I knew that this was going to be a challenge but he would not let up. After what had to be at least 2 hours on the phone, he finally found a local place that could get one. But it would take three days to arrive.
For the next three days it was nonstop tales of bargains being got wherever a bargain could get got. "Need a paper towel? Here have one! $2.19 over at Albertson's, I go over to the Wal-Mart, $1.19". It seemed like with everything I touched I got the run down on where and when to buy it for the best deal. This guy had Marysville wired; he even knew the best times to hit the local buffets! On my last day he took me out to Seattle and we had lunch in the Space Needle. I like going places with Gramps because he is a rare breed, an old school loud guy willing to haggle anything and everything to save a nickel. I remember him when I was younger being twice as loud and crazy. Nowadays he just sticks to loud bad jokes that nobody gets. I hope to be like him if I make it to be an old man. I guess I already am in some ways, especially the stubborn bullheadedness that got me to his house on a moped in the first place. My favorite of his bad jokes was when a hostess or valet or someone would ask him a question. He would look down near his feet and repeat the question to an invisible little man named Charlie. I chuckled every time mostly because of the awkwardness of the person not knowing what the hell was going on. They had a stunned look on their face like "this guy is crazy". Some people, like the hostesses, just flat ignored him. I loved his bad jokes and those who did not get them were no friends of mine. It was good to spend some time with Gramps and Jean but as usual the road was a calling. I would only have time enough to spend three days in Gifford Pinchot home to Mt St. Helens, before needing to be in Portland to catch a ride home with Foxy Autopsy.
Mt St. Helens
I left early with the new tire on and it was another long hard ride on the moped. I took the back roads from Marysville to a town outside the forest called Morton. Taking a break there and getting a good thick peanut butter and jelly sandwich in me, I relaxed a bit by watching some kids skateboard on the main street. I couldn't resist, I had to borrow a board. I asked a kid and he looked at me nervously saying "you break it I buy it". I abided and took off all fast and did a "whosey-whatsy" which is basically an old time skateboard trick I named, the kid was very impressed and asked if I was "sponsored". Our little jam session continued for awhile until the local cop drove by and we all went our separate ways. It was getting close to midnight and I decided it would be beautiful to ride through Gifford Pinchot and find a place to camp.
Portland via Gifford Pinchot Forest
Around midnight I stopped at the last soda machine before there was nothing but forest. As I paused to get an iced tea a car pulled up to do the same, but maybe to get a different drink? The man in the car took a look at me and seemed petrified as he sped away. The sight of me must have quenched his thirst. I admit I did look like a crazy moped terrorist with my camouflage scent proof hunting suit, but come on, they were the only pants I brought and the only warm jacket I had. Besides what kind of a "scary terrorist" rides a turquoise and yellow moped?! I laughed the incident off, got my drink and looked over my Washington state map to see if I could find a good place to camp. Right about then a beat up camper pulling a beat up boat pulled up and a drunk ass bastard hopped out to see me looking at my map. Without hesitation he yells "where ya going"? Points out a place on the map and says "camp there! It's a good spot and no one will fuck with you". I love old bastards like that and took his advice.
I tried to find the place he was talking about but must have got lost. The full moon cast dark shadows everywhere and the creepy moss draping off trees didn't help either. So far on my trip I didn't freak out too bad but I could feel the goose bumps creeping up. It was well past midnight and I was ready for sleep. My exhaustion was getting the best of me and I was starting to see road goblins along the side of the road. I was now frantically looking for a place to pull off and be hidden for the night. My mind decided to get the best of me however and soon I imagined dark figures in black hooded robes. No matter how fast I went they were always up ahead until finally they make a circle around me and locked hands all the while chanting. I finally freaked myself the fuck out! I floored the moped up to a whopping 33mph and got off the dark dirt road.
