The next morning I left Astoria fairly early with the intention of getting as close to California as possible. I checked my tires before I left and noticed a small abrasion on the rear tread. Crap!!!! This was a problem. I had actually gotten many more miles out of the rear than I had expected… it had about 9000 miles on it by now. I had new tires waiting for me in California so it seemed like a huge waste to wait two days for a tire to be shipped to me and then go through the hassle of changing it on the road. I made the decision to just ride on as I would be at my destination in two days anyway.
As I started off, I was really looking forward to the Pacific Coast Hwy as I had heard so many good things about the Oregon portion. In reality, I was a bit disappointed. Yes, there were beautiful views of beaches, the shoreline and the Pacific but these only accounted for about 30% of the trip. I had expected a “coast” road to hug the coast a bit more and produce more consistent scenery. Still, the parts that were good were very good and the other parts I will easily forget.
By the end of a fairly long day I had made it to Brookings, Oregon which is just north of the California border and within driving distance of my friends in the Napa region. I decided that since it was to be my last night on the road for about two months, I would treat myself. I checked into a beautiful room about 100 feet from the water. It had a jacuzzi tub overlooking the beach and a balcony so I felt the need to take advantage of both. I hopped on my bike and headed to the liquor store for a six pack and a cigar. After having a nice meal, I spent the evening on the balcony enjoying my cigar, having a drink and watching the sunset before relaxing my aching shoulder in the jacuzzi.
At dinner I had met an older couple who later were walking on the beach in front of my room. The husband must have suffered some kind of stroke in past years because his right leg and arm were fairly useless and he used a walking cane to hobble around. Still, I admired him for trudging down to the beach to watch the sunset. His wife joined him later and I watched the two of them sit together and see the sun go down. I thought how lucky he was to have this woman in his life and how this was a perfect illustration of the frailty of life contrasted with the magic of love… a magic I’m not sure exists much anymore in our disposable culture.