Day 121: last sight of the sea

Day 121
Miles: 33*
From Cape Meares to Jones Creek Campground

Our camp on the broken road blooms onto a silver morning. It has rained during the night again, but we all stayed dry – Pacman in his teeny one-man, Nick, J, and I sheltered under the blue palace. We pack up our wet things and ride the lonely road and slick, wet leaves down the cape to Tillamook Bay.

Wet road, silver sea, silver sky, and a single boat moored to the shore. All this time longing to be back on the trail, but it breaks my heart to leave the sea. Even a desert rat like me knows the draw.

By the time we get to Tillamook we’ve left everything gray behind. We stop at a pancake shop and order blintzes filled with cheese. “Last chances to calorie-load before the PCT!” I say, digging in.
  “Mmph,” J replies, his mouth dusted with powdered sugar.

Fueled up, we hit the road. Nick leads the way. We’ve got about 90 miles between us and Portland, and the coastal range to ride over. We’ll do part of it today, the rest tomorrow.

In a month of riding we’ve had relatively few flat tires, but yesterday’s streak continues for Pacman. We pull over so he can patch it. An hour later, we pull over again. Fifteen minutes we pull over again. The unflappable Pacman is starting to lose his cool. His inner tube is starting to look line a crazy quilt. A closer examination of his tire reveals two side-wall blowouts and a rotten tire.

“Well, you’re screwed,” J comments.
  “Only seventy more miles!” Pacman replies. “I only need this bike to make it seventy more miles!” His gear set is bad, his derailleurs are worse, but this tire situation might be the end of his ride. I get out my backpacking repair kit and we attempt to patch the tire sidewall itself.

Half an hour later we’re pulled over again. I hand Pacman the repair kit. “Use anything. As much as you want.”
  “Okey-dokey.” He pulls out the tenacious tape and starts to layer it over the holes in the sidewalls. It’s a good thing I still had most of a roll.

Pacman finishes patching his tube (it’s a good thing Nick had some extra patches as well) and puts his tire back on. “Well?” we ask.
  “Only one way to find out,” Pacman tells us. All fingers crossed, we resume our ride.

It holds! We make it to Jones Creek Campground, halfway up our last mountain pass. Nick’s brother and J’s brother & girlfriend meet us there. Back in the trees, surrounded by friends, we celebrate the last night of the ride. Nick’s bro brought his rain fly, but J’s bro didn’t bring his, so we sleep three in the tarp one more night. Portland tomorrow.



Hi Dirtnap 🙂




Day 120: the end of a road

Day 120
Miles: 20*
From Clay Myers state park to Cape Meares

Despite all the gray and the clouds and the gloom of the coast, it hasn’t actually rained on us – until last night. Nick must be our bad luck charm. Or perhaps he’s just his own bad luck charm, seeing as he forgot to pack his rain fly for what is turning out to be a very rainy weekend trip. Ol’ Big Blue, our trusty tarp, kept him dry last night, but it’s not going to be any help for any of us this morning.

We pack our things into plastic bags and get ready for a chilly morning. I zip my frogg toggs jacket on over my pack and the four of us ride out.

Riding uphills in pouring rain, downhills in pouring rain, and I think about how this bicycle trip is almost over. Nick is riding with us all the way back to Portland, and this will be over in the length of a long weekend. I feel like we’ve been riding bicycles forever. The Pacific Crest Trail seems like a long ways away, although technically, I’m closer to it than I’ve been in weeks. I’m glad to be getting off the bikes, but I’ve also sort of hit a stride. Maybe not today. This rain is cramping my style.

Nick is much faster than us, and he takes the front with J while they buddy it up. Pacman and I bring up the rear today, stopping first to fix Pacman’s flat tire, then to fix mine. Looks like we both ran over the metal staples in the road.

It’s lunchtime, I’m wet, I’m hungry, I’m cold, and we’re riding into the little town of Netarts. We find an espresso shop and set up camp at a table by the window to warm up. It’s a good thing the staff is friendly, because we stay there for hours. The evening is going to creep up on us quick, though, so we head back out to find a place for the night. The clouds have rolled back to let in the sun and the steep uphill to Cape Meares reminds us that we probably didn’t bring enough water. (Where’s the PCT water report when you need it.)

