leaving San Francisco – tomorrow
It has been awhile since I sat down and wrote a blog entry. It takes time and energy to write a blog entry and after you have hiked 12-17 miles with a 45 lb pack on your back, energy is something you just do not have. This trip has been exhausting, but one of the best things I think I have ever done and I am within about 100 miles of completing it.I have seriously been blown away with some of the experiences and people that I have met while doing the hike up the state of California. I have had complete strangers open their homes to me and gave one man in Santa Barbara County his first hitchhiker he had ever picked up.

There are so many directions that this trip has gone that I am not sure exactly what will be the outcome.  I have had amazing experiences as a perceived homeless person and yet had other seek me out as such to ask about what people do when I approach.

I have had some interesting conversations on religion and philosophy, a few I would say would have made an excellent college course, I will have to see if I can rebuild them in the future.

I am a city kid, I like having a million people around, just not to close, I also like privacy…  One of the biggest surprises for me is just how much I have loved walking trails through the untouched face of California.  I have had trails that were as little as three-inches wide and meandering across fields and along the side of some pretty good hills and I just found that it amazed me that a place that could harbor Los Angeles and Orange County could have such untouched beauty so nearby.

I suspect I will likely always hike after this trip, though I may see about taking trips where I can leave the 45 lb pack at home, does anyone know a good Sherpa service in central California? Hmm…

Some of the best moments have been making it across some difficult section of the trip and finally making it over or through and knowing that you did it, definitely an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life.

No, the trip is not done, the final form of the experiences have not happened as of yet, and I am not exactly sure they ever will, that is what is so great about such an experience; given the opportunity, it touches everything for the rest of your life.

To my friends and new family members that have supported this trip and me through the good days as well as some bad ones, thank you and know that your help has been invaluable and could never be forgotten.

So what is happening after the trip? I do not really know yet. About the only thing I am reasonably sure of is that I will not likely be returning to Los Angeles, there is not really much of anything there for me.  My friends and local family have almost all deserted the city and I just have not felt at home there for a while, so likely there will be new digs in the future.

I have really enjoyed visiting Santa Cruz, Monterrey and my current visiting in San Francisco. I have learned the meaning of the old statement;

The coldest winter I ever spent
was the summer I spent in San Francisco.

It gets chilly here for the last of July and start of August, but it is kind of nice actually. It would be nicer if I were sleeping in a residence, I have spent my time here living on the streets and sleeping on the side of the Mission Dolores Basilica in my sleeping bag, but it’s actually kind of fun.

I think one of the biggest things I have gotten out of this is that it is “fun”, it being life. I have always said, “life was meant to be an entertainment for Spirit and only in falling into the belief that it is reality do we make ourselves miserable.” I have been getting many firsthand lessons in this. Trust me, if life is not about perspective, I can guarantee that this would have often been the most miserable experience of my file. I have gone through the tougher and less pleasant parts, but they are part of the tapestry, not the point of it.

Joy to all of you and think happy thoughts for me as I leave San Francisco tomorrow and head to San Rafael and then on to Sonoma and the final mission and the end of the El Camino Real.

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.

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