A fated meeting

Published: April 28th 2016
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The next morning I checked out of the hostel, said goodbye to my Kiwi room mate and took my bike into the outskirts of the city to get repaired by a company contracted to Fuji who I thought may be able to do a free warranty fix on it. My front bearings were becoming an issue again, as well as my chain which was stretched, my rear axel was coming loose and the bike itself just needed some professional help. I couldn't explain why at the time but I just felt good that morning, excited at something that I couldn't perceive. It was like something good was happening at that moment but I wasn't consciously aware of it. As I rode into the town I saw the true face of San Francisco, all the disaffected people starved of having their dreams met by this place. Dozens and dozens of people sitting on corners begging, or just walking around aimlessly the whole place seemed to be in a state of social decay. I followed my GPS directions for another half hour until I reached what looked like a pretty descent and busy bike store, I left everything there for a while and made my way into a depressing Mcdonalds with tired looking staff taking orders in Monotone voices and I just waited with a coffee and sundae smoking a cigarette every so often outside. I had bought my last pack as of the time of writing this that day, a brand called American Spirits with nothing added to the tobacco. I was ashamed at having started smoking again so regularly, I had quit on my 21st birthday for nearly 5 years until a bad day whilst in the Navy made me want to start up again. Since that point I hadn't been either a smoker or non smoker, coming and going with it for social occasions or when I got a little stressed out, a bad position to be in with something as addictive as nicotine. I justified it by looking at all the cycling I was doing but knew it was sapping me of energy, I was compensating for something.

I made my way back into the city some of the feeling of something good happening from earlier now gone, I was pushing my bike up a sidewalk when I passed a lady in her late 30's with long blonde curly hair who had a tourist map in her hand. I thought she might be European, I wasn't really in a conversational mood by that point so I posted up on a wall after a steep section and rolled a smoke. She passed me and I knew I should have probably spoken to her, I just didn't. I butted the smoke and put it in my pocket so as not to litter and walked my bike the remaining steep section of sidewalk nearly up to the top when I saw the same lady on a street corner, studying her map. I asked her if she was lost, she responded by asking me if I was. We got to talking, her name was Nicole and she was in town to meet a hugging saint named Ahma from India whom I later calculated must have hugged a person every 40 seconds for every waking moment of every day of her adult life to have embraced the many millions that have come from all over to meet her. She was making her way to a new age store that sold oils, tarot cards and crystals called the sword and stone. I've
never been too much into these places, I have paid for psychic readings and I have my own deck of Tarot cards but I don't see what these places can truly offer beyond what people want to hear. Nicole told me she didn't use a GPS, she always tried to follow a map or her own intuition when it came to finding places as she saw phones as something that takes more than gives to people. After asking for directions and her telling me to put my phone away numerous times knowing it would make the situation easier we discovered the place at the end of an alley with a pretty nice fountain outside. This place wasn't really advertised and there is no way I would have known about it even if I was into this kind of exploration.

It was a small, cramped, dimly lit store that had a lady wearing all black behind the counter whom Nicole began talking to about oils that would be suitable for healing the body. I looked around at all the ornaments, books, crystals and decks of cards and my lack of patience and financial priority for these kinds of
things made me want to get out straight away. There were a few dozen large glass jars behind the counter that peeked my curiosity, they had all sorts of powders, herbs and liquid in them that made me wonder if this lady really does know something regular people don't. Witches have been around for a long time and perhaps there was something to it. Nicole paid some amount of money for a small vial of oil and some powdered incense and seemed satisfied. We walked around the city for a while discussing deep topics, my new friend was very open about who she was and her beliefs and was someone who lived 100% in the moment, she literally didn't believe in the necessity of planning as she said our hearts guide us to wherever we need to go, which we can only listen to if we are still and present at any given 'time'. We ate some fruit that Nicole had in her bag and I copied her example of eating it very slowly and with appreciation, we spent about 45 minutes on this ritual and I began getting restless as the sun had well and truly gone down now
and I had a warmshowers host whom it looked like I might be now running late for. Nicole had a hostel all the way on the other side of town she intended on walking to but she followed me first to this ladies home not far from where we were as I said I would ask if she could stay there as well. I bought a six pack of beer that Nicole carried and we finally arrived at a large townhouse that didn't seem to be very well lit, it was around seven thirty. I knocked on the door to no response, I then rang the door bell. Was it that she wasn't home? Didn't want to answer the door because I was arriving later than I said I would? It became awkward because at this point you have to decide to be a bit pushy, I kept knocking every so often and after 5 minutes Meagan my host, a short girl in her early 30's came to the door in a bathrobe and said she was feeling sick. Now the awkward part, I asked if Nicole, a lady whom I had just met that day could stay at the
house of the lady I had just met in person 1 minute ago. The only ticket in was my status as a bicycle traveler, Meagan told us she had discovered some kind of group sex going on in her home one night after letting extra people in and she was now too wary to do this. I became desperate as I was putting my own invitation on the line here, I was cold and I had my loaded bike with me that I just wanted to put down somewhere. Nicole asked me for directions on the map of where she had to go, after what felt like two minutes of us trying to work out where she had to go in front of Meagan she just told us both to come in. Relief.

