Blake recommended we camp to the other side of the cliffs on the beach, but have you tried to move a loaded bicycle through beach sand? We set up the tarp right in front of the parking area, where a log and a signpost give us something solid for our pitch. The gray sky and the gray sea slowly fade to black, and we wrap up against the mist and the chill for the night.
I wake up with car headlights beamed straight into the tarp, and curse to myself. We’re getting evicted. Or are we? I rub some of the sleep out of my eyes and try to figure out what’s going on. It’s not the cops, it’s a bunch of drunk kids who got their ford taurus sunk axle-deep in sand because they missed the parking lot. I try to settle my nerves and go back to sleep, but it’s tough with all the shouting and engine-revving and lights in my eyes. Exhaustion wins, sort of, and I drift in unsettled dreams. The kids give up on the taurus and get down to the business of partying and dropping acid. I know this because they are about thirty feet away and they are talking REALLY LOUD.
It’s going to be a long night.
The partying goes on for a long time – the kids finally notice us, creep on us, leave us alone. My blue tarp doesn’t seem to offer as much protection as it did back on the PCT, where it’s smooth blue walls meant home. The kids leave, and it’s quiet. At last. It starts to rain. Pacman didn’t set up his tent but we squeeze him in. I wake up again because I can feel someone looking at me. One of the kids partying on the beach is still here – he’s laying on the sand right next to us, staring into the tarp. My heart flips with surprise. “Hey man, you ok?” I say to him.
“Heeeey,” he replies in a creepy falsetto. “Heeey, she says, heeeey. Heeey!”
Ok, now I’m creeped out. Holy sh**. “J,” I whisper, “this guy is freaking me out.” J sort of mumbles. “Pacman,” I try. “Pacman, this dude is creeping me out.”
“Hm,” he mumbles, “what’s up?”
“This dude,” I whisper, “he’s freaking me out.”
Pacman wakes up enough to take stock of the situation, then gets up and goes out of the tarp. He makes the kid drink some water then tells him to go back to his car (the ford taurus is still stuck in the sand), and he wanders off. “Nothing to worry about,” Pacman says, “he’s too high to do anything.” Then he adds, “that’s the nice thing about people high on acid, you can just tell them to do something and they will. Then they forget what they were doing. Totally harmless.”
Harmless, whatever. I don’t need somebody who’s tripping laying two feet away from and saying creepy things to me.
It’s a long night.
And an early morning. The engine-revving and tire spinning resume at dawn. The two guys left on the beach have been abandoned by their friends, and they’re trying to free the taurus again. One is wandering around with an empty handle of booze. Someone calls the cops. It’s time for us to go…
Quickest packup ever and we skedaddle before the trouble spreads. On our way out we overhear the kid with the empty handle telling the cop: “I don’t even know where I am!”.
“First-rate example of what not to do…” Pacman shakes his head. The kids are getting cuffed as we ride away.
Breakfast in Ferndale, then time to go to work. (Feels weird to say out loud.) Blake has a crew of hippie kids in carhartts and chacos harvesting greens, and one of them gives us hoes and some instructions, and we start down the rows.
We’re very bad at hoeing beets – that is, we’re slow. Not only that, it is destroying us. We limp off the field at the end of the day in rough shape. “I think this is the most sore I’ve been on the entire PCT,” moans J.
“My back feels terrible,” Pacman adds.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to walk tomorrow,” I join in.
Blake is too nice to tell us to quit wasting his money and beat it, so we’ll try and finish the hoeing tomorrow. He also takes pity on us after our eventful night of beach camping and says we can camp next to the field tonight. What a relief.
We pedal to town for pizza, then call it a night. Can’t be any worse than the last one.