Another gray morning, a diner breakfast, sea lions on the pier – a bunch of blubbery comics flopping around on each other, only to slide into the water as sleek torpedoes. Dunes and lagoons are the plan for the day.
A (thankfully) short drive and we’re out of the clouds again, in sunny, windy coastal dunes. The whipping grass is an ocean itself, but a mile or so of walking through deep sand takes us to the water. Blue! Like we’ve been transported to a parallel coast – there is no fog bank here, and the sun beats warm on our heads and on the golden sand. I’m sweating and warm from wading in sand, warm enough to get in? J and J’s dad might beat me to it, as we all strip to our bathing suits (or discreet black quikdry undies, if you’re a hiker) and dash into the surf.
I’m always surprised at the power of the ocean, swirling kelp and sand around me, blasting salt under my eyelids as I duck in. I want to be totally immersed, if only for a moment. “I can’t believe you got in!” J exclaims as I stumble out of the breaking waves, gasping.
“Me either!” I call back. “I hate cold water!”
We find smooth bits of shell and tiny agates on the beach, decaying dead seagulls, feathers, kelp. A seal surfs the breakers, looking for fish. I take a nap on the sun-warmed sand, my back just a bit too warm, my wind-blown front just a bit too cold. We leave the beach and hike to the lagoon, pick blackberries until J’s hat is totally full.
Pacman has made it to Crescent City as well – he’s hanging out at the local church, which has a place for traveling bicyclists to crash. We’ll meet back up tomorrow morning, resume this journey. Hard to believe I’m still on a journey, not just on some strange island of time, bordered by the sea. I’ll probably believe it tomorrow when I’m back on the ride of terror.