Day 11 – Nehalem Bay

Today is a rest day. Both physically and mentally, I need a day to recharge the batteries and get a better outlook on things. A day to reset my brain and get going tomorrow with a lot of good energy. A res(e)t day… I like the sound of that.

I start my morning by meeting the first two cyclists that I’ve had a chance to actually talk with so far. Two Aussies that are doing the same route as me, but in reverse. They started in Mexico and are averaging about 100 km a day. They give me some tips, and I let them know my thoughts on the route through Washington that they are heading towards. Apparently, they have been visiting community pools in the afternoons to utilize the saunas and stay warm… they call these “spa days,” and I gladly welcome the tip. They also tell me to Google for natural hot springs along the way. With all of the rain and hail over the past couple of days, I could very well go for a hot sauna/hot spring!

They pack up and leave, and I head back to my tent while it rains on and off for the next couple of hours. I manage to go through all my footage on my action camera and (hopefully) get it working better with my ancient iPhone, something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t wanted to deal with after a long day cycling.

The sun pops out and I make my way to the beach here at Nehalem Bay State Park. It’s beautiful. There are dogs everywhere, people flying kites, and families laughing as they walk along the shore. People are simply enjoying the brief moment of good weather and each other’s company.

I pet some curious dogs are they come up to me and immediately find myself in a better spirit. It’s cliche to say, but it remains true nonetheless: nature is healing. I watch a couple of guys strip down to their boxers and run into the freezing cold ocean. Living it up!

I realize I should be thankful that I am here experiencing anything at all. What a happenstance it is just to be alive. I try to conjure up this type of thinking when the sky turns grey and hails on me as traffic whizzes past, but sometimes I am not so successful. It’s nice to take a deep breath of salty ocean air and reset.

This trip is a gift. Adventure comes with its ups and downs, but most of the time it is about reframing your definition of “up” and “down.” Get excited about the difficult things… they make the sun coming out for a few minutes in between rain storms that much better.

As much as I like to think that I am present, I find myself thinking about the future, about arriving at some destination, as soon as the going gets tough. Next time it rains while I’m pedaling, I want to marvel at the fact that I have the opportunity and equipment to cycle in the rain as I go on this journey south. Plus, remembering that sunnier weather awaits is also a good mind trick!