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Radial Designs and the Best Brownies I have Ever Ever Had

February 23, 2011

Parachute roof, originally uploaded by creativeisthmus.

Fantasmal radiance
That beautiful sunrise
Surrounding my heart
And widening that eternal space
Between closed eyes
Look within
To see the without
Greater than any world
Or box
And so we travel
Heart to heart
Along the beauteous roads
Of light
That dance in colors
Most brilliant
In softness and strength

Sitting beneath the towering redwoods, nursing a strained adducter muscle, I was staring at the swaying branches above me when another cyclist pulled up to our campsite and asked if he could join me for a brief rest.

Sure thing, I said. Cyclists are a friendly bunch and we’d enjoyed getting to know many along the road. We started to talk. He and his touring companion had taken a more difficult route through this section of northern California–opting for the “Lost Coast” option with its 3,000 some odd feet worth of climbing–while my friend and I had opted for the less climb intense Hwy 101 route.

As we were chatting we talked about life and other such matters. He told me stories of meditating with the Maharishi on Humboldt state campus back in the 70s. I told him about our trip so far and growing up in Iowa (in a small town north of Fairfield). As it came time for him to hit the road again and meet up with his friend, he gave me this recommendation: When you get to Leggett, right before the big climb, be sure to stop at The Peg House. They have the best brownies you will ever taste!

Well, we did! After several hours of cycling through the heat of the eastern side of the mountains, we came upon the Peg House. It was a wonderful place to stop. The food was served on a back patio shaded by a full sized parachute strung up over head. We noshed on a late lunch, had a sampling of indeed the greatest brownie’s I have ever tasted, and even split a blackberry sunday with homemade iced cream. Have I mentioned that when you’re cycling all day, you get rather hungry? Think, three times your normal food intake hungry! All the while, this heavenly sea green parachute billowed in the wind above our heads and shaded us from the heat of the day without completely blocking out the light. What a feat!

That same lunch, we met two other cyclists whom we chatted with and found we got on very well. We ended up riding with them for a chunk of the day and camping at the same site later that night. The hill after Leggett is beastly: we were peddling uphill (alternately jumping off and walking for a bit in my case) for nearly two hours and had about ten miles of downhill on the other side. With a climb of around 2500ft and back down again with a “hiccup” of a steep climb just before you hit the coast, it’s enough to make both your arms and your thighs unbelievably tired.

I can tell you this about the rainshadow effect: you know the instant you’ve crossed to the other side. I could literally feel the change in the air as we came around the apical bend in the road. The ferns began to appear in the brush and the temperature dropped nearly 15 degrees (Fahrenheit). But my, when we finally hit the coast again after several days behind the mountains, it was a sight to behold. Just past sunset, all the water lit with the gold timbre of the dying day and all wideness of the Pacific stretched out before your eyes.

We finished the last stretch of road in the dark and camped beneath a clear sky filled with stars. So many stars, I could even see them without my distance glasses on! It was the only place this side of the equator I’ve ever been able to see the milky way clearly. Even with a stiff cold ocean wind, it was all I could do to stop staring at the sky and head in our tent to sleep.

It just happened this was one of our last campsites on that trip and it was a beautiful place to stop!  So filled with memories and the sweet poignancy of the end of a journey, the beginning of a new chapter in life’s book.

The Photos from this Story:

Looking into the Boughs of the Redwoods

Parachute II
The Parachute
I have always loved how beautiful the Parachute looked with the stitching a myriad of radial patterns that shifted as the wind blew. It reminded me of a flower or a stained glass window.

Behind the Mountains
The Land Behind the Mountains

Back on the coast
The Coast on the Original Hwy 1
(sorry I don’t have a sunset pic from the night we came down past Leggett, this is from the day after)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Janet 'Mom' Simpson permalink
    February 23, 2011 8:43 pm

    Zowee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an awesome blog. Thanks kiddo!!!

  2. tigger permalink
    February 23, 2011 10:26 pm

    makes me want to get on my bike and just ride and ride! especially the picture of hwy 1. but it’s 5 degrees here at the moment, with a snowstorm expected on friday, so i shall look at your pictures and dream!

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