Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Some Things go Missing - Day 54 – 44 miles

At around 5am I was woken by a creature sniffing the tent right in front of my face. It sounded big but I was pleased not to feel scared. Since my bear sightings a few weeks back in Yosemite I was no longer afraid. Had something like this happened 6 weeks ago I would have soiled my tent. Later on when I got up I came to the more likely conclusion that it been a deer rather than a bear. During breakfast I left my 2 bananas on the picnic table. When I came to pack up the bananas were no longer there. I accused everybody of stealing them. Everybody turned out their bags and pleaded innocence but I still threw wild accusations at them all.

We set off together. The landscape was amazing. I love getting away from the coast to get a look at some new scenery. We were riding through a large flat prairie, walled-in by mountains in every direction. It was hot, nearly 30 degrees. This was great training for Mexico. We stopped for a snack. I found my bananas and apologised to everyone. I felt bad but it is easier to accuse everybody else of stealing and have them turn out their bags than have to turn out your own.

My knees were hurting a little from the past 2 days of pushing myself too hard. Luke reminded me to switch to a lower gear and keep my legs spinning faster rather than pushing harder.

A new cyclist approached from behind. It was a guy from Florida called Scott. I really enjoyed talking to Scott as we climbed a pretty challenging hill. This was his first tour. Back in February he'd sold all his possessions and set off from Florida. His destination was Argentina but rather than take the easy route he'd chosen to ride via Alaska. He was on his way to Baja, Mexico too so I tried to get as much useful information from him as I could. His plan was to cross the border in the smaller city of Tecate rather than the bigger and more dangerous Tijuana. I'd considered this myself a while back and after discussing it with him I think this is what I'll do too.

At the top of the hill everybody was waiting and they cheered Scott and I to the summit. The view from the top was magnificent, taking in the city of Lompoc below and a panoramic view of all the mountains surrounding it. We flew down the hill and all stopped at Subway. All of us wolfed down our foot-long sandwiches and drunk litres of sugary soft drinks. Jenna decided to keep her sandwich for later as she wasn't hungry.

Everybody wanted to check their emails so we all headed to the library. Whilst in the library somebody stole Jenna's sandwich which she had tied on to the back of her bike. Chris told her he'd seen me take it. This was no doubt direct retaliation for the earlier banana incident.

Everybody left the library to go to the grocery store and set up camp. I stayed a little longer. When I finally left the library it was nearly dark. I'm surprised each day by how early it gets dark. It was only just after 6pm. When I started the trip less than 2 months ago I had around 4 more hours of daylight each day. I sped through town realising that I didn't really know where the campsite was. I raced through the streets. I didn't want to be stranded in the dark. I eventually found the campsite about 3 miles away to my great relief.

I set up my tent in the dark and had PBJs with banana for dinner.

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