Cape Meares has a road that wraps up and around the headland before coming back down to run alongside Tillamook Bay. A series of landslides has destabilized the road, so it is closed to cars. But it is open to bicyclists. This sounds like a bicyclist booby trap, but’s it’s actually a bicyclist’s dream – a windy, scenic road that is totally closed to cars? We walk our bicycles in past the gate and start a dreamy ride down the winding road pasted with wet leaves, silent except for wind in the trees.
“This is pretty post-apocalyptic,” Nick observes. The black, nice pavement looks both new and abandoned. We look for a place to camp, but the trees are too thick. We keep riding with our eyes peeled for a temporary home and we finally find it where the road meets the landslide.

The landslide turns out to be below the road, not above it as I had imagined. Instead of sliding onto the road and covering it with debris, the slide is pulling the road out from under itself and the landmass slumps. The road itself is crevassed with tension cracks, all backfilled with gravel. On the downhill side we see the original curve of the road, with old pavement curving out until the pavement disappears in huge blocks slumping far down the cliff. The old road section is bermed off, but just on the other side of the berms are long stretches of pavement that used to connect. Plenty of room to pitch some tents! We just need to remember to stay away from the cliff side when we get up to pee in the middle of the night.

Like always, the free campsites are the best ones. Quiet, spacious, with a view – we watch the clouds turn gold, then pink, we make pot of soup to share, we watch the ocean go from blue to silver to gold to purple. “Well,” says Pacman, “looks like a good time to get a little squirrely.”

Last night by the sea.

The end of the road

Looking out over Tillamook Bay




Day 119: Long day

Day 119
From Beverly Beach State Park to Clay Myers State Park

We’re eating breakfast, milling about the campsite, when the ranger drives up in his little golfcart. He checks for our paystubs to make sure we didn’t cheat him out of his five dollars, then starts grilling us about unauthorized campers – had we seen anyone? Had we noticed anybody coming through last night? After he leaves, I ask J and Pacman: “What was that all about?”
“He was looking for the homeless guy who snuck in last night, camped over there,” Pacman explains, gesturing. Barely visible from our vantage point at the back of our site we can see a small, gray tent tucked away in blueberry bushes.
“Man, they just can’t give anybody a break around here. They’ve always got to make you pay.”

We’re headed to Pacific City today, forty-six miles by the official bicycle route. This will be our longest day on bikes since our very first (and we know how well that worked out). My knee was still bothering me quite a bit yesterday (well, only when I pedaled) but seems to be doing better. I used google to self-diagnose myself with Patellar Tendonitis. The internet told me to put my seat higher and farther back, and take some ibuprofen. That was exactly what I did before the self-diagnosis, so it must right, right? My knee is still tender but changing my seat position helped a lot. Hopefully it will keep working itself out today.

After all the sun the overcast sky feels dreary. This stretch of road is busy with a narrow shoulder, although it’s nice to be right on the coast for a little while. I’m glad we finally got bike lights.

We’ve been talking big talk about how biking isn’t anywhere near as hard as hiking, so we put in the miles. It’s gray and a grind. We have to bike right through Lincoln City, which goes on and on and on with traffic and lights and no shoulder. Miles of stress finally lets up when the official bicycle route leaves highway 101 and routes us through an empty back highway. Nothing but pavement, forest, and us. Every once in a while a car goes past, but for the most part we have the road to ourselves.

The road to ourselves! Bicycle bliss.

The route takes us up a gigantic hill, and we pedal slowly up it. When you’re down in your granny gears grinding out a climb, it’s as quiet as hiking. My breath sounds rhythmic and hard in my ears; the trees are utterly still. We eat lunch next to a hedge loaded with blackberries. Stopping to gorge ourselves on roadside blackberries is a daily routine, but this hedge – these blackberries are so good. I fill my cup with berries, eat them all, fill it again. The gray stripmalls of Lincoln City disappear from our shoulders.

What goes up must come down – we crest the hill and rocket down. Hairpins at full speeds, banking steeply from side to side, alone on the road, free, free, free.

I pull over to regroup with Pacman at J at the bottom just in time to chat with two bicyclists going the other way. One man has a typical touring setup, but the other has a fancy recumbent style bike, his buggy whip covered with different flags. He has the largest calves I’ve ever seen (I thought hikers had big calves!). I mean, these things are big. Turns out he’s a Dutchman, pedaling from Prudhoe Bay to Panama. Prudhoe Bay! “So, will you be biking on the Pan-American Highway?” asks J.
“Yes, that’s the route,” replies the Dutchman.

