I was camped just outside Florence, Oregon in what was an empty hiker biker site ( unless you count all of the giant mosquitoes) until I was joined by Lars, who is from Germany, and Patrick, who said he was from heaven. Everyone went about their business setting up camp and cooking dinner. Lars and I used little camping stoves to heat our meals and Patrick started a fire to cook his hot-dogs. He placed the dogs directly on the concrete fire-pit ring and some of the ash got onto the hot-dogs. He kindly offered to share with us and we kindly refused. Patrick seemed to be homeless guy who was recovering from a serious drug addiction. He mentioned, in his non-stop narrative, that he had to stay away from his sister’s place because of the smack or crank that temps him. ( I guess she is still a user) Patrick ate his ashy dogs, even though I’m certain they couldn’t have been warm yet, and was still hungry so he decided to go to the gas station a mile or two down the 101. He was only equipped with a handheld flash light so I offered him one of my extra tail-lights so he’d be seen in the dark. ( The Night Rider bicycle group does a light drive every year so I always have an extra set of lights to help out other riders) Lars and I discussed Patrick and both felt safe with him camped with us. He was definitely a little off his rocker, but we didn’t feel threatened by his presence. ( I’ve heard and have a few stories about being at campsites with unsavory characters) Patrick returned with some chips and a can of beans that was cooked on the fire. I shared the last of my farmers market strawberries for dessert while Patrick showed me his book collection. It consisted of a couple of science fictions and a kid’s bible with pictures. They were all in pretty ratty condition since they’d been strapped of his bike exposed to the elements for quite some time. He explained the fiction books to me and told me he could fly. I tried hard to be a polite listener while still carrying on somewhat of a conversation with Lars. Patrick kept throwing logs onto the fire as he called it a “nice fire”. I asked if he was going to burn down the campsite with the fire and the candle he now had burning in his tent. He assured me they were all good flames and wouldn’t do any harm. I was pretty pooped from days ride and retired to my tent. Lars told me Patrick had to count to 3000 to fall asleep. Apparently, Lars got to listen while he fell asleep. My tent was far enough away that I only heard an occasionally “nice fire” from a distance.

  

In the morning Patrick was up and at em with the sun. Lars and I slowly started to break down camp and cook breakfast while Patrick loaded his bike with an amazing quickness. He occasionally would take a break and go to the what was left of his “nice fire” and taste the ash. I’m not sure why. Patrick let me take a picture of his Cannondale as he strapped down his books, blankets and tent. He said goodbye and wished us well on our travels.

I’ve met all sorts of interesting people out on the road and Patrick is definitely one of them.