Friday, October 7, 2011
Roller Coaster Time
To be fair, scared is just one of the many different feelings we've had these past few days. Until now, we always had other destinations. At first it was Phoenix, AZ. After that, Albuquerque, NM. Then Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Little Rock... And so on and so forth until our latest stop, Eureka, CA. But Seattle is really it. sure, we're going to ride in Alaska and Hawaii, but we get to take other means of transportation to get there. Seattle is the end of waking up, riding 65 miles, finding a spot to camp, falling asleep, then doing it all over again. Scary.
As we rode away from my Mom and Scott the other day, tears staining my cheeks, 625 miles seems very far away. Saying goodbye to family has always been hardest part of this trip and it proved once again to weigh heavily on us. What were we doing? In just a few hours, my Mom would back home in the comfort of her own house. We were riding through the cold California rain towards an unknown.
That was a difficult day. 101 was not an easy road. Sections of no shoulder kept us constantly looking back in our rearview mirrors. Sharp twists and turns kept us uneasy as we did everything we could to be seen. The constant rain didn't help our spirits as we rode further and further away from my Mom. What were we doing?
A campsite was just not happening that night. Maybe we were a little too spoiled from staying at The Carter House for three nights in a row, maybe we just needed a pick-me-up. Whatever it was, a dry, warm room kept us sane and we slept peacefully.
The next morning greeted us with more rain. Harder rain. Instead of riding towards Crescent City, we rode to the cafe next door and waited out what we thought would be the worst of it. Here, we met a few folks interested in our story and they smiled in amazement as we retold the same story we've been telling for months. The rain ceased a bit, and we left the Palm Cafe with our spirits lifting a little higher.
Just ten miles up the road and we found ourselves in a fantasy land of beauty. Prairie Creek State Park was a wonderland for Adam and his camera. Instead of spending an hour there, we wished we had a week.
But the clear skies didn't last long and within a few minutes of photographing the sun shooting through the foggy mist, we were caught in a downpour with nowhere to hide. What were we doing?
We looked at each other, not sure how to take this. Amazingly, we smiled at each other. The rain came down a little harder. We smiled more. Our tires found their way through the small flood in the road and we laughed. And that was that. The rain stopped, the clouds parted, and the sun came out in time for us to enjoy lunch on the steps of a small church with a few friends.
Feeling much better, we continued on towards Crescent City, climbed a 1,200 foot hill (yes, there are still hills to climb on the coast), then froze as we flew down the 1,200 feet on the other side, right into Crescent City, and into Gerry's home. He invited us in just before another rainstorm came through and we dried ourselves and our things that night.
Fall set in the next day and we found our groove again in the crisp salty air. Pacific Coast is the perfect setting to keep our spirits lifted during these next few weeks.
Moment of Zen:
Last night we met The Peace Artist as we were climbing the last hill before Gold Beach. He was pushing a Chariot baby stroller and our first thought was, "Who would be walking their child on a road like this?" Turns out, Peace, as he introduced himself, was running 10,000 for Peace, Love, and Art. He gave away all of his worldly belongings.... gave away... and he is running around the U.S. for peace. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but he is a normal guy! As we were talking on the side of the road, a truck flew by us, a little too close for comfort. We debated giving him a one fingered salute, but Peace shot him a smile and a peace sign instead.
I guess we always have more to learn.