An interesting day.

I woke up this morning panicked. My friend had to be at work at 8am and I didn’t want to oversleep. It was 6:20.

I took a shower, packed and started loading my waypoints into Ox’s GPS. That’s always entertaining for some reason.

We had breakfast and said our goodbyes. It better not be for 20 years again.

I left through Bend and began my journey along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It took me right past Mt. Bachelor. The last time I was here, my brother Joe and I came down with a youth group to snowboard. It is still one of the most memorable days I’ve ever had. Mostly because of epic powder and the sunburn on my face.

This shot was taken sitting next to Bachelor but looking north at the three sisters.

For the next 50 miles I proceeded to go on a murdering rampage of bugs. I could barely see through my windshield. I think about 1,000 hit me in the face. No joke. It was a beautiful ride but cold. The sun still hadn’t warmed up the canyons yet.

Eventually I worked my way down towards Crater Lake. As I got close, a thick smoke began to envelop the road. If cars didn’t have their headlights on, you couldn’t see them until the last second. Hotshots rigs were parked along all of the roads, along with forest service vehicles. I figured if they didn’t want me to go there, they would have closed the roads. Right before the turnoff to Crater lake, the smoke mostly cleared. Which is good because it was actually getting hard to breathe. I think my clothes smell like I was sitting around a campfire all night. I stopped at the first overlook of the crater because it was still smoky and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see very much. Unfortunately I was right.

The lake is down there somewhere.

I turned around and continued my journey down another scenic byway, this one along the Umpqua river. I even saw people rafting. It was freezing! They’re nuts.

In Roseburg I stopped at a self serve car wash and gave Ox a good once over. It was nasty.

I stopped again at another intersection for lunch and gas (speaking of which, I am so glad to be out of Oregon and having an attendant always there to “help” me) and then it was my final push to the coast and rejoining 101.

Turning south again I followed the amazing Oregon coastline all of the way into California. 440 miles after I started.

I reached Crescent City California and began looking for dinner and a campsite. Every single restaurant I went by was shut down. Out of business. And no camping.

I kept going south. Now I was into redwoods country. And guess what? Every state park campsite was full. On a Monday. Go figure. I finally broke down and stopped and a private campsite. $19. I’m sorry, what?! I haven’t had camping that cheap in forever. I’m surrounded by Redwoods. It’s amazing.

Unfortunately I had a lot of time to think today and my head really started messing with me.

I thought a lot about my transition back to home life. At the pace I’m going, that’ll be soon. I have high hopes and deep fears. What if I haven’t changed? What if this is all for nothing? If it does help, how long will it last?

And then I had a panic attack. It hit me hard and fast and I could barely breathe. I had to pull over asap and just sit to look at the view. I tried to call my wife and she didn’t answer. That didn’t help.

I finally calmed down and my wife called me back. I didn’t tell her but I just needed to talk.

Some days I think I’m doing ok and then it just resets to square 1.

Oh well. I’m in California. That’s crazy. My inlaws live outside of San Francisco and that’s less than 350 miles away. That’s about 100 miles less than I did today. Damn. I could be home pretty soon. I’m worried. I need to stop talking about it. I’m making it worse.

5 thoughts on “An interesting day.”

  1. Hang in there Jake. You’ve made good progress and even with progress, sometimes the noise in our heads gets the best of us. Breathe through these moments… it’s hard to redirect our thoughts in the middle of a panic attack…so just concentrate on breathing first… in deep, out slow and purposeful. Breathe and find your center. Slowly remind yourself of the wins, even the little ones…keep breathing. You’ve had very good days lately and this is going to happen, but just like becoming a little bit comfortable talking to people and controlling your reactions to things, you can get through these too. It won’t be something that happens overnight, but eventually you’ll see small wins in these thoughts and panic attack’s. Remember when you start thinking about home, your fears and coping, your biggest fans are there, your family… more than that, your biggest supporter, your amazing wife…and they love you unconditionally. Unconditional love is what will get you through. Things aren’t always going to be apple pie and ice cream, but together you can get through anything. My friend, the unconditional love of your beautiful wife and children is what you hold on to in those moments. Those of us hearing your words are here too. We support you. We discussed your blog a bit at your meet up and whether you would continue after returning home… If this has helped you, writing your deepest, most difficult thoughts…letting us in to support you on this journey…if that helps, keep writing my friend. Praying for you Jake. Breathe

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you’re doing great , if your therapist was following your blog he would be worried about becoming unemployed. Your trip and pictures would make a good travel/self help book, the high’s and low’s of 2 wheeled PTSD therapy , greasy spoons & campgrounds…..volume 1

    For every high there is a low, you were riding on a high since before you met up with your Dad, then stayed on that high for several more days thru the weekend catching up with friends that you haven’t seen in ages. I’m sure you didn’t get much rest, leaving your friends behind and getting back on the road again would make anyone feel down , you’ll get back in the groove after a good night sleep.
    SF is a short ride down the coast ,take your time and enjoy the ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s OK to stumble, just remember to pick yourself up and keep going. I think this trip has done you a world of good with so many experiences to share with family and friends. Look how far you have come both on the road and your personal healing. You’ve made tremendous progress and you should be very proud of yourself. It’s been great riding shotgun. Thanks!


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jake, as always, I enjoy reading your posts.

    Sorry to hear about the reset anxiety. You have come so far, but the healing isn’t instantaneous or even everlasting. That’s normal. You seem to have (nearly) mastered managing the anxiety in a controlled environment (e.g., on your bike where you are free to decide which situations you place yourself in). Now it’s time to apply those learning in a less controlled environment, e.g., around family and other “normal, but sometimes stressful” settings where things are more unpredictable. It’s OK not to be in total control…sometimes even rewarding. And when you need help, you have more experience and resources than ever that are willing and able. You’ve got this.

    God Bless and thank you for sharing the raw emotions. It helps others more than you can imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

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