Into the wind

Day 6, Yachats to Honeyman State Park, 31 miles

Oh, the bittersweet departure! After a lovely, passionate gentle time together, Jennifer and I say our farewells. My heart is light, though, ready for the journey ahead, with a knowledge we are on solid ground together. I’ll face loneliness, we’ll miss each other, encounter the inevitable conflict or miscommunication. Our connection will continue, we’ll be able to listen and understand each other. And the fire between us will keep burning, hot and bright.

I pack up my things after she leaves, the sorting and allocating into panniers already routine. This is what, my 9th tour since 2010? Should be old hat by now. Yet, I keep learning new ways of travel, of carrying, even of riding. I’m going slowly these early rides, nursing my glutes which I strained this summer. Speed will come, along with flexibility and strength for climbing. Patience.

Another cup of coffee at Green Salmon, then I’m off! Into the wind, now blowing stronger. Yes, a storm system, no rain yet, thankfully. I bear down, riding over this most familiar landscape. I climb Cape Perpetua, pedaling now to descend into the headwinds. On over Strawberry Hill, past Bob Creek, on over hills and dips. Wind ever stronger.

I stop at Hobbit Beach, stacking stones as I did earlier this summer. Two pillars, delicately balance, wobbly too. Metaphor for these lives. Strong, tenuous, eternal, and oh so brief. Let’s live every moment, fully, whatever we feel, feel deeply, powerfully, then let it go. Let it all go.

I let go my frustration, welcome the wind as a challenge, making me pedal more determinedly, its just like climbing a hill. Just without the joyful descent. Climbing all day. Not so bad. Hah! Up Heceta Head, descent to the tunnel, whooping in the echo chamber, ringing my bicycle bell. I love this tunnel, even as cars and truck boom with noise as they pass. Picture of the light, then climb past Sea Lion Caves. Ah, the long descent to the Oregon Dunes, not as fast as usually, still a delight.

I stop at Darlingtonia preserve, to see the carnivorous Cobra Lilies, recall visting here this summer, the joy of watching yellow jackets climb the long trumpet shaped flowers, and not crawl out. Nasty stinging bugs met their match. A unique micro climate bog makes perfect conditions for these rare plants.

On, the last five miles to Florence. The terrain changes to sand dunes and struggling pines. Politics change too, towards the conservative, protectionist agenda. Pro-racial profiling measure on the ballot. Signs supporting local counselor candidates who will but “Florence First”. Yikes. This is way out of hand. I realize I need to register to get my ballot absentee, if I’m going to be away in early November. Far too much at stake to miss this election.

I stop in Old Town, dinner at the Waterfront Depot. Spend far too much time and money, finally rolling across the Siuslaw bridge in the dark, full lights, then the finally three miles to Honeyman. It’s so late, I’m so tired, I decide to just lay my tarp down and sleep under the trees. I spread my tent fly over me, to protect in case of rain. Hope it won’t rain.

A brief chat with my sweetheart. Missing each other already. Yet feeling so close. Good night my Love.

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