When I tell people that I’m sleeping in my car, they often ask me if I’m not afraid. In general I’m not, though I try to be cautious where I park my car. Yesterday I parked near North Hollywood Metro station. It was a bit of a shady area, with quite some dodgy looking people and police on the streets. I didn’t write it at the end of yesterday’s story, because my mom is reading this too and I don’t want her to worry unnecessarily. All went well of course, because you’re reading this, though sleeping at those places can be a bit scary. I just check twice that the doors are locked before I go to sleep and usually park at a clear place like under a street light. As I said, all went well and I wake up again when it gets light outside. Part of me still doesn’t want to leave Los Angeles, but I know it’s time to move on.
I drive North in the direction of Sequoia Tree National Park. It starts out with functional driving on the Innerstate, because it’s about four to five hours driving. Then at some point Google Maps leads me to some smaller roads and the recreational driving starts. After a while I start wondering if this is the official road to Sequoia National Park, but soon I know the answer. It’s not. The road becomes a dirt road. Then I realize that my Google Maps was still set up to avoid toll roads and you have to pay to get into the National Parks so apparently that’s seen as a toll road. This wasn’t planned and it becomes quite an adventure to drive the back roads of the park. On my way I’m stumbling upon another National Park, Kings Canyon National Park. I didn’t know that one, but now I’m driving through it on dirt roads. I look up the park in my book and decide not to stop here, because I still want to hike in Sequoia National Park this afternoon.
When I arrive there I park my car and go for a short hike to the biggest tree in the world named General Sherman. It’s quite crowded here, but it’s helpful because there are enough people to take a picture of me with the tree. I see another longer hiking path, but I feel a bit lazy this afternoon. I think about it for a moment, but then get over myself and start the hike. Soon I’m glad that I chose to hike, because the path leads along many enormous Sequoia trees. There are almost no people here, what makes it even better to enjoy this beautiful nature area. I try to take many pictures, but that’s quite challenging because they don’t fit in one picture.
The off-road adventure of this afternoon unfortunately didn’t go by without trouble. When I return to my car I see at the dashboard that one of the tires is deflating. It’s still half full, but I don’t know how far I can continue driving with it. Trying not to worry to much about it, I look up the nearest town in the area and start driving carefully. I make it to the rangers office and he’s so helpful to pump some air in my tire so I can make it to the nearest town. When I arrive there, the garage is already closed, but the lady in the gas station tells me they open tomorrow morning at eight. I park my car in front of the garage and walk to a restaurant in town. This is quite a bummer, but I’m not too down. While walking to the restaurant I see a dead animal laying next to the road and that helps me putting things in perspective. It’s just a flat tire and I’m still here. This might sound strange, but it’s the same thing when I walk by a graveyard sometimes. I’m always thankful that I’m on the living side of the road. I decide to not let this ruin the day and order a beer and a pizza at the restaurant. After having two of the best days of this journey last weekend, today was a little less fun, but I still got to see the Sequoia trees and had a nice hike. Tomorrow is a new day and we’ll see what that brings.