A familiar feeling stirred me awake this morning. I sat up again, this time, I felt unaware of what was going on. I stared around, taking in the green nylon walls, the large purple mass besides me. The walls of the tent were pushing and pulling, the wind battling against the human element. Every of often, it sounded as if the tent was being pummeled with peppercorns and I realized it was rain. I nudged Ashton to stir him and he turned over and sniffed. I nudged him again but this time, he farted in retaliation. Giving up, I tried to cozy myself back into the position I was sleeping in. My eyes couldn't put the darkness before them again, the flashing green nylon kept my eyes open. Suddenly, I hear a buzz. It sounds like a small gong going off. I realize Ashton brought an alarm clock. He sits up instantly, clicks it off and runs out the tent.
"ASHTON! IT'S RAINING!"
He doesn't hear me. He's too busy frolicking in the tempest. The rain is coming down hard and fast, Ashton starts to disappear into the rain and through the thick of it and the fog, you cant see him. I pull out the church key and open a tin of milk. I sit watching the grey figure shuffle through the rain jumping over logs and running through the grass. A few minutes later, he reappears in the tent sopping wet. I hold out the can for him to have a sip of milk. He takes it and finishes it. I pull on compression leggings for warmth, and a pair of waterproof pants. Heavy woolen socks and I replace the boots on my feet. I pull on the heavy pea coat and the rain slicker.
We climb onto our bikes and start to ride. The world immersed in rain is different, gray figures muscle around us as we continue riding. We are soaked, the headlights barely cast into the gray fog. We ride, our cyclometers read 130 miles. My tank is running a little dry and Ashton switches his motor off. We pedal, we keep moving. We are in Oregon.
There are hardly changes in scenery from when we left California to when we arrived in Oregon, the trees are just as majestic as ever and the only noticeable difference was the lack of sales tax when we filled up our tanks at a small roadside gas station. This was truly a paradise as we kept riding up the coast.
Evening seems to come faster when you are in Oregon, no sooner had we crossed the border did the sun begin to set and run. We pitched our tent in a dry spot under a fallen tree in a gully, parked and set up the stove and a small fire. The orange sky turned to a madder lake deep red into a convulsing purple then into the cold, clear darkness of the heavens. The clouds had parted, the rain stopped and the stars vivid. I felt as if we were camping beneath the tip of the world. I pulled a small square frying pan, placed two sausages in it, and let it roast over the campfire. Ashton on the other hand was trying to cook a small pot of rice over the campstove and it had a little trouble, but in the end, with some ketchup, we were fine. We washed the dishes, placed them aside, away from the tents and we pulled out our instruments again. I started strumming out, picking "Little Brown Church in the Vale and Ashton took up the harmony. We sat and sang until our little fire went out. Into the tent, into our sleeping bags and lights out.