We’re not dead I promise, we didn’t get hit by a car while riding along the curving coastal highway 101, we didn’t abandon our trip as the weather got chillier, we didn’t just drop off the face of the earth – even though it might seem that way by our recent lack of communication. Sorry. We’ve really let the blog fall by the wayside and we’re ashamed. But hopefully starting now we’ll be better about keep up with you, cause we really do love and appreciate all the support and encouragement you have all given us along the way!!
I can’t remember if I mentioned it in an earlier post, but somewhere along the way we decided to take an opportunity offered to us to stay in Oregon for three months to learn, volunteer and live in an aspiring Eco-village. So that’s where we’ve been since the beginning of September. We are taking a 12 week long Permaculture Design Certification course, as well as doing a sustainable living internship here at Lost Valley which is an educational center and intentional live-in community.
I really wish I hadn’t let myself fall behind after Seattle. We were pushing hard to cover the miles to get to Lost Valley by the start of our internship (we just barely made it) but that section of our journey, soaring down the Oregon coast, was breath-taking and I wish I’d captured it when it was happening.
After leaving Seattle it took us just three days to get to the mighty Columbia River where we crossed into Oregon state. That night we found ourselves in a small touristy town on the coast that was completely flooded with people and nowhere to stay. (Particularly touristy towns are not great news for us because it usually means if you inquire about somewhere to pitch your tent they’ll likely just direct you to a pricy campground or pricier motel. And that weekend happened to be when the famous race from Mt. Hood to the coast was happening and everywhere was booked full.) So after a few hours of riding around town asking, we decided to push on. We ended up at a Catholic Church set in a beautiful forest right on the coast, just as the Saturday evening mass was about to begin. After meeting the priest and explaining our situation to him, he lead us around behind the church and, to our astonishment, into a beautiful forest grove sanctuary. He said the church sometimes held mass out there in the summer time and invited us to make it our home for the night. The sun was setting on the red bark of the trees, the winding paths were covered in soft pine needles, and there were shadows cast on small alters tucked away here and there. It was such a peaceful place. The priest even came out to meet us after dinner and offered us showers in his own home which we gratefully accepted. That night, for the first time, we fell asleep to the sound of the Pacific Ocean tides washing up on the beach below.
For the next three days we followed highway 101 as it swept along the cliffs of the coast that drop down to the ocean waves below. Every morning started out chilly with a dense fog that rolled in from the sea. We would climb up hills that opened up at the peak to reveal breath-taking overlooks from craggy cliff tops. We had been told the Oregon coast was not to be missed and it’s true. Huge rock formations rise up from the shallow ocean waters, the highway hugs the rocky clif wall winding in and out of tunnels, salty ocean spray meets you at every turn, and wales can be spotted not too far off the shore. When you’re not skirting along the cliff face, you’re making your way through tangled green growth. The trees of the forests grow denser and denser till your riding through a jungle of lush, dripping, moss-covered creatures that envolope you from all sides.
We spent one enchanting night amidst these creatures when we ducked off the highway onto a dirt rode that lead us to a trailhead where we pitched our tent. The Forest floor was a mossy green carpet that crept up all the tree trunks and made its way along their branches and hung down on all sides.
On August 27th we turned east and began pedaling away from the coast. We made it to Eugene, OR with three days to spare before our internship started, so we took some time to relax and clean up the bikes while staying with some WarmShowers folks there. As we biked the 25 miles from Eugene out to the tiny town of Dexter where Lost Valley is located I remeber looking around at the land, the rolling hills that grew into mountains ahead of us, and thinking “so this is where I’ll be for the next three months.” It was a strange thought after being on the move for four and a half months.
It didn’t take us long to settle into life here at Lost Valley. Maybe a little later I’ll dedicate a post to some more details about how things run around here. But for now I’ll just say that we’ve been fortunate to find this place to have come at a time when so many other very special people were also arriving and making it “home.” We are part of a group of 14 interns, all here for roughly the same amount of time, and we have all formed strong bonds and found some dear new friends.
Three months goes quickly though and our time here is soon coming to an end. We’ll be getting back on the bikes, despite the cooler temperatures, and continue our journey South towards San Fransisco and see where the road takes us from there. Thank you all for your interest in our adventure and for the continued support despite our lack of communication. You’ll be hearing more soon, I promise!
Love from Oregon,
Claire & Andy