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.  

Marin County. SF. Ferry, transit. People: Geri and Sandy.

In Marin County, I was initially cycling slowly.  I was feeling the heat of the day and also absorbing the scenery.

(click for full-size panoramas below)

However, I wanted to make the ferry to San Francisco and I began to get worried that I was moving too slowly to make the ferry I planned to catch.

Shortly after I was getting concerned about timing, two sleek women riding sleek road bikes zoomed past me. They politely said ‘hi’ as they rode by and quickly rode ahead.  I realized that this was my chance to make the earlier ferry.  I hustled to catch up to them (Geri and Sandy) and they kindly agreed to let me draft behind them.  Of course then I still had to work to keep up with them.    To give you an example of the difference:  with my ‘enjoy-the-scenery’ pace I rode ~ 7 miles in 55 minutes, Geri and Sandy passed me ~10 miles before town and we reached town in 30 min.  Riding with them was more than twice as fast.  Thank goodness for Geri and Sandy to get me motivated, cycling at a decent pace, and for the drafting help.  

Geri is a federal agent who investigates environmental crimes, among other things.  I overheard Sandy mention that she worked for the newspaper for many years.  In addition to helping me with my ride, they were so nice and interesting that it would have been great to talk more - but they had their road ride to do and I had a ferry to catch.

I caught the ferry from Larkspur and enjoyed the views of the Bay. 

I also was reminded of history passing by Angel Island which used to be the Ellis Island of the West.  It’s one of the sad things from US history when there was heavy discrimination against Chinese immigrants in California.  Upon arriving to the US, many Chinese immigrants were arbitrarily locked up in a facility on Angel Island, essentially imprisoned, for long periods of time (up to two years).  

The immigrants would have spent potentially their life savings to immigrate to the US (and were often family breadwinners) only to be locked up without a trial or due process.  It is a good reminder that discrimination can happen at a systemic level and that it’s important to look out to prevent this type of thing from happening again.

When I reached San Francisco, I decided to take public transit to get myself across the city and down the coast a bit (the ferry terminal is on the Bay side of the city).  When I lived in San Francisco, I rode across from one side of the the city to the other fairly regularly.  Many of the bicyclists in San Francisco ride fast and aggressively and they used to get annoyed with my leisurely pace.  Given that I was riding even slower with gear, I thought it might be better for everyone if I used transit rather than cycling through the city.  

The transit station was quite a contrast to the natural beauty that I’ve been in for the past several weeks.  I realize it’s an unfair comparison since it’s just a functional transit center and San Francisco is an exceptionally beautiful city - but it was a pretty noticeable difference from my recent surroundings. The blandness of the transit center helped keep me from being tempted to stay in SF to catch up with friends and stick to the plan to get home faster to rest/recover.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sonoma County coast.

Improvised food.

On the Sonoma Coast, I was for the first time on the trip reaching places I had spent time at before.  It was fun to bicycle by a surf break I surfed this winter (which was not breaking well on this day) and the hotel where I helped teach a meditation class.  It was also striking how much more I saw/noticed/experienced while bicycling than last time I was in the area in a car.

I was also able to use my monocular-cam setup to catch photos of pelicans with an egret as well as a cormorant sunning itself.

With my back still not doing too well, I bicycled and used the public bus for a stint in line with my new plan.   Instead of being a letdown it was incredibly interesting.  On the bus we had a group conversation on solar chargers v. batteries.  We were comparing them because one of the guys was considering buying a computer but did not have electricity.  He will probably just wait as he is turning 62 soon and is looking forward to receiving social security so he can move from a campground to a studio apartment.  He estimated that he would need ~$700 a month as his total net income to be able to live comfortably.  I was very impressed with how low that figure is and his example inspires me re-think what is the minimum amount I need to live on.

I stayed in a small town that only had one restaurant.  The one restaurant in town did not have any vegetarian options on the menu, but fortunately I still had camping food supplies.  So, I washed the vegetables in the hotel shower.

I then went out on the second floor roof balcony and set up my camping stove.

It was quite fun cooking on the roof balcony and I ended up having a very tasty dinner (quinoa + kale with cheese).  It was a reminder to me that fun can be had in many circumstances - doesn't necessarily need surfing and camping.  

Inland detour: Ch’an Buddhist center. Coast: Mendocino County. People: Mayra.

Inland and back.

