Friday, October 25, 2013

How does one end a trip?

Our last two days of riding were a few of our longest days: 82 miles (Santa Monica to Dana Point, actually our most miles in one day for this tour) and then 67 miles (Dana Point to Point Loma). 

It's amazing to say that the whole tour we had maybe two moments in Washington were it sprinkled on us. Sunshine seemed to cruise right along with us all the way down the coast. I was super thankful for that since rain and me aren't the best of friends. 

The campground at Dana Point sat right on the beach, which was nice, but the traintrack actually sandwiched the campground with the ocean. I think Evan and I counted 21 times that trains came barreling through, literally right next to our tent. That evening thought it would throw another curveball at us by having the police harass the camper right next to us to the point where he had to pack his things and leave. Then 7am came quickly to have an army of campground cleaners come and tidy up the restrooms with a boisterous leader barking orders. Needless to say our quality of sleep was lacking. Thankfully we can laugh about it but I know we were both so tired and sore from the 82 mile ride that all we wanted to do was zonk out but we kept getting woken up.

Most of the ride these past days have been through cities and along developed beaches. It's more slow going with bike paths filled with pedestrians, stoplights, numerous stop signs, and many turns; all we wanted was to ride on a single road where we could get into a rhythm and sit back and enjoy the scenery but we were on alert; trying not to get doored by parked cars along the road, making sure we made eye contact with drivers trying to pull out onto roads, and such. Was a different style of riding, strange how many types of cycling there are when you sit down and think about it.

Our final day of riding from Point Loma to Border Field State Park took us along the banks of San Diego onto bike paths then through a sketchy agricultural area close to the border where 5 helicopters were patrolling and numerous border patrol SUV's were scurrying around on dirt roads. We arrived to the state park and we were the only ones there. It literally sits ontop of a small hill with the border fence extending into the ocean a fair amount. Looked like a nice beach but no one was out enjoying it on the US side, but the Mexico side looked quite nice with a bull fighting arena, lighthouse, really nice houses, and we could see many people and hear a band playing. 

It was a strange location that brought emotions I wasn't quite expecting. The whole ride to the park I kept asking myself, "How does one end a trip?" Something that you've been looking forward too, planning, then actually starting it, then as it comes to completion, how do you prepare to finish it? 

Obviously not cycling everyday helps end the trip, as well as, staying still in one location longer than a day or two, but usually we want some cathartic ending; like movies the protagonist is pushed to the point where it couldn't possibly get worse and they are able to find a way to achieve their goal. 

The state park didn't bring that extra 'umph' that I was hoping it would have. Getting to the border and it being completely empty was strange. No one to share the story with. No one there to witness the ending. 

Thankfully for the age of the internet and smartphones and gizmos and whizz-dee-doors we were able to share the entire journey (the greyhound rides, ferry boats, national parks, tough days, gorgeous days, possible murder, etc.) with our friends and family. 

Letting the last day simmer a bit in the back of my mind, I knew I didn't need a big fantastical finish, nor did I actually want one; I was honestly thankful for my nonchalant phone call to my father who was at the grocery store and him saying, "congratulations on finishing, I'm proud of you."

I didn't do this ride to accumulate accolades or Facebook likes or Instagram followers; I did it because I love the uniqueness of travel it brings, the new stories, new friends, how certain smells have become memories, and I'm glad I was able to share it with everyone that cared to follow. 

I still don't know what to think of how one finishes a trip, but I know there will be many more down the road for me to continue to ponder about.

Thank you all for sharing this experience with us and reading on about my dronings; I am not a writer, my blogging is mainly a source to help with my flawed memory. 

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