Mountaintop Homes and Redwoods

For the last week, I’ve become more intimately acquainted with lesser known forms of entertainment.

Blades of grass gently swaying with the breeze.

The symphony of crickets that can easily be mistaken for electricity bouncing, but varies in intensity and rhythm.

Hummingbirds, whose bodies stay still as their tiny wings beat back and forth, eagerly drinking up the sugar water that sustains them in a flowerless drought ridden California.

Conversation. Conversations. About riding bikes, knee pain, life stories, past loves, drought and climate change, pioneer daughters, building houses, blackberry jam, growing garlic, solar houses, and the economics of growing marijuana in northern California.

The solar house that Judy's parents built.

The solar house that Judy’s parents built.

We’ve been riding about 40 miles each day. We didn’t always start the day knowing where we’d lay our heads at night. We camped at hiker-biker campsites, at a wildlife refuge, at a park near the beach, and in a redwood forest that is “managed” by a logging company. We slept in a bed once, in the mountaintop home of Sam and Shirley, in our own cabin with our own bathroom (!).

Sunset from Sam and Shirley's home

Sunset from Sam and Shirley’s home

I’ve had cell reception approximately 3 times. The headwinds have not hit so hard. The mountains have been more like hills. We’ve been met with incredible kindness, and have interacted with several people who I want to be like when I “grow up”. My bicycle and I risked falling off North America. We explored a fort that was a Russian outpost in California. (Yes, the Russians were in California.)

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We even ran into our friends from San Diego, Steph and Ryan, while they were riding south! In a complete coincidence, we all met up along the Pacific Ocean.

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We’ve seen some big ass trees.

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A large eucalyptus tree!

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Redwood!

Anne is a star-nosed mole! In a fallen giant.

Anne is a star-nosed mole! In a fallen giant.

It’s impossible to quickly convey everything we’ve experienced in the last week. There are things on this coast that are physically larger than I have ever imagined. I am bursting with a feeling of humanity’s smallness in the universe. I have been on the verge of tears more times than I can count.

Moving forward, I’m trying to remember lessons from the redwoods: Humans burn (but redwoods don’t). Look up.

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