To try to give my back some rest from the cycling (I emailed Esther Gokhale, a back/posture expert I have taken classes from - she highlighted to me that since my back was hurting that it would likely continue to hurt when bicycling until I obtained some rest), I decided to take a detour inland to visit a Ch’an Buddhist center.  My original introduction to meditation was from Ch’an Buddhist monks visiting the US from Taiwan.  I found the teachings of those visiting monks in Texas extremely profound so I was looking forward to the visiting a Ch'an Buddhist center.  

Sidenote: an abbreviated (and I hope not too inaccurate) history…an monk from India brought Buddhism to China, where it became Ch’an Buddhism, which then was brought to Japan.  The Japanese romanization of Ch’an is Zen (which is much more well-known in the West).  So Ch’an and Zen are at their heart the same thing but in Chinese and Japanese (the actual organizations that sprung out of the practice were both influenced by their respective cultures so there are interesting differences).

After a bit of a crazy bus-assisted journey inland with the Reggae on the River festival crowd I eventually made it to the center and did some tai chi chuan and meditation practice there in the heat (inland is so much hotter than the coast).  The grounds are interesting as the entire facility was a former state asylum that closed due to budget issues.  Monks and nuns live there now and there is a school (and peacocks!) at the center.    

The center never responded to my email inquiries (there seemed to be a relaxed ambivalence coupled with kind tolerance towards visitors - I would contrast it as the polar opposite to the strong embrace of welcome with intent of conversion I remember experiencing when visiting a southern Baptist church in the past), but I knew that day visitors were allowed so I booked a nearby hotel to allow me to practice at the center each day.  It seemed like a great plan to me but I had not anticipated that the hotel I booked would be full of high school baseball players on a trip who seemed to be up and about both late and early.  Staying at the hotel was utterly un-restful and not helping my back recover and I could not find a better option nearby.  So, I decided to cut the inland trip short and decided to use bus assistance as much as possible in efforts to get back home faster and rest my back.

I returned back to the coast in Mendocino County feeling a bit sad that my brilliant plan to rest inland did not go so well.  My camping gear also ran in to some issues (not so interesting story), so I was likely going to not be surfing or camping for the remainder of my bicycle trip.  It felt like my trip was going to become less interesting and less fun.

However, I saw upon reaching the coast that the ocean was basically flat - so I would not have had a chance to surf anyways - but the coastline is beautiful.  As I checked in to the hotel for the night in Point Arena, it turned out that the guy at reception was also a bicyclist (I forgot his name, unfortunately).  We were talking about my trip it turns out that he had heard of me from several other bicycle tourists.  He mentioned that I was infamous within the bicyclists on the road right now.  I suppose carrying surfing gear for hundred of miles on a bicycle is a somewhat harebrained idea that might be memorable.  In any case, it these things made me realize that my trip would still have funny and interesting interactions with folks even if I didn’t surf or camp that last few days of the trip.


Mayra.  Mayra is the really nice owner of Elegant Touch hair salon.  

I went for a haircut after visiting the Buddhist center (maybe seeing monks and nuns made me feel that my hair was too long :) ).  I really liked the story of how she started the salon.  Mayra used to work at a major chain salon and did not like the strict time limitations they put on the stylists (she is very nice and likes to give attention to folks).  One day she passed by the building where her current salon is in and she noticed the space for rent.  Later that week, she was at the hardware with her husband (who is a contractor) and noticed a very nice flooring which she thought would be perfect for a salon.  The flooring made her follow up and call about the space which set things rolling for her to be an entrepreneur and set up her own business.  Flooring in a hardware store can inspire a business venture - it pays to be open to inspiration from many sources.

Eureka to Humboldt Redwoods. People: Brent and Gabby. Mark. Kelsey. E.T. and Hugo.

Back to the redwoods.

After having my back pain recur, I decided I should limit my daily mileage on the bicycle and use the bus to help me if I needed to get to campgrounds/cities.

This sounded like an efficient plan to me but it was a bit trickier to implement than I expected.  The Humboldt county bus is extremely well-used.  In Arcata I had tried to catch the bus, but the bike rack was full and there were three other cyclists trying to catch the bus as well.  In my next try from Eureka the following day, it was also full but fortunately Rosemary was willing to take her bike off the rack and leave her bike at the stop.  She had someone who was going to give her a ride on the other side as she was heading to a wedding.  She did have to walk a bit to get to the point where she was getting picked up though, so I really appreciated her help.  One more example of generosity.

The bus was full, running behind schedule, and many people were obviously stressed.  I was standing next to a tall, thin guy in a top hat who kept meowing loudly (like a cat meow). He’d meow every 30 seconds or so and then on occasion make some type of statement (to no one in particular).  It definitely added a sense of absurdity to the bus ride.

