I woke up at my campsite this morning at around 6am and felt energized and ready to start the day. I quickly packed up my tent and sleeping bag, ate an odwallar bar for breakfast as I knew it would be about noon before I would get near any place to get some food.
As I started walking south along highway 101, I already began to feel the soreness in my legs from the previous day’s walk through Cape Perpetua. Normally, that would be a bad sign, but mentally I was so excited for the unknown possibilities that can happen in a day on the road that I knew this soreness would soon pass if I didn’t give it attention.
I have learned to grow fond of “Road Work Ahead” sign with the little stick figure of a man waving a flag. This means that I will soon meet a person holding a sign who will have no choice but to say hello and exchange at least a few words. I approached a man holding the sign that said “SLOW” so I quickly assured him (as would be obvious in that I am walking) that I would have no trouble obeying his sign. He chuckled and remarked about how beautiful it was outside today, in spite of a few rain droplets that had just started (I love the rain droplets).
I passed him to enter a tunnel (I also love tunnels) which was a bit disappointing in that because of construction the road was down to one lane. I say I was disappointed because I usually like the thrill of cars passing by inside a tunnel. There is normally a ledge I can jump onto to be a safe distance from being hit, and it gives me a sense of unique enjoyable oddity to be an on-foot traveler sitting inside of a tunnel carved through a mountain.
I passed through the tunnel and caught the other guard of the construction zone. She was a cheerful girl and we stopped and chatted for a few minutes.
I got to the Sea Lions caves and at this point the rain had kicked up a notch. I took a few minutes underneath a covering of the gift shop there to put my backpack’s rain cover on. Of course, as soon as I started walking again the rain stopped.
I had walked 15 miles and was getting close to the city of Florence, when a pickup truck pulled over behind me honking the horn. I turned back and there was a little ol’ lady behind the wheel who in a frail voice said “please let me give you a ride to get out of this rain.” How could I refuse? It was only about a 5 minute ride to town and I had already walked almost all the way, but perhaps she really needed a friend, even if for only 5 munites.
I asked about her life in Florence and she mentioned something about her child. I then asked about where her child lives and she said “Oh, still in Florence, but she hasn’t spoken to me in years. She blames me for the divorce with her father and thinks I’ve ruined her life somehow. I just don’t think I can bare this any longer. I wish the Lord would just take me now. I’m done.” She was coming to tears emotionally and nearly physically as it seemed I had touched a nerve that is most likely always on her mind- somewhere. Knowing that time was not something I had much of for this car ride, I suggested that she pray and listen to God to find out who she is and what she is here to do- how peace will come to her relationship with her daughter. She thanked me and had a big smile on her face. I think her smile showed hope.
I got some food for lunch at Fred Meyer and then walked about 45 minutes southward to the Siuslaw Coffee Roasters, one of my favorite coffee shops of the Oregon Coast. There I met a man named Matt, a local but an avid cyclist. We were talking about traveling, cycling, walking, the world, etc. when he said “You know I saw this Ted Talk a few years ago about a man who quit speaking for a long time and walked the Earth.” I said, “Oh, Dr. John Francis? I did his website and work with him now.” I think it was cool that he knew about the Grand Planetwalker.
After coffee and conversation and wifi I walked another hour and a half to J. Honeyman State Park, where I slept beneath the tall and wide trees who sing to skies.