We are getting fitter and stronger but cycling less distances. Its great to be taking my time to look and feel this American experience that I am traveling through.
Yesterday was a day of connecting with wonderful people who were open generous and friendly. I shared breakfast and good conversation with Bob, a recently retired marine biologist and author from Washington State at a diner in Orick. Then later drank coffee and shared some quality time in Trinidad with Evan and Danica, younger people who love to garden and are wise beyond their years: Mindful, soulful and full of love.
Carole, our Warmshowers host is a retired schoolteacher and tango dancer and she shared her small cottage in the redwoods with three hungry cyclists. She fed our bodies Puerto Rican beans and rice, while our souls were warmed by her stories of walking the Camino through France and Spain. She had come to the understanding that the arduous physical nature of pilgrimage is necessary to appreciate the religious aspect of the journey. Suffering and a degree of discomfort is part of the package, a reality not lost on us touring cyclists.
Also staying at Carole’s was Mathew, an engaging young Canadian philosophy student cycling from Vancouver to San Francisco. He told of a Dutch cyclist he met who aptly described those enchanted Redwood Forests as a Cathedral of Silence.
A few nights ago we camped at Elk Prairie where we sat in the stillness and watched the Elk move down out of the hillside forest to the line of crabapple trees before stopping to graze in front of us. Wild animals in the wild. You can feel the energy and power of this place.
Bear proof food bins are provided for hiker bikers. The bins are smart enough to outwit a bear but dumb enough that a tired cyclist can manage to figure out how to use the retractable latch, just for added safety, I hang my cycling knicks in the tree, surely a bear deterrant!
More touring cyclists are evident on the roads now. We passed three yesterday heading north, grinding their way uphill as we were flying downhill heading south. We waved, hooted and hollered at each other. Hitchhikers, motor homes and campers share the road. This is a nation constantly on the move!