California, here I come!

Day 17, Gold Beach to Crescent City, 57 miles

I wish I’d spent my day off in the motel in a more constructive way. When I get ahold of a cable TV remote, especially on my fall tours, I spend hours clicking through the variety of local programming, classic horror, sci fi, comedy and politics. Of not are the impeachment investigations and the movie “Carrie” which I’d never watched. Maybe the surfing of channels is a way of washing my brain out. Going out into the driving rain just wasn’t appealing.

My intention was to work on my blog, but beyond the unusually strong case of writer’s block I suffered another disaster preventing writing: my laptop failed. Somewhere between the rainy riding on Vancouver Island and the northern Oregon Coast, water seeped through small holes in my Ortlieb pannier and into my Mac Air keyboard. I tried drying it out, twice, over the past few days. It seemed to boot, but then the moisture remigrated back to the keys. So in the motel, I attempted to dry the laptop once more, this time over the baseboard heater. Not a good idea. This melted about half the keys off, yet the laptop still refused to boot. So I ended up ordering another reconditioned Mac Air, to be delivered to Crescent city today.

This morning skies seem to be clearing, just as NOAA forecast. I check the weather graph again before I set off. Rain is predicted to return tonight, so I write to the Warm Showers host at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Crescent City. To my delight Katie responds that she’s got room, along with a few other cyclists. At last I’ll meet some fellow travelers!

I start my ride mid morning, immediately beginning to climb right out of Gold Beach. Cape Sebastian is a long ascent, with a rapid and curving descent that drops right onto a beach peppered with sea stacks. Headwinds are moderate, as the storm holds off for now. Just a bit more challenge to the ride. I ride past Pistol River, then begin the long rolling climb through the Boardman Corridor. Trees line the highway, providing a break from the wind. I’m approaching Brookings, and keep riding, keep climbing. Past Harris Beach, then downtown, then the harbor. The last few miles of Oregon pass effortlessly, and then I’m at the border.

A pause for a photo with the Welcome sign, and a familiar sense of accomplishment. This is a marker, a milestone, cycling Oregon, and BC this year, then leaving my home state to return to the state of my birth. What new discoveries await? What memories, recollections, insights will I gain on this tour? I’m not spending as much time musing this year, more focus on just completing the ride. My legs are stronger, but so it the discomfort, the sense I’m just not ready, not capable. I push this aside, ride on.

Last stop: the taqueria in Salmon River, dinner and a chance to warm up. Light mist is falling when I set out again, headlamp guiding me down the 101 to Crescent City. First stop is the Rite Aid, where an Amazon locker has my new laptop waiting. Then over to St Paul’s, and the warm of the community room offered to host traveling cyclists. There are four travelers here, Nick who I met new Neskowin, and Tanguy, from France. And a Scottish cyclist with a custom hand cranked recumbent, and his British traveling companion.

Katie introduces us all, runs through the procedures of the Warm Showers stay, then exits. Nick wants to watch Jurassic Park on the VHS. It’s camp and fun, and perfect for the Halloween season. I luxuriate in a very hot shower, and check out my “new” laptop. Looks like it’s fully functional, and for just $375. I can get back to my blog, I see. But first, rest and sleep after the long ride.

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