After the two pedal off, J shudders. “The Pan-American Highway! That place is a death-trap for buses and cars! I can’t imagine riding it.”
“Ignorance is often the key to success,” I venture. “If we really knew what we were getting into, who knows how many cool things we wouldn’t have done?”
“That’s true.”

Done with the downhill, we ride off ourselves into the kind-of sort-of rain that turns into a more persistent drizzle. No more free miles, but we get ourselves to Pacific City by dinner time, right on time. An old friend/roommate/office-mate lives in Portland, and Nick is meeting us tonight. Nick is pedaling approximately twice as many miles today (85) just to meet up with us. I wish I had his stamina – I’m exhausted. Maybe it’s the stress, or the cold, or the rain, or the knee pain, or just finally starting to pedal real miles every day. I guess bicycling is real work too.

We get dinner at the Pelican Brewery while we wait for him to arrive. The striking capes off the beach are shrouded in fog.

It’s starting to get late and Nick’s not here yet. We also have no place to camp, and we’re in a vacation town. Vacation towns, funny enough, are one of the hardest places to find someplace for us to stay. Everyone charges for everything. We end up having to pedal another six miles to a county campground that charges an outrageous price for the privilege of setting up our tarp on their square of grass. J goes back to Pacific City by himself to meet Nick, who then also gets to pedal another six miles. As soon as he arrives, it starts to rain. He’s forgotten his tent’s rainfly, so we pitch the tarp a little wider and squeeze him in.

A road to ourselves



Day 118: Portlandia

Day 118
Miles: 42*
From Washburne State Park to Beverly Beach State Park

Along with indisputably better views, our stealth campsites also motivate us to break camp by the break of dawn. The ride out is chilly and foggy. We agree to take a break as soon as we hit a coffee shop (standard plan) which feels like foreeeever. The sun behind the thinning fog breaks over our shoulders in big, gold rays.

The Green Salmon coffee shop in Yachats (yah-HATZ, not yeah-chits) has our name all over it. We wait patiently in line behind a couple ordering espresso.
“So your lattes, what kind of milks do you have?” they ask.
“Well, we have cow milk, goat milk, soy milk, almond milk, oatmeal milk -”
“Is your oatmeal milk gluten free, do you know?”
“Yes, totally gluten free”
“And your espresso beans, they’re from Sumatra?”
“For this month’s special, yes, free-trade only.”

“Have you ever seen Portlandia?” Pacman whispers to me, interrupting my eavesdropping.
“No, why?”
“There’s an episode I’ll have to show you later.”

After getting our drinks and warming up a bit and charging our cellphones (No plug left unplugged, is our motto) it’s time to do some miles. We watch a photographer take pictures of our bicycles through the storefront window. I wonder if they’d be able to pick us out as the owners.

The highway keeps to the coast, classic Oregon: white sands, black headlands, blue water. We pass through Waldport, stop at the subway. (Pacman should probably be sponsored at this point.) I wander into a junk shop and buy a silver spoon to replace the titanium spork I lost. 25¢.

Another bridge – with a barking herald of harbor seals, sunning themselves below the span. Ride to Newport, another bridge. A bicycle shop in town is listed as a warmshowers stop, so we check it out. They let us upstairs to use their washing machine and shower, begrudgingly. Pacman needs some work on his bike and they help him out, but also squeeze him dry. They pressure us about not buying anything, so we get the bicycle lights we should have bought 500 miles ago (probably a good thing).

Getting through Newport is a flashback to more traumatic bicycling days, and I’m remembering why I don’t like sharing the road with cars. The wind, building all day, makes us earn those miles. No place to camp. We chat up a surfer about stealth camping but he doesn’t recommend it. You wouldn’t think a little patch of ground for the night could be so hard to come by.

We end the day at Beverly Beach Campground, in the hiker/biker section. Pasta sides go down easier when you eat them with a silver spoon…


Hey Dirtnap, nice hi-vis.


Who needs a spork anyway.


Day 117: into the wind

Day 117
Miles: 41*
From Umpqua Lighthouse State Park to the Washburne State Park

Plip, plop, plip. Plop plop. Plip.

