Sunday, June 04, 2006

Harris Beach State Park, Brookings, Oregon

8:30 p.m. Camped at this popular park, on the rugged headlands just north of Brookings.

The air is mild, damp and heavy. They tell me it has been raining here "a lot". But it’s supposed to clear…soon.

It is odd to start following the path I began just over a year ago. A part of me just wants to keep going. (But I left so much stuff behind!) One thing I could have used today: the electric vest.

I came north this time to put to rest, or stimulate further, the concept of finding property I might buy. If I find something on the West Coast, the next step is to figure out how to support the purchase.

Though the alarm was set for an early start, 6:00 a.m., and a possible breakfast rendezvous with fellow rider Issa Eismont up in Boonville, I kept postponing. I got up around 8:00 instead, then took my sweet time.

Listened to the radio, which slowed me even further. Breakfast consisted of coffee and peanut butter and jelly on toast. When I started listening to “Car Talk”, I knew I was simply stalling. Threw some things together and got on the road at 11:00. Left my top box behind. There is a crack in the bottom I hadn’t seen before. Now it's about useless.

A fresh, cool morning.

Cruised at 70 mph much of the way north (except where the limit changed to 55.) The speedometer went "on the fritz" again. It always does this on longer rides.

Laytonville looks like quite an interesting place. Despite the reputation for bikers, drugs and poverty, it will soon be infiltrated by suburban evacuees. Tried to find my way to a large vineyard development on the west side of town, where forest has been clear-cut. This is worse than logging, turning these beautiful mountains to farming. Branscomb Road looks like a good place to explore. Next time.

I started daydreaming about a vineyard and winery (despite their abundance in California.) But this would be different! Its modest success would come from a focus on the local market and perhaps a mailing list for loyal followers, leaving the rest of the marketplace to "the big boys." “Lost Coast Vineyards and Winery”. I wonder if the name’s taken? If not, I should register it, because somebody will want it.

The Garberville area seems like the spot "to make a stand." That Lost Coast range to the west moderates climate conditions here. To the south and north, it’s much cooler and wetter.

I decided to go on to Brookings, Oregon just to follow up on a nursery man’s suggestion to look at Oregon, inland from Brookings. But the more I think about it, the more my thoughts return to California. And, because other parts of the state are so overrun, to this particular area. (So what if there’s a huge fault line here.)

Approaching Eureka, everything turned overcast, cold and windy. Dreary indeed. I think how it must have been for Cathie and Jessica up here. I imagine it a sad and lonely place. Stopped for gas in Eureka. The station's customers are a rough sampling. The people ahead of me are clearly on something (meth?) They’re buying a load of junk food, and the woman can’t stop twitching and craning her body. The guy is stone cold. Pays the bill, takes his drink and leaves the bags on the counter for the woman to carry.

The air over Humboldt Bay and Arcata is polluted from the pulp mills, the smell of sulfites setting off an instinctive alarm. I want to get away fast. Dampness everywhere. The place rots. Creepy.

I stopped in Trinidad to have a meal at the “Seascape Restaurant and Pier”, down at the harbor. Comfortable and pleasant. Tried a “Mad River Steelhead Extra Pale Ale”, a bowl of chowder and half an order of fish and chips. At $18 total, it’s pricey.

Drizzle as the highway climbed through some mountains north of Eureka. Redwood country. They thrive in this moist climate. I don’t. Stopped in Brookings to see about camping at this State Park. It looked too crowded, and too close to the highway. Returned to town and stopped at a “Hot Shots” espresso stand. Then drove inland to check out Alfred A. Loeb State Park. The clear-cuts here are business as usual. This is a reason I don’t think I could live in Oregon. The park was very damp. The $16 fee was a bit steep. Too many mosquitoes. Back to the beach. $17, but fewer mosquitoes! Definitely not as quiet, but it will make for a quicker start tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I’ll probably drive north to Gold Beach, then head inland toward Grant’s Pass.

I've been moving with a frown lately. Not happy. But it’s up to me to change it.

After setting up my tent, I stood in the woods listening. Last night, I noticed a distinct difference in hearing between right and left ears. The right ear much more sensitive to high tones. Much clearer. There seems more ringing in the left, and it’s as though I’m listening through a gauze. Confirmed this as I listened to the woods, the birds, the crashing of waves.

A painful reminder, my big toenail on the right foot is becoming in-grown as it tries to re-emerge after being destroyed by that truck at the Colombia-Ecuador border.

(Maybe that's why I'm grumpy?)

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