Week Two: November Seven through Fourteen
Gold Beach, OR to Eureka: 125 miles
After funky dreams, refreshing doses of French, and more than one therapeutic conversation, our time at Olivier’s host family’s home came to an end. It was time for Oliver and I to move on.
We left Olivier’s (reminder: Olivier is my blast from the past Belgian host brother) on the 10th, late in the day.
Oliver (my biking partner) woke up not feeling well, but he was a trooper and made it–just barely–the 43 miles to Crescent City, California. Yes! California! We made it to California!
We stayed at a WarmShowers host the first night. They were an older couple, who, happily, are vegan. And yes, we shared some vegan “inside” jokes.
Thankfully, Oliver quickly recovered and felt great the next day. We planned to spend the afternoon in the neighboring Redwoods–the same ones that were the film set for some Jurassic Park scenes. I’m no Jurassic Park guru, but the most notable scene filmed there was, apparently, the one with the egg? If you’re a fan, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Right?
The Redwoods were, needless to say, spectacular. Their quiet enormity is something I can only describe as a giant jungle fantasy. A Fern Gully. I wanted to live there.
Unfortunately, a lot of my pictures ended up accidentally and painstakingly deleted. One in particular was a sad loss for me; it was a photo of the backside of a fern, held and displayed horizontally by Oliver’s comparatively small hand (he does not have small hands, for the record). The picture, from Oliver’s thumb to the tip of the fern, highlighted small yellow egg-like things speckled down the length of each individual leaf. On each leaf were at least twenty of these little eggs. Are they pollen? I don’t know.
We spent the night baking in the kitchen of the city church that is open to touring cyclists. The lady who runs the church accepts only a hug in payment. A great hug. We also spent the morning in the kitchen. Oliver made chocolate chip banana bread, focaccia herb-type bread, and pancakes. We topped the pancakes with the applesauce I made–and nearly burned–with the apples we picked the day before. All vegan, all made with love.
There was an intense mountain pass in the morning, at the top of which we rewarded ourselves with a healthy dose of banana bread. Yum. The mountain pass was spectacular–moist and curvy and humbling amongst the trees.
We spent the night in the redwoods, at a campsite that was conveniently already closed (that’s a welcome sign for touring cyclists). We arrived in the dark. The last hour or so of our bike ride was after sunset. I was listening to a RadioLab episode during that time that was about recurring nightmares and lucid dreaming and…our inner evil. Ha! The redwoods took on an ominous demeanor, but I could laugh inwardly about it to reconnect with their motherly beauty.
The next morning we were out and about by 8:00AM! Earliest yet with Oliver! We wanted to get out of camp before it officially opened, and we were growing tired of our developing habit of arriving to camp after dark. Although it’s nice sometimes, our energy is best spent during the day.
We arrived at an awesomely generous WarmShowers host that afternoon. Oliver spent the late afternoon disassembling his bike and packing it away in a box…this was the end of the road for Oliver and his bike, Grandpa. The End in Eureka, California.
Read about his final days here:
Hilariously (for reasons perhaps only he and I can laugh about), we carried his bike almost a mile to the UPS store, thankfully finding an abandoned shopping cart near the end of our trek which relieved our tired arms.
Oliver and I spent the day together. Grocery shopping, laughing, cooking, eating, and watching back to back episodes of New Girl. Yes we did. It was our last day together.
Tomorrow, I’ll be solo.
Long before the sun was up, Oliver gave me a kiss goodbye and rode away in a rideshare bound for a flight out of Oakland, 300 miles south of Eureka.
And so solo I became.
Ten minutes later, I was on my knees in the bathroom, throwing up. Later that day, I found myself in the same miserable position in a hotel bathroom, then again in a hospital bathroom.
Oh, how it would have been nice to have Oliver around!