Twenty-one days in the saddle and I made it to the US/Mexico border.
What can I say? Before going in to the last day, I feel I should thank everyone who has supported me over the last three weeks and also in the build up to this trip. Thank you all for your messages, comments, calls and everything else. Every single contact helped keep me motivated and pressing forward towards the border fence. It meant so much.
So, day 21. With the pressure on to actually finish, conveniently today was the shortest distance travelled all trip. With a high level of organisation, clearly coming from Babs, the aim was to meet her at the border fence on the ocean for 1pm. With plenty of time to cover the circa 3 hour trip, I attempted a lie in and later start, this didn’t work! I was up at 5:30, like a 6 year old child on Christmas morning, however I had no presents to collect other than the hot breakfast at the hotel, which didn’t start until 6:30. I duly waited and sat down for my last breakfast in anticipation of the day ahead. As an aside, I’m not sure why and perhaps it is a habit I will grow out of, but whenever I am offered a breakfast buffet containing bacon, eggs, sausage and a bread selection, I feel compelled to make sandwiches! Moving on, breakfast was clearly a DIY masterpiece, but soon I was finished and back in my room. Killing time, I overdosed for the last time on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News before checking out and getting on the road for 9am.
Straight on to 1, the day couldn’t have been simpler, stay on it until a brief stint on PCH, a short ferry trip and then a cycle path most of the way to the border. Big G however, had a more interesting route for me. To be completely fair, Big G gave me an option to go via La Jolla, rather than the direct route. I had time on my side, so I decided to take it. La Jolla is a nice town, very picturesque, but it is also at the ocean and at the bottom of a very large hill! This evening, after looking at the map in more detail, I realised I climbed a hill up 1 and instead of taking the left down in to San Diego, I took a right downhill in to La Jolla. There is only one way out of La Jolla and it is up!
Nothing wrong with a hill though, I secretly quite enjoyed it after several days of flat riding. I was down in to San Diego in no time and soon at the ferry terminal. Single ticket bought I made it across the 100m of water (should have swum it) and on to the final bike path in good time.
It was bliss, the majority of the last 15 km or so of my trip were spent cycling with water to my left (a novel change) and with the wind on my back. Turning off the path and on to the last section, in to International Friendship Park (IFP), I was on the home stretch. Little did I know none other than the offspring of Martin Luther King had last second plans to spoil my ending!
As I entered the car park to IFP I was greeted by two groups, first, the wonderful and camera toting Babs, she had beaten me to the line and was ready to make sure the moment was captured, the second was the local county Sheriffs/Park Ranger, who was not in favour of me finishing the last kilometre to the border! It turned out that today was the 55th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream speech’ and his son and Fox News 5 had decided the best place to discuss this was at the US/Mexican border! Well Martin Luther King the 3rd, I also have a dream and its to touch the bloody fence. After a little wrangling Babs and I were allowed through, but without the rental car, fortunately there was an abandoned hire bike in the car park. After registering, Babs jumped on and followed me to down the path, to the border!
Almost dashed at the last, after 21 days my plastic challenge was finished, appropriately in the sun, with a news crew, who paid me absolutely no attention whatsoever.
Thank you again everyone.