After our emotional time at Heceta Beach, we had to get to the local bike shop before it closed. We took one last long good look at the Pacific Ocean, which for me was actually blankly staring into the oblivion, taking in everything that I had accomplished.
We pushed our bikes back through the sand, and gathered a few shell fragments to take back home with us. A lady offered to help us push our bikes, but we gratefully declined. It was a workout getting it back to the pavement!We rode back to highway 101, with *gasp* a tailwind!
Once I had phone service, I called my parents and Craig. I had pulled myself together at that point, so I could actually talk!
It was a weird feeling riding to the bike shop. We weren’t working towards our goal anymore…we were just simply riding our bikes down the road. It felt kind of sad.
We arrived to the bike shop and rolled our bikes inside. We talked to the owner and immediately started unloading all of our gear off our bikes.
It was odd seeing my bike without all the gear on it. It looked sad and empty.
I know this may sound strange to some of you, and that’s ok…but I felt like I was leaving a part of myself behind. My bike was my life all summer. My bike got me to where I needed to be, it carried all my gear, and it was good to me. I feel a connection with my bike almost as if it were a human (don’t laugh!!!). I feel like my bike is a part of who I am. I felt sad just leaving it in some strange bike shop all the way on the other side of the country. I can’t wait until I get it back!
Now that you think I’m some kind of bike hippie, I’ll move on…😂
We went through all of our gear outside of the bike shop, trying to combine our bags so we had less to carry.
Then, we walked to Subway across the street. Our panniers were so heavy we had to stop a few times! We were laughing and giggling at how ridiculous it was to be carrying our panniers everywhere. We wanted our bikes back!!!
How inefficient is this?! This is taking forever to just walk down the street!
We grabbed some food at Subway and talked about how weird it felt to not have our bikes and how we couldn’t believe our tour was over.
Something I haven’t really talked a lot about is how it feels to be a bike tourist.
Despite being physically exhausted, it feels amazing. You roll into a store or a gas station and you are the coolest person there. People stare at you, people ask questions, people tell you that you’re amazing, people give you money and buy you things and ask to take their picture with you. They go out to their car to bring their kids in to meet you. People friendly honk at you and wave at you and give you thumbs up out the window all the time.
Everywhere you go. Every single day.
It’s like being the most popular kid in school, or like being a superhero. It’s like having your own parade celebrating you every day.
It feels great.
When we walked into Subway with our bags, we got some strange looks…but that’s it. No special treatment, no questions, nothing.
Although deep down I knew I would be forever changed by this trip, to everyone else we were just normal people.
We took a taxi back Eugene to a hotel. Our driver was really nice, and we discussed deep sea fishing and the local foliage. He pointed out the different types of trees as we winded down the highway.
It was strange riding the route in a car. All of the scenery that I was able to fully immerse myself in a few hours ago, just whizzed by through the smudged glass window. I wanted to tell the taxi driver to slow down…I couldn’t take in all of the scenery.
In just an hour, we had drove what took us a day in a half on a bike.
We spent the rest of the evening relaxing in our hotel room, watching Shark Week, and eating breadsticks and chicken wings…intermittently reflecting on our trip, mixed in with bouts of silence. We didn’t know what to say or think. We were happy and sad, all at the same time.
I woke up at 6:30, around our normal time, and went back to sleep. We hadn’t slept in like this since our only (!!!) rest day back home. I woke up around 9:30 and took a shower, put on makeup, and blow dried my hair for the first time since I had been home.
It’s been so nice to just be myself during this trip, not worrying about how I look and appreciating my body not for its physical appearance, but for its physical and mental strength, and what it has allowed me to accomplish.
But that’s another blog post…😉
We took a taxi to the airport.
We sat around for a while waiting for our check-in time, reflecting on our trip and feeling extremely tired. We have had only one rest day our entire trip, so we haven’t really even had time to sit and do nothing…and just feel tired.
While we were in line for check-in, a woman saw our panniers and asked if we were cyclists. I told her about our trip, and everyone in line turned towards us to hear our conversation. One last taste of bike tourist superheroism…for now.
We got some pictures with our plane to Seattle, like a couple of tourists. 😂
After a quick plane ride, we quickly made our way through the Seattle airport, hopped onto a train, and then hopped onto a larger plane to Nashville. So many types of transportation!!! Bikes, cars, planes, trains.
Ever since we have been in the Pacific Northwest, I have had tons of people comment on my accent.
“Let me guess…..Australia!”
They ALL guess Australia! Maybe it’s the combination of my voice and my tan. 😂 We had 3 people in Oregon ask if I was from Australia, and one man even asked if I was from England. *A little boy on the plane just asked if I was from London!!* I don’t get it! 😂🤷🏼♀️
It was nice to board the plane to Nashville and hear some of that southern twang for the first time in a long time.
Now, I have found a goal to accomplish on the plane ride home: get my headphones out of my panniers without the smell wafting out. 😂😂😂 No clue what it is. #biketour