Samuel Boardman State Scenic Corridor, OR
I broke camp early to cover as much distance as I could. It was 15 miles or so to Brookings. Rain caught me just past the point where Melissa had lost her smile. Tired, blinded by the blowing wind, I fought to climb the 101 over the headland.
A few miles down the road, the coastal trail roamed the narrow sliver of land between the coast and the highway. For brief intervals, the sky would lighten, and I would see the next dark cloud approaching from the western horizon. It took 45 minutes for a storm to make landfall from first sight, each new arrival introducing itself forcefully. I was drenched by the time I reached the RV park near Whalescove and sought shelter in the closed restaurant. I talked myself into some tea, served in a styrofoam cup.
It was early afternoon, and I decided to push on through to Brookings. I arrived an hour after dusk, tiptoeing in the dark rain along the side of the highway. I figured I deserved a motel room, and talked myself into the extra $10 splurge for one with a hot tub. I set up my little cook stove behind the motel to cook my nightly dinner of quinoa and lentils. My view was onto a gas station, much different scenery from the desolate dunes where I had camped the night before. I considered the plight of a lonely spruce across the way, trying to avoid thought of the majestic coastal giants I had been walking through all day; I didn’t want the spruce to get sad or jealous. The motel room was designed to be as anonymous as possible: off-white walls decorated with a generic print of a sea, and some flowers, and a solitary chair. I fell asleep listening to the buzz of the bar refrigerator.