Serendipity

Disclaimer: This is an adult blog with adults doing adult things to other adults and to themselves. So if you don’t like drugs, banging, blah, blah, blah please view our PG-version of the adventure at www.10LegsWillTravel.wordpress.com and you can view all of our pictures at our Facebook page (aren’t we so legit!).

We ended up spending three full days in Medford with my friend Adam and his wife. During that time we borrowed their car to drive to Crater Lake, we took about a day and a half to relax and recharge, and we explored Ashland a bit with Adam and Julia. All these things were necessary in their own ways.

The trip to Crater Lake was absolutely incredible. It is a place all of us had wanted to see since the beginning of the ride but our change of route and slower pace made it momentarily unlikely. We had a discussion and realized a lot of places like Crater Lake will be unreachable unless we make some changes. We can’t change our pace but we can certainly open up our adventure a bit and allow for car travel when biking isn’t available. So, we borrowed Adam’s car and drove up to the gorgeous Crater Lake.

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The drive up there was amazing for all of us. Not only could we sit back and just relax a bit, it gave us a chance to listen to Dan Savage and bond in a way that we haven’t been able to recently. Despite travelling with each other and cramming into a tent at night we don’t have a lot of intimate bonding time. This few hours allowed us to chat about the future (and act as amateur advice columnists to the question’s sent to Savage). I wish I could really describe the beauty of Crater Lake but it really is one of those things you need to see for yourself. We took some pictures but they pale in comparison to real life. If you get the chance you should go. Higgs also loved it, he got to play in snow for the first time. He wasn’t impressed in the beginning but when we started throwing snowballs for him to chase or catch he had a grand old time.

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Our time exploring Ashland a bit (with more than a few drinks thanks to a winery and brewery visit) with Adam and Julia was a lot of fun. It is amazing how we can all fall back into old roles and reminisce with people that we haven’t seen in years (or decades). Kicking back with some drinks and just talking about the world and such brings a little bit of “normalcy” to our dynamic lives that is often needed. It was unfortunate that we had to leave and continue our ride so soon.

The trail out of Medford up into central Oregon wasn’t too bad. We had some sun beating down on us but the hills were manageable and we had either a good shoulder or low traffic. That first night we found a local fire department and asked if we could set up on their land. They didn’t care at all and were very friendly to us. It is amazing the difference in attitude between police officers and firefighters. In theory, the two suffer from the same problems all government institutions do, but clearly there are cultural factors or something that makes the way the two view the public as very different. We still avoid law enforcement but firefighters have been nothing but helpful… and who can resist those sexy uniforms?

The second day had a pretty big hill for us to conquer… basically anything over 800ft or so is considered “big” to us. It wasn’t so bad though and it gave us a really nice 10-15 mile steady downhill ride. That night we found a rest area near a river and set up our tent there. This was another time when we just assumed nobody would be checking a random, dark place on the side of the road on a Saturday night. As is often the case, being near a secluded water source encouraged us to get naked. So, Naked Saturdays has been bestowed upon our trip and will continue until we forget.

Sunday was a steady ride into Myrtle Creek, where our hosts (Mike and Pam) live. You may remember that we met Mike and Pam weeks ago outside a hotel when we were in Paso Robles, California. It was a serendipitous meeting. They weren’t supposed to be at that hotel (their preferred hotel was booked) and neither were we (we had some mechanical difficulties as the sun was going down). I’m glad it worked out this way though and we felt incredibly welcomed when we rode onto their beautiful farm.

Their farm has Morgans (a type of horse), chickens, a couple of wolfhounds, a little dog, and some cattle. They farmed a lot of greens and almost everything we ate came straight from their farm. Because my veganism comes from an ethical place I had no problem with indulging in the beef and eggs provided by our hosts… and oh man, the meals were fantastic. Pam also bakes her own bread and we purchased a couple of loaves of it for the road because it is literally (and I’m not exaggerating here) the best bread I have ever had in my life. Mike and his daughter (Katherine) also do some AMAZING metal cutting. I wasn’t there for the tour of the workshop but the art they create was absolutely stunning. I will want one for my own home if/when I get one.

The day of our arrival was pretty low-key. We had a vegetarian chili (provided by the neighbors), chatted with our hosts a bit about subjects we all enjoy (spirituality, physics, philosophy, the state of the world, etc), and hit the sack. Monday during the day was a work and errand day for us, and coincided with Mike and Pam being out of the house so it worked out really well. That evening we went over to the neighbor’s place (Amanda and Vince) to meet them and use their hot tub.

Vanda live on a beautiful home, currently for-sale, where for many years they had an intentional community. Several families shared living space and created a peaceful sanctuary to explore alternatives to the consumerism that has become such a strong part of the American identity. I can’t recall everything we discussed that night but Vince and Amanda are inspirations to us. After their house sells they are going to travel the country in an RV with their kids and I have a feeling our paths will all cross again.

