Day 14 – A Good Soul

I caught a cold and this weather is not helping me at all.

I still have good 20 miles to get to Trinidad and I am feeling weak this afternoon, without energy.

I am going to stop at the next Information Center to see what alternatives I have for the night.

Well, bad luck. The Information Center is closed.

I go around the building to see if I can find someone. There’s a lady in the grass area behind the building. “Maybe she works here,” I thought, “and maybe she can tell me if there is a place nearby where I could stay.”

Well, good luck. Laurie didn’t work there but, after listening to my story, she offers to give me a ride. “I know how it is. I am a biker myself. Just put your bike on the back of my truck, and I’ll be happy to take you to Trinidad.”

Laurie was born in Northern California but she now lives in L.A. She told me about her husband and kids and the work she does. We talked about fitness, running, biking, and workouts.

Every time we drove up a hill, I smiled and said out loud, “Here’s one that I will not have to pedal up… And here’s another one that I will not have to climb using my legs.” We laughed.

Laurie took me to Trinidad and I thanked her for the break.

A good soul.

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Day 14 – Stillness Speaks

I am having lunch and I engage in a conversation with an older fellow who is sitting at a table right in front of me. He tells me his name, asks where I am going, and shares what I may encounter in the places I am heading to. He wants to know about my life and I ask him about his.

He shows me the book that he has been reading… Stillness Speaks, by Eckhart Tolle.

He then gets a nice piece of paper from the pocket of his shirt.

It is a carefully handwritten note, prepared beforehand, with something that he clearly cherishes and wants to share with others.

I feel that he has been waiting for the right person and the right moment to give it to.

He hands it to me.

I remember that I also have something to give him, that piece of green paper that my good friend Jack gave me before my departure, the one with Tolle’s quote that reminds us that we will find peace when we remember that all things and situations are impermanent and when we learn to accept what comes our way and offer no resistance to what is.

When I am about to leave, we look deeply in each other’s eyes, and wish one another, as if we had a godly power to shape the future, a joyful and peaceful life.

He believed it. I believed it.

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Day 14 – The Redwoods

I left Klamath this morning and after climbing, climbing, and climbing some more, I got to the top. From there on it was all downhill for miles and miles,  in the middle of a beautiful forest!

Finally I am experiencing the joy of bike riding again, after two days of hard climbs.

I am in the Redwood National and State Parks. These parks have served as filming locations for numerous films. The Endor scenes for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi were filmed in the Tall Trees Redwood Grove in the northern part of Humboldt County. Scenes for The Lost World: Jurassic Park as well as the movie Outbreak were filmed at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park and at Patrick’s Point State Park.

The tress are huge!

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Day 14 – Tex

I met Tex in the campground early this morning while he was walking his dog. “Her name is Sheila,” he told me, “and my wife’s name is Shirley. Sometimes this creates some confusion,” he laughed, repeating an old joke that, I’m sure, he tells all the time.

“We travel a lot. We go to different places. We have a real good time,” he said.

He told me that he is 67 years old and that he retired when he was 54 after working for 25 years. He has been enjoying life since. “We have it good in Canada,” he said, expressing his belief that Canadians have created a society that takes better care of its people than we do down here.

Well, food for thought… I will think about that while I pedal.

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Day 13 – Camping in Klamath

I am following the recommendation given by Jim, the guy who works at the Visitor Information Center in Crescent City where I stopped to ask some questions. He told me about this campground, and he was right. It is very nice indeed… green grass along the margin of the Klamath River.

It is getting cold again. This week the Northwest is registering the coldest temperatures of the entire continental US. There’s always a cold wind blowing and I am going to put the tent up and get a hot shower before it gets too cold.

I met Mel who is 67 and Dee who is 65, from Gardena, near Los Angeles.

They are on their way to Alaska. Dee told me, “You know, we are healthy now, but there are no guarantees in life. We can’t wait. We have to do it now.” Mel told me that he will be posting pictures of his trip on www.melodeephoto.com pretty soon. I encourage you to check and send them words of encouragement. They were nice with me.

I was warned not leave any food out because there were sights of coyotes and bears around the campground. I put my body inside the sleeping bag as soon as the sun starts to disappear in the horizon because the outside temperature begins to drop sharply.

