Saturday, April 24, 2010

Great day to be alive, better day to ride.

Great day to be alive, better day to ride.
At last clear baby blue skies in every direction. That dark threat of rain that chased me on my ride yesterday only to pour after I had arrived here had given way to a bright sunny morning. The daughter of my host who spoke English made me coffee while welcoming me back to the island. She said that her mother going out in the street to offer rooms well last night was a first. We could at this point get into the discussion about cosmic alignments and how all things that happen in the universe are meant to happen but we didn’t. They were so nice as they made me a sandwich to put away for my lunch. The road was calling my name so with sunshine on my back I wheeled out along the beach front road. I did make one small detour as my memory said that the bakery was a few blocks back from the main square. The bakery was even at this early hour close to being sold out. Racks that once had been piled with long brown loafs now showed just crumbs. I with the others that were showing up to buy were taken into the back where off right from the oven pans the baker was handing us our choices. This done I was officially ready to roll.
Low to no traffic, but the old high school mathematical problem haunted me all morning. You know the one that goes “If Mr. A leaves his house at 6:32 am and travels at 45 mph north on HWY 101 and Mr. B leaves his house at 7:07 am and travels south on HWY 101 at 58 mph. At what time will they meet?
The Answer is simple. They meet just as Chris on his fully loaded touring bike starts to cross a single lane bridge. I had to laugh for all morning while the road was wide I had it all to myself as soon as it narrowed down there would be a large truck or a rash of autos to share it with. It’s so fun to dance with the devil.
Today officially was the first real day of this tour. Body and mind were now clicking in sync. Huge long climbs that gave away to sweeping views. Green hillsides covered with brilliant flowers, add to this the total loss of day and time. Soft music drifting up from the headphones that rested around my shoulders. I was in the moment and loving it.

A long climb up into a valley to a town perched on the hillside. I was proud as I had made good time and the turn off that would let me follow a more remote coastal route should located here in this town.
A group of guys sitting at a roadside café yelled for me to stop and have a beer. I am getting to like this as this is the second free beer bought by strangers for me since I have been here. I had my map of the US printed on a silk cloth that I showed them. It list how far Oregon is from this Island and how far all the cities that most of the people know of in the states are from Oregon. It is fun to watch their eyes get wide when they say New York and I point out that it is only 4k from Oregon. This group got my wide eyed reaction when I asked about the turn off road and they pointed out that I was yet to be in the right village for the turn off. I was still ten good climbing miles away from the right village. I am laughing now. But hey beer is fuel. There was a treat that as I sat there the waitress brought out a plate of unknown to me fresh cooked sheep liver. They insisted that I try a bite. It was great..
As the day started to come to a close I wandered up a small dirt road and pitched camp next to a dry river bed. The ground was so tough I bent a few tent stakes getting them in. Another first on this trip was the real world use of my Kelly Kettle. From Ireland this is a jacketed kettle that boils 3 pints of water in 5 to 6 minutes using twigs and leaves as fuel. This camp area was covered in fuel for this kettle. So I was ready with a package of dry soup poured in to a bowl, sliced turkey waiting to be added. Red wine, fresh bread, then chocolate for dessert. But once again I am ahead of myself. A little kindling in the fire pot, a quick zap of the lighter and as advertised it was rocking fire. You feed more fuel down the chimney till the water boils. Easy, soon I was pouring the boiling water into my soup dinner was just minutes away. I had brought one item that Kelly Kettle should offer with their kit. A silicone pot holder allows you to pick up the hot fire pot base. As it was somewhat windy it was easy with the pot holder to move the open flaming base down behind a rock where the fire would die out.
I am having fun..

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