Day 24:

A Place Called Home

I could have stayed in Lake Tahoe another night, but something in me just wanted to get home quicker. I’ve haven’t defined a place as “home” for a long time. I was wary of calling the Bay Area home. What does that really mean? What defines home? Buying a house? Settling down with a wife and kids? Maybe home is where the heart is, right? I suppose that means that you love a city enough to call it home. I’ve traveled through about 15 cities in the past month. Each have their distinct charm, and I wondered what made the people living in these cities decide to call it home. New York was more of an infatuation than love. But do I love the Bay area? Do I love California? Time will tell, but I’m done exploring. I guess I will have to grow to love it, kind of like an arranged marriage or something. It’s not the most romantic, but by process of elimination I came to this decision. Guess I’ll see how it goes.

Today I went to Emerald Bay in the southeastern portion of Lake Tahoe. It’s a beautiful bay surrounded by lush forest with a small island in the middle. I figured this would be a great spot to end my trip. I hiked down to the lake’s edge in the canyon and followed a trail around the lake for three miles. Here I could really see the change of the seasons. The leaves were bright yellow and the crisp fall air was refreshing. The island had an abandoned rock house at the top of it. It made me daydream about what it would be like to live on a tiny island in the middle of a lake, far away from everybody else. I sat on a large rock overlooking the lake and lost track of time.

It was about three and a half hours to Oakland from Lake Tahoe, which felt like a short trip after the 10-12 hour marathon drives. The road wound down through the forest and into the Sacramento Valley. I’d gained some confidence I didn’t have before, and sped down quickly through the forest. When I left new York, I felt so uneasy driving through traffic and rushing in and out of lanes. After almost a month of constant driving, I was a pro. I was keeping up with the folks racing down the hill, passing slower trucks and trailers with the ease of a racecar driver.

I stopped at a diner overlooking the forest called “The Big Red Apple” and had three huge apple pancakes, apple sausage, eggs, toast, hash browns, and a slice of apple pie with vanilla ice cream. It felt like a last meal of sorts, and I tried to savor it as much as I could. I didn’t eat anything else the rest of the day, I was so full. I rode into Oakland thinking, “Damn I guess I’m going to have to go back to work again.” I felt like taking a sharp detour to somewhere else, anywhere else.


My lovely waitress serving my last meal


I was still stuck in a space between my old life and my new one. Nothing was defined, and I was living out of my car until I got back to the things that “normal” people do with their lives. I don’t think I really wanted to get out of this space.

I planned to crash on my sister’s couch for the night. It was an easy choice between spending a night alone in another motel room. I pulled up to her place, gave her a big hug and went upstairs to tell her all about my adventures.