It’s raining, or dripping, or at least plip-plopping. “Oh good,” I think. “What a good excuse to sleep in,” and I roll over. We all roll over. No one’s out of bed before 8:30 today. No good excuses either – turns out the tree over our tarp is only dripping with condensation, and it’s not raining anything more than the large green pinecones that the squirrels keep chucking at us this morning (I know they’re aiming, little varmints). Between the damp and the heavy fog, it’s still a good morning for sleeping in.

We check out the little lighthouse museum, then stop for lunch at the nearest diner (and for pie – really, really good pie), then it’s noon and we’ve only done two miles. It’s clearing and the breeze is already picking up: headwinds, here we come. Good thing I’m full of pie.

Despite the wind, the cycling feels good. I’m getting better at not noticing every close call with an RV, and I can even daydream these days. The terror/paranoia is easing into a practiced vigilance. It’s nice to have a little mental space back, to have some brain-RAM freed up from roads and white lines and gravel patches and trucks.

We’re riding through tree farms for a long time. There are patches of tall trees, patches of short trees, and patches of stumps, all quilted into the low but rugged hills. The coast is a funny place, with spruce trees springing out of white sand dunes. Where the highway curves inland the winds aren’t so rough, but it’s getting brisk out here. We keep pedaling. We agreed last night to put in real miles today – our late start didn’t really set us up for success, but on we go.

Late afternoon, and we come out onto the coast proper, where the road climbs the headlands leading up Heceta Head and the Sea Lion caves. The wind is really picking up now. We’re bathed in sunshine, but maybe 100 feet back from the beach a low bank of clouds covers the ocean, so that the silver breakers disappear into gray obscurity. The road is back to steep climbs and blind curves and no shoulder, and our adrenaline is competing with the exhaustion and deep burn of pedaling too fast uphill.

A tunnel ahead pulls us up short. Despite the clear wisdom of having bike lights, we are still riding with nothing more than our headlamps. We put them on red-blink mode, strap them onto our helmets backwards, and ride through the tunnel like the devil himself is after us. Another big hairpin and we come around the corner to Heceta Head itself. The wind is like a wall that we’ve just run into. Pulling into the scenic overlook, we all sort of crashland sideways from trying to lean against the wind while getting off our bikes. The view nearly takes us off our feet as well.

We lean forwards into the buffetings of air to marvel at the white sand beach lying in the crescent between the huge, black headlands. Heceta Lighthouse stands on the hill. Gray whales surface and spout, surface and spout out towards the horizon. The coastal cloud bank has pulled back here for a glittering blue expanse. “Wow! Wow!” I yell to J, the words ripped out of my mouth by the wind. Some places are worth bicycling to.

Our goal for the day had been to camp at the Heceta head area, but Pacman doesn’t want to pay for a campground tonight and the everything that isn’t the campground is a cliff. So we keep pedaling. Past Heceta Head the road backs off from the coast a bit, and the wind isn’t so impossible to ride against. We stop and look at a couple coastal trailheads, but I don’t want to camp somewhere that has big signs reading “NO CAMPING”. I am succesfully deterred, even though I’m exhausted and I’m starting to have rather severe knee pain. I had been under the impression that you couldn’t hurt your knees with bicycling, but I’ve been disabused of that idea. It’s been sort of twinging at me for at least a week now, but this afternoon it twinged and stayed. It doesn’t really hurt so much, except when I bend it. It’s making pedaling tricky. I put my seat up and back and take some Vitamin I and we keep going.

We finally get to the Washburne State Park and decide to stop. The campground is on our right, the day-use area is on our left. The day use area is right on the water, bordered with manzanita groves full of hidden secret places and sheltered green walls. That’ll do. We hide our bicycles and go out to the beach.

The wind is screaming south over the dunes and the water, the sun is burning across the golden sand. Our footprints disappear as quickly as we lift our feet up, and the three of us run across the dunes, across the wet sand, scaring the little seabirds, giddy with the wind and exhaustion and beauty. Sometimes in life you win.


