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Steve had shown me the Adventure Cycling route and I figured it was a nice easy ride down to San Diego. I’d forgotten however that being my last full day in the US, I had a bit of shopping to do. I had a $45 dividend at REI to spend as well as a $16 Radioshack gift card. There was an REI about 10 miles from Carlsbad, but it meant skipping the PCH to go. With the dividend and the fact that REI is my favourite shop, it was an easy choice. Two hours later, I left REI the owner of a knife, a smaller first-aid kit and a larger water bottle. It’s the one shop in which I find myself completely unaware of time and was behind schedule for the second day in a row.

Using my Garmin, I found a Radioshack on the way to Linda, my host’s, place. Going there would keep me away from the coast and places like the home of the first triathlon in Mission Bay and La Joya, home to Hodads, a place that Steve had recommended the night before as a perfect example of the huge serving sizes you find in the US. After a bit of confusion, I found my way to the Radioshack and even though I was behind schedule ended up getting sidetracked there for 30 minutes as I spoke with the cashiers. The way they reacted to what I said to them, you’d think they’d never heard of anything more incredible. They both insisted that my story should be on TV and one of them said he’d contact a newspaper. How that’s going to work as he doesn’t know my name, website or any contact details is beyond me, but who knows!

Google maps on my Kindle suggested heading to the ocean from where I was, but I figured it was just being overly cautious. I should have listened. The 15 or so miles to Linda’s had me in a seemingly endless loop of plummeting 100+ feet into a canyon and then struggling up the other side. As I made my way along, my GPS batteries ran out, and, for the first time in the trip, I didn’t have fully charged replacements in my handlebar bag. I had some in my rear pannier, but was too lazy to stop and find them. The Kindle proved to work well enough that I could use www.ereadermap.com to find my way.

I got to my destination late and thought that the day had been a perfect example of my ineptness. A year on the road and still things like to fall apart. The advantage of travelling by yourself is that there’s nobody else who’s going to get frustrated by your incompetence when things like that happen. Of course if you’re with someone else they might have prevented it from happening in the first place.

My final evening in the US saw me hanging out with Linda and her flatmate. Her boyfriend was out-of-town which I was saddened to hear, as it would have been my first time meeting another Dominic on the trip, but alas the quest continues! It was a fun evening filled with lively chat and delicious pizza and continued my 100% positive experience rate with Warmshowers hosts, which considering how many I’ve stayed with is rather phenomenal.

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