From Patricks Point State Park to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
Another gray morning – I notice a trend,
Out here on the coast, I don’t think it ends –
Silver sea, silver sky, and imposing black rocks,
Sights to delight on our late morning walk.
The fog is now lifted, my spirits? Not really.
J and I fight again, over something quite silly
Or at least inconsequential, so we brush it away
And instead see the view of this silvery day,
Watch the whales as they spout, out on the horizon,
Sea anemones quiver in tidal pools rising,
Cormorants swoop back into their cliffs,
Sea lions bark, ocean otters are swift.
Pacman sends a text; let’s us know that he’s coming,
So we relax instead, laze away the gray morning,
And then reunited Team Whiskers moves on
Many long hours past an alpine-start dawn…
We ride past lagoons on highway 101,
Just one more day with no sight of the sun.
The vast, green, swaying sloughs with great elk herds transfix us,
The swooping of gleaming great white herons bewitch us.
But I think the RVs are out to destroy us,
These behemoths with blind, short, old men might deploy us,
On a transfer straight out of our mortal existence
And my bicycle shudders from the air resistance
Of trucks passing so close I get blown off the road –
With all this adrenaline my heart may explode.
And I surf through the day on a great tide of fear,
Each truck a death-spectre in my rear-view mirror.
I’m not surfing, I’m drowning – time for metaphor-switching,
I’m a sieve – fear goes through me… I’m in love with existing.
I don’t know if I’m really road-biking material,
I’m looking for something a bit more ethereal,
Something like walking alone on a trail,
“Oh man,” I think, “the PCT sure was swell”.
But on we go, on we go, down our chosen way,
Through forests of redwoods and mists of sea spray.
In the small town of Orick, Pacman again leaves,
For him cash isn’t meant to pay park campground fees,
So he throws in his lot with a tough-looking crowd,
“Not quite enough teeth here,” I observe aloud.
So it’s just me and Dirtnap pedaling on into sun,
Into sun! Into sun! And now our day’s end is a wonderful one.
We set up camp at the park campground just for bikers,
The crowd that’s replaced our old circle of hikers.
One old cyclist with scrawny old legs comes quite near,
We wouldn’t happen to have any aspirin here?
No aspirin, but we’ve got Vitamin I,
And we’ve got him fixed up in the blink of an eye.
“How do you do it?” I curiously wonder,
“Without constantly thinking about being six feet under?”
“‘Hold your line!’ is the old man’s solid advice,
‘Hold your line’ says it all, it’s very concise,
“Don’t look back or get worried, there’s nothing to do
If a truck’s going to swerve and run over you,
All you can do is pedal straight on, without wobbling
Hold your line, keep your balance, don’t go about toppling.”
‘Hold your line’, I think, as I fall into my bed,
Maybe that’s a thing to put in my head,
I can’t let the fear once again overtake me,
I’ll hold my line, let the impassive universe save me.
So I sleep next to Dirtnap amongst the great trees,
And sink into the night with a soft, gentle breeze.
Tomorrow will come, and again I will ride,
Tomorrow I’ll take all those RV’s in stride…