We’re on our way west, out of Baton Rouge, this morning. We’re going sailing!
Realizing that a drive across Texas is halfway across the continental USA, we decide to take a break at the tourist info center after crossing the border.
We put on clothing in the parking lot and walk around the back to the gateway and into chilling air-conditioning.
The big room is loaded with tall rows of brochures and maps. We’ll have a long drive and we’re looking for fun stops along the way. This is like a library.
We try out the restrooms, before having a machine eat my two futile attempts at a plastic bottle of Coca-Cola. When I inquire at the big desk manned by two ladies, which appear to have spent quite a bit of idyll time together, I am met with an astonished, “way-a-oh.” Texans often need to enunciate all vowels in every word, but these two presented authenticity by actually adding extra vowels to “wow.”
Genuine and friendly, that’s how I like my Texans.
Back in the day, two guys on extended fork choppers cruised across the west in the cult classic “Easy Rider.” If you haven’t seen the essential piece of sixties culture, you should. It’s out there. It’s fun.
I sit in in a Honda Civic packed to the gills, barefoot all over. I’ve been thinking Easy Rider. Maybe we’ve got a similar attitude, mission and unusual look about us. The two hip biker’s flair was of course bold and dramatically different from southern culture of the time. They were flaunting it. We’re looking pretty conventional from the outside of the car, just another pair of tourists. We’re on the same routes, but fifty years later. Maybe we aren’t rocking handcrafted motorcycles and leather clothes, but we’d probably get a similar reception in a small town, walking around without any flashy garb.
In “Easy Rider,” they packed a bedroll and seemed to never change out of the same leather clothes, traveling all across the warm southern USA. We are packed to the gills, as I have said, “ready for anything.” We like to sleep under the stars like them. We are both out to see America. We are both unconventional. Well, things change and they have.
We drive down through the length of Alabama, all the way to the coast. Lot’s of trees, lots of trees, lots of trees…
…We check into our motel in Gulfport, Mississippi and begin the quest for Cajun food. We picked the wrong day, everything is closed. There is a pizza buffet down the highway. It’s pretty good, but mostly the variety makes the fun.
In the evening, we decide to check out the harbor and know where we’re going in the morning. We find our tour boat occupied, rented out to a group of drunken college age girls. They are lighting up the quiet night, belting out off key karaoke and rock anthems as they toast and gyrate.
As the racket fades, the coastal lights on the water’s ripples, with its still, bring a peaceful ambiance, as we stroll arm in arm.
In the morning we’re taking this tour boat out to Ships Island and an unofficial nude beach.
We’re at a retreat in the northern part of Alabama.
I have been researching trails in the Talladega National Forest, but I figure that I need some firsthand experience with the area. Anecdotal testimony of locals has been telling me that once you get away from the main trails, you won’t see many people.
This is reported to be especially true for the Pinhoti Trail, a 170 miles escapade through wilderness, mountains and streams. Many people use it to warm up for the Appalachian Trail. There are busier links to it, but it is well maintained. Because of its length and personification as more of a backpacking trail, there are plenty of nude hiking sections. It goes through old growth forests, water features, and up to grand vistas.
We have had plans for a section of the Chinnabee Silent Trail. Most people travel the popular section, but we are planning to travel on the section across the highway, away from that and then the intersecting trail.
When we last left off, we had fallen asleep under the stars in Palo Duro Canyon.
Before dawn, DF wakes me up. There is a sprinkle coming through the net and lightning can be seen above the canyon walls out on the plains to the west.
As we scramble for the tarp, my sleepy head begins to digest our situation. If we stay and it rains, we will have a soggy tent. When the sun comes up, it will be hot and sticky under the tarp.
The rain is still in the distance. We are awake, now. I suggest that we just leave before the storm.
As we scramble around the public campsite, eventually in the imposition of kilt and sundress, I think of our earlier departure, which will grant us a longer afternoon at our destination. We’re going to Oaklake Trails Naturist Resort in Oklahoma. It will be Labor Day weekend and the place will be popping and filled with activity.
I slurp a little caffeine when we stop for gas in the dark. We avoid the rain and take off out onto the Interstate heading east. There will be one more stop today, for gas. That will be the last coverings this body will need for the next few days.
After an hour, or so, the sky comes alive with bright orange hews. Flashing lights on power generating windmills are spread around the endless stream of headlights. Soon, the sun, an orange ball, creeps up out on a black horizon.
