Blue skies ahead

Day 3: Humbug Mountain to Harris Beach, 50 miles

The eighth devil arrives in the middle of the night: I awake to rain on the tent. So I sleep in another hour or so, then rise to break down my soggy camp. Theresa is up and we talk about the weather, what else is there? I see clear skies in the forecast. In fact, blue is already beginning to break through the clouds above.

I set off on wet roads, riding the 101 behind Humbug Mountain. This is an almost perfect lava dome, a massive sea stack. Around the other side, then south along the coast, past the spot where the two women cyclists were hit two years ago, just hours before I passed, yellow spray paint marking the pavement for the State Trouper’s investigation. I wonder what happened, how they are faring. I shudder at the thought of the wreck, but cast it off as an unlikely mishap.

Further south along the Gold Coast, skies becoming clearer as I ride. Across the Rogue River, the town of Gold Beach. Coffee! And a great cinnamon roll. Makes the early wet ride all the more worth it. Other cyclists catch up, we greet. I introduce Tino to Xavier, feeling like an emissary. Then onward, enjoying what has now become a 20 mph tailwind, flying along the straight stretches, this is what it is all about!

I pedal on, through Boardman State Park, past the Thomas Creek Bridge where last year I first heard of Zach’s passing from my friend Bassima. Seems a lifetime ago, not a mere 12 months? So many changes, so many people’s lives changed. Each of us bearing the grief differently, each of us learning to move on, without our dear friend. We miss you Zach. And you live on in our hearts.

The final push into Brookings is triumphant, huge winds at my tail, almost sailing. I settle into the Hiker Biker site at Harris Beach with a dozen or more other cyclists. There is Xavier again. But I don’t feel social tonight. I’m contemplating many things, and glad I am touring solo, not accountable to others agendas or having to entertain.

A screeching sawmill across the highway, surf past the trees, harmonica and guitar to my right, native flute to my left. A group talking loudly past midnight. Many sounds and thoughts keep me up. Weary legs, a heavy heart. And I know tomorrow will be smooth sailing. Blue skies ahead.

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