Not Dead Yet II: Still Not Dead!
Oct. 1, 2000
I wake up finding I have decided to go on to San Diego. It seems almost too much like a fantasy to be able to stay here. I have some trouble connecting the dots regarding getting consistent work, and I have the feeling that I would feel like I retired if I stayed here. Satisfied, I spend much of the day reading and resting, doing laundry and packing, and in general goofing off. I ride into town to check if I can find some gloves, but none of the motorcycle dealers are open (it is a Sunday), and the department stores are unappealing in this area. I decide to wait until the dealers are open, and I'll stop by one on the way to the ferry.
That evening, one last time, I go back to the Malahat Mountain Inn Restaurant. I have the same dinner as I had the first night, but this time with the salmon, and it is not quite as good, and I wonder if the polish of this dream is wearing thin. I decide to order another hard cider with cream and cinnamon, and the waitress looks at me, and smiles oddly, and says "Yes, we are now offering this drink because of you. Everyone was so curious about your drink that we made one after you left and passed it around. It is great, so we are adding it to the menu. We also offer it with caramel, too." I decide to get the caramel, but it is not as aromatic as with cinnamon, so I get that added. I order a second, and as the air begins to cool after sunset, I head back to my cabin.
Oct. 2, 2000
It is hard to describe the emotions I am feeling as I ride into town to board the ferry. Normally, after any stay at one place for more than a night, there is a desire to see what the road brings. There is none this morning. Overnight I have changed my mind again, but I still head out, because that is all I know how to do. In town, I stop at a motorcycle dealer and buy the best riding gloves I've ever owned, for less than I paid for the most recent pair, which held that position previously. At the immigration office, the guy questions me for less than a minute, then gives me a pass to get on the ferry. I am the first to board, as motorcycles are loaded to a particular area, and depending on whether the ferry loads the the front or the rear, bikes are loaded first or last.
On the ferry, I spend more time looking back at Victoria than I do toward Port Angeles. Everyone else is either at the front of the boat eagerly anticipating US shores, or inside, staying out of the cool Pacific winds. I'm at the back, watching the wake. I tell myself that I should see the road to the end, and if San Diego doesn't work out, at least I've got a fallback plan. Choices, something I am unfamiliar with, as for the last few years I've had only one path I could follow.
In Port Angeles the woman at the other side questions me for less than a minute and waves me on in. I had more trouble getting in to Canada than I did leaving. All my gear, with these big huge bags, and not one search. Once back in the US, I expected things to feel normal, with normal speed limit signs, and normal light posts, and normal gas prices, but instead I feel like I am doing a double translation, from US to Canadien to US. Oddly, it is the US that feels like a foreign country. It is a sensation that lasts all day, even though I was only in Canada five days and I wouldn't think that would be long enough to matter.
The state of Washington relies heavily on foresting, and it shows. I have to concede, however, that there is a tremendous reforestation effort underway, and even when they have clear cut a large hill or small mountain, as soon as I come out of its shadow I see twenty more just as large that haven't been touched. The area isn't particularly rich, and the towns remind some of rural Southern towns, where there is one industry and everyone is either working for it or supporting those who are. Only the weather reminds me it isn't the South. Cloudy and cool, the winds are damp and the sun is ineffective. My Victoria, B.C. bought riding gloves are keeping my hands warm, which keeps the chill at bay. First I ride west, almost to the tip of the Olympic peninsula, and then I turn south, for the last leg of the journey. At lunch I notice on the map that I am around the 48th parallel, and just on a lark I look over at the East Coast and am shocked to find that I am farther north than the northernest point in Maine. Eep.
Soon after turning south, I hit the Pacific Ocean. It is a wonder to behold. Seeing it on my bike on the road has an impact that the ferry riding did not, that I have reached the northwest coast after leaving the southeast coast near Augusta, Georgia, about as Southeast as I could get without going into Florida, and that's more South than Southeast. Corner to corner. It is a great feeling, and for a while my depression lifts.
With darkness approaching, I stop at Bay Center, at a KOA campground, and boil some rice and beans while I am setting up my tent. I had asked how cool was it going to get that night and was told only in the fifties. The ocean is only a quarter mile away, and the wind carries a pleasant sea smell. And it is definately windy. I have some difficulty putting up my tent and getting my bunsen burner working, so I get the tent up and then put the burner behind the tent, out of the wind. Within a few minutes after the sun sets, the wind stops completely. The air is clear and crisp, and I wonder about the "low in the fifties" I was told.
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