Her place was huge, she must have come into some big money at some point as I got the impression she owned the 3 bedroom place, it had a high ceiling and huge living area with a kitchen bench the size of some peoples living rooms. She pulled some cake out of the fridge and casually told us her birthday had passed yesterday, the cake looked like it had been in a car accident but was very edible. I asked about her business and she told me she ran company that did organized bicycle tours through wineries. She stayed in her robe with us for a little while and told us of her tour through Mexico where she had been stung by a scorpion and was debilitated for a few days, she hadn't gone any further south than Mexico mainland and she was always with other people but I could see she was a strong woman. The atmosphere was kind of tense and my attempts and breaking the impromptu circumstances didn't help. Nicole mentioned the shop we had been to that day, the sword and stone. Meagan casually said that her next door neighbor actually owns the place, one of the first funny coincidences on my trip. We went and crashed in the spare room, me in the bed and Nicole in the fold out couch. I wondered if there would be enough bedding for her to stay warm, I didn't want to invite her into the bed with me as I was worried she would misinterpret my intentions, so I didn't say anything.

When I woke in the morning after a pretty descent sleep Nicole reported being cold most of the night and was almost going to come into my bed but didn't feel comfortable. I had a shower that felt so comfortable I didn't want to leave, she had this huge shower head had that kind of textured the water in a way that felt luxurious. I was lucky to have been accepted into this place, I had sent out about a dozen requests to be hosted around in San Francisco to no avail. We thanked Meagan more than once for her generosity and left around 9 so as not to overstay our welcome. I only wished I could have offered something in return for her help but there was nothing she needed or wanted from me and that didn't feel too good. We walked down some random places and found a cafe where I paid for some Bagels and juice for us. Nicole began to hone in on the words that were coming out of my mouth, the way I was talking about my life, myself, the world. All I remember is her looking me dead in the eyes and asking me why I thought I was heading into darkness. In less than 24 hours of knowing this person she had reached a core fear/belief system inside me that I don't think anyone else I know or have met in the world could have done. She began to challenge me on every negative point I tried to make about why the world with my life in it is on a negative path, why I felt on some intrinsic level that I was destined to end up in an unfavorable position. Not just that but why I don't deserve to have my hopes and dreams met, why I don't feel like I deserve to be happy. It hit me that the day before, when I had woken up and I had felt something was happening to me, something good, it was the meeting with this person, some part of me knew I was going to come into contact with her. Nicole had a flight back to Vancouver booked for that day so we made plans to briefly meet up at a place in central downtown called union square after she went to her hostel to grab her bag. We
didn't say goodbye, she just hurried off and I knew based on how far she planned to walk, and where she intended to go that timewise she was pushing it.

I rolled my bike over to the meeting point and anxiously rolled a few cigarettes among a large crowd of locals and tourists, I anxiously waited for her taxi to turn up at our meeting time of 1 but once it got to 130 I knew that if she was to meet me there it would be in sacrifice of boarding her flight. I felt pretty sad, having someone like that come into my life and then disappear so quickly. I had to screw around at the train stations for about half an hour trying to find an elevator that I could actually use to get onto a platform, they all seemed to be out of order. Before we had parted ways Nicole had pointed out a bike store that she had been to in the bay area on her visit that week with a state park close by that I said I would go and stay at that night as I intended on exploring Oakland and Berkley the next day. Oakland was the birth of many hip hop artists and of the black panthers, through my interest in hip hop music over the years I have become familiar with the struggles of black people in the states. Oakland was a must see and Berkley more of a curiosity, a place where one of my favorite books 'Way of the peaceful warrior by Dan Millman' was based. A story about an ordinary guy in college meeting an extraordinary teacher whose messages resonated with me on a profound level and still do, it contained fictional elements but was in itself a true story.

