Drive Me to Ridiculous Places (Isa, Part One)

For the inaugural episode of, we take a trip down the California coast with our co-conspirator, Isa. Time felt stolen at times, hitchhiking down the One with her. She operates tuned to her environment. Stepping out of her tent into the rising sun she dives thumb out into highways, byways and unnamed forest roads with a deft discretion. She sets up camp where ever the sun leaves her. As if born with diesel fumes in her lungs, she has an imperturbable smile that makes strangers pull off onto the shoulder with alarming frequency. And this is her story. Fragments of it, anyway.

Not so hidden, come morning.
Part One — Drive Me to Ridiculous Places: Hitching Santa Cruz to Big Sur
View from Isa’s rock-cliff-thing hideaway.

I can’t remember exactly how we got to Santa Cruz. But there we are, walking into a red sun melting into placid ocean. She begins walking down the pier, vaguely looking for somewhere to sleep. Some crevice between the tourist traps and fishing wharves to curl up in her sleeping bag for the night. Her gaze wanders downward, “Maybe underneath?” She takes the stairs down to the beach. They say no two objects ever actually come into contact on account of the magnetic fields that keep the former’s matter from spilling into the latter’s. This phenomena is on full display as Isa slides on a buffer of magnetism underneath the pier. The underbelly seems far more impressive and expansive, albeit more cramped, than the pier proper.

Nothing gets the attention of potential short-term tenants quite like being greeted at the door by dozens of barking sea lions. Isa decides that this might not be the place.

Making the stream water potable, a few ounces at a time.

And so she walks along the beach, the sun beginning to hide beneath the rolling waves. It’s getting cold. Not freezing, but wind begins to nip at the periphery. She walks past a ritzy hotel glaring down, an unholy almagam of steel, glass, and light.  A lush sits atop a lonely lifeguard tower shouting grievances against man and fish alike into the water below. The cliffs rise above Isa, and above the hotel even, like ancient sky scrappers. And look there! A break in the rock: sweet, thick, black obscurity nestled between two solemn crests. “Perfect. Yoho!” she exclaims, thrusting her fists skyward.

Isa’s camp near the creek.

We sit on the beach smoking cigarettes and cooking dinner, waiting for the last lingering daylight to fall away so we can pass unnoticed into the mirth. It’s the first time we get to talk on tape. Isa speaks quietly at first, meekly battling for space amid the sea lions and crashing waves. As we boiled instant noodled atop her tiny propane burner and swap hitchhiking stories, worst for best and best for worst, she quickly becomes herself. She shares her laughter and preponderance on everything from the real to the imagined as we travel down the One. Most importantly she shares the intrinsically unique way that she sees the world. Her input every step of the way made this dreamscape what it was. I assure you, dear listener, this is most certainly ours.

–sleep well, listener; tomorrow might be a long day

“A cold-as-fuck bath.”