Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Laundromat In Florence

My home for the Day is Florence, OR.  It's actually a pretty nice little place.  Believe it or not, in this small town of 6000 or less, there is actually some good coffee.  On the short 30 mile trip to Florence from Tugman State Park, I ran into my good northward buddy Benjamin.  He ended up staying at the park only four miles ahead of me the night before and stopped me as I was passing by him at the diner as he was finishing a heroically large breakfast.  We agreed to ride with each other up to Florence where I would stay for the day and where he would turn of and finish in Eugene 60 miles later.  Again it was really nice just to have someone to chat with along the way.  It makes the miles pass easier and quicker.  Also, because he's a stronger rider he was pushing me harder than I would have alone.  I hope to see him again on my way back through.
So I pulled down into Old Town Florence which is actually a quaint little place with some really nice shops.  As I was rolling down the street what did my eyes behold?  COFFEE!!! A roasting company was right before my eyes shining in heavenly glory.  I was in heaven as I was drinking my pour over style coffee and a delicious brownie trying to remember how long it has been since I've had something that can actually be called coffee.  It's been a coffee desert ever since San Francisco.  For a few minutes I was blissfully unaware of anything else but the steaming brew in front of me.  After I broke my coffee daze I hung out for a while, then went to Safeway for some dinner items and went to Honeyman State Park where I will stay for two nights.
    That night I had many companions.  There were about six of us that stayed in the hike/bike area... but only five of us could speak English.  There was a couple from Missouri named Johnny and Anna.  (I'm pretty sure.)  A couple solo girls named Barbara and the other Jenn, and finally a really cool solo rider from Germany named Charles.  Charles couldn't speak english but we felt like we understood his story by the end of the night.  He was just a goofy guy having fun touring the Pacific Coast.  After we made a community dinner Johnny and Anna busted out something that I'd nearly forgotten about this whole trip, a guitar!  It was a tiny one they picked up from a shop for about 80 bucks, but it was a fine instrument none-the-less.  Charles made a fire that night and it just felt good to have some music as we all sat around and warmed ourselves.  The more I go, the more I realize it's the simple pleasures, like morning fire made coffee or fireside music, that can make these sorts of trips really enjoyable.
Yep: A Zoltar Machine in Old Town Florence
    I got out of there before the other campers woke up and found another Foursquare church to attend sunday morning.  It felt good to be in there.  A really calming experience.  Afterward I made a b line straight for the laundromat.
    Before I could wash my clothes I asked a fellow washer if I could buy some soap off of him.  He let me use the soap free of charge and directed me to the best machines to use.  We started talking and after he heard about my trip he suggested that I stop by Portland for the blues festival that's going on the 4th of July weekend.  This sounds like a magical idea.  I'm getting a little tired of riding the coast because although it's beautiful, the wind and chill is starting to take a toll on me.  We talked about the best rout to take and I've decided that if I can figure out how to make it work I'm definitely going to veer inland and try to catch at least one day of the festival.  Before he left he gave me 20 dollars saying that if I could make it that that would pay for two days of the event.  I tried to compose myself from the shock and thank him as best as I could and then he just left... probably never to see me again.  His name is Tom.  A super cool guy.  These random acts of generosity are continually hammering my ego and reshaping the way I perceive people.  It's very humbling.  Thank you Tom.

I'm probably just going to head back, have some more coffee, rest again at Honeyman and head tomorrow for Newport, OR.  So that's where I leave you.  Writing from a Laundromat in Florence.

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