Adam Spencer, The Triplicate

Father spreads ashes of his son at journey's end

After a journey of more than 400 miles, the ashes of Dustin Weber were laid to rest in Klamath on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of the tsunami that took his life.

"We brought him back home," said Dustin's father, Jon Weber, who started his trek to Klamath with Dustin's ashes 13 days ago from Astoria, Ore., where Dustin's body was found weeks after the tsunami.

Jon Weber, of Bend, Ore., ran 150 miles of the 430-mile trek, completing the rest on bicycle.

"I just hope (Dustin's) up there looking down saying, 'this was a

good run,'" Weber said Sunday from the beach at the mouth of the Klamath

River where was his son was swept into sea.

Jeff Baker accompanied Weber on bicycle and Weber's close friend,

Rick Loeks, stayed close to the two men in an RV to provide support and

shelter.

Baker also experienced the untimely death of his son when Jared Baker

died in a motorcycle accident in 2003. Jared and Dustin were both 25.

On Sunday morning, Weber and Baker cycled south on U.S. Highway 101,

climbing more than 1,000 feet. At the peak, Weber hopped off the bike

and continued on foot. At Trees of Mystery, he was joined by his

daughter and Dustin's half-sister, Kelsea Weber, and they completed the

journey to the Klamath River Overlook.

Weber wore Dustin's shoes and T-shirt for the last stretch.

After reaching the rainy overlook, Jon, Kelsea and Dina Weber

(Dustin's stepmother) walked to a family plot off of Requa Road to

spread Dustin's ashes.

Loeks, who Dustin knew as Uncle Rick, called the intermittent

rainfall that greeted the group on Requa Road, "tears of happiness."

After spreading the ashes, the group descended to the beach where

Dustin was last seen. It looked completely changed from when Jon came

there after the tsunami to look for Dustin's body. In the days after the

tsunami, Jon scoured the beach looking for traces of his son. He even

repelled down the cliffs north of the Klamath River Overlook. He

remembers seeing buoys and debris about 40 feet up on the cliffside when

he searched.

At the beach Sunday, Jon pointed to near-shore rocks, more than 40

feet tall, that were covered by tsunami waves one year ago, according to

Dustin's friends who were with him that fateful day.

One of the friends, Freddie Ledford, said Monday he remembers turning around to face a wall of water.

"Dustin almost made it to the top, he grabbed me by my T-shirt, by

the neck, that was the only thing he could grab because he was falling

back off, and that's when the next surge hit us and threw us back off

and that was the last time I saw him," Ledford said.

Ledford was thrown back into the cliffside and grabbed onto whatever

he could to avoid getting swept out. He started to scramble up the cliff

- still underwater. By the time he was on dry ground, the water was

still almost 20 feet up on the cliff, he said.

On Sunday, Kelsea Weber neglected to wear socks for her 9-mile run

with her father, preferring to show off the calf tattoo that she had

done to remember her brother. The tattoo has Dustin's name, birth and

death dates, and "John 3:16," resembling a similar tattoo that Dustin

had with the entire bible verse.

Baker said he always tried not to think about his son's death as a

way to get over it, but he feels like this trek helped complete the

necessary mourning he had avoided for years.

The group members left the beach and headed to the Requa Inn, where

they were greeted with a complimentary dinner and a dry, warm place to

stay.

They said they would like to thank everyone who helped make the trek a

success, and they will continue to accept donations for underprivileged

children that can be made to Tribute Run at US Bank and Bank of the

Cascades in Oregon.

Loeks kept friends, family and local newspapers posted with updates

sent by email. The last one ended: "to Dustin, rest in peace my nephew

... maybe gone ... but not forgotten!"

Reach Adam Spencer at aspencer@triplicate.com.

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