Waldport (hotel) to Beverly Beach State Park (Newport) (actual date Thursday 6/5/14)
I woke up confused. My skin felt swollen and dry. I stayed up too late drying things out and getting laundry done. I didn’t want to watch TV and there wasn’t anything on anyhow. But still I incessantly flipped channels. I reminded me of my dad when we first got cable back in the 80s. I will never own one again. I’m addicted to access. Access to food, to technology, to all the excess I habitually exploit. It’s a problem. I never need as much as I think I do.
Also, why is it I feel so much guilt for sleeping in s hotel? Why should I even care? It doesn’t subtract from the fact I am walking my ass off every day. Maybe it’s the money I can’t afford to blow? Maybe the self-indulgence wears on me? I worry that somehow the luxury lessens the experience – and maybe it does – but not to the degree that I should feel all guilty about it. Jesus, Griffen. Lighten up.
I escape the hotel as early as possible and hang an art piece. Shortly thereafter I find a strip of paper from a fortune cookie on the side of the road. It says, “A new pair of shoes will do you a world of good!” Just yesterday I was shocked to find that my insoles are already broken in a dozen places and the carbon rubber treads of the heels of my shoes are smooth as paper. All in less than two weeks.
I follow the beach to Seal Rock, then briefly hop on the 101 to bypass a protected nesting area, then back to the sand. The wind is blowing something fierce. I cross a number of creeks but manage to hop over all of them without taking off my shoes. This brings me amazing joy. I take lunch on a pile tsunami bones – driftwood trees and floats that look chaotic but feel smooth and warm from the morning sun. The wind doesn’t blow here and I eat my can of refried beans in a strange silence.
The Newport south jetty is in sight but still two hours away. When I finally arrive, I take a break and watch a Coast Guard ship as it enters Yaquina Bay. Here I meet a fellow from Sedona, AZ who was forced to evacuate his neighborhood, threatened by forest fires. I can see the shape of a backpacker slowly walking across the 3200-foot Yaquina Bay bridge and sense that I am looking into a mirror. He is also hiking the coast and we exchange obligatory greetings and careful-when-you-get-to-this-place sort of advice.
My feet are killing me. And as the day progresses I need a break every hour. I make it to Nye Beach and enjoy its unique history and architecture. During WWII, Nye Beach was patrolled by blimps and armed locals guarding the threat of a marine invasion. I thought of this as I walked, squinting into the incessant gales of sand using my eyes for target practice. After six more miles, the beach narrows dangerously so I get back on the 101 where I stay for five more painful miles until I see a sign for Beverly Beach State Park. My big toe is nearly tapped out.
I pay for two nights (a whopping $10) knowing that I need another break after 146 miles in six consecutive days (and 260 miles since I started 13 days ago). I’m cooking, but my body, or at least my big toe, is still settling in to this glorious lifestyle.
Art on the 101
See – I wasn’t bullshitting
Newport south jetty
Beverly Beach State Park for two nights