Day 44: Lincoln City to Newport, 30 miles
I wake to a chilly morning, but see sun glinting through the tent. This is enough to get me going, along with the thought of coffee. With numbing fingers I pack up the tent and load up the bike, one more time on this long journey whose end is nearing ever closer. Bittersweet feelings, as before, along with relief. I’m weary of the long time away from my friends, my support, only the road and desert and strangers to talk to. Frankly, I’m getting tired of myself.
So off down 101, a quick stop at D-River wayside, where I look over the windswept surf and feel it, that sense of coming home, of being home. Here, on the coast, on my bicycle, and in familiar territory, a sense of remembering and belonging.
I stop in Depot Bay, for the “Best of the Best” at Pirate Coffee. And I must report, indeed, this is the best espresso of the entire 1900 mile trip! Even trumps my favorite coffees from last year, which when revisited this year were sorely disappointing. I schmooze with the shop owners, and invite them over the hill to my restaurant. That feels good.
The another lap over the Otter Crest Loop. The Old 101 is empty and quiet, just the surf below and the wind and the gulls and ravens. But the chill is biting at my fingers and I am eager to get on to my next stop. I intend to camp at South Beach, a plan I am not really looking forward to given the cold and predicted rain.
I roll into Newport and pause on a bluff which overlooks a beautiful sunset. 5pm. Day is going fast. I know what I need to do next, but I’ve been reluctant, scared: to pay a visit to David, Zach’s dad. I am nervous and at a loss, how does one comfort a father grieving the loss of his only son? I dial his number and am a bit relieved to leave a message on his answering machine.
I’m doing my laundry when David calls back. He’s making dinner and invites me up to the Cafe Konowalchuk. I gratefully accept the invitation and I head into the dark and frigid night, headlamp blazing a path up the hill. I’m finding a trust that I will know how to respond…