Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Final stretch. People: Tamarr. Claire and Adam.

Home sweet home.

I stayed at a hotel along the coast with only a day's bicycle ride left of the journey.  I had a quiet night and didn’t have to break out my stove and cook on the roof or anything here as the main restaurant in town had a nice vegetarian option on the menu (good thing as I was out of food and arrived after the market had already closed). :)  I was definitely feeling sad about it being my last night on the road, but also excited to be getting home.

The weather the next day was perfect - sunny but not too hot.  After my morning meditation and tai chi chuan practice, I rode slowly and was glad to get to appreciate the beauty of the scenery near home.  

Monocular-cam photo of turkey vultures by the coast.

I stopped by the Pigeon Point lighthouse.  

It was neat to see such an awesome Fresnel lens.  I was excited to see Fresnel lenses on display at lighthouses in Oregon, only to realize at Pigeon Point that there is a huge lens so close to home.

I stopped at two places which offer bicyclist discounts - Pie Ranch (tasty pies and fresh produce) and Swanton Farms (super sweet strawberries - much better than ones from the big berry company that begins with a 'D', I have heard concerns about 'D' company's business practices and treatment of workers... so I really like that we have local farms like Swanton).   A bicyclist discount is a nice positive incentive for folks to bike.

Tamarr at Pie Ranch is also a bicyclist - in fact, she cycled once to Pie Ranch and liked it so much that she decided to stay. This was a similar story to the bicyclist at the hotel in Point Arena.  I thought that was really cool and maybe it's good that I hurt my back so that it forced me to go home... otherwise, who knows where I might have just decided to stay (and there were so many incredible places along the trip).

I also met Claire and Adam who are cycling from Alaska to Argentina.  

That’s a pretty serious trip.  We had a fun discussion about cycling and gear.  We also figured out that we knew Marie and had camped one night apart at Cape Blanco.  Marie was the cool woman from Quebec who had offered me quinoa at Cape Blanco - it was neat to have a connection to Marie and to an earlier point in my trip via Claire and Adam.

Reaching Santa Cruz was quite exciting.  It was so nice to see familiar sights.  There was a small swell and it was incredibly tempting to go in for a celebratory 'back home' surf.  However, I was feeling it in my back and managing to fight the urge to help myself with recovery.

I reached home. After taking the bags off my bike and putting them in the house, the first thing I did was then bicycle to the grocery store.  I must admit, getting on a bicycle felt like the last thing I wanted to do just after getting home, but I thought I ought to stick with my bicycle life habits.  It’s my normal routine at home to cycle to the grocery store but I only bought about two days’ worth of food - guess I was still on the bicycle tour mindset.  I did however buy things that are hard to buy when bicycle touring (fruit that crushes easily, for example).

It was quite a weird feeling to realize that my life would suddenly be so different - being able to stay in the same place each night, no packing, no wondering about where to get food, etc.  It’s interesting that while on a bicycle tour, your identity becomes that of a bicyclist on a bicycle tour.  As soon as you step home, you are no longer a ‘bicyclist’ (in the bicycle tour sense of the word) and revert back to your normal self.  It’s a bit strange - almost like stepping out of one world in to another.

Additionally, I was struck by a feeling of appreciation for having just done something very special.  I examined that a bit more and realized that this trip has been indeed very special for me.  I feel that it has been incredibly meaningful from the people I met who helped and inspired me to the self-reflection the trip has prompted.  

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