To Georgia and Back Series: Part 1
August is ending, as we are setting out. DF’s mother is turning over the 100 years mark in her life. There will be a grand gathering of the family in Georgia. We have decided to take the trip out on the road. It will be approximately a month long, across America and back.
Last year, we had an open ended trip that lasted nearly two months. This time we’ll be away somewhere about half that time with a more structured itinerary. We’ll need to arrive a few days before the gathering to help out, so we’ll be traveling with a deadline for the first crossing,
I have set up a series of new places to try. Every stop has a plan and an opportunity to explore with the addition of nudity. This way, there will be a little more excitement, a game to play, a game to win, by doing this trip nude. The game prize will be a liberation in the face of a silly tyranny, freedom out on the road.
I’ve found life to be better when seasoning is added. It can be imagination, something that may be called flare, or a changeup. A pile of rock and dirt can become majestic, or a barren expanse may be wide open spaces in my soaring heart. Things can go so far as to bringing in a sense of more closeness to infinity and awe, or of God. The herb in this slice of life will be bare bodies.
When I use all of my senses, I can breathe in magical air with fascinating scents. There is so much here in any moment when I open up to it. When more synapses go off in symphony, the vibrations are raised, my whole being is stimulated. I feel more and it becomes more.
I’m going to say it again, “Life is just better when done naked.” A kiss of air through the crack in a window, the draft when I shift my legs, the anticipation of a full experience, adds to the moment by moment experience of the day. Just stopping the car and stepping out, can be an amazing new world and add a huge sense to life.
There is the simple addition of the full abandonment without clothing. There may be a hint of calculated risk, usually nil, but still a game is afoot.
Preparations have been fairly smooth as we have camped and traveled numerous times in the Honda Civic. My spare time during the last couple of months has been used creating a bucket list and mapping out the journey. We have over 24 hours of driving within the less than ten days before our arrival in the forested hills of northern Georgia. We’re heading through New Mexico, then across the panhandle into Missouri. The last day will get us into northern Georgia.
After the triple digit celebration, we can take our time on a journey through the American south. We’ll explore across the southern end of Texas, an area neither of us has ever seen, into parts unknown.
As we set off, the numerous preparations have us feeling like we have already been on this trip for a couple of weeks. The plan is to make some distance during the first leg and then take a break, spending a casual day wandering naked through the mountains of the Cibola National Forest.
This National Forest is divided into several regions based on terrain. There is Cibola near Albuquerque, which is less remote than our planned destination. Decades ago, I would cruise the two lane highway 54 north of Alamogordo away from the Interstates, in its timelessness. It is thinly populated, a grassy pinion pine expanse. I have found a section of the National Forest in a range near this place. I have contacted the forest service with a few questions and they concurred that “solitude” can be found. It is about as far as I would care to travel in a day and the isolation gives that potential for safe hassle free nude hiking and camping.
We are leaving at 9am, for a full day’s drive. The last minute details and packing is done. I grab a kilt. The Honda pulls out of the garage, the 4runner slips back in. I slide into the towel covered driver’s seat and pull at the Velcro seal at my waist, draping the kilt on either side of my body. One foot disrobes the other, leaving my flip-flops at ready on the floor under the seat. We are pointed in the correct direction and properly attired for our journey. I feel ready, with a fresh sense of freedom and adventure all over.
The rush hour is over, so the cruise out of Tucson goes quickly. We are soon in a lush monsoon green desert. The towering Catalina Mountains have grassy feet, looking like Irish hillsides all the way to the pine trees, which is another mile high in elevation.
Dainty flowers paint the desert floor, between verdant bushes all the way to New Mexico.
Along the way, there are fewer yucca than I remember as a boy. Fire takes them too. There have been wild grass fires across the region. A rich monsoon last year created a dry tinderbox, followed by nearly a year of drought. The yucca and mesquite are like any precious trees, taller and steadfast. When they perish, it stands out. Just the same, there has been a remarkable healing.
We approach New Mexico, where I spent a few years as a boy. I remember how, each child was required to learn the New Mexico State Anthem. It is some of that kind of knowledge one is force-fed in school and rarely has had any use. It is supposed to be belted out like a guest singer and a marching band at halftime show.
As we cross the border, I realize an opportunity; I break into “Oh Fair New Mexico” whenever I drive into the state. It makes DF cringe and snicker both at once. She has learned that there is no stopping me.
We were free to roam everywhere on the military base on our bicycles, like a safe small town. We would wander in the desert for miles to the base of Sugarloaf Mountain and spend summers in the officer’s club’s pool.
In amongst those memories, one pops out, as I sit nude, driving down the highway. I remember walking around the house naked when my parents were away. The eight year old’s mind filled with notes of freedom and new found sensuality. All I knew was getting out of a bath tub with a towel drying me. That was something else. It was also quite naughty. The possibility of being caught was scary, but I tingled all over in my secret dangerous escapade. Today, I look down at my nude torso; the notion of being naughty is gone, but the freedom and sensuality are still to be had.
We pass by White Sands National Monument and firecracker stands. The cement teepees that once sold curios, beaded Indian moccasins and boxes of Apache tears are gone. Three sisters, as three storms drop in and stay in the same place for long time off of the western face of the Sacramento Mountains near Alamogordo. They are like three sisters having a chat over tea. We watch on our approach from a distance. Light shines through them; fat rainbows pop up, over again and often.
We pass through the town of Tularosa and off on that two lane highway that I haven’t driven since I was a young man. It is still the New Mexican open road, with its miles and miles of pinion pine and grasses and solitude.
After another 100, or so miles, there is still the awe of the feel of this place and its beauty. There is something very unique about New Mexico skies. The sunsets have a different palate of pastel color than other states.
The grand skies seem to go on forever. A heaven of puffy white clouds goes on and on past the horizon. Perhaps it is the high desert giving enough elevation off of a flat butte that makes those skies continue so. Like the world is flat and this is the edge, yet that sky continues on.
It is easy to find the turnoff road with our directions in advance. The camping ground is marked well. The concrete bunker of a toilet is the only building for miles around. It is a nice spot, tall green grass, young healthy pine trees, and dainty flowers.
There are others in trailers there. It feels crowded. We drive around the corner. It is overcast and there is a chill as we emerge from the car, stretching at last. We don’t intend to be nude in cold, so something light to wear feels okay. Two hippies come out of a big newish motor home two hundred feet next door. We greet each other with smiles. I say, “Welcome home.”
I have looked this over with google map and checked with the Forest Service. Where it is, all considerations discussed, we can camp anywhere in this forest. Tomorrow will be another day.
We’ll find that trailhead that I saw on the satellite image, tomorrow.
We take a walk up the road, finding more campers. No matter, at present, I’m consumed by the clear fresh air and the health of the forest, as I breathe arm in arm with DF. I think that I might see what I am looking for during the walk up the road. It looks promising.
We have dinner and soon crash, looking through pine tree limbs at bright sparkling stars, as the sky clears.
Tomorrow morning, we will sleep as long as we like, rest fully and find a hike….
In a couple of days, I’ll have day #2’s story ready for you. It’s about wandering freely in the pine laden mountains.
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