Day 16 – Wine and Cheese at the Avalon

Text # 1 – from Steve – “Just got done watching show on TV about wine and cheese, filmed in Arcata, CA.”

Text # 2 – from Steve – “Not wine, beer and cheese.”

Text # 3 – from Steve – “They were at a restaurant called Avalon.”

Steve sent me these messages about the TV program he saw. Before leaving Arcata that morning I asked several people where the Avalon was and they told me that it wasn’t in Arcata, but in Eureka. So, when I arrived in Eureka, I located the Avalon.

Tim came to have dinner with me and I told him the story. He agreed to check the Avalon out.

We ordered wine and cheese and it was a pleasure again to spend time with Tim.

My friend Tim

It was early evening and we were the only ones in the restaurant. There was very little noise. We could talk without having to raise our voices, and we also were able to clearly listen to the music coming from the piano. It was very enjoyable.

Tim was very kind and insisted to pay for everything. I thanked him for his kindness.

My text to Steve – “Just enjoyed some wine and cheese at the Avalon in Eureka with my friend Tim listening to good piano playing. Life is good!”

Reply from Steve – “Enjoy, because regular life SUCKS.”

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Day 16 – Arcata to Eureka

I am planning to meet Tim in Eureka today. That’s the only plan I have.

I really don’t have plans for the rest of this trip. The only thing I know is that I have to be in Lake Tahoe on the 24th for the wedding. I also know that some day between today and the 24th I will have to ship the bike back to Florida. That’s it. I am open to whatever may come.

I leave Arcata and soon a much younger and stronger guy is biking by my side. He slows down to match my speed, and asks, “Are you touring?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Where from?”

“Astoria, Oregon.”

“You are the man!” he tells me with a smile of admiration.

 

Josh is riding a super light road bike. He tells me that he commutes daily by bike from Arcata where he lives to Eureka where he works. “12 miles each way,” he says.

We talk for a few minutes about his desire to do some bike touring and then Josh says, “Sorry, I need to go. I have to get to work,” and he takes off. It amazes me, over and over again, how some people can make bikes go that fast. In a few minutes he is out of my sight. Amazing.

I get to Eureka, stop at AAA to ask some questions. They give me good advice and a bunch of maps. I make some calls, and finally I bike to the Motel 6 where I’m gonna spend the night.

Francois and Max from Paris, France

Later I meet Francois and Max from Paris who are biking from San Diego to Vancouver. I ask them where they are coming from and they tell me that they are coming from the campground on the Avenue of the Giants. I ask them how far is it and Max looks at the odometer and tells me, with his French accent, “77 kilometers.” I tell them that maybe I’ll go to that campground tomorrow.

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Day 15 – The Girls in Arcata

Taylor told me to follow her and she took me to her house. She lives with Mackenzie and Jenny, two beautiful young women.

Jenny offered me a slice of a delicious banana bread and a refreshing glass of water, and I told them about my journey. I showed them my blog and we watched together the trailer of the movie The Way .

They told me that they are considering biking down the Oregon Coast in the future, so I showed them the maps I have been using, and told them to check the Adventure Cycling website.

Mackenzie, Jenny, Taylor

I told them about my son’s birthday and a few moments later Mateus was receiving his Happy B-day picture card… directly from Arcata, OR to Cambridge, MA, in a few seconds, thanks to the marvel of wireless telecommunications.

I told the girls that it was time for me to continue my journey to Eureka, where I was planning to spend the night, and the girls said, “No, don’t go there. Stay in Arcata. It is better and much safer.”

“OK, if the girls are telling me to stay in Arcata, that’s what I am going to do,” I said to myself. I have been paying attention to what people have been telling me. These have been my guardian angels, and when they speak, I listen and obey.

They told me where the hotels were located and suggested the APD – Arcata Pizza and Deli as the place to eat.

We hugged, wished each other a happy life, and said goodbye.

Later that evening I went to APD. Alone at my table, I raised a glass of the legendary Boonville Beer and, with gratitude in my heart, silently renewed my wishes of happy lives for the girls.

Yes… Connecting. Making friends. Being generous. Having fun… this is what makes life meaningful.

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Day 15 – Taylor

I left Trinidad and I am on my way to Eureka. The suggested route takes me to a bike path, and that’s where I meet Taylor, who is out there biking to get some exercise. She lives nearby, in Arcata, where she goes to college.

We start talking and she tells me that she will double major in Marine Biology and Zoology, and that she is applying for a program with NOOA in which she will spend 3 years on a ship doing research. She also tells me that she has been cycling now but that until recently she dedicated herself to synchronized swimming. She was a top athlete, competing and winning national meets, but she is not into it anymore. I just listen with admiration. There are so many good kids in this world!!!

I ask her about the meaning of life. She hesitates, so I add… “Well, I should not ask what the meaning of life is. I should ask, ‘what makes life meaningful?'” She responds, “Life is good when I am with my friends, and when we have fun together… when we play, and we dance, and we sing together.” I reflect that we are here to connect, make friends, and have fun together in this playground. Period. This is the meaning of life. Puzzle solved. Taylor, the Great Philosopher, just unveiled the greatest mystery of life. Now everyone knows that the meaning of life really is.

She tells me that she is 20 years old, and I tell her that Mateus is turning 20 today. We talk about him and I tell her the great sense of accomplishment my boys have given me. “I feel that there is no better way to make the world a better place than to leave human beings who are better than you behind. Bringing up people that are better than you is the greatest contribution anyone can give to the world,” I said with unrestrained pride, sincerity, joy, and humility.

She took me to bike paths and streets that weren’t in my map. We passed McKinleyville through the Clam Beach County Park and the Hammond Trail.

She showed me the California Poppy, the official flower of California, and taught me that it is against the law to pick them up.

I can’t describe how pleasurable that bike ride into Arcata was and what a radiant human being Taylor is.

She invited me to come to her house, and that’s where we are heading to. I have a big smile on my face.

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Day 15 – Trinidad

Today is the 20th birthday of Mateus, my youngest son. In this short period of time, he has already touched many lives in profound ways. He has certainly made the world a better place and me a better man. I am in awe with his journey. I admire him and owe him a lot.

I ate a nice breakfast this morning in Trinidad.

Trinidad is a little and beautiful town on the Northern Coast of California. It’s a place full or artists and, for what I could see, old and young hippies. It was interesting for me that I — this old surfer, who had his hippie days, and who still loves peace and unity, and the music of the ’60s — felt like a fish out of the water; a stranger in a strange land. I looked around and I didn’t immediately identify myself with what I was seeing. I guess that a transition from South Florida to Northern California is not automatic; it must take some time. Well…

There is a scenic way south of Trinidad, and it is beautiful.

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