I exited the bus got off the bus after a bit and then resumed bicycling.  It was nice to have peace and quiet with no crowds and no meowing - though I also appreciated that the bus helped me on my journey.  Stopped at the grocery in Scotia… note to cyclists, Scotia has a nice grocery store (unlisted on my map).

The initial part of the ride was uneventful except when I dropped my helmet in to poison oak.  I put my helmet in a bag for the rest of the day (for washing at camp).  Shortly after that I was back in the redwoods.  I rode through the Avenue of the Giants - I have a hard time thinking of a road with a better name.  It just sounds so cool.

It was great to be back in the redwoods.  The redwoods were equally beautiful and impressive here as in Elk Prairie - hiking around was great.  For the first time on the trip, the weather was dry and hot (it was surprising after all the fog and mist).

My back was still not feeling great after the first night so I decided to stay a second night - had fun conversations with other cyclists both nights.  While there I spent some time making arrangements to do an inland detour to visit a Ch'an Buddhist center.


Brent and Gabby.  Brent and Gabby were the only people I met on the tour who rode similar mileage to me each day.
It was nice to meet them and for once not receive any grief over the low amount of miles that I ride (it’s usually just jokes as most folks are appreciative of taking the time to appreciate things, but I one guy at Elk Prairie was almost miffed).  They’re educators from Calgary and we had a pleasant dinner and breakfast at the campsite.

At one point, Brent and Gabby were asking me about my work and the interview process came up.  I explained how my interview process was long (8 months) with many people (11 interviews with 9 interviewers in 2 different cities).  They expressed surprise at this and thought it was crazy and made a statement on how it wasn’t like I was a director there or anything.  It was quite funny to me (I didn’t mention that I am actually a director there). :)  Anyways, it was fun talking to them and meeting the only other people who seem to do low miles per day.

Mark.  Mark is a super-experienced bicycle tourist and he tours with a carbon fiber bike and panniers that he hand-made himself.
I had been thinking about making panniers for a few years and never got around to it - Mark has made some really cool panniers and has everything on his rig tricked out to be ultralight.  He has gear made by companies I had never heard of.  For example, his tent is only 1.5 lb., made by a specialty maker, and it cost more than my bicycle.

Mark's gearing ratio is that of a normal road bike to allow him to cover lots of miles quickly.  He could do this as his bicycle and gear together weigh only 45 lb.  The weight of our camping gear was not that different (I did go pretty light with my gear), but my bike is ~13 lb. heavier plus I have the additional 9 lb. of surfing gear - so I'm carrying about 22 lb. of additional weight on my bike... that's quite a difference over several hundred miles.  Mark has one of the coolest set-ups I have seen.

Kelsey.  Kelsey attends Humboldt State University and has worked for the State Parks for two summers.
She is considering doing seasonal work with the parks after graduation.  This was one route I had also considered after university (particularly after spending a summer fixing trails in Utah) so it was fun talking about work in the parks.  It was also nice to be reminded of how lucky I am now as well (Kelsey was commenting on how great things sound with respect to my life and the balance between work, home, surfing, etc.).

One other fun conversation was with two hardcore bicycle tourists.  I shared with them how I missed friends at home and how they dealt with it.  The younger (E.T., maybe late 20's) cyclist mentioned how it happens to him as well and how it can be a downer but typically passes after a bit.  The older cyclist (Hugo, I'm guessing early 50's), who had been all over the world, vehemently expressed how he doesn’t like people because they are disrespectful to each other and how he likes animals more than people.  He preferred to be on the road and felt restless when at home.  It made me think maybe I don’t have the right outlook/personality for really long (greater than one year) solo tours as I also love my life at home (surfing, meditation, music, etc.... as Kelsey reminded me, it's a pretty darn good life).  :)

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Arcata and Eureka. People: Muriyah. Brooke. Darren and Dave. Brittney. Noelle. Russ.

After being in the redwoods and in relative solitude along the coast, it was quite a contrast to spend time in Arcata and Eureka but I had a great visit to both cities.  This stretch of the route has a particularly big gap between campgrounds, so stopping over in one of them helps keep each day manageable when cycling (some of the hardcore bicycle tourists would do a 90+ mile day to get to the next campground but I was not quite up for that).

Arcata is a major fixture in the Emerald Triangle - the pot (marijuana) growing area of California.  The pot culture seems to permeate everywhere I went in the city.  I have lived in many cities which are very heavy pot-using places but I had never seen anything to this extent.  It was also funny to me that I liked Arcata so much since I abstain from any type of intoxicant or mind-state altering substance (so smoking, drinking, drugs, caffeine, etc.) to the extreme point where I have never even had a whole cup of coffee in my life.  