It will feel like a long drive, but the daylight has illuminated my attention. I’m fully present.
We’re camped in the mountains of New Mexico. It has been some lovely walking out here. No cell reception can be found, the rest of the world will have to wait. But we are surrounded by the influx of hunters at our campsite. We’re leaving today.
Before sunrise, a generator comes on. It is just 75 feet away. It wakes me. I lay here realizing that I can’t pack in the dark. A blanket over my head helps and I get another hour of sleep.
The guy leaves without turning the generator off! This place would be so very calm and peaceful when hunting season ends. It would be excellent on any week day.
We pack as quickly as we can. It’s been awhile since we have been out on the road and we haven’t gotten the rhythm of packing up, quite yet. After breakfast and two hours in a beautiful day, we pull away.
We’re on our way to a place in Oklahoma, but we need a place to stop and breakup the long drive. We have chosen Palo Duro Canyon near Amarillo. This affords us an afternoon hiking and exploring and then a longer afternoon at the next stopover, during the coming Labor Day Weekend.
I don’t know much about this “natural wonder.” It is declared the second largest canyon in the United States, but I’m questioning that.
I have surveyed the Palo Duro terrain and hiking trails using the Google map satellite feature and trail maps. It appears that most of the trails are pretty busy and not suitable for nude use. It is limited and not Federal Land.
I found a canyon off of a trail and near a trailhead. We may be able to walk that. It meanders and has concealing walls from erosion.
There is an equestrian trail that goes quite away from the trailhead and the facilities. It may be a good walk and equestrians are easier to see and hear coming. There are usually few trotters, just lumbering riders on western saddles.
The clouds are moving fast, through a turquoise palette this pleasant morning. I am watching a large white dragon fly across the sky. I pull out a camera, but my effort is not quick enough. By the time I’m ready, it has become a simple fat horny toad and then disappears.
We had been awakened early to the sound of the neighbor’s generator and a pounding hammer, before the first light of day. I barely slept by pulling covers over my head and ears. When I next poked my head out, I was surprised and pleased to find those neighbors gone.
Last night, I commented on the smell of their pot, but it is still here. Apparently, it is the mountains. As I sniff around, the pine and wild plants place that aroma on the wind. It’s curiously everywhere.
With their disappearance, we are slightly more capable of casual nudity, but across the road, there is still a view of a trailer, as I sit at the provided cement picnic table.
We take off up the road walking to find the illusive trailhead. Up the road a piece, there is not an official trailhead, but a definite road off of this maintained one. It is a spur and a very rough one. It would require a 4×4, quad, or mountain bike, to traverse just the first 100 feet. This will be our hike today.
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.
The ocean does have that expansive view that goes somewhere out toward infinity. It accompanies any stroll on a beach. When there is access along a beach as far as my feet might take me, that expansive sense is moved ashore. I remember that in Mexico, strolling along the coast of the Gulf of California. It is desert, so there are many miles where there are no humans, no development, just us.
We are free and alone, safe as far as we see. We take as little as possible to be as naked as possible, surrendered naked in the hands of grace.
We are as naked as the beach is, in touch with every sensation and whim of the natural part of it, the tides, the breeze, the warm sun and vibratory sound of the wave’s crash and the motion against shifting sands.
The shore is often thought of as a boundary, sometimes between countries, sometimes the demarcation of the land and sea. Skin also is thought of that way, the edge of the body, like a castle enclosed in a wall. Clothing holds the gates; it is the walls of protection.
As I walk in the sands near the shoreline, I watch the waves come in, pounding the submissive yet powerful sand, as all shifts. The life, its rhythms, the vibrations are here. Sand changes from soaked with water and back to dry. The sun robs the cool left by the sea and again dries it as the tide ebbs and flows. Sound carries, reflecting changing circumstance. It isn’t a boundary. It is whole and fluid, a copacetic transition.
My stroll in this naked body, not enclosed in its coverings, is warmed. It is also dried, it is cooled, and senses make me aware of the meld and the rapport that this body shares within this world. There isn’t a boundary. There is more to being in this universe and the vibrations have no boundaries.. The cloth boundaries may protect at times, but they shut out a huge part of being.
All is here as one and I am only to observe. This I know because I have torn down the wall of fabric on this beach.
In a season of thanks, I get naked and better feel gratitude.
I am on the forum of FreeRangeNaturism.com often, if you would like to converse.