The wind is howling, the rain is just starting and all of this is supposed to last for a few days.
I could be having a miserable day riding in that weather. Instead, I am sitting in a nice café, dry and warm, working on a big piece of pumpkin-cranberry cake and a coffee, looking outside, feeling pretty content (which means “in a state of peaceful happiness”, according to the dictionary, I love it!).
I feel very lucky to have no schedule, especially when I talk to cyclists that I meet daily on the road now, who are on a tight schedule. Funny though how I feel some kind of guilt. Like I should be riding longer days and not rest so much. Part of the normal conditioning, I suppose… But I manage to get over it pretty easily! Because thanks to that, I get to stop in so many cool places and meet really interesting people.
If I had been on a tight schedule, I wouldn’t have stopped in Coos Bay. It would have been an anonymous town, kind of industrial looking with not much to it. But now when I think about Coos Bay, I remember a peaceful afternoon in a little café and then meeting Daniel and Margaret, who hosted Nick, a really cool American cyclist, and me, for the night.
They cooked a memorable, awesome vegan pizza for us, breakfast the next day, and Daniel gave us both a pack lunch before we left.
In the evening, Daniel and Nick dragged me to the community bike shop. I was feeling lazy, but I am so glad I went, it was the funkiest bike shop I ever saw. The owner, Dave, makes crazy bikes, for example one with two wheels in the front, and we got to try a few of them. His wife is from Canada and has a little belly dance studio adjacent to the shop, so we had a great chat. They are also involved in a project called Maya Pedal in Guatemala (www.maya-pedal.org), creating machines driven with pedal force, to help with home and farm work. It is now on my list of places to visit along the way.
The next day, Oregon made me pay for saying that riding the coast was pretty easy. There was a few good climbs to reach Bandon. Bandon is a cute little town, with much character and great food.
And as mentioned before, I really wanted to visit the Washed Ashore art gallery. It is normally closed to the public from Sunday to Wednesday, but the gallery director was nice enough to give me a private tour of the place. It was amazing.
The project was founded in 2010, by Angela Haseltine Pozzi. With the help of innumerable volunteers, she collected several tons of debris on the local beaches and turned them into amazing pieces of art: animals, corals, etc. They travel all over the States and into Canada, in an effort to educate people about pollution and the overuse of plastic that is killing the oceans and its inhabitants.
People can volunteer at the gallery and help sort trash and assemble pieces that will become a new plastic organism.
Amazing how someone with a vision can turn something terrible into something positive. One piece of trash at a time. The director told me that some visitors’ eyes start to well up when they realize the negative impact of water bottles and other plastic things that we use.
Others don’t seem to care, unfortunately.
More about the project at washedashore.org.
And before I “post this post”, here are a few pictures of my morning ride, around the lovely Bullards Beach State Campground where I am staying:
No final words today, but a picture worth a thousand words: a world map showing the ocean garbage patches…