So I got off the train after crossing into the San Fran bay area and headed to the bike store to see if they had any USB chargeable lights that would fix onto my helmet for a reasonable price. None were reasonably priced especially with the currency conversion which was a constant headache being in the states so I left the store. I began the cycle up to the campground and it was getting dark by this time. The way Nicole and I had parted ways only for her not to show up to meet me took the wind out of my sails, I started wondering on the points that she had made about everything happening for a reason and to follow your heart and I started doubting everything. Why could we not have fare welled as planned if what she said was true, why did I have to now feel so alone in cycling up what was a gigantic hill to get to a place of rest? That hill I remember took me a long time to get up with my morale being so low. By the time I reached the grounds I had no idea where I was supposed to camp so I left my bike in an extended part of what was someone elses RV campsite and began walking down a big hill that dipped and went back up into the main camp area for regular folks. I came back and grabbed my bike and went back to this area, rode around, did a few loops until I found a spot near a bathroom that seemed okay, no yellow reserved papers stuck up on it's number post. I set my tent up and had to then start contemplating making another meal in the dark. A car sometime later pulled in next to my site and it woke me from my state of self sympathy, I realized that I had probably taken somebody's spot after all but I suddenly heard Nicole's voice from the passenger side of the car. "Mathew?". What the hell. She thanked the driver of the car for dropping her off there, who was actually one of the staff at the bike store I had just been to he wished us a good night drove off and left us. Nicole had her medium sized travel backpack, a rented bicycle and two large plastic bags with take away for dinner. I couldn't believe that she had somehow found me there.

We ate well that night and she told me of how the train had literally stopped on the tracks for half an hour on the way to the airport, she said it had felt right and knew it would work out with her finding me up here. After the burgers and chips she set up her tent and told me to come lie in it with her, we just hugged and talked as there was no sexual energy between us. I had a pretty good sleep, Nicole woke and told me I was heading into light as she had woken in the night after a dream about me being on the right path. The way she described the dream sounded pretty profound, like it was a real experience. When I got up I realized how beautiful these campgrounds were, we were situated on top of a hill overlooking a lake with eucalyptus trees everywhere. The sun came out and we just found a spot and laid in the sun for a few hours. The campgrounds had a few people around as it was still the thanksgiving long weekend, there was a man in his 50's opposite us who had a campervan set up with solar panels and big speakers that he was using to play music like Will Smiths "Boom shake the room" or the "Jump around" song. Nicole began telling me some stories from her life, how she had lived on a beach in Vancouver island for 7 months and the experiences and insight she had gained from it. She said she reached a point that I've heard people mention in books, where you no longer live in your thoughts. She had a point where everything was very clear and she felt connected to everything around her, never was she short on firewood, food, or any other form of help if it was ever needed. From this she had learned how important it is to wish for the things you want in your life and to show gratitude for what you do have, we spent time writing out lists of things we had to be grateful for and she instructed me to do this every day. I had quite a bit of food that I had bought up to the campgrounds but certainly not enough for both of us for very long, we ate some pretty descent soup that night and made Ahma brand tea bought from the hugging saints event a few days earlier. The next day we woke, wrote our gratitude lists and before I had even thought about breakfast the man with the crazy music came over and offered us coffee. He said he was leaving that day and had a huge container of teriyaki chicken that he couldn't eat or take with him. It was delicious, Nicole chatted with the man who told us of his life and through his words Nicole was able to reach in and touch his heart the same way she had mine and probably countless others. He was a gym teacher at Berkley high school, which was a coincidence as the book about the guy from Berkley's main character Dan Millman was and is a gymnast in real life. He told us he always forgets things, he had lent us a big container of honey for the coffee and some whitener, which he drove off and forgot. Nicole used this as an example of us writing our stories when we make statements about ourselves.

That day I received an email about an upcoming retreat in Costa Rica, hosted by none other than Dan Millman. I couldn't believe it, I was due to cycle my bike through there at around this time anyway and the retreat ended just when I was intending to head back to Vancouver. I became excited at the idea of going, I had wanted to attend one of these back in 2012 but the time just wasn't right, attending this retreat would literally be a dream come true for me. I knew I would make it happen, it was around two and a half months away. So we hung out a little more, drank more tea, I smoked cigarettes knowing that each and every time I rolled one I would cop Nicole's criticism for what this was doing to my body, and we just appreciated the campsite. The ranger came past and asked us to pay, he was very friendly and said we could come past his booth the next day as there was no rush. That night while we were having some dinner a cop car came past and noted the lack of a registration paper on our site, we simply stated our story of the friendly ranger and he let us go. We had another great sleep in our little spot on top of the world.

