Day 114: Losing things

Day 114
Miles: 33*
From Port Orford Heads to Bullards Beach

Not even the crack of dawn, and we’re strapping down our gear and rolling out. It’s windy and cold – it’s supposed to be beautiful and calm, right? We aren’t supposed to have a headwind till the afternoon. Life is supposed to go as planned, right?

We go screaming down the steep hill and brake into the coffee shop to warm up. If it’s already windy there’s no point in hurrying. I discover I’ve lost my sunglasses. It’s not too far to where we slept, as the crow flies, but there’s no way I’m riding back up at hill. Darn. I’ve had those glasses since Campo.

We compensate for the wind with long and frequent breaks. I don’t think we’ve been biking more than four hours a day… going back to thru-hiking may be a shock to the system.

We’re inland all day until arriving in Bandon, where we while away a few hours at Face Rocks, yet another spectacular stretch of coast, but it’s as windy here as everywhere else. There’s some debate about what to do or where to go but I’m antsy to get to a camping spot. I so often feel like I don’t have a place – like I’m homeless. I never felt homeless on the PCT. I felt like I was home all the time. Somehow that feeling didn’t transfer to the tiny strip of asphalt right of the white line on the highway.

Food and supplies at the local grocery store – Pacman gets in an involved conversation with a passerby about our trip just as I want to go. He’s posted a cardboard sign on the back of his bike that says “Mexico to Canada”. He uses it to get people’s attention, and from there, to try and talk them into giving us stuff. It’s had a mixed record, attracting more crazies then road magic. Lots of people will talk to us, but no one gives us a cold soda.

From the grocery store it’s a short trip to Bullards Beach campground, set mercifully into a little lowland between the coast and the hills behind us, and we get out of the wind for the first time. The hiker/biker section is small and cramped and packed with cyclists. The rest of the (huge) campground is packed with (huge) RVs. Tent camping is dead here too, I guess. It’s like we’ve kennel-trained our own selves, taught ourselves that we can only be comfortable when we’re separate from each other, hemmed in by walls. We take our boxes with us. Even the other bikers (all in tents) are flabbergasted by our tarp and lack of separation from -outside-. Pacman is cowboy camping tonight and they can’t even start to wrap their heads around that one.

Hopefully we’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight in this campground. It was a bit brisk on the top of the headland last night. I’m thinking fondly of bed when I realize that I’ve lost my titanium spork. My spork! I’m devastated! I was going to pass that thing down to my grandchildren! I hate to lose things. It’s somehow worse when the thing was free. It’s like I’m squandering gifts from the universe.

We spend the evening hanging out with the other cyclists, a motley crew tonight. I think a bike allows for a greater range of traveling styles than backpacking does. There may be some seriously heave packs roaming the trail, but none that weight 150 lbs+, like some of the kits here tonight.

J and I tuck ourselves into the back of crowded campground for bed. “Well,” I say to him, “another day of biking and we ain’t dead yet.”
“Not yet, not yet,” he replies. “Good night Gizmo.”
“Good night Dirtnap.”




Check that off the bucket list

Well, I can check root canals off my bucket list now.

I hear my alarm go off this morning, so I turn it off and roll over. A bit later, it seems like it’s getting pretty light out. “I wonder what time it is,” I think. I check the clock – plenty of time to get to work – then I remember: “I’ve got to get to my dentist appointment!”

No time to stress, and I’m out the door in five minutes, on time. The endodontist office is very swank. The endodontist himself is young, clean-cut, wearing a hawaiian shirt. He introduces himself by his first name. After looking at my x-rays he tells me that chances are really good that I don’t actually need a root canal, just a regular filling. That’s exactly what my dentist said, so I’m feeling hopeful. I even keep my fingers crossed as the drilling begins.

“Whoa, this is really big,” says first-name endodontist. He follows up with, “yes, there’s the pulp. Looks like it’s a root canal.”

I want to swear, but there’s a dude with his hand in my mouth. I say “uhn” instead and uncross my fingers.

The root canal itself isn’t bad. There’s a tv on the ceiling with a looping dvd of Dale Chihuly glass pieces set in gently moving grass and on ponds. It’s surprisingly soothing, and I think about flamingos while the endodontist dude grinds the decay away. I wish for earplugs, but then think that I’m probably hearing the drill vibrations straight through my jawbone. When he finishes I realize I’ve sweated through my shirt.

Now I just need to find out how long it’s going to take to get a crown made and put in. It looks like this is going to be the limiting factor for my PCT start date, as it will take a few weeks. I really want to get started before May. I’d cross my fingers again but it hasn’t been that effective so far. Anyhow, can’t take off while I’m missing bits of my teeth, so maybe there will be time to train a bit after all.