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It was sort of ironic that I would be able ready to hit the road four days after I had heard that one word "GO" and that was what I did. I headed out on Friday, February 19th. The morning air was cold and the sky somewhat overcast when I headed out but by the time that I got to the southwestern edge of the Portland area the sky was filled with snow. It turned out that this day happened to be the area's first real taste of hard winter.

I didn't really plan for this but if I would have turned back I knew that something would try to convince me that I had been wrong and I would have gone back with my former life like nothing had ever happened. I trudged on and traveled almost twenty miles either riding or walking the loaded bike that weighed about a hundred pounds through the slush. Just when I thought that I had enough, a "Good Samaritan" picked me up in his van and took me over the coastal mountain range to Lincoln City. The Good Samaritan was a carpenter.

For the next five weeks from Lincoln City, OR, I used my ATM card sparingly getting low-cost motel rooms down the coast when I couldn't any other place inside to stay or when it was too cold to try and sleep in my tent. By the time that I had gotten to the Ft. Bragg area in California, it had gotten warm enough for me to try and camp out but if it was too cold I tried to get a motel room whenever possible. I wasn't carrying a stove or cooking gear so I ate mostly cold meals but I broke down for something hot every once in a while.

My only concern was that my tires, especially the back one, were getting worn out but I couldn't find some that wouldn't take up most of the savings that I had left. I had been putting off the purchase of the new tires for quite a while and I had also put off the purchase of spare inner tubes. By the time that I had gotten about fifty miles from Los Angeles, a sidewall cut had occurred on the rear tire but I managed to sew up the cut with a needle and thread. Along with that, I must have had at least three patches on each tube. Sometime soon, I knew that I would have to stop someplace and earn enough money to go on.

On Thursday, March 25th, I was in the Malibu area and I had stopped for lunch at the Michael Landon Park on the ocean across from Pepperdine University. At the time, I was using a security wallet on a cord around my neck for my ATM card and some extra cash. Another cyclist had appeared and I thought that he had ridden from the university. We struck up a conversation. He told me my bike was neat and I started to show him some of the features.

While bending down to show him the bike's derailleur, the cord of my security wallet must have become visible. The next I knew was that the guy had ripped the cord from around my neck, taken the wallet, and sped off on his bike. I couldn't head out after him because I had most of the contents of my food pannier spread out on the picnic table and of course the rear tire wouldn't have handled the stress.


Bicyclist in Sunset


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