The next day was much the same as the last, these campgrounds were so serene that it was becoming hard to think of leaving. We talked more through the day, made our gratitude lists and Nicole's teachings about acting from the heart started sinking into my mind a little more, she was encouraging me every step of the way to live in the moment so much that at one point I wasn't sure if it was from coffee but I was 'buzzing' almost like it had felt when I'd experimented with MDMA earlier in life. For me to even reach this level of clarity and high frequency without any strong substances made me wonder if every state we find ourselves in through experimentation with drugs could be reached through other practices. The whole living completely in the moment thing has a lot of merit, for anyone who has read Eckhart Tolle's books would surely agree to some extent. But it takes 100%!c(MISSING)ommitment and sacrifices to live this way, all day all the time. I've tried and it's hard to not forget. We made our way over to the Rangers booth and paid for our site, he gave us a free night and chatted to us for about half an hour about life in general.

That night after we had made dinner I saw an older man stumble over to the bathroom and nearly trip at one point, instinctively I am cautious of drunk people as it can be easy to associate them with violent behavior. I overcame my fear though and I acted with my heart, to exemplify Nicole's teaching. I went into the bathroom and asked if the guy was ok, he had his head sticking out of the bathroom stall and told me that he was feeling unwell but he was ok. I let him be and after he wandered out we began talking and he introduced himself as Tim, he told me that he had a ton of food left over from some thanksgiving celebrations a few days before and that we had to help him out with it, so after his incoherent babbling about Kangaroos after picking up on my accent I made arrangements to come over to Tim's camp the next day.

That next morning I stirred and was in a morning daze when Nicole began tickling me, we had decided to sleep in my tent as it was 4 seasons and kept us warmer than Nicole's had. My feet were hanging out of the tent door and all any bystanders would have seen is my feet thrashing around whilst I was giggling like a school girl getting relentlessly molested by Nicole who told me I had to work on my laughing muscles as it was healthy. We made our way over to Tim's camper around noon and he had just woken up, he said hi and reported being very hungover from the night before but had remembered our talk. I liked him a lot more when he was sober and he had a very human aspect to his personality, Nicole taught me how to start a fire in a way that I could use if I was ever in a cold or wet place. The lesson was appreciated but by the time it was raging enough to cook the lasagne I was starving. Tim was feeling too ill to down anything so he left us the bread rolls, salad, huge tray of lasagne and some pomegranates. He told us he had come to that place to find peace and was getting a bit tired of his work as a landscaper, Nicole brightened his world up and I could tell he was smitten with her, he took off on some business and left a can of whip cream to have with some pumkin pie which I slowly devoured all of, something I'd not done since I was a kid. We had another quiet night with some Ahma tea and dozed off in total serenity.

The next day we rode our bikes down to the lake where a huge group of Canadian geese and some penguins were hanging out, after marking the word peace into a huge letters on the sand we made our way back up the huge hill and met up with Tim again who said he was feeling better and that he wanted to offload some more food to us. I had come up to the campsite with a fair amount myself but it had run low, by the time Tim was done with us I had more food than when I had cycled up there 4 days previous. He had boxes full of canned tuna, vegetables, fruit, other assorted canned things that looked like they could have come from a run with a food bank. I was extremely grateful though, for all of it. Tim was a genuinely friendly guy who I felt like I knew pretty well in our short time spent, he had his demons that he didn't try and hide. That night he drove to the local bar and got plastered, and drove back to the grounds which is probably what he had done the night I met him which was dangerous on so many levels. Maybe we get to an age where there's no room for mistakes, not like the kind he was inviting. He left the grounds and we all hugged and said goodbyes and promised to follow up with emails of all the photos. This experience kind of reminded me of what it's like to shed our adult exteriors and just open ourselves up to other people to reveal the kids inside all of us.

