from Mission San Fernando
I have people who want me to write more while I am on this trip, I am trying, but the simple fact is that after you have trudged 12-15 miles while carrying 45 pounds of “stuff” in your pack and, strangely, there have not been that many places to plug in and get online near my daily stops, it is hard to write, little less get it out.

I am trying some new things, my blog has an app, why does that scare me?

Most of my writing has been in a little journal app on my iPhone.

The other part is that this first two weeks has been extremely tough and painful and I don’t want to come off as a whiny child (trust me, I have been one a LOT this week).  My feet hurt, well duh! I have noticed that my legs and butt are looking amazing, too bad that I now have too much skin on them, maybe it will tighten up (please please please).  The rest of my weight loss is out of my face and my gut seems to be about normal for me (DAMN! LOL).

Other than the gut part, I expected the rest. This is a huge transition for me.  I have been a fairly sedentary type of guy living in the usual LA way, TV, driving, pretty much an easygoing lifestyle.

I have been surprised by how little I actually miss certain things:

  • I do not really miss TV, I thought I would; God knows I spent enough time in front of it.
  • I am not really missing the banal BS conversations that make up the majority of Angelino-speak.  When I talk to people, they are actually interested in what I am saying and I am interested in their words.
  • My feet hurt from the walking, but I do not really miss driving and definitely not missing traffic and the insanity that passes for “safe driving”.

Not so surprising is what I do miss:

  • Showers – regular showers
  • Nice bed with sheets
  • Climate controlled environments
  • Sleeping lying down – see below…

Guerrilla Camping

One of the things I am getting used to, especially the last few days crossing Orange and LA Counties is what I refer to as Guerrilla Camping. This is the art of finding places where you can sleep at night without being harassed or, in some cases, arrested.

When looking for a place to sleep, you want something out of site, not particularly well lit (not a problem for me as I have the straw hat) and someplace the cops will either not see or not care.  I spoke to LAPD last night about this and their response was that even in public space, other than parks, as long as no one calls to complain, they really don’t worry about it.

Parks are a different story as they often have posted hours, so after those hours you are officially trespassing. Even then, unless they have some reason to go in, the odds are that you are likely ok, but it is a risk.

I have noticed that the police do not seem to bother you for sleeping in public spaces at night if you are upright. I am learning how to sleep sitting up with my pack behind me. The toughest part is that after a while, your butt really hurts because the ground tends to be hard and uneven, so it wakes me every hour or so to shift, oh well…

The one thing that I have become aware of is the great mystery of sprinklers. You never know if and when they are going to go off and the last thing one wants is everything one owns soaking from a poorly timed sleep session.

The other night I had found this space and was so tired that I almost did not worry about my tarp. I had bought this tarp for under my tent, but it has been more useful for this than anything else…

The way this works is like this, I open up a little less than half of it (I should have bought a larger one) and put my pack in the fold and then take the rest over the pack and then over me.  I sleep on one end of it and the opposite end acts like a blanket of sorts. 

So the other night, I set this up and at 5:00am, suddenly I heard the dreaded sound of water heading into the sprinkler system. Thanks to having taken the time to set it up, my boots got a little wet and that was basically it, I and everything else was dry.

The other aspect of Guerrilla Camping that takes some getting used to is something close to public bathing.  When you do not have anywhere else to clean up, you clean up where you can, park restrooms are not the easiest to work with sometimes, but water and walls are about all one really needs, assuming you brought a washcloth and a towel.

Am I spotless? Oh Hell no! I am reasonably clean and feeling like I might actually pass for something akin to civilized.

So this is the practical things I have been dealing with and I think I have at least a passing grade.

On a more metaphysical/Spiritual level, I have been practicing a form of walking meditation that allows me to be somewhat conscious of what is happening around me while focusing on my meditation.  I’ll write about that later.

I have some other things that I am working on, this trip has been something of an eyeopener when it comes to some of the contradictions that make up our society, but that is going to take a while to write the way it should be, give me time…

Blessings all!


Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

This article has 1 comment

  1. avatar
    Kris Searle Reply

    Robert, I’m really enjoying your blog posts. As a friend I love to read about your day to day happenings. I also am really enjoying learning more about how this trip is working out for you in a spiritual way. I almost peed my pants when you wrote about the sprinkler systems. You just don’t think about those things. I know it’s hard for you to write regular blogs whilst walking so far but I look forward to them! This trip is epic!

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