One journey leads to another

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When I pressed the publish button on the “Coming Soon” story last weekend, a lump swelled my throat. It is still there. The response has been so gratifying. Thank you!

More than a year ago, I sat at this MacBook Air in the corner of a downstairs bedroom that became, at least partly, my office. I inserted my earbuds, hit “play” on a list of favorite music, and began my first journey as a book author. At one point, the wall behind my desk was filled with notes on color-coded 3-by-5 cards.

Hundreds of thousands of words later, my drafts (stacked to my left) morphed into one final 67,000-word printout that Sue and I will read one last time in search of elusive typos. Finally, it will be time to format and insert Sue’s watercolor paintings for Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.

I look forward to your company on a new path when I press “publish” one more time. When will that be? I am aiming for September. At that time, Camino Sunrise will be available on Amazon and carryoncouple will send word.

I welcome your questions. Submit them by commenting on this post. Also, feel free to forward this post to friends and family!

Here is a link to the Camino Sunrise announcement and the form to register for the book’s email list:

bit.ly/caminosunrise

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Coming soon to Amazon

Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows

A memoir and Camino de Santiago adventure by Reginald Spittle

Illustrated by Sue Spittle

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Illustration: Sue Spittle

They call it a pilgrimage, but for Reginald Spittle the 500-mile Camino de Santiago was the test of a lifetime.

A professional journalist and a gifted educator, Reg projected an air of confidence to those who thought they knew him. Recently retired, Reg’s new life of leisure included morning coffee on the front porch, bike rides and day hikes in nearby Yosemite National Park, followed by an evening glass of wine (or two) next to his backyard pool. However, painful childhood memories filled with relentless teasing, insecurity, and loneliness cast shadows on his adult life, undermining feelings of self-worth, trust, and friendship.

Tragedy brought him to reluctantly accept his wife’s challenge to carry his red backpack across Spain on a trail traveled by millions for centuries.

Self-reflection, humor and a recurring cast of characters create the backdrop for Camino Sunrise — Walking With My Shadows. Join Reg as he sets out with anxieties about the lack of privacy in communal dorms and about competition from younger, experienced backpackers. But his journey would also lead him to places far removed from daily Camino life. As each new day reveals lessons in camaraderie, acceptance, and hope, Reg is forced to confront disturbing emotional shadows from his past.

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2018 is a record year for Carryoncouple

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Carryoncouple thanks you for helping our blog travel to new territory in 2018. Our site has recorded nearly 5,300 views this year, surpassing our record from 2013, when we walked the Camino de Santiago. Your interest in our Way of St. Francis trek this spring exceeded all our other trips, including 181 in one day.

Since our kickoff in 2012, carryoncouple.com has recorded more than 25,000 views in 119 countries, led by the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and Italy. We await someone in Antarctica to extend our reach to every continent.

What is our most popular post? It comes from our 2012 visit to Verona, Italy. Pictured above, our post about the Basilica di San Zeno still attracts views and has been seen nearly 700 times.

Here’s to Word Press, to nearly 400 followers, and to many more adventures!

 

 

Categories: Camino de Santiago, Inspiration, Reflections, The Way of St Francis | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Discover The Cape Arago Beach Loop

Just a short detour from U.S. Highway 101 in Coos Bay lies a beautiful stretch of the Oregon Coast where three state parks await your discovery.  The parks are easily reached by car, but the best way to see the sights is by foot along the cliff top path, an 8.5 mile walk out and back.

Cape Arago State Park, located at the south end of the loop, provides picnic tables, views and hiking trails down to tide pools.  A highlight is the viewpoint overlooking a noisy colony of seals and sea lions.  We were lucky enough to see the occasional spout from a whale swimming about.  Be sure to bring your binoculars!

Simpson Beach, a secluded cove with a sandy shore, is breathtakingly beautiful and a perfect spot to wiggle your toes in the sand or dip them in the surf.

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Directly above the cove is Shore Acres State Park.  Originally home to timber baron Louis Simpson and his family, the estate home is long gone.  The remaining Gardener’s Cottage is surrounded by 5 acres of formal gardens, open to the public and well worth a stroll.   Be sure to stop and smell the roses!

Because we were lucky enough to have secured a campsite, our walk ended where it began…with our return to Sunset Bay State Park.  Make your reservations here early…this is a popular spot to escape the summer heat and, of course, to watch the sunset.

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Cape Sebastian State Park

Sunshine speckled the trail to Hunters Cove as we set out from the Cape Sebastian State Park Viewpoint. Our guidebook warned of strong winds that have kept the Sitka spruce that grow on the point at shoulder height, but this morning all was calm. As we hiked around a bend, the view north opened up to reveal an impressive sea of fog hugging the coast below us. Our downhill path would, no doubt, lead into the thick of it.As the fog lifted, we were able to see the steep cliffs and the surf below. The trail continued downhill through the forest and would eventually lead to Hunters Cove and a view of a collection of rocky island outcroppings. We didn’t make it quite that far since we had left our lunch in the car, but we walked long enough that the return trip offered clear views of the coastline we had missed earlier.Once back at the car, we drove a few miles down the highway and found our own spot (with a pretty good view) for our picnic.

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An Ongoing Beacon For Photographers And History Buffs

The Coquille River Lighthouse was first lit in 1896 and continued to guide ships to safety off the coast of Bandon, Oregon until it was decommissioned in 1939.Bullard Beach State Park provides the starting point for a brisk 5+ mile round trip walk to the lighthouse. You’ll find plenty of opportunity for beach access along the way. Several parking lots are available those less adventurous.These days the lighthouse opens to provide a glimpse into the past…a brief history lesson for visitors, campers and history buffs. It also serves as inspiration (for photographers) from either shore of the Coquille River.

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A Walk On The Beach

The wind continued to blow, as it has since we arrived on the coast, but without a cloud in the sky, it was a beautiful day to walk on the beach in Bandon, Oregon.

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Coos Bay Waterfront Surprises

After pocketing my winnings from the casino we continued north on Highway 101 to the Coos Bay waterfront. A pair tall ships were dockside, drawing eager crowds who held tickets, ready to set sail for adventure. Everyone and everything was enjoying the sun, including this seagull perched atop a cluster of old wharf posts.We took a chance on a little seafood shack located down on the docks, figuring their fish and chips were worth a try. We were not disappointed! Not only was it “the best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast,” (according to the owner…and he was right!) but my casino winnings covered the cost! Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch!?

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Coos Bay Rewards

Reg pulled in to check out the The Mill Casino RV Park in Coos Bay, and since we were there, I couldn’t resist trying my luck. I waved goodbye to my five dollar bill as I fed it into a giant slot machine…then pushed the button. Much to my surprise, I walked away with a $20.00 profit. I was thrilled! Maybe we’ll go back and see Elvis this weekend!

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Bandon by the Sea

Remains of an old wharf stand tall as the tide recedes along the coast of Oregon.

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