Nicole and I proceeded to ride back down the giant hill from the campgrounds into town where she returned her rented bike and we walked to try and find somewhere to eat, after a while of not being able to decide we stood outside a restaurant famous for it's pie, the place had a bunch of trophy stickers all over it's walls. "Looks good" I said and Nicole didn't argue. It was Tuesday, but not just a regular Tuesday, it was free pie Tuesday. We ordered our mains and got to pick a free piece of award winning pie each valued at about ten Canadian dollars, half way through our meal a lady even came up to us and gave us a voucher to get a discount on our bill. This was some pretty good luck. Normally I'm a fast eater, but Nicole lives in the moment completely and honestly. She watched me pick my phone out during the meal a few times which is a normal habit these days and she became short with me, she said that phones were a huge problem in society these days and are completely detracting from normal social experience. Here I was eating this amazing meal having these flashes of ADD trying to see if I had any emails or texts when I knew I really didn't. Nicole loathed this behavior from me and interpreted is as being disrespectful, eating together is a sacred ritual after all. The meal felt more like a lesson than an enjoyable experience, I was concentrating on eating slowly and only focusing on the conversation despite how much I wanted to jump on the free Wi-Fi. I was appreciating this spiritual reminder of what I had learned so long ago, thoughts distract us from the present and stop us from living life properly. This all felt way too slow for me though, I was becoming frustrated with how much we were just kind of floating through these pleasant but rather uneventful experiences. I was on a bike tour after all and I had a long way to go, Nicole was a fantastic person to meet but each day of me not making headway was less of the world I was bound to see when the last part of my trip finally came.

We grabbed a low priced hotel room with some shady characters out the front, one of them looked Nicole up and down like a fresh piece of meat. The hotel concierge who gave us the discounted price on the room looked fatigued, Nicole asked him about this and he said that he was working two jobs to pay the bills, not an uncommon case I in the States I suspected. He told us that the mineral business was in a crisis so he had no work in his desired trade. Nicole reached out to him and reassured him that it would be ok, I could see the spark of life come back into his tired eyes. Another person who's heart Nicole had touched. After we crashed and got up we just kind of chilled, I was becoming pretty restless. I'd seen San Fran, I wanted to go and check out Berkley which was the town around which the plot of a favorite book of mine, Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman was based. Nicole wanted to go and find a nicer hotel that we could just chill out in and watch TV, as pleasant as this sounded the thought of spending 5 times my daily budget on a hotel room didn't appeal to me much. I didn't see what going to a hotel would achieve and I was starting to become frustrated at the thought of being held back. Nicole had taken on the burden of my backpack and was carrying it that day when it was raining, we got to a spot on the side of the street undercover where it really started to pour down and a heavy flow of water had created a small river on the road next to us, Nicole would later describe this as reflecting her emotional state when I simply told her I didn't want to go to the hotel, I wanted to check out Berkley. She was going one way, me the other and I didn't know what else to do at that point, I'd become too independent on this trip to be held back and I'd been practicing so much on living completely in the present that at that point I wasn't open to anything else, I didn't consider how Nicole would feel with me leaving her in the rain carrying my backpack. We parted ways and I made my way via rail to Berkley to check it out, it was a place that had once seemed so far away from me when I had first read Dan Millman's Way of the Peaceful Warrior back in 2005 when I was 21, broke, directionless and that book like nothing else I've ever encountered in life opened something inside my mind that I didn't know was there. It was an awakening experience that made the problems of my life seem 'small' and gave me an alternate lens to look at my surroundings with. I suppose going here was kind of a pilgrimage, the town itself seemed pretty cool and full of youthful energy. I made my way into a bike store to buy a signal light to put on the back of my helmet and got into a conversation with the owner, a customer in the store named Andrew asked me about my trip and when the owner asked where I was staying and I said I had not figured it out he told me I could crash at his place. I followed him on his bike a few blocks and got set up to crash on the couch. He had to go out for a while but he gave me a spare key and said I could come back whenever, the house was full of male students and I had some good chats with a few of them before I left. I liked Andrew the most and I had told him about the real reason for me coming there, because of a book I had read. He was really open minded about the situation and could see why I would be taking the time to check out the town.

