Old fears on the Redwood highway

Day 12, Arcata to Burlington Campground, 53 miles

Oh dear. I’m feeling that creeping anxiety today. As I wake, as I ride, as I push onward, further from home.

Many long, boring miles on the freeway today. The saving grace, with an 8 foot wide shoulder, I feel ok putting on music, or the poetry as it were, of David Whyte. His soothing voice and courage to address the challenges of the conversations of life are reassuring. To a degree.

The winds out of Humboldt Bay are also a blessing, making the early part of the journey a fast ride. Miles fly, then finally, the turn onto the deeply forested Avenue of the Giants. Here the joy of cycling returns, riding the narrow miles of the old 101, through grove after grove of ancient redwoods, round the twisting bends of the Eel River.

I arrive at camp with plenty of time to set up, shower, have dinner before the sun sets. I chat with Frank, Kyle, and a new couple of cyclists from the Netherlands: Ruby and Freek (pronounced “frake”)

Despite the conviviality of the evening, my anxieties are gnawing again as I set to be. What have I tagged them on? No contact with my beloved. And the fears rush in. The stories of what this means. She’s fallen away, no longer loves me? I don’t even know.

I wake in the middle of the long night, troubled dreams. I should just roll over, try to sleep some more. But rather than leaving well enough alone, I send off a couple texts. Messages I should know better than to press “send” on. If I should have learned anything from our challenges, texting these kind of feelings will not find any resolution. Not now. Have I learned anything?

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