Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 40

July 1, 2011

Here it is, day 40, my very last day on the road. If you had asked me a day ago (before the world's worst hostel), I would have told you that I had mixed feelings about today. After 40 days I've become accustomed to camping every night and riding every day. Not only am I accustomed to it, I love it. This is really an awesome way to live life for a while. Everything that comes along with it adds up to an amazing experience and every day is an adventure waiting for me to jump in. But reality calls. Bank accounts drip dry, and separation from friends and family becomes difficult. As I was sitting at Starbucks I was talking with a man who asked me, “Would you have done it any different?” I told him no, but thinking about it again, I realize that I would bring a friend with me. You get used to sleeping in a tent every night and you get used to riding your bike every day. It's not that different from life at home, but it would really be difficult for me to be away from friends forever. So that's why I'm excited to be done. I'm loving living off of my bike, but I'm also very excited to come home.

In an attempt to get away from that darned hostel as fast as possible, I woke up at 6:00 and was gone by 7:30, my all-time record. It was so nice to have that hostel to myself this morning. It's not that bad of a place when there's nobody else there. The ride started out on the beach trail in Pacific Beach which was pretty pleasant since there were few people on it and the ones that were were mostly runners. I made my way towards downtown San Diego via some main roads with bike lanes and got slightly lost along the way. My route had me take a pedestrian/biker ferry from downtown San Diego to Coronado, so I waited at the ferry station for 20 minutes and took some pictures of the aircraft carrier.

After a quick ferry ride, I made it to Coronado and jumped on the bike again, heading across the Silver Streak which is a very narrow strip of land with a road and a bike trail on it. It was a pretty fun section of the ride because I had a very nice tailwind the entire time, so I averaged around 15mph for about 7 miles.

The route I'm following takes you to a state park called Border Field Park, which is pretty much the perfect place for a Canada to Mexico Pacific coast tour to end. It's on the Pacific and Mexico is right there. However, in order to get to the park I had to go out of the way to traverse some federal land, which was either a wildlife reserve or military land...can't remember. Anyways, I was getting closer and closer. The hills in the distance were getting closer and then they were right in front of me. I turned right and soon enough I entered the park. It is only open on Saturdays and Sundays to cars, but has a place where pedestrians and cyclists can go through. So I passed through the gate and rode along the half dirt, half paved road until I reached the border. I could tell it was the border because there was a 20 foot tall fence with a big city on the other side. It's such a stark contrast right there at the border. Tijuana is this huge, tightly packed city and the California side has a few small ranches and empty public land. The majority of Tijuana is hidden behind the hills, so I couldn't see that much. But the next day when I flew out of San Diego I could look out the window and see a clear line where the city starts. The Tijuana side was very very hilly compared to the California side and houses are crammed everywhere on the hills, making it look like ocean waves of buildings as far as the eye can see.

I couldn't believe that I had made it to Mexico. As tears gushed from my eyes I tried to restrain the sobbing for long enough to take a few pictures. It was kind of interesting that the fence just stops out in the water, making it very easy to just swim around. But then I noticed that there was a border patrol officer sitting in his jeep only 100 feet away from the border, keeping his eye on the end of that fence. I think that Mexico has a border park too because I saw people on the other side of the fence looking at the border just like I was doing. I saw a sign that had rules for the “Friendship Circle.” As I read it, I realized what it was. It was a little area right on the border where 25 people could go inside and chat with people from the neighboring country. I really wanted to go into the friendship circle, but sadly it was closed.

After a snack and a break at the border I got back on my bike and headed back north along the same route I had followed before. I stopped in Coronado for a pizza lunch and then stopped near the airport to figure out some logistics for my departure the next day. I arrived back in Pacific Beach and the day started to dwindle to a close. I cooked my dinner next to the beach and went on a walk along Mission Blvd before heading back to the hostel for sleep. The hostel was having a deck party tonight, so I had the opportunity to end the trip “with a bang." But the party wasn't exactly a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey kind of party, so I went into loner mode, inserted ear plugs, laid my sock across my eyes, and tried to drown out the noise of the music and the loud drunk people with positive thoughts about my adventure.

A really depressing end to my bike tour, I admit it, but as someone I met several days ago pointed out, When it's all said and done, the memories that will stick will be the good ones, not the bad ones. And as I write this post the next day I'm looking back on my tour with fond memories, excited for my next one. Who knows where it will be and what kind of things will happen to me along the way, but I'm looking forward to it.


  1. It's been a pleasure reading your posts. It is great to see you had such a great adventure, and it's great to have you back in CO! - Mike