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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step

By | March 28, 2011

Or breakfast with good friends!

Friday morning I met Mara and Cheryl at the Mission. Then I went back to Sean and Chris’ house, loaded up the bike, and rolled out!

It rained as I left, drizzling, and then coming down harder. At first, I thought, it’s not raining that hard, it’s Southern California. I’ll just get wet and dry off as I ride. When my glasses were soaked, I knew it was time to get out the good raincoat. I had almost left it behind. I had finally decided to bring it thinking I would be sad I didn’t have it if I ever had to set up camp in the rain. I was so happy to have the right gear for the day! I was also glad to have the yellow rain flys on my panniers. It makes them extra visible and keeps my stuff dry.

It’s hard to train for a cross-country trip. I think you have to ramp up as you go. That’s great in theory, but is pretty tricky when the first has possibly the most climbing of any day on this route. I had to remember to just take my time! I’ve got nothing else to do all day but bike.

I stopped and drank hot tea once I turned on to Jamacha Blvd. I had a PB and J under the awning of a scooter and lawnmower dealership to stay out of the rain. With 10 miles left, I stopped for tea at Barrett Springs Junction. It was becoming clear that those 10 miles were all uphill, and I was tired. I put out signals that I might like to find a ride up the hill, or maybe camp behind the restaurant. All I got was, yup, it’s a big hill, and, nope, there’s nothing between here and there. You made your bed, stupid biker, they all seemed to be saying, now lie in it.

Secretly wishing someone with a pickup truck would pull over and take mercy on me, I headed up the hill. I biked, rested and walked my way up. I practically kissed the sign for Portrero County Campground. I did stop to take a picture, but my camera battery died right then and there. Of course the campground, another mile and a half off the main road, was at the top of a hill. I had to walk part way. But I had camp set up and showered before dark. Hot water and not riding at night. There’s not much more you can ask for. I had a power bar for dinner and another for breakfast to reduce weight. I’m carrying about 8 of them because they were on sale at the grocery store last week. Never again!

All day, I felt I was up to something special, but in the city, no one wanted to know about it. A my first tea, I got to tell two volunteer retired police officers what I was doing. They were impressed. Two odd older women at second tea were worried if I was warm enough, and wondered if I was scared by passing cars. But other than that, no one I met today was really interested in my cross-country trip. Just a reminder that this undertaking is for me, and not to please anyone else.

This morning, Sean had watched me struggle with attaching the panniers to the rack. Just like Ben a few days ago, he didn’t help, because I need to be able to do it on my own. In a few days, it will be a smooth operation. For tonight, I’ve left the panniers on the bike, so I don’t have to reattach them in the morning! Yay!

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