I was glad that I was able to join the zen group in meditation in Arcata.  They had done a beautiful job of converting a garage into a lovely zendo.  After the meditation session, I checked if I could take a photo inside (I wanted to make sure it was not a sacred space that would be inappropriate to photograph).  A woman re-opened the zendo to allow me to take the photo - but interestingly, the photo of the inside of the zendo disappeared from my phone.  I’ll let you decide if that was coincidence or the result of some higher power. :)

I also went blues dancing in Arcata.  Most of my pictures from the dance didn’t come out well (just due to the low lighting, no metaphysical implications here) but I had a fun time there.  I had particularly fun dances with Brittney (who is interested in roller disco) and Noelle (who has ties to Santa Cruz).

My back started hurting again as I cycled out of Arcata and it hurt enough that I decided to stay in Eureka (was lucky to find a room at the last minute at a nice B&B - Cornelius Daly House).  Initially, I was just sore about being there due to the back pain.  Then I realized that I was in an interesting (and not that easy to understand) place and that I should simply appreciate it.

Eureka has some great murals:

It has quite a bit of contrast within the city - a well-preserved Victorian downtown with fancy shops and also some parts that look like they have seen better days.

I wandered around town a bit and ended up having a really cool night watching the band Scuba Mountain (see Russ below). 

In the end, the visit Arcata and Eureka had great conversations, music, meditation, and dancing.  I loved being in the redwoods and along the coast prior to getting to Arcata and Eureka, but the visit reminded me of the fun and intellectual/cultural stimulation of cities.


Muriyah.  I met Muriyah at the zen meditation session.  In mindfulness circles, I have heard some folks commenting how many of the conversations with other mindfulness practitioners are very similar - don't think that applies to Muriyah.  She is ultra-spontaneous and she was sharing with me some of her adventures. 

Muriyah once decided, with three days notice while visiting her sister in LA, to buy a one-way ticket to Peru and flew there without a clear plan of where to stay (or a job, for that matter).  Someone had told her it was easy to find work as an English teacher there, so she just bought a ticket and went.   Muriyah ended up living there several months in 2-3 different cities.  When one living situation would become problematic, somehow other ones materialized.  She ended up not being able to find work though, so she eventually moved back to the US when she ran out of money.  Muriyah has a far bigger risk appetite than I have - so much for my self-image as a free spirit. :)

The photo is in front of a high wall inside an old building that used to be an auto shop but is now a restaurant.  At the restaurant they were explaining that the wall was a firewall and was likely quite deep across.  It was a beautiful wall.  It made me think that folks were quite loose with how they used redwood though - too put such a massive and beautiful wall of probably old growth redwood inside an auto shop.

Brooke.  Brooke works at the Redwood Lily, a cool hostel I stayed at that has a bicyclist discount, and lives in a communal living set-up (outside of the hostel).  

Brooke and I had a fun conversation about Arcata, the pot industry, communal living, and a bunch of other topics.  She had a funny thing that she would do - she tried to guess if folks she didn’t know in Arcata were,  “townies, trimmers, tourists, transplants, transients, or students” and how it took some practice to be able to distinguish them given that everyone kind of dressed the same in Arcata.  I meant to get a photo of her boyfriend as he majored in computer science but makes a living doing construction for pot growers, but he headed out with his backpack to go out to a grow site for a few days.  

Based on our discussion on communal living, it occurred to me that I’d like to chat with some older folks (maybe in their 50’s and 60’s, or even better in their 70’s and 80’s) who have been doing the communal living thing for a long time - any referrals would be great.

Darren and Dave.  Darren offered to watch my bicycle while I was in the post office in Arcata.  He was waiting while Dave (holding the art he did of Eureka harbor) was in the post office and then they both watched my bike until I returned.  

Darren and Dave were telling me to be careful in Garberville because of rumors of a woman who is a serial killer of men in the area.   They were funny and sharing a bunch of stories and also giving me advice on safety.

Russ.  Russ is a professional saxophone player who is particularly articulate about the philosophy of music.  He went to the Berklee school of music and now plays in multiple bands in Eureka.


We had a great discussion about music shortly before the Scuba Mountain gig.  I really liked his descriptions on how playing music feels more and more like straight self-expression and allows him to communicate his ideas as his instrument becomes more of an extension of himself.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Elk Prairie to Patrick’s Point. People: The Hardys.

Solitude and a photo extravaganza: coastline, plants, wildlife, etc.... Patrick's Point is beautiful.

