Pacific City, OR
A few days back, I climbed up a hill out of Tillamook and stopped to catch my breath over an enormous clearcut. I tossed my bag beside the side of the road and waded through the roadside brush to get some photos of the sad panorama. I heard a car door slam and stumbled down, back to the road; a man was poking at my stuff. Seeing me, he retreated back to the safety of his pickup truck. ”I was wondering whose stuff this was. It’s odd to see a bag by the side of the road. I was just checking it out. I woulda given it back.”
I walked around to the driver’s side window to chat with him for a moment. His breath smelled of pot. I told him I was walking from BC to Mexico; he asked if I had brought any BC bud along for the journey. I replied that I hadn’t. ”We grow some good stuff here,” he said, waving a container in my face. I changed the topic to discuss the clearcut.
”They took this out last year. I really liked what they’ve done. It used to be dark through here – now the drive is much brighter and you have a nice view of the mountains.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I’m not sure I liked his opinion. I walked on, down the road.
Reaching the coast, I bumped into Ben. He was riding his bike from Seattle south, slowly. ”I’m a slacker cyclist,” he told me. We walked side-by-side on opposite shoulders of the road; cars passed slowly between us. As we passed one house, an irate farmer came storming out: ”can’t you idiots get on the same side of the road?! You’re blocking up traffic! I’m sick of morons like you on this highway.” The late day sun filtered through the tall trees. ”Share the road!”, Ben yelled back. ”Share the road by getting off the road!”, replied the farmer. We walked on the same side of the road to Cape Lookout.
The next night, Ben got in touch when I arrived in Pacific City, and offered a couch at a friend’s beach house. In the morning he shot hoops and told me a story about lost love. ”Do you know the Andre 3000 song ’Prototype?’” I nodded. ”That’s how I felt about this girl. ’I hope that you’re the one. If not, you are the prototype.’” He sang the lyrics, his fingers conducting in time with how the notes rose and fell. The basket was only 9 1/2 feet tall; he made 5 or 6 long range shots in a row.
I walked on to Neskowin, where I slept in a backyard, on the dune overlooking the sea.