While visiting Beverly Beach State Park for a shower, I met two other cyclists. Running into fellow cyclist’s touring is always a happy occasion, and they were the first I’d seen since leaving West Vancouver, so I was eager to strike up a conversation.
Danny and Eric (Keystone) are from England and were cycling north from Nevada to British Columbia. By afternoon they had already cycled their share for the day and were setting up camp, while I had barely eaten breakfast and rolled into Beverly Beach from my nearby campsite looking for food and hot water. I wondered; How impossible it would be to travel with such early birds?
Keystone has a baby almost due back home. Getting to spend a holiday of freedom on his bike before such a life-changing event is quite admirable. And for a wife to let her husband go on a bike trip for a few weeks at the late stages of pregnancy seems like a sign of a healthy relationship. Or just the woman of every traveller’s dreams.
We chatted about touring life for an hour, maybe two. Then Danny (the designated chef) started cooking – real food with actual vegetables – and I knew I had to leave to do the same. The most preparation I’d done thus far was adding crushed tomatoes and chicken to my beans, so I knew I was due a proper meal. I wished the boys well, went to the store, had a quick snack, and cycled onwards to find a place to cook.
This’ll do. A rest stop table with a view, and a convenient trash can.
Food is important on tour. And not just because of the much-needed calories. I mean sure, it’s important under any conditions, but there’s something about the simplicity of touring life that really makes you appreciate the basics of life so much more. Just the simple act of cooking and eating something even a little special can make your whole day. Especially if it’s made of fresh real ingredients.
So I chopped up some onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers and fried them on my burner. Really taking my time with everything. Then I boiled some water, used the extra to make a cup of tea while waiting, and added my beans to the rest. When that was done I put in some tomato and my fried veggies to the pot, plus some pre-cooked hotdogs and seasoning.
If only I had put this much effort into the cycling, writing, reflecting, and photographs over the past month.
That was the best meal I’ve had in ages. Not that the food was that special, but in that moment, it was perfect. It made me so happy my eyes watered. A few passing hikers gave me waves or thumbs up at the sight of my travel kitchen. I waved back while finishing the entire pot of my gourmet hotdogs, vegetables, and beans.
After cleaning up it was already late at night. It wasn’t freezing cold or raining this time, so I continued on for a few more hours, taking photographs with the midnight sun lighting the wide-open landscapes of Southern Oregon, and smiling at the beauty of everything.
I can’t believe how lucky I am to live this kind of life. Let’s hope the next month provides similar memories.
By Brian Nadon