Heceta Head

J, getting the shot

Me and Pacman

Beach dunes






Day 116: working hard-ish

Day 116
Miles: 22
From Coos Bay to the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

The hardworking young couple is at work and out of the house long before I get up. Pacman has been up’and’at too – I can tell by the smell of sizzling bacon that draws me into the kitchen. Pacman is flipping pancakes. “Mornin’,” he greets me. “I thought we needed some bacon and eggs.”
“Shucks, that smells awesome. Need some help?”

I get started cracking eggs. J is reading the morning paper. Man, the bicyclist’s life is the life.

We tidy up after ourselves (leave no trace still applies) then roll out. It’s noon.

Our first stop out of town is in the bicycle shop in North Bend, the little town just past Coos Bay. J is in the inner tube section while Pacman and I wander around looking at bicycle accessories that we would like, but won’t buy. “Hey, check this out,” Pacman calls over to me.
“What?” I ask, wandering over. He’s standing in front of a t-shirt display. Printed on the t-shirt is a picture of a logging truck on a bridge, about to run down a cyclist who is screaming in terror. The text says: “North Bend Bridge SURVIVOR”.
“Ha! Ha!” I crow. “Who knew a t-shirt could so perfectly capture what it’s like to be a road bicyclist?”
“Check out the tick-marks for cyclists run down on the logging truck bumper,” points out Pacman.
“Oh man, I want this shirt. Do you think it’s bad luck to buy the shirt before we’ve crossed the bridge?” (All the south-bounders hit Moe’s Bicycle shop after the ride of terror. We still have it coming up.)
“Good question,” says J, who has just joined us.
“Maybe it’s a show of good faith?” I ask again.

We decide to take our chances, and J and I pick out shirts. It comes in all sorts of colors, but we get it in neon yellow hi-vis. Pacman already has a hi-vis shirt so he forgoes the purchase. Bedecked in glowing yellow, we ride off to the bridge.

The moist coast of Oregon is watered by a ladder of rivers, running straight west from the coastal range to the sea. All the bridges seem like they were built at about the same time, in the same style, elegant, simple, with art-deco details. And every last one of them is barely wide enough for cars to pass each other. The spans are huge, crossing the river right where the river meets the ocean, swollen with tides and estuaries. There’s no shoulder to speak of, so we clump together and take the entire lane in the hopes that no one will try passing us (someone always does). It’s a study in adrenaline, pumping the pedals to get over the rise of the bridge, huge metal machines breathing down your neck. Logging trucks are scary, but they’re also driven by professionals, and they usually give us plenty of space. I can’t say the same about RVs, or trucks, or jerk-faces in compact cars.

The North Bend Bridge is just another span to cross, although maybe a bit longer than usual. We make it off the bridge in one-piece, only getting yelled at three times between the three of us. The headwind is back. We pedal for about an hour then take a three-hour break. Another forty-five minutes in the saddle and we’re at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. It’s embarrassing to write this blog post. Thru-hiking is going to be a terrific shock to my system… either that, or I’m going to be strong, muscled up, and well-rested, and I’m going to cruise through Washington. That’s what I keep telling myself. I am feeling much better these days. I’ve put some weight back on so I’m not looking so super-model scrawny these days, and you could bounce quarters off my thighs, which have put on muscle with bicycling in a way that hiking never did.

We’ve had three days of clear weather, but the fog rolls in right as we roll into the gray whale lookout point. “See any whales?” J deadpans, looking out into the featureless gray expanse.
“Oh, about twenty,” I snark back. By the time we ride up to the campground hosts to check in, there’s a fine drizzle. We’re drenched in sweat from fighting the headwind and all three of us are deeply chilled. We’re about to go to our campsite when Betty, the host who has been checking us in, asks if we need anything. “Some hot chocolate would be great!” J says.
“And a yurt,” adds Pacman.
“Haha, oh, well, I don’t think I can help with that,” replies Betty, in a lovely midwest lilt.

The campground is shrouded in fog, and filled with huckleberries, if you look around. We’re sitting around the picnic table boiling pasta when Betty walks up, carrying three styrofoam cups filled with hot chocolate, which she leaves for us. We sit and laugh at our journey, at the goodness of the people we’ve met, about the marshmallows that Betty put in our hot chocolate. Time for bed.


Hi-vis for the win! My bicycle family.

Nice view, dude.


