I miss my Sexy Sienna. I sold it to some knucklehead in Sedona because I’m a nice guy.

In many ways it was perfect for road trips and sleeping in the back. Though I do appreciate hotels, big beds and mindless television while traveling, I also appreciate saving money. If I’d tried harder, I probably could have found places where I could have parked for the night, and slept in the van, and not spend a dime.

But Commifornia has a reputation of going after those sleeping in their vehicles. I didn’t want put forth extra effort to avoid trouble. I’d just spoil myself in hotels, mostly.

Yet, I felt spoiled in the back of my van this morning on Friday the 14 of June in the year of our Lord 2019. A week away from the Summer Solstice, the sky began to brighten early. By 6:30 the sun was beaming through the pines and fir. Seeing the day’s first golden rays can be almost as invigorating as coffee – almost.

The outside temperature was 48. That’s not cold. But, the coolness inside the van compelled me to lie under warm covers a little longer. However, there was no Facebook connection on my phone. Mindless scrolling, which can also help wake me up, was not an option this morning. So, it was time to make coffee.

The outside air was still and chilled. It invited a walk to warm me up. Along a small trail through trees away from campers I found myself in a forest solitude that beckoned ruminations. But hot, black goodness was on my mind. Ten minutes later my butane flame was heating water. Five minutes later that coveted optimism was charging my body, and I considered the day ahead.

The day before, I’d not driven all the way around Tahoe – just a small portion on the southern end. The northern end, however, was probably not going to be strikingly different, so I decided not to stay. It wasn’t that I was rushing. It’s that there were things I definitely wanted to see today, and more driving could have prevented this. Plus, the driving was getting wearisome. So, heading south along US-395 to the Owens River Basin was the plan.

But the biggest objective of the day was the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest east of Bishop, California. Here grow the oldest trees in the world. Most have never heard of them. But I have. These trees were also a big target on this trip.

So I packed up, went into town, and looked for a breakfast burrito. This is one of Western Civilization’s greatest inventions. Starting down a highway with a burrito in my hand is a sweet pleasure I’ve learned to love.

I was off to seize the day.