Saturday, August 16, 2014

Brookings to Crescent City. People: Katie. Steve.

Leaving Oregon, Entering California.

State borders are artificial boundaries, but it still felt significant to be leaving Oregon.  I spent so many nights in Oregon and had so many great experiences that I felt sad to be leaving.

Heading out of Brookings was quite neat - at the edge of the city, there is a wall where folks write in chalk.  People have left chalk on the sidewalk for others to add to the wall.  I think it’s a great practice and I would have liked to have bought some chalk to leave there.  I did add a little bicycle message though. :)  

There are some places in WA and OR with the same names as spots in CA (I'm used to the multiple name thing, having grown up in New England - when I lived in the UK, I saw town names from my childhood all over the place).  I thought San Francisco folks would enjoy this sign for OB and Crissy Field which would work fine in the Richmond District (but this is from right at the Oregon border):

In addition to this, other funny names: I surfed at Waikiki Beach in Washington as well as went by Manhattan Beach and Newport Beach in Oregon.  It’s kind of great that all of these places are surf breaks (well, with the exception of Crissy field which is a windsurfing spot). 

As I reached the end of Oregon, I felt sad.  I had spent a long time in Oregon on this trip and felt so welcome by folks here and had such a wonderful experience that it was sad to leave.  I lingered for quite a while to hike a bit at the trails by the border.  I stopped in to the Oregon Visitor’s Center.  Suzy, who was working there, was extremely friendly and was very interested to hear about the bicycle trip.  I  also dropped off the Oregon bicycle maps I had printed out.  As I was leaving, Suzy gave me a hug - it was nice for that to be my last interaction with someone in Oregon on this trip.

Reaching the California border was quite exciting though - I felt a certain sense of accomplishment to have reached CA.  It was a neat feeling to ride in to CA.  Even though the border is still very far from home, just being in the same state made me feel that I had made significant progress towards getting home.  It was also nice that there was a road parallel to the freeway so I didn’t have to ride along 101 for a bit.

Just over the border, there was a herd of elk in a yard between several houses.  I was reading how striking it is to see them in person given their size.  This was my first chance to see them up close (when I saw them earlier in the trip I was quite far away) and I agree with that assessment.

It was a relatively flat ride to Crescent City so I made decent time there, which was fortunate as I had sent a note to stay at this neat church (St. Paul's) which hosts bicyclists (more info below).  There is a network of folks who let bicycle tourists stay over and St. Paul's has joined the network and lets people stay in the community room.  So, I spent a night in the community room of St. Paul's in Crescent City.


Katie (sadly, my picture of Katie seems to have been lost off my phone). Katie is the energetic and generous host who makes all the arrangements with cyclists at St. Paul's.  My understanding is that she accidentally hosted one bicycle tourist about a year and a half ago and it was such a positive experience that she signed up St. Paul's to be part of the hosting network.  In that time, she's hosted more than 100 cyclists!  That to me is a wonderful example of generosity.  She opened up the community room for me to stay, gave me an overview of the facilities (really great for a cyclist - showers, bathroom, fridge, stove) and even explained to me the sights around Crescent City.  Katie also is part of a neat spinning (of yarn, not stationary bicycles) group on Fridays - so neat!

Steve.  Steve makes art out of discarded items and installs it in his yard (that's also his hotrod in the second photo - he also soups up and races hotrods).  I spoke with Steve for a good part of an afternoon and enjoyed checking out his art and hearing about his viewpoints.  I was on my way to the grocery but wanted to learn more about the art installations. 

He had many stories and opinions - I particularly liked his comments on how human beings are the only animals that put themselves in a frenzy doing “meaningless toil.”  I think that is a nice way to phrase what I feel is what much energy is exerted upon.  I am going to try to remember that phrase and use it to assess what I’m doing with my time.

Steve mentioned some hard issues - being a Vietnam War veteran and that he had post traumatic stress disorder and that he felt he had no brains left due to Agent Orange or something else incurred by the war.  But he was also a bit of a prankster and told me about a funny story of filling his outdoor fountain with bubble bath and how confused folks would be to have massive amounts of bubbles covering their vehicles or trees in the neighborhood.  

As a side note on 'meaningless toil' - prior to my trip I had been looking in to this already (how I spend my time).  I read a great suggestion to make a pie chart of how you spend your time, by activity.  When I did that, I was surprised at the results.  Some things I self-identify with were not necessarily the biggest part of my day.  Other things that I don’t think much of consumed a much larger amount than I had realized.  I’ve since made several changes to my daily schedule to try to address the imbalances I was unhappy about.  It’s an interesting exercise that I’d  highly recommend.  I keep thinking of doing a non-travel blog to share things like the pie chart - if I get motivated, I may do a posting at some point on the pie charts.


  1. Hi Peter! Looks like you are trucking along! I can't tell if your blog is just really out of date, or you are continuing your at your own pace progress! Hope you are well and finish your trip smoothly, Cayla and Otis

  2. Hi Cayla and Otis! Yes, I'm quite behind on updating the blog. Just added my Elk Prairie post! :) I also just took a look at your blog - looks like you and Otis are done... woohoo, congratulations!