We’ll have it difficult to describe the Oregon coast accurately. We could stop with, the mist and no sun, and leave it with that. The moment we went up in Astoria to a viewing point, we saw the mist come in, and it never left. It was often hard to see anything of the surroundings where we were in. So enjoying nature was not a given. In a way it is a grey and humid place. But luckily for us most of the time it cleared up a bit, in the afternoon. And Oregon is so much more than a fogy coastline with ups and down. The redwood forests are magical with big Cedar trees and Sequoias where cars can drive thru. The moment you drive thru these forests you almost hear them talk ancient stories to each other. Majestically, they are standing there. Just being big and tall. And the best part is that they protected us in a degree from the fog without complaining or asking something in return. When you look up and cycle thru them you feel so insignificant in time and seize. They have all the time in the world and stand there for ages, growing larger and larger and in my imagination talking to each other. Sometimes we even hear them laugh when they see 2 exhausted Belgian cyclist trying to get uphill. They support each other as trees.
Apparently they have to interlock with their roots else they will fall over with a storm. Together they can withstand wildfires hurricanes and ice ages. And for us as cyclist we enjoyed them protecting us against the sun and fog. One of the nicest differences with small Belgium here in the USA is that forests are forests. They still have the function of nature instead of the botanical gardens we have where we can look at a tree. Another example of these giant eco systems, are the dunes. A coast isn’t a coast if there aren’t dunes but boy are they big here. One of the good things in the US is that they protected a lot of land from the beginning of the 20th century. We saw sand dunes that are kilometres wide and meters high. Maybe the writer should start using foot and miles while writing in English. Of course also here they know deforestation and land development. But vast parts of forests are protected and give you a real feeling of being in a untouched wood.
When the circumstances, here because of the foggy weather, become wretched people come together. Also we found a need to start connecting with other people to complain about the mist and rain that comes with it. So we formed a mobile community with other cyclist that supported each other. It is difficult to convey the reader here, how tight the connection is between cyclists on the road. We share everything, inner tubes, food and our adventures. Every night we met with a group of sevenish. We discussed such things as where we would go the next morning. Where there were shops to buy groceries and most important how bad the elevation would be. And strangely enough it helped us to go further than when we would be alone on the road. Not only in distance but in the experience itself. We shared the fire pit so everyone brought in a couple of wood branches. We teached for example “the French boys” and other how to prepare something else than rice and beans with taco’s. The coast of Oregon makes it also pretty easy to make good food. One evening we bought 12 oysters for 10$ and threw them on the barbeque. Next day Stef went to take a closer picture of sea-lions and found a huge mussel bank underneath his feet. He picked about 2,5 kilo and became even picky by leaving the small mussels alone. He will proclaim by doing this, that he harvested ecological. In reality he was nothing more a kid in the candy store. He was 6 again, probably the last time that he picked mussels from the Belgian coast. When he came proud ashore to show his catch to his lady Katrien she answered you socks are wet and second reaction who is going to clean that. Well it took us about 2 hours to get them clean them and another hour to cook them all in our too small pot but we enjoyed them all. More important we even could share some with our new made friends.
Claire from New Zeeland had the best maps and told us where we would go to the next day what made things pretty easy for us. We had also some guest rolls for a Nurse Charles with his daughter Ruby who rode the Oregon coast on a tandem. That they lived in Albany, near San Fransico where we eventually will stay for 2 days is really convenient. The warmth of the group, that came together thru dumb luck, expelled the wet, cold fog and tiredness out of our minds. We will even be sad that our ways separate soon because in California we go inland while the rest will go further south.
We could go on again and again on the broken society of the USA. The poverty that equals the poverty in Eastern Europe after communism etc… We can keep talking about communities that get destroyed by the massive drug abuse. Whenever we entered a city we smelled the usage of cannabis. Even in the forests we could smell the growing cannabis fields. But we chose not to do that in this letter. This letter we wanted to make it a bit more personal. What was important to us and what we experienced on a personal level. So we conclude that in the back set of this Oregon coast we found new friendships and we are very thankful that we could partially experience this trip with them. We understand more deeply that coming together as a group makes our life easier. We thank them deeply for making this experience richer.