Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2012 @ 11:12 am
Cycling the San Juan Islands. A Mediterranean archipelago in the Pacific Northwest. The sun and golden grasses and the thump of my panniers as I cross imperfections on the road.
We stand on the deck of the ferry, looking out to the islands that we are soon to explore. Velvety forest, rocky shores. The sun low in the clear sky. The smell of salt water and diesel, and the ferry vibrating reassuringly beneath my feet.
And then we travel the islands. The freedom of the bicycle. Everything I need is strapped to its steel frame. This is a holiday, a holiday from driving and traffic and being disconnected from the world. A holiday from work and household chores and technology. Everything becomes so simple: eat, sleep, locomote.
How the world changes when you're living from your bicycle. Our routine: find campsite, set up tent, stash excess gear, find groceries, cook, eat, drink, sleep. If it's not a travel day, then we explore the island and gather groceries before sundown. Inevitably, we're careening downhill towards the campsite (always at low elevation on the beach), the light thin and weak in the forest, baguette projecting upwards from my pannier, and my load uneven because of a cold, heavy six pack of hoppy northwest ale.
The islands are romantic. We lay on a bluff in golden grasses and listen to the huff of whales breathing offshore. We ride through old growth forests ripe with black tailed deer whose fawny eyes gaze out languidly. And everywhere are the arbutus trees, a tree so mediterranean with its leathery leaves and smooth red bark that it has no right to be living side-by-side with the cedars.
I've already forgotten so much.
Shooting stars, the curious foxes, and a steaming London Fog from a bakery in town. The long hills, my bottom gear, and my legs screaming to stop stop stop. The joy of finding a public shower at a marina. Fixing flat tires and stuffing my face with food and giving my sleeping bag and pillow to Daniel for the benefit of the greater good.
Seven days and four islands and my head and my heart will be happy for a while.