230km in 2 days
I’m writing in the bustling metropolis of Aberdeen WA, which I have not once been able to say without Paula Deen influencing every syllable ‘Ah-burr-dheen’. It’s so fun to say that I’ve been saying, screaming, singing, it for the past 150km since finding it on the map. When I said I do my best thinking on the bike, I meant 1/4 of the time there are profound moments of clarity and insight to be had, and the rest of the time is spent ‘durping’; singing the most awful songs that I didn’t even know I knew and talking to myself about nothing I care to ever rehash. I sit on the sidewalk using a closed coffee shop’s wifi , a carton of wine not far from reach, and a body aching from exertion and sun. When you read one of my posts, you can almost guarantee that I am exactly as I am now, more or less spirited or cliched depending.
Aberdeen is exactly as it sounds zzzz, but has presented me with one gift, and it came in the form of 2 travellers. Meet Alexander and Eina; a son and mother duo from Arizona, who at first glance are unkempt and weather torn, dressed in sun bleached tweed and impractical layers of varying degrees , skin bronze and hair yellow like straw, their eyes mad with life and knowing. They went for a bike ride from his farm in AZ to escape the heat of the day and 4 months later find themselves on the 101 in Washington state. They just decided to keep going. They’re riding cruisers, and have bags strapped to their handlebars with bamboo and twine holding it all together, which they spend a lot of time pushing because the setup would make any hobo proud. They shared cherries freshly picked off the road side, grilled me with questions and sound advice, and left me a very important contact in N.Cal for when I arrive there. They’re heading down the same road I left behind.
Oh and that road. The absolute joy of riding on a desolate rainforest highway, the fog just above the tree line so thick with moisture that drops of water hit my grinning cheeks and what comes is a mystery until I happen about it. The grandness of the ocean pressing so closely to the shore, so hazy and obstructed by fog that only the sound of the waves can fill in what the eyes can not interpret. I spent last night at Ruby Beach, a place so beautiful that any name or word you use to describe it only putrefies it. A sign with an arrow pointing down the road that leads to the beach could be the only marker and it would be the better for it. I arrived so torn up after a long ride, that despite the ‘no camping’ signs, I ended up there for the rest of the evening and into the night, so peaceful and comfortable, noshing on avocado/kale/sprouted bread/cayenne/pink salt sandwiches, snoozing, and breathing to the sounds and smells all around me. I watched the sun set, one that only the west coast could ever do justice, and pitched my tent in the only space where prying eyes and the mighty winds could be kept under control. The best sleep.
This road was not without its challenging times. Imagine yourself straddling a white line because the highway gods decided against a paved shoulder, and the sounds of a beast of a machine coming at you on your left. The wind picks up and the sounds of engines revving and rubber on pavement become your prime focus as an RV comes careening only a foot away, chubby children pressing their nose to the windows as they watch you teeter due to the immense amount of energy that just molested your space, as the back of the RV swerves into the white line just shy of your front tire. Thus was my experience for a good 40 or 50 miles (miles?! ah), profanity and screams replaced the happy-go-lucky songs of times gone by, and the thoughts of ‘WTF WHY AM I DOING THIS’ replaced the idyllic thoughts of ‘ahhh yes, where I ought to be mmm yes’. I rationalized that no one wanted to kill someone on their family vacation, so I did eventually find peace amongst the imminent fear of death, and when the road gave way to silky smooth pavement a full meter away from the white line, I appreciated it, and appreciated it – true love.
It’s 7:30pm, and that means the sun is due to set in less than an hour and I have not an idea of where I’ll be pitching my tent for the evening. I feel inclined to skip this town, in search of greener pastures south of here. Normally at this time of the evening I would locate a community park and set up for the night, but with the amount of reported theft and the amount of hillbillies that I’ve come across (I can say this, having grown up a hillbilly, sorry mom), I think I’d best get on the highway before shit goes down and I’m stuck here in the dark and lonesome.
More to come in Raymond, where I hear there are some amazing cherry trees to climb.
Sending love to you (you’ve come across my mind)