Oregon: Diving into sand dunes, dueling with dinosaurs, and dancing with wasps.
I was swept into Oregon with the cold ocean mist, warm with coffee and excitement; the adventure continued and I wasn't turning back anytime soon.
After the border, the fog was so intense and the greenery was so thick that it felt like I was still in deep slumber... except I was on two wheels crawling at 30mph because I couldn't see the lines on the pavement. My helmet started to seriously get cloudy. I tried opening the visor but was met with sharp little water stabs in my eyes. All I could do was head North and pray that a car didn't bowl around the corner and slam into my ass.
Just before Gold Beach the fog lifted and the sun came tromping though. I stopped at some sand dunes by the highway and embedded myself in its warm sands. It was better than any queen sized bed. A car pulled up shortly after me and its contents stared at me as I blissfully lay there.
I wasn't fond of the new arrivals' judgment, so I happily continued on to Gold Beach Books – a little coffee shop integrated into a pretty rad bookstore – and filled up on a hot strong one.
As I sat in the warm sun by Gypsy while sipping my coffee, I saw a girl on a motorcycle with a skateboard strapped to the back. I haven't skateboarded in years, but seeing that made me feel like teenager again and I smiled at her provocative spirit. A biker and a skater? A girl really can be all that she wants to be.
Somewhere North of there I came across the little “Prehistoric Gardens” and just had to pull over for a photo opp with the T-Rex. My giggling over the ridiculousness of a 30ft dinosaur hanging out next-to-nowhere was interrupted by a woman screaming at her husband just down the parking lot. Something was wrong with the way he was loading the stroller or whatever, and he didn't hesitate to start screaming back. I cringed in unease over their “American life” display, and noticed their little boy standing silently near by staring directly at me. I took my photo and began putting my gloves back on and the little boy was still watching me with mad interest. He seemed completely unphased by his quarreling parents. I rolled onto the highway, waved, and threw in an extra hard turn on the throttle just for him. I swear, even though he was no bigger than my pink nail in the distance, I saw his eyes grow large with ideas.
I stopped at a little turn off to pick some blueberries which was a bust because I couldn't find the little devils, so I kept on till Coos Bay where I screeched on a left after deciding to follow a sign that said “beaches”. I arrived at the beach after about fifteen miles of following a few unevenly dispersed signs. It was warm and magnificent. I laid out for an hour on the handy little portable yoga mat my mother lent me looking like a real California beach bum. The small cove that the beach stretched across in looked like a world lost and separated altogether from time. It was as if no one had ever properly introduced it to the modern world. Sure there were enough people to recognize it as “public” but it was so vegetated and consumed with that small town 1970s feel that I felt like I fit right in. This was where I belonged. It's not only to be on the road that a motorcyclist travels, it's also to find those places along the road where one's spirit feels free and at home. There were children running around naked in the tide pools and everyone still smoked cigarettes like it was the doctors orders. The sun seeped in through the tall trees and I could just make out an old sailboat on the horizon between the coves natural jettys.
When I packed up the yoga mat and slipped back into something suitable to ride in behind the near by trees, I started on Gypsy again and tried to find my way back to the highway. About five miles down the road on some surface streets I had an encounter with a friendly wasp. He slipped right pass my open visor and landed right on my chin curtain. I freaked, naturally, and stopped right in the middle of an intersection. I threw the bike in neutral, ripped off my gloves and shades, frantically motioned for the cars to go around me, and in a quick wincing motion I pulled the helmet off my head.
Every driver that passed me stopped to ask that question and every one of them chuckled and nodded as they drove off.
Relieved to be safe of any stings – this time- I found the 101 and rode on to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. I camped by a lovely lake that afternoon and even had enough daylight left to take a walk up to the lighthouse. It twirled in its glass and sparkled in the setting sun. Way out on the water I could see dozens of fishing boats bobbing up in down with their nets in the water and their eyes on the catch. There were antique looking Coast Guard quarters strewn behind the gleaming lighthouse, and I was never so jealous of the National Guards barracks.