I made it to Mexico. The journey is complete.
It’s hard to sum up how that feels.
It was a great day all around. Woke in the night when it started to rain and dashed outside to cover my saddle and move my drying clothes under the tent’s vestibule. Woke in the morning to a wet tent and a damp, sticky, cloudy day. Had a breakfast of oatmeal & packed with the efficiency of a month’s practice. As I was getting ready to leave the neighbors came over and said hello, two guys both named Dan. Both full of questions about the trip and excited that this was the last day. One of the Dans said he wanted to give me something to take on my trip. Um, OK. He went off to look for it and the other Dan seemed a little embarrassed for his friend, said it’d be OK if I just took off. But I was curious. Dan One returned with religious literature and was excited to show me where there were some great articles. I was very nice, he seemed like a really sweet guy.
Another camper asked me again on my way out about the trip. It was fast becoming a recurring theme for the day.
One little errand to take care of before really starting, I zipped across to the supermarket for more band-aids for this blister on my foot that hurts with every pedal stroke. You kinda get used to it, but it does seem to like being covered. The supermarket was near a doughnut place that had about 10 other bicycles parked in front of it, looked like the place to be. I loaded up on goodies for the day.
The campsite was right along a stretch of road that, this apparently being a Saturday, was covered in lycra-clad cyclists and joggers and power walkers. I talked to a number of the cyclists as they passed me by. I was riding with one group for a little (pretty impressed that I could manage–barely–to keep pace with road cyclists) and was telling a few curious guys about the trip. At a stoplight I heard one of them, near the front of the pack, turn to his neighbor and say “That guy was coming from Seattle!”. And then he saw me there, still with their pack, said “Oh he’s right there, I was just talking you up!”. They wanted to know if I’d really done the whole trip in my old-fashioned toe clips and these sandals.
I came to Torrey Pines State Reserve and decided to check out the trees. My route book says it’s a “steep, mile-long hill to scenic views and the rarest pine trees native to the United States.”. Steep? Scenic? Trees? Sign me up! It was steep indeed–joggers were making it up faster than me. But I noted that almost all of the other cyclists out on the road this morning were opting for the easier, flatter route.
I stopped at the top to check out the trees and the views. It was still cloudy, the clouds just beginning to burn off, when I was up there. I walked a long loop trail past a garden full of weird & interesting & spiky southern plants and scenic ocean vistas.
Returning to the bike I found another couple admiring Sweet Liza Jane, again full of questions. The questions are beginning to be very similar, answering them like a familiar dance. Coming from Seattle, going to San Diego/the border. Been on the road since Sept 1st. Roughly 65 miles a day–some easier days like 35 miles, some longer like 100. Camping in state parks most of the way. The bike weighs close to 100 pounds. Yes, seriously, you can try & pick it up if you like.
But I love people’s interest and their curiosity and answering the same old questions. I think I’ll miss that when I return to normal life.
Anyway I was soon underway again to meet yet more road cyclists who wanted to ask about the trip. A fellow who had done bits and pieces of the coast route himself.
It was kind of a long day of cycling. Big city riding, the route had lots of turns & they were easy to miss.
In National City I met another cyclist, the only one I’d seen I a while, a young kid riding helmetless and shirtless on a single-speed. We rode together for a few miles, he totally interested in touring, thinking of a few trips of his own. He also turned out to be in sushi chef school which I found fascinating, and wondered if he ever gets tired of answering the same old sushi questions.
And before too much longer I was there–Mexico. Almost 2000 miles from where I started. The End. The bike path is closed, so I had to try & figure out if cyclists were supposed to join the cars or the pedestrians. I joined the pedestrians, but got to the border to find you had to go through huge metal turnstiles and it would be really tricky with Sweet Liza Jane. And I didn’t want to leave her behind. It was already 3pm, and while I had once entertained the notion of spending a night in Tijuana, I just was no longer interested in going through the hassle of crossing the border twice. My journey was done.
It was fun taking with Margaret there at the border, knowing how well she could relate, after finishing her own 5-week solo trip across England to end at Lizard Point.
For a month I’ve been drawn inexorably South. Every day I’ve gotten closer, racing the sun to make a campsite so I could rest a while and do it again the next day. I’ve loved it, loved he challenges of finding my way and the sheer physical exertion required, feeling self-sufficient and competent and so very powerful. Now that’s over. It’s not like a weight off, it’s not really a relief, and I’m not sad about this end. It has been fantastic.