Day 46 - Avenue of the Giants, California - 2364 km

I’m sitting against a tree trunk in the middle of a wide, dry river bed. It’s almost dark and the wind is battering from the side having free play coming over the open plain. I pull my hoody over my head to cover myself from it. The cords are hitting my face. In front of me is the forest, tall and dark, a grim silhouette against the fading sky. Somewhere among the high trees is my tent, which I had just set up. It’s a bit of a haunted place, but I’m actually enjoying it, with a beer in my hand, like I’m sitting in Vondelpark, enjoying a break in the sun on a regular working day. I realize most people probably would never wish to be in a place like this at this time of day. In the dark, alone, exposed in the wind and the cold. I missed it. Most of the nights I stayed on campsites, often with other cyclist. There are a lot of bicycle tourers on the road doing the coastal route. It’s nice. You have a chat, cook some food together, take a hot shower. It’s safe, comfortable and not much to worry about. Still I missed this. Being here in the wilderness, makes me more alert. Nervous, a bit anxious maybe. My senses get sharpened, it makes me feel more alive. I’m able to turn into myself, discover new things, overcome obstacles, fears perhaps. It makes my heart beat faster. Later I will go for a walk and then crawl in my tent, tuck myself in and when the silence returns I will worry for a while if my panniers are closed properly against animals. I will listen to the rustle in the forest and worry about bears, racoons and skunks. Then I will tell myself not to worry and fall asleep. I think the fact that I never get used to this, makes it so exciting.