When I calmed down and found a good spot, I reprimanded my dumb mind and slept great. In the morning I tried to find Skookum Meadows, but without a detailed map I got easily lost and spent a couple nights up in the mountains instead. I slept under the stars with no tarp over me and one morning woke up to a deer about 20ft. away. At night I could hear the howl of a pack of coyotes and at dawn I explored around looking at tracks. This time I stuck mostly to the logging roads which were extremely hard to navigate on since they were gravel and my back brakes had given out a few miles back. Going down steep hills was a bit of a challenge and I almost dumped the moped several times. On what would be my last day in the forest I went for a long hike on a well used Elk trail. Something up ahead stood out and I wasn't sure what I was looking at. When I got closer I realized I found a femur bone to a huge animal. Like an eager detective I searched for more. I was hoping to find the remains of a bear or better yet, you know who. As the mystery was unfolding I realized it was a four legged animal and probably a large Elk. The bones were scattered about quite successfully by the smaller mammals of the forest but before long I found the skull! It was the ultimate present from Nature to end my trip with!
Gifford Pinchot to Portland
welcome to Oregon
Heading back to Portland took 10 hours and the terrain on the east side of the Cascades is a hot-ass desert. So hot that I took my shirt off and that made it even hotter! Riding full blown dickhead style I finally arrived in town and went straight to my favorite place to eat, Burgerville, and mumbled my order with exhaustion on my breath. I called Kalashia and she told me the bad news that she crashed her borrowed scooter and broke her collarbone. She still let me stay at her lonely apartment and even found a place for me to keep my moped. My moped would be staying with a drunken clown named Bob until Brianna and I eventually relocated there.
Brianna arrived the next day for Foxy Autopsy's first show of the week long tour. Also known as Beige Taupe Sandstorm, she looked absolutely beautiful with her blonde curls and fabulous outfit. Love was in the air and I'll spare you the details but I was tremendously glad we made it through the summer and were back together.
The next day we left for the rest of the tour heading in the direction of home. It was sad to leave behind my trusty moped but I knew our days were far from over and we'd meet up someday soon.
Beige, Kate and Coco
As I sit here back in the Los Angeles area typing this, I still have a hard time figuring out everything that happened on this trip. When I see friends they ask me about it and I'm not sure how to sum it all up. Writing this was almost as hard as the trip itself. I had to leave some stuff out, I know I mis-worded small details and didn't elaborate enough on others. I guess I'll just have to say "tough titty" about all that. What I am sure about my moped bigfoot search is that it was one of the hardest things I've done. Concentrating on the road in front of me for hours to make sure I don't run over a nail or piece glass, avoiding getting thrown off the road by all kinds of vehicles, being deep in the forest with minimal equipment wondering if I'd make it out, having over 100 mosquito bites, thinking I was about to be eaten by Christians or sacrificed by Satanists, living off of granola bars, not finding bigfoot, being road worn and not talking to a person for days, wearing a camouflage outfit, having an ass so sore from lack of proper padding it felt as though it fell off, bugs bouncing of my eyeballs and face when I had no glasses (until I found a pair on the road) terrible sunburns on my face, gusty winds trying to kill me, pushing the moped with a flat tire for miles in 100+ degrees after endless tire changes, pushing my crap over the Golden Gate bridge, getting lost in a logged out tweeker town, having some beady eyed old hippie guy with feathers in his hair tell me that I wasn't going to make it past Eureka without dying, loneliness, dehydration, hunger, boredom, general stress, and the uncertainty that things will work out, all should have been enough to make me throw in the towel. There were countless times that I felt I should quit, but in retrospect, maybe the bad made for an even better adventure! I guess my biggest accomplishment in all this is that I did it! I may not of found any important evidence to support the existence of a North American Ape but I did manage to escape my life's daily ruts for awhile and live my weird freakin' dreams! My plans for combining wilderness and martial arts skills, bigfoot, mopeds, the forest and life, with a splash of crazy went over swimmingly. bigfoot sighting or not, it was still all worth it. Hopefully next time I will be a little bit more prepared and really pull some crap off! I don't know, I thought this trip would have gotten all this out of my system but here I am 4 months later thinking about my next adventure! Maybe a cross country bigfoot search is in order! Well this is the end I guess, Hope you liked my story.
Craig Flipy Autumn 2005