Let me tell you about the last night of bike tour.
It started with dinner. We arrived at our campsite early, and with plenty of time and light we prepared the best camp meal of the tour. I would just like to reiterate that we cook with one gas burner, one pot, and one pan. Dinner was garlic mashed potatoes, steamed kale and smoked salmon. It was incredible, and just what we needed after a full day of up and down hill after hill.
Then we headed to the coast. The ranger ladies at Salt Point State Park pointed us in the direction of tafoni formations, an Italian word that describes how the wind and water carve divots, ribs, lines, and caves in the sandstone cliffs by the ocean.
For the FIRST TIME on this whole trip, I was able to cruise the Pacific coast without being incapacitated by wind or cold. The cliffs gave way to climbable rocky formations, which disintegrated into smooth ocean stones. The waves crashed upon flat, jagged rocks in the cove, which I could jump on if I was careful. In the crags of the cove rocks were tide pools, and in the tide pools were anemones and mollusks and snails crawling around in their own transient world.
Instead of disappearing behind a mirage of fog, the sun blazed down a path to the ocean unimpaired, like its purpose was to cast the perfect light on the rocks and cliffs, and ultimately set the sky on fire. In six weeks, this was the first unobscured sunset I watched in entirety, from magic shadow hour till it disappeared behind the horizon. The waves burst upon the rocks as the tide came in, bathing in the pink light, and the cliffs admired themselves as they blazed orange and glowed.
I stood on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and breathed in. I have a lot of questions about what next week will bring: Will my cats remember me? Will I be able to transform Travis' bachelor pad into a livable space? Will I find a job and a living and path? But I let those things slide for a moment as I breathed and let the big orange sun slip slowly behind the horizon, waiting for the very last moment till the top of it disappeared.
Tomorrow we ride to Petaluma, and bike tour is over.