It was a relatively easy and scenic ride to Patrick's Point which made for an easy cycling day.  I rode with a guy who had cycled to the West Coast from Washington DC for a bit.  It was interesting to see how he optimized his time.  He did not take stops but instead snapped photos with one hand and ate energy bars while cycling.  It made me realize that most people do not spend the time to cycle off-route to find spots with nice views and eat lunch the way I do.

We only rode together for a short stretch as I pulled off the road to check out some surf breaks.  I looked at some beachbreaks that were not quite working and then stopped for a nice lunch (by the ocean :) ).

Food was again a bit of an issue this day.  After Elk Prairie, I stopped in Orick to buy groceries for the next two nights at a store that had only a meager selection of produce.  Note to cyclists - stock up on groceries in Crescent City, not Klamath or Orick!

At the store, I overheard a family buying some charcoal lighter fluid so I asked them if they would be interested to go in together for some.  My fuel bottle still had fuel in it, but it seemed like a good idea to add fuel when available since the bottle is small (11 oz.).  They (the Hardy’s - pictured above) were really nice and just let me fill up my fuel bottle and wouldn’t take any money.  The Hardy’s are from Utah and were on a pretty epic road trip.

Patrick’s Point State Park has a fantastically beautiful coastline.  The rock formations are awesome. 

click for larger-size panoramas:

The plants were also beautiful.  It also struck me how delicate and intricate our local wildflowers are - some times I think it's easy to be enamored with 'exotic' plants raised in greenhouses, but our wildflowers are just amazing.

Click for larger-sized panorama: 

After the big social scene at Elk Prairie, it was really quiet in Patrick's Point - the coast was foggy and overcast and I was the only one at the hiker biker campsite.  

The campsite location was nice in that it was probably only a 60 foot walk down a trail to get to the ocean and far from all the other campsites.  It was a bit weird in that it seemed to have been recently been converted from a picnic area, as there was ironically a big car parking lot in the hiker biker site (with handicapped parking and everything) and micro-litter/debris from picnic-use embedded in the grass (I tried to clean up as much as I could) - but it was quiet and peaceful.  

In any case, I had a nice hike around the rocks and cliffs in the state park the first day.  The tidal swings are quite obviously large here and there are some neat plants and marine life visible below the high tide line.

I cooked dinner and went to sleep fairly early. It was quite wet from the fog/mist/light rain, so in the morning I tried to let my gear dry out a bit.  I was also cleaning off the pine sap that made it on to my super nice down sleeping bag.  As I was packing up to leave, I noticed that my rear tire had low pressure.  I took off the tire to find a staple in the tire.  This was my first flat of the trip - not too bad.

However, it was already late when I noticed the tire.  After finishing that, cleaning up, and getting my gear together, I again realized that it was quite late in the day and that it’d be hard for me to get to the next spot at a decent hour.  Additionally, I was not feeling 100% physically, so I decided to stay another night in Patrick’s Point.

Another foggy/misty/damp night (and again the only one at the hiker biker site) and then another morning spent on the gorgeous coastline - tai chi chuan and meditation on a large cliff jutting out to the ocean followed by checking out some of the other short trails.  My monocular was put to use and I had a great view of a harbor seal haul-out.  I figured out that I if I placed the monocular at the right spot over the camera lense of my phone I could make a low-budget telephoto camera. 

Those vignette photos are not effects - its real-deal vignette from my improvised monocular-cam (guess you can tell I am proud of the set up).  And aren’t the harbor seals cute?

On my way out, I wanted to stop by Agate Beach to check out the agate that washes up on the beach.  Agate is silica that has been heated in the air pockets of volcanic rock (which was lava) and then when the volcanic rock dissolves the agate is left.  It’s a semi-precious stone apparently and I love the story of how it is formed.

So, I was inspired to take up what is possibly the dumbest hobby a bicycle tourist could possibly do: collecting rocks (and I had already had a few from Oregon).  Collecting rocks and then toting them for hundreds of miles on a bicycle is ridiculous - but I limited myself to small rocks.  

I did find agate!  It is very fun to scour for neat rocks and I spent way more time than I planned to on the beach.  A local couple that I met in the morning was out on the beach as well and they gave me three rocks - way nicer than the ones I had found.  That was really generous of them and they insisted that I keep them as they mentioned that they will find more.  Another example of generosity - these examples keep making me want to ensure that I am more generous in my life.

I finally left Patrick’s Point I think around 2pm.  It was my latest departure to-date (unless you count the times when I was too late to even head out), but I was feeling grateful to have had such a beautiful morning.