The long way home

Day 39, Cannon Beach to Cape Lookout State Park, 51 miles

What, I’m riding the northern Oregon coast again? Let me explain. The tour is ending, but I just haven’t ridden enough. A window of good weather hatched a wild idea: take the POINT bus out to Cannon Beach, ride home to Philomath via the 101. Yes, more coast, more riding, more Ocean.

I get off the train, greeted to a warm sunny Portland. I pedal over to Suzanne’s arriving just as she and Leah are getting out of their van. The reunion between Leah and Squiddie is delightful. So many things Squiddie has seen! So many stories to share with Suzanne. Not enough time. We share dinner, I join them in watching a Harry Potter movie. We talk late, but I’m exhausted from the train ride, and planning this crazy extra ride in the morning. So it’s goodnight.

Restless sleep, worries about the restaurant, and again, pre-ride jitters. Why? I’m a seasoned touring veteran at this point. Just put another 1300 miles onto my bicycle, into my legs and back and heart. Still, too excited to be riding more, long, familiar roads, favorite vistas. Can’t wait. Morning comes sooner than ever. I pack, give Suzanne a hug, ride off to catch the POINT bus at Union Station.

I stop at New Seasons, coffee and the charlie brown bar, peanut butter and chocolate. The checker asks what I’m up to today, so I tell him. Of the tour, the 1300 miles, then the ride out to Cannon Beach to take the long way home to. He takes a breath, then he asks, “And sir, what do you think about on such a ride?” I quip, check the blog. Then realize the answer as I pedal off. What do I think about? Everything. What I see, what I feel, what I ponder. And eventually, I think about nothing. That’s when the Zen of cycling kicks in. Following the same route, over and again, helps.

The POINT is so easy. The bus ride is relaxing, smooth, fast. I’m at Cannon Beach, pulling my bicycle and bags out from under the bus, then off down the road. I’m riding fast, weather is cool, but no rain. Ah, everything is so green in Oregon! Water, water, that’s what California lacks. Just dead grass, sage, sand and rocks. Big Sur has a stark beauty, with which I have indeed fallen deeply in love. Still, I’m so glad to again see the lush landscapes of my home state.

The ride is going fast. Up through the Arch Cape tunnel, climbing Neahkahnie Mountain, down the other side. On through Manzanita, Nehalem, around the bay, on past Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, Garibaldi. My legs are strong, pushing on at a much faster pace than last time I rode this. I’m lighter too, both physically and in my mind, in my heart. I’ve let go of so much on this tour. And gained such strength, insight. Can I hold this, make it last, make it permanent? Stay vigilant, stay true, stay present to every moment, to every thing.

I fly past the Tillamook Cheese Factory, on through town, out to the Three Capes Scenic Route. One more hill, then the long last five miles along Netart Bay. Ah, the campground, Cape Lookout. I set up my tent, head over for a shower, then return to cook dinner. Curried vegetables with black pepper cashews, added to a spicy noodle ramen bowl. Simple, so delicious after a hard ride. I clean up, shoo away a couple marauding raccoons, then retire to my nest.

Ah, Cape Lookout State Park, I’ve fallen in love with this place too. The hiker/biker site is right along the beach, nestled among a grove of shore pine, surf singing a lullaby. I think ahead to the long ride tomorrow, glad that NOAA is predicting clear skies and a tailwind. See if I can get up early, climb over the Cape before sunrise. The moon peeks through the clouds, confirming what the scientists have predicted.

Good night, dear readers, good night campers, good night gentle surf.

 

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