Sheer cliffs over the Sonoma coast

Day 26, Sundog to Bodega Dunes Campground, 53 miles

I wake from a vivid dream.

I’m carrying a gift to Zach’s father, a special vase. I take it to where the band is rehearsing, I see Roy and Rosalee and their new bass player, crouched in a field that has just been planted. I tell them what I have, and they motion over to a building where there is a large gathering of people. I look and to my surprise, through the windows I see Zach, golden curly locks atop his shining face. “I’ll take it to him,” he says smiling widely. I hurry through the door, then look up at the crowd milling about. I don’t see Zach anymore, but there, a woman, reaching for the gift. As I hand it to her I look down and notice an note in the box, which says the vase has been forged of ash and tears.

I wake, suddenly, gasping. Then the tears come. I cry a long while, for the precious life of Zach, lost just 4 years ago, in October 2012. And tears of joy for the beauty he shared with everyone he met. I long to see the world as he did. And I find myself doing so more and more. (Here’s a post from shortly after Zach’s death: )

A long, long phone call with Jennifer before turning in, sharing so much. Our love steadily deepening, our longing to be together once more. Our time apart has made our bond stronger, and we are excitedly anticipating what lays ahead. Ah, the days when a phone call was how we stayed in touch with a friend, a lover, a brother. Do you remember? Hanging on the phone for hours, talking and talking, loving to hear the sound of the other’s voice, how simple words helped bridge the distance. Something human has been lost in the new tech of text messages and emails and anonymous comments and Facebook postings. Let’s get back to sharing our love of the voice again.

A strong, rigorous beautiful ride today. I am feeling the hills, legs still in recovery from yesterday’s climbing marathon.  Steady going, in and out of the coves, over headlands, south until the Fort Ross hills. Then climbing up, past cattle guards, inching along the precipice, road carved into the side of mountain, etched in the sandstone, sheer drops hundreds of feet to the see. How I love the adventure, the tenuous, the breathtaking splendor of this route, how fragile the roadway seems, yet solid to carry car and truck and RV and bicycle, crawling up, careening down.

I was passed earlier by Alex, then Dan, and then we meet up again in Jenner, on the Russian River, stop and linger at Cafe Aquatica, such good coffee, otherworldly food. It’s good to hang out with these cycling friends, so soon we will part ways. Dan is ending his tour in San Francisco, Alex is staying a few extra days in the Point Reyes hostel. We’re all rushing to beat the big rainstorm due on Friday. Dan muses that he is shutting down somehow, emotionally, before the end of his tour. I feel it. I’ve done the same, getting to the end of an epic ride, weeks on the road, then wondering how to return back home, to the normal life.

Except this tour, my return bears an even greater excitement. Jennifer. What adventures await, exploring the landscape of the heart, with my new love.

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