So I went for a walk around the town and checked it out a little, I even went past a used book store and picked up a copy of the aforementioned book for Andrew. I saw this girl smiling behind the counter in a Staples store where she was working and I thought she looked beautiful, so I walked in from outside after mustering up the courage and straight up asked for her number, she got me to write down mine which I took as a rejection, and I figured I wouldn't hear anything from her. I checked out some art works by some guys hanging around on the street which were interesting and overall I got a good layout of the town, it was a place setup for students studying at Berkley University. I went back to the house, spoke a little more with Andrew and his housemates, slept and took off in the morning. I got an email from Nicole later that day saying that she was back in San Fran and wanted to see me, by that time I was intending on heading to Oakland, back in the bay area for a monthly event called first Fridays with Carole, one of the English cyclists I had met a few weeks earlier whom was at the same hostel as me right on the north shore of San Fran that used to be a military base. Nicole met up with us downtown and little to my knowledge was super angry at me for the nature of our departure, but she didn't say anything until the night had ended. Oakland was awesome, the home of the Black Panther movement and a ton of good Hip Hop artists. A whole street was shut down and there was drumming, street performers, amazing art and food. I wouldn't have known about it if Carol hadn't told me.

The next few days I stayed in the downtown Hostel International with Stace, the bed I ended up getting was coincidentally the one she had first slept in her first night there. She came into my room where there were 2 other males and one female who was in the bed above me. When I first saw her at the desk I took her for a snobby Australian, it was just a quick assessment that my brain made without any real effort on my part that was based on what she was wearing and the way she spoke. The rest of my room mates, one guy from India and another from Argentina I greeted in the way I usually do at hostels, enough energy to remain at peace but communicating that I just want to be left alone. I don't know what happened, if I ever was a people person. Maybe I just gave up trying to get to know people at some point, especially people that I knew were only passing by my scope, but some part of me just wants to live in the safety of isolation these days. Nicole ended up coming into the room and talking to everybody, getting them to open up. A few hours of this formed a bond in our room of open minded, spiritual people whom we discovered that we shared a common thread even with all of our backgrounds being so different. The girl whom I had judged earlier shared her story of having had a boyfriend in her teen years who abused her verbally so badly that he left her self esteem in tatters, she didn't realize that his constant put downs were because of him and not her until years later and she was now in her late twenties still trying to pick up the pieces. The Indian man was a doctor who ran a holistic health treatment center back home. He believed in getting the body back into it's natural state to allow itself to heal, with a big emphasis on detoxing. He put his hand in turn on each of our wrists and told us what nutrients we might be lacking or how our digestive systems were functioning.

After we all had finished creating a temporal bond in our room, Nicole ended up sleeping on the floor which everyone liked the idea of. We went to a french bakery the next morning that had food and drink so well done that it literally upgraded my pallet on the spot. It was fruit juice, and bread with bacon and assorted vegetables on top but it was not done in any way I had eaten before. We absorbed the food and the moment that came with it very slowly accompanied with Nicole's comment "There will never be this moment again, this food, these flavours, experience it like it won't ever come again". I was finding it hard to leave San Fran now and I never intended on staying this long, Nicole told me if I would stay one more night she would pay for my hostel, so I did. We had another great night of hanging out in our room, Nicole even had a bed booked in there. Everyone fare welled the next day and exchanged contact information. I needed to get an early start if I was going to cycle the 40 miles or so to the next campground. I ended up staying until the afternoon and my departure hug from Stace was a mix of sadness, frustration and anxiety about the impending possibility of having to cycle in the dark somewhere, something I had become loath to do. I caught the train from the city, then before I hopped onto the next one I had a conversation on the phone with my brother for a little while which I knew was eating up valuable time and it caused me to miss one departure. By the time I was actually cycling, certain even with my often wonky GPS that I was on the right track it was getting dark. I found myself an hour or so later on half moon bay road probably still 10 miles from the campground cycling in complete darkness on a nightmare road which had hundreds of cars screaming past on it's narrow winding corners. This was a bad situation to be in and I knew it, a bunch of cars had already honked there horns at me and I kept having to stop out of uncomfortably and to see if there would be a break in the traffic. After a few more miles I stopped on a shoulder and a car pulled up beside me, it was a man in a small car who said he was a cyclist. He told me we were on a bypass road and it was the busiest one I could be cycling on in the area, a police car pulled up shortly afterwards after being called out about me, he said that 3 cars had called about the crazy cyclist they'd seen. Once he knew I was happy to get a lift he was satisfied and left. Somehow we managed to fit my 64cm frame bike with all my gear into this mans hatchback, with no small effort. He took me straight to the campgrounds, which were beautiful and right on the beach. I was finally back on the road again after a unexpected hiatus that I guessed had happened to plant seeds in my mind that would grow into something else. It had certainly added an extra dimension to my trip meeting this lady and I was very grateful to have had the company for so long, but ever more happy to be on my bicycle again taking on the world.


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