The road to reunion and farewell

Day 5, Beverly Beach to Yachats, 33 miles

I wake this morning with anticipation, almost quaking. I’m riding today to my favorite town, to meet Jennifer, my dear friend and beloved. What is this feeling, almost like Christmas. Eager to see her, yet also the awareness of leaving her soon as I venture south tomorrow for a thousand more miles.

I set my mind to banish the bittersweet and relish the joy today. I’ll spend the morning, meandering around Newport, then head south in the afternoon. It’s short day’s ride, so no hurry is necessary.

I strike camp and roll down the hill from the hiker biker site at Beverly. I have to brake hard at the bottom as a wild fleet of camping kids on small bikes rolls right in front of me. Hmm, parents need to teach these ones the rules of the road, lest they get run over by some RV in the campground. Even so, I love to see children on wheels, for it reminds me of my earliest joys of cycling. The freedom, mobility, power, flight. Maybe getting away from the parents too?

I climb the steep drive out of Beverly, then cross the already busy 101. Construction, as this part of the coast highway always slumps, no matter how many times it is repaired. I recall recently learning this is due to a gap between deep basalt flows, the bedrock of the surrounding area. I imagine the ground fluid, sinking far below the surface of the earth. What seems solid, is it really? How to adapt to changing ground, this is the task of evolution, of life, of growth.

I reflect upon my relationship challenges of the past year. How the ground seemed to shift and move, even though we two were the same. How could we adapt, grow, change to meet each other. Find the deep solid base of love and understanding that would carry us. And now, as we face a long separation, what will carry us forward, together, even as we are apart?

I spend a long morning at Panini bakery, writing and blogging, burning time on social media. Got to reign that in. I’ve tried to focus more on creating content – poetry, photos, art – than mindlessly consuming. I’m still losing time. Coffee, sweet roll, hours pass. I walk out into grey skies, and decide to have lunch across the street at Cafe Mundo. Laurie is there, I greet her and we chat restaurants. Amazing they are still at it too, considering the economy. I have the albacore burger, seared perfectly rare. Best sandwich on the coast!

It’s afternoon when I finally I decide to roll on. Down Elizabeth Street, around the state park and up over the marvelous Yaquina Bay bridge. Marvel of engineering and socialism. I ride the sideway up for pictures, then drop onto the roadway for the quick descent. The miles between Newport and Waldport fly by. Rolling coastal hills, endless beaches, too much traffic, wide shoulders, cool temperatures. A slight south wind is challenging. I hope it doesn’t bode a change in the weather.

I cross the Alsea Bay bridge, ride through Waldport, and continue south. I stop at Beachside State Park, my home camp, walk out to see the how my art on the driftwood shrine has weather. Mostly gone, I’ll have to use more durable chalk next time? I think of redrawing it each time as being similar to the meditation of Tibetan sand mandalas. Marking the beauty and impermanence of life.

Just a few more miles to Yachats, to meet Jennifer and stay at the Drift Inn. My anticipation shifts to some anxiety. What if she changed her mind, too much stress in Corvallis to make the trip? I think back on my earlier woes, how anxiety dragged me down. Now, an acceptance of whatever may come. How I’ve grown, healed, evolved over the past year. I call, leave her a voicemail, telling her these very things. I understand if you can’t make it out. Whatever you need, Baby. I’m here for you. I’ll miss you if we can’t meet, but I’ll see you soon, upon my return.

I check into the Drift Inn, then see a text. She’s on her way, just reached Waldport. My heart leaps. A wide smile and giggle, laughing at my fears. A warmth in my heart. Soon we’ll be reunited. We’ll have our farewell.

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