Esalen farewell

Day 17: Esalen to San Simeon State Beach, 54 miles

I’m up at 3am, beating Sy’s 4am writing practice by an hour. I am writing emails, the blog, taking a soak way before sunrise. Why. I can’t sleep. I’ve decided I’m going to ride a full day, after the closing session ends at noon. There is no one at the baths at this hour, on the closing day. A rare luxury.

I take a quick breakfast, stashing some extra food for the ride. No place to shop on the south Big Sur coast, save overpriced tourist traps. Coffee. Ah! Then pack up the bike, roll it over to the closing session. I sit next to Marcel, who has invited me to Oakland for some wood fired pizza, at his house. I can’t wait for that! Marcel and his wife are also cyclists, and we have shared many stories over the weekend.

I enjoy the panel of writers, sharing tips on cultivating the writing practice. It is a practice, like any art, requiring time and effort to develop. And the practice of writing isn’t dependent on the outcome, whether publication or insight or just getting it out. I know this. I am hoping to publish, some day. Some day. Once I find my voice, the voice I think others will want to read. And the humility to trust that what I have to say is interesting enough, true enough to be shared. This blog has been an important vehicle for my practice. Thank you, dear reader, for being my witness. And guinea pig at times!

The session is over too soon, after Sy reads from his iconic Notebook and participants share in a final writing exercise. I’m off up the hill and suddenly find myself alone again, pedaling down the rocky coast. Over Lucia, through the almost-completed avalanche shed, past Kirk Creek, then climbing climbing climbing the double hills before Rocky point. Then the lovely winding descent and the long straight stretch to San Simeon, past lazy elephant seals. It is foggy and cold, and I’m so glad to finally roll into the campground just as the sun is setting.

More cyclists! Hannah and Angela, ending their tour in San Luis Obispo, and Matias and Marianne who are continuing to the border. We all chat a bit, and it is good to feel connected again on this crazy quest: a solitary seeker at home in a community of cyclists.

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