We had an 11+ mile day today in order to optimize our bus connections for the rest of the week. We could see the ocean almost every step of the way, but it was ‘so near and yet so far’. Most of the miles were through coastal farmland, so we were nearly always separated from the ocean bluffs by several acres of pasture.
We did have the steepest ascent of this walking cycle, and perhaps of my entire trek thus far – accentuated by 2 crazy hairpin curves. It was early in the day, so we had fresh legs for it! We had a number of long straightaways, which was a nice change from the hills & curves of the past few days. It was a great day, but for some reason both of us were unusually tired at the end – more so than the extra mile would have warranted.
We had parked the car at the Manchester Post Office – the woman who was working there (Judy) said it would be okay. When we got back, I thanked her and in the course of the conversation found an interesting connection between us…
I had heard about a site called warmshowers.org from several cyclists along the way. It’s a network of host families who offer free overnight lodgings to touring cyclists. On one of my trips home a few months ago we signed up as a host family, as we live only about a mile from the Pacific Coast Bike Trail. We did host 1 couple before I had to hit the road again myself!
In my browsing on warmshowers.org I noted a highly-recommended host home in the town of Elk, and I had it in the back of my mind that if I couldn’t find a host family anywhere else I would call this woman and ask if she would consider hosting a hiker for a few days (the site is mainly geared toward cyclists).
Well, guess who Judy is? Yup, she has the host home in Elk! We did find host families through local churches in this area so I never called her – but it was yet another interesting moment of interconnection in a long line of such stories as I’ve gone along my way.
Judy told us a few interesting ‘fun facts’ about the area, such as: This is the closest area in the continental U.S. to the state of Hawaii – and when we crossed the Alder Creek Bridge today, we were also crossing the San Andreas Fault.
On one straightaway thru farmland, I saw a familiar sight. A number of years ago (probably more than a decade), my brother Dan & I drove up the coast together on a photo safari. We passed a little cottage-like outbuilding that was covered with flowers. About 5 miles up the road, I looked at Danny & said, “I hate to ask this, but can we turn around and go back to that little cottage?” He just laughed and said he was thinking the same thing!
It still looks much the same, but back then I think the bougainvillea was more prominent:
After walking, we drove out to Point Arena Lighthouse to eat our lunch – what a stunningly beautiful area! There was a whale playing just offshore, and we saw it dive 3 times, showing its tail as it went under the surface.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. ~ Psalm 139:23-24