Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Day 23 - Give me Love Hope and Strength

I was pretty knackered this morning... 2 tough days in a row had left me physically exhausted... not having the chance to catch up with friends had left me mentally low. I knew I had a long day and having had breakfast I checked my tyre again... it had needed blowing up quite a bit yesterday and I thought I might have a slow puncture. Once again this morning, I inflated it, wondering whether to just change the inner tube but as it seemed to be holding, I set off. It was fairly cold but with my wind jacket on, and the usual uphill climb I got very warm pretty quickly.
The next place along was Newberry Springs, 25 miles down the road and I took the interstate after being advised that the Route66 highway was pretty bumpy until newberry springs when the road condition improved. For once I did not have road envy, as the interstate shoulder was smooth. I wasnt sure whether I was going slowly because of my back tyre, the slight headwind or the uphill gradient. Probably a bit of all three, but it seemed to take forever to reach the town.
On the way, I noticed that the desert was becoming sandier, with less rock and brush and tried to distract myself by letting my mind wonder. This is what I like about cycling, it leaves the mind free and thoughts roll through like the wheels rolling on the tarmac. Also it distracts from any discomfort you may be feeling. I thought about my family, friends, how fortunate I am, how I might feel if I get to the pier tomorrow... a million different shards all splintering in my head.

Eventually Newberry Springs came into sight and I stopped to eat, hoping that wifi would be available... nope, no catch up.
After this the next 30 miles to Barstow were tough but at least I was on the old route 66, actually cycling through the desert, seaching (in vain) for snakes and spiders.  It was a nice road, with only the occasional car passing. At one point I was directed to the other side of the interstate, but having consulted my off line maps, decided to continue on this road, only to find myself at a checkpoint for a marine corps logistics base... I could pass, but they would have to search my bags... dont think so... so turned round and jumped back on the interstate! I saw a few lizards running away from my wheels here as well, which made the detour worthwhile.

I got to Barstow quicker than I thought I would and although it was fairly busy (since Ive got used to quiet country towns) , it was quite a nice place and suddenly it hit me that I was in california and tomorrow (hopefully) would be the end! More tears (got to stop that) as I realised how far id come, and how close I was....

I found a starbucks and oh joy of joys could finally catch up with home... all the messages of support buoyed my mood no end and by the time I set off again, the remaining 40 miles of the day, seemed a mere hop and my legs felt light again.... this is how important the support has been to me, how it has kept my legs turning round and got me to the edge of LA. Without it I would have ground to a halt long ago!

Those final miles were on the Route 66 road and I had been prewarned that it had been freshly tarmacked (thanks faith), so I knew to be careful. Thankfully it had bedded down a bit, and there wasnt too much loose gravel around.
I stopped at the bottle forest, a colection of bottles, mounted like branches on poles, topped with all kinds of recycled items. The owner came out and told me that he had built it over 14 years... it really was a work of art and well worth stopping for. The last 15 miles were reasonable, winding up, before dropping down into Victorville.  I made my way to the motel I had been recommended (up a hill of course) and the manager kindly upgraded me to a suite, after discussing the merits of Sidcup where he had once lived! So I sit writing this in luxury lol.

I then had the pleasure of the company of two lovely people, don and kimberly, who took me out to dinner. It was lovely to meet them and I hope to see you at the gig on friday! Thankyou!

So another day done, one which saw the power that Love Hope and Strength from friends can have to a knackered, leg weary, slightly homesick cyclist.... Roll on tomorrow...