It was a last minute invite, but I accepted, rolled over and untangled myself from white, cotton sheets. I took a hot shower, packed a bag for the two-day stay, and hopped in the bus, a VW Travis spent three years restoring, a cherry red and white vessel with a refurbished engine and transmission, reupholstered bench seats, brand new flooring, years of grime erased, old memories replaced with new ones.
I hadn’t seen Travis in about a year, but any time he came through I knew we’d have a good time. A born traveler, he spent weeks on the road exploring nature’s known treasures, and the hidden ones too. He tucked my bag into the trunk between a case of water, a box of individually wrapped trail mix packs, and a tacklebox.
“Are you ready?” he asked, putting his foot on the clutch before starting the engine.
“I sure am,” I adjusted my seatbelt and leaned into the seat. “This seat is much more comfortable than before. Did you change them again?”
“You know what’s in there?” he probed. “Memory foam, the good stuff,” he checked the mirrors and backed out of the driveway.
On the agenda was camping and fishing just outside Sierra City, a three-hour drive we’d split in half, stopping off to stretch, fill the cooler with goodies, and eat lunch on Mountain Creek. We sat outside under a big umbrella on a wooden platform overlooking the winding stream. The server brought two ice-cold waters followed by a plate of beer battered fried pickles and chili cheese fries.
“This will be our last meal if we don’t catch any fish,” Trevor laughed.
“The last time I went fishing was with you, so…” I said. “It may be trail mix and sun chips for the weekend.”
While we nibbled on fried pickle slices and fries, he told me about his company, a startup he ran from the bus, selling language software to people across the world. We talked about my job, how year sixteen had changed everything.
“It’s just different now,” I explained.
“Maybe you‘re different now.”
“I suppose,” I folded my hands under my chin and stared at him, expecting one of his usual lectures.
Instead, the server returned with our entre, and we ate, our conversation turning back to the trip. Lakes, trails, canyons, picturesque fields of wildflowers, and remnants of old mining towns we’d venture out to, live alongside for two days. And like Trevor, I couldn’t wait to be in this space, to swim through muddy waters, washing off the old, slipping into the new, and then driving home changed in ways we couldn’t yet see.