Day 25: San Diego to Cardiff-on-the-Sea, 26 miles
Decision made, I pack up my bicycle, then spend a few hours with Seth catching up the accounting. I’m using the hostel’s computer, linked to the restaurant computer via the cloud. I still think this is cool, though it’s not really that impressive from the tech standpoint.
Then I’m off, an afternoon ride to San Elijo State Beach. Easy going, retracing the route, except for the Pacific Beach bit. The ride up Rose Canyon is easy, a bit chilly. Downtown was nearly 80 degrees. I actually felt too warm. That’s going to change over the next couple weeks!
The climb takes me into the UCSD campus, and by a phenomenal bit of architecture, the library. Stunning against the clear blue sky. Groves of eucalyptus on the route, fragrant from the recent rains. Southern California gets something like 10 inches of rain a year. So strange to see the green lawns of golf courses and hospitals. Don’t you guys know you are running out of water, fast?
I breach the hill at La Jolla just as an incredible sunset appears over the ocean. I’m catching a picture and notice another cyclist, also heading north. I meet Wells, who just finished touring from Washington down to the border, now heading to Joshua Tree and Las Vegas. He’s about to camp in the bush, but I tell him about San Elijo. We ride the last 8 miles together, along with the rush hour traffic on the Camino del Rey.
We stop at the ridiculously overpriced Seaside Market in Cardiff. I buy a turkey wrap for $7, really there to get the “cash back” for the campground fee. I’m glad to set up my tent again, my portable nest. Right on the beach, crescent moon setting. Wells and I sti at the picnic table, look over his options to riding up and out through LA. I recall my Joshua Tree side trip of two years ago.
This is Wells’ first bicycle tour. He is jazzed, doesn’t want it to end. He tells me he was wondering what to do next in his life, quit a job and packed up everything. Then on the road found that he was so happy, just riding, trying to go as far as possible to get to the next destination. Not knowing what comes next. Riding to discover. Hearing his enthusiasm reminds me of my first tour, in college. How suddenly I was on the road, free, strong, inspired. Able to go anywhere, do anything. I’m a bit sheepish about how much of my recent tours have been clouded by my regrets, fears, resentment.
Ah, the Beginner’s Mind! Open and clear, unhindered by experience or expectation. To be able to live each day as if it were the first day. The open road. The wind on my face. Sweat and breath and beating heart. Miles behind me. Many more ahead.