I wake up in the middle of the night. There are some animals outside, around my tent. I turn my headlamp on and prepare my Air Horn. If they get any closer they will be hearing a sound that they have never heard before… well, only if they are sports fans and attend sports events. Anyway, a few moments later, peace reigns again and I go back to sleep.

I really need some rest.

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Day 13 – The Horrible Pass

Here I am, in the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, going up this mountain. I need to get to the other side.

Either I climb it or I swim around.

OK, swimming is not a viable alternative.

It isn’t funny.

I have no energy.

I am developing a cold.

I ate too much during lunchtime.

I shouldn’t have had that beer.

The bicycle is too heavy.

I am too old for this.

Stop whining.

What kind of negative script is this?

Focus on the positive.

What positive?

Be here, now.

Is this road still going up?

When will I reach the end of this?

If I keep going up pretty soon I am going to get to the moon.

My legs… why don’t they respond? Why don’t they do what I tell them to do?

Here are the Canadians again! Why are they smiling?

Maybe they are happy to see me. Or maybe they are happy that they are not the only ones going through all this pain and suffering.

Worst pass of the entire trip. No shoulder. Cars and trucks close by.

Steep and steeper.

OK, just a little bit more.

Summit.

It is downhill now.

Watch it!

Bad pavement.

Control the bike.

Don’t fall.

I made it to the other side. It’s behind me now.

Why am I smiling?

It’s because I made it, that’s why.

I’m exhausted.

I like the flat lands of Florida.

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Day 13 – Lunch with Blair and Professor in Crescent City

I have been communicating with Blair since yesterday, trying to coordinate a meeting. Blair is Steve’s son, and Steve, as you may know, is my good friend and mentor, the one who inspired and facilitated this entire adventure.

Blair is coming from the south and he plans to go all the way to Banff, Canada, before turning around and coming back to California for his sister’s wedding in Lake Tahoe.

We finally met in Crescent City.

I invited him and the Professor to have lunch with me.

Clam Chowder, Fish, Chips, and Beers in the Chart Room Restaurant on the dock, with sea lions around us.

Blair told me about things to see on my way south and I told him about some neat things he should pay attention to on his way north.

I particularly liked my exchange with the Professor about Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. who he probably likes more than I do. He told me that he is putting together a presentation on how Vonnegut must have read papers about the time continuum and how these ideas influenced the structure of his writings. We talked about Slaughterhouse-Five, that I have read, and he mentioned Sirens of Titan, that I now plan to read.

I told him about Cold Turkey (http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/733/), a manifesto that Vonnegut wrote in 2004, that I consider a very patriotic writing.

It was a great lunch.

We said goodbye and they left. I wished them well and they did the same.

I don’t know how the beer I just drank will affect my ride. I have a huge hill ahead of me. Let’s see.

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Day 13 – Pebble Beach in Crescent City

I am arriving in Crescent City through the scenic route that runs along the ocean. Again, it is a very beautiful place. I feel I’m highly blessed.

This is Pebble Beach, just north of Crescent City.

This planet is a rare jewel in the Universe. As far as we know, there isn’t another planet like this one. We should stop the bickering and focus on having fun and enjoying this beautiful playground that was given to us.

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Day 13 – Smith River

Tim and I shared a room at the Ship Ashore Motel.

He left before I did this morning. He has to be in Eureka in two days for a family reunion so he is speeding up. I don’t feel like I have the energy to follow along, so we are saying goodbye for now.

I was sad to see him leave, because we got along so well, but hopefully we will get together again in a couple of days.

The ride from Smith River to Crescent City was, shall I say, full of tranquility. I left the highway and rode on the country roads along Lake Earl and Fort Dick… Farms, cows, pastures, and a strong and penetrating countryside smell, if you know what I mean. 🙂

Tranquility… Even the cows were resting… taking it easy. No rush.

No traffic. I have the roads all for myself.

It was good to slow down. A good morning considering what expects me in the afternoon; the big mountain pass between Crescent City and Klamath. I am saving energy and building strength for the afternoon challenge.

I hope I will be able to make it!

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