Day 115: warm showers

Day 115
Miles: 29*
From Bullards Beach State Park to Coos Bay

Despite the name, Bullards Beach State Park is not on the beach. Our miles for the day on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route aren’t on the coast either. We turn off the 101 after only a few miles and head into the rural neighborhoods where the signs with bicycles point us. It’s always a treat to be off the main road. I start to think I might like bicycling.

I’m feeling good, pleasant, absent-mindedly pedaling when the road takes me rocketing down a very steep downhill. I barely touch the brakes – I can see the road’s uphill reflection racing towards me and I have no intention of wasting momentum when J, who is in front of me, slams on his brakes. I come screeching to a stop behind him, Pacman skidding in behind me. “What are you doing!!” I shout, exasperated. “You only stop at the TOP of the hills!”
“I don’t know if we’re supposed to turn here or not,” he shoots peevishly back at me. A check on the map reveals that we still don’t know if we’re supposed to turn there or not – or if we should be there or not – we haven’t seen a sign for the official bicycle route for a while – oh well. There’s a giant patch of sun-swollen blackberries there, so we stuff ourselves with berries and then continue forward -the only direction we know.

Forward up the hill… it’s a really steep hill. Pacman resorts to walk-a-bike. I’m practicing my mindful breathing state known familiarly as “desperate pant”, and J powers on ahead. Uphills suit him.

We make it to the top of the hill and onto Seven Devils Road, which we’re pretty sure is the route. It’s confusing though, because that’s also where the pavement stops, the road turns into gravel, and there are large “ROAD WORK AHEAD” signs. “Uh, I don’t think this is it,” I say to J and Pacman, stopped beside me, staring at the gravel.
“Yeah, we must’ve missed a turn back there after all…” J replies.
“They wouldn’t make a gravel road the official road for a road-biking route, would they?” I ask.
“Damn, this is going to be a pain in the ass,” says Pacman.
“Maybe we should turn around,” I suggest.
“I don’t go backwards,” Pacman replies back, equably, un-negotiably. J doesn’t want to turn around either.

Outvoted. Shucks.

The road starts off loose, steep, and gets worse from there. It’s being regraded, so large swaths of it are covered with gravel that has been laid but not compacted yet. The guy driving the vibrating the roller down the way stops to let us pass by and we chat for a minute. He thinks we are crazy. I concur. Especially when we get to the switchbacks.

It’s dusty, it’s hot, and we’re walk-a-bike up gravel switchbacks or white-knuckling full-brake descents down them. I left my good attitude on the pavement, and I resentfully bring up the rear. Several miles later, high enough to see out to the ocean again, we intersect another road and hit pavement again. Collapsed on the side of the road to get our legs back under us, Pacman and J laugh at the ridiculous route while I sulk a bit. The walk-a-bike was a big morale hit. Before we got on the bicycles, I was worried that I’d be walk-a-bike quite a bit – worried that I’d be walking all the way up the mountain passes. Finding out that I could pedal them was a triumph. Having to get off the saddle and trudge today feels like a defeat. I sadly munch my crushed potato chips and watch as a pair of road bikers goes riding past on the paved road – the actual bicycle route. At least it’s not that windy yet.

Back on the bicycle route, we start out towards Coos Bay, the destination for the night. Pacman has discovered something called warm showers. Contrary to my first impression, it’s nothing crazier than a couch-surfing community for bicycle tourers. You sign up online and then get access to the database of people who are willing to host bicyclists or provide them with a warm shower. We’ve been trying to get people to host us since Crescent City but we’re un-rated and probably suspicious and the sob story on our profile obviously isn’t doing the trick. Tonight, though, we have a place lined up. The owner of a new microbrewery in town is a Warm Showers host and said we could stay at his place in Coos Bay. We stop by the brewery first, where a local guy asks us if we need work… he’s rounding up unemployed hippie types to trim his weed harvest in a couple weeks, and for some reason we look just the type. Pacman takes his number.

Tired, ready to relax, we pedal back up the hill to the house of the young couple hosting us. Beds for us all, fresh eggs, fresh beds. They’re swamped with work, and leave us to our own devices. “Why do you guys host bikers?” asks J.
“Well, we don’t have time to travel, or enjoy our house, or do anything but get this brewery running… so we figured someone should get to enjoy the space. Plus, we meet interesting people.”
“Huh. Makes sense.”

More than anything, the trust given to us is a comfort. I’m tired of being side-eyed. I’m tired of being a stranger.