That night we all took some pot cookies we acquired before going to sleep… it wasn’t the best idea for me. Edibles are notoriously hard to dose and when you are drunk your judgement is already impaired. I took a half of one (the recommended dosage) and when I wasn’t feeling it enough I took a whole cookie on top of it, and then I fell asleep. The food was slowly digested and my system took more weed than I was prepared for.

I woke up at about 2am in a bit of a panic. I was too stoned to walk or anything so I crawled out of the tent and tried to get some water from the water bottles on our bikes. It took several tries to get my body to respond to my brain and crawl to Anna’s bike. Her water bottles were empty so I crawled over towards my bike. At some point I gave up and just laid down to sleep outside. Then one of the crazies experiences of my life happened.

I regained consciousness to find myself on my hands and knees and banging my own head into the ground. I distinctly remember doing this at least three times before regaining control. I don’t know if I sleep-walked or what but I remember nothing between falling asleep near my bike and waking beating myself up a few yards away.

Fucked up, I know.

Well, I crawled my ass back into the tent and passed out. It wasn’t until the next morning when I looked in the mirror and saw a near black eye with several mild cuts that it really hit me what had happened. Be careful when doing drugs and make sure you dose yourself properly. All drugs should be legalized, but people need to act responsibly and take care of themselves. Don’t be stupid like me.

Needless to say, I was not in great shape when I woke in the morning. We had to put down some mileage on our way to Eugene but I was still pretty stoned (damn edibles) and my whole body ached. We finally hit the road around 2pm and had agreed to try and knock out 20 miles or so. A pretty moderate ride with an unavoidable big hill in the middle of it. To make matters worse the road the hill was on was gravel so we ended up pushing our equipment up it with very little traction. At several points we even had to help each other push equipment after leaning our own bikes on something, only to have to go back down the hill to get them later.

We made it into Roseburg completely mentally and physically exhausted. We found an abandoned lot of land off the highway and set up our tent for the night. It was dark pretty quickly but I wasn’t quite asleep when familiar blue, red, and white flashing lights lit up our tent. It is such a fucked up world when your response to those who “serve and protect” is fear, paranoia, and discomfort even when you aren’t doing anything wrong. I silently hoped that Higgs would be his normal quiet self and not give the cops approaching our tent any excuse to commit puppycide.

The officers informed us that we were trespassing and the property owner (who lived next door apparently) wanted us gone. The cops took our ID’s, ran them for warrants or whatever, and eventually left us alone to pack up in the pitch dark and find a new place to sleep. Because there is nothing safer for cyclists than to navigate unfamiliar roads in the dark while barely awake… We found a nearby Motel 6 and decided to get a room, as much as it pains us to spend that type of money on our pretty tight budget.

To be honest, the saddest thing about this is how quick the property owner turned to threats of violence instead of talking with us. People are so terrified of “the other” that they call men with guns who can do violence with impunity instead of simply telling us that we can’t stay on the property, or even just striking up a conversation with us. Nope, the first response is to call the police, to call guns, to issue threats, to terrify instead of communicate. It sucks, but it is unsurprising given the modern media and political situation.

We made the best of the hotel situation though and recharged our electronics, gave me a mohawk, showered, masturbated, and got to bed fairly early. Despite a ton of sleep we still didn’t hit the road until about 11am. Hotels are still tough to leave, but we had a good ride that day. The sun was beating down on us and we had a terrible hill (we seem to average one a day) but we pushed on. We can usually handle hills, hot sun, and wind, but not at the same time. As long as only one or two of those hits us at a time we do alright.

We were kind of paranoid about being on the side of the road again due to our run in with the police but we didn’t have a lot of options. We found a place that we are pretty sure isn’t private property that couldn’t be viewed from the road and set up for the night. We slept well and hit the road fairly early for our last day of travel into Eugene.

The ride was pretty uneventful… up small hill, down small hill, repeat… until we got a few miles out of Eugene and Anna saw a motherfucking bear (literally a bear, not literally motherfucking). It apparently ran across the road right in front of her and hopped over a few fences in broad daylight. This is our first time crossing a bear and it was successful, as long as you measure success by the low standard of “nobody died and nobody sprayed themselves accidentally in the face with bear mace”. But, here we are now in Eugene and we are really excited. In the next few days we are travelling by bicycle with a band to a show/party (The Dirty Dandelions), participating in the World Naked Bike Ride, going to Ninkasi brewery, getting some vegan comfort food at Cornbread Cafe, renting a car to go to Bend for more breweries, hiking, and the clothing-optional Terwilliger Hot Springs. It should be a lovely time.

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