Trees Are Six Arm Spans Around In Bicycle Heaven

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Humboldt Redwood Forest

May 29, ‘80

Hi journal! It’s just you and me again.

After a good breakfast of pancakes, I packed up and was on my way. The sun was just beginning to break through the morning haze, and the hills were not too steep. Soon, I was down to my shorts and tee shirt. Twenty miles or so up the highway, I came to a sign that read Avenue of the Giants. It was a scenic turnoff paralleling Highway 1. It went straight through Humboldt Redwood Forest. Needless to say, I took it and was delighted. In fact, the whole day was like that– being reborn in bicycle heaven. There was little traffic, and the scenery was excellent. At one point, I stopped and picked out a good size Redwood, and stretched my arms around its trunk. By the time I made it completely around I had counted six arm spans—pretty amazing, not to mention beautiful. (Maybe abbreviated arm span is a better descriptive measure since I was careful not to disturb the humongous spider population that inhabited the tree bark.)

I traveled the Avenue of the Giants all the way to the end where I was supposed to find Pepperwood. I did find the end of the highway, but somewhere along the way I missed Pepperwood. As far as I could tell, Pepperwood must have been the assortment of vegetable stands (three or four) that were closed. Consequently, I’m sitting in this field, eating leftover cheetos and drinking the left over beer that I carried with me from last night’s six-pack. The closest town is nine miles away. At least here, in this field, I’m far enough off the highway to comfortably camp. I had to stop biking for fear of re-injuring my knee.

I didn’t push it today. After looking at the map, I think I rode around 55 miles. The last hour, though, was painful. I don’t know what to expect for tomorrow, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I nursed this knee all the way to Canada. I’m almost done with my second beer and the cheetos were gone after my first. It looks like I might be into breakfast tomorrow morning.

June 1

I’m not feeling too good today. The rain didn’t stop until early afternoon. Maybe this coffee I’m about to have will cheer me up some. Am I turning you into a diary? I hope not, but that’s about the way I feel. Sometimes I wonder if getting older goes through an irreversible mental process just like the physical aging process. The water ought to be boiling by now

Yesterday, when I got on my bike, my knee felt real bad. I rode about a hundred yards and then turned around and headed back to Trinidad. I asked at a gas station how far the next hiker-biker campground was, “About five miles down the road,” the lady said. I decided to walk, but at the top of every hill, I would hop on my bike and coast to the bottom. By the time I reached the campground I couldn’t even walk. I used my bike for a crutch.

I’m writing now, after my second day of rest, but my knee is still in sad shape—swollen and sore. I’m not sure where to go from here. Tomorrow, Chuck, the young ranger, is going to drive me into Trinidad. I guess I’m going to catch a bus to Eureka and look for employment. My biking days are finished for now at least. If I can find employment and share rent with somebody, maybe I can endure for however long it takes to get healthy. My one comforting thought is that athletes bend, tear, sprain, strain, mutilate, and break their bodies and within a week they’re right back out on the playing field. Why not me?

Time for a few words about whatever–although I’m not in a good mood. Yesterday, I met Dave, Jeff, and Christopher. Dave hitchhiked into this park (a really nice park, two miles across, and few people), I don’t know about Jeff and Christopher. They invited me over for dinner. I didn’t want to go, but I figured any company would be better than my own. I was wrong. It’s not worth describing the negative vibes I got from those guys. It’s hard to believe that I once wanted to be like them.

Oh what’s the use, I don’t feel like writing anyway. After I finish this coffee, I’ll go for some firewood, and start my spaghetti dinner. P.S.—So far my tent is working, but I haven’t had a really good rainstorm to test it yet. Well, at least that’s something to look forward to that’s realistic!

When Shared With Others Beautiful Scenery Was Even More Beautiful

Patrick Point State Park

June 3

Yesterday, ranger Chuck drove me to the bus station and I caught my ride to Eureka. I checked in with the employment office, and I talked with some fishermen. I found out there was 18% to 25% unemployment in the area. Work, for me was not going to happen, so I went to the Greyhound bus station and checked prices. I could catch a bus to Olympia, Washington for $50. (I planned to visit Eddy, my old buddy from Hawaii). I also found out that $200. would buy me a two-week bus pass to anywhere in the continental U.S
Before making that decision, however, I thought I would hitchhike up to Humbolt University and talk with an athletic trainer about my knee. I figured it couldn’t hurt.

The news was not good, but the guy was sympathetic. He told me it takes a long time for a knee injury to heal. “Take lots of ice and aspirins,” he said. Since I was already at the university, I checked out the bookstore. They had a pretty decent Philosophy Department.

Heading back up to Patrick Point, Paul picked me up hitchhiking. He dropped me off just south of Trinidad, so I decided to buy some ice for my knee, and then hop on a bus. Unfortunately, Paul took off before I could get my bike pannier from out of the back of his truck. He mentioned he was going to Moonstone beach, so after considerable hassle, I arrived at the beach only to find that he was not there. I stayed, though. It was a beautiful beach. It was a good thing, too, because he finally did show up. He offered to give me a ride back up to my campsite, but he wanted to practice his rock climbing first (that’s why he had come to this beach). Just off shore were some huge rocks, which, at low tide, were accessible. I also climbed, but when I reached the first perch, I stopped. It was a beautiful view the ocean.

Back at my campsite, I packed my knee in ice and ate a lot of aspirins. This morning I limped down to Palmer’s Point, and then hobbled down the cliff to the sea. On the offshore rocks was a large group of sea lions. Some of them were having a good time frolicking in the sea just off the rocky shelf. There were all shapes and sizes, and the sea lions ranged in color from tan to black. After hanging there for a while, I decided I wanted to play some music. I walked back to camp, got my horn, and found a nice rock to sit on down by the surf. The sun was hot, but there was a breeze, making it a perfect day. I almost felt like writing poetry, but when I tried to write, nothing happened. I guess this journal entry will have to suffice.

On my last night before I planned to bike north, I was anxious. I wasn’t sure if I could pedal long distance. Fortunately, I didn’t have long to worry about it because that’s when Lisa and Jade bicycled into the park. They were a just married couple who had chosen to bicycle from their Oakland apartment up to Oregon for their honeymoon. Once there, they planned to spend their summer living in a commune in central Oregon. Talking with them, I felt like I had just passed back into the 1960’s. They practiced both a vegetarian and “saving the world” lifestyle. Lisa was the “perfect woman,” and Jade, with his blond hair, could have been the poster boy for Malibu Surfboards. Both were going to be schoolteachers. Lisa had another year of school to go, but Jade would start teaching High School science in a few months. They were the perfect medicine for me. My fears about the future all but disappeared.

The next morning, after we hiked down to the colorful tidal pools along the rocky shelf, and then later stuffed ourselves on the delicious batch of pancakes offered up by Lisa (thanks Lisa), the three of us packed our bikes and headed out to the highway. Lisa and Jade didn’t bike like I did and that was just great for me. It was easy to keep up. I also found that the beautiful scenery was even more beautiful when shared with others.

Enjoy The Holidays Everyone!


One Response to “Trees Are Six Arm Spans Around In Bicycle Heaven”

  1. wings Says:

    And you Dave, have a peaceful and happy holiday. I am glad for the contact and connection that I feel with you. Take care.

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