Day 20 – My Mentor’s Praise

I didn’t talk on the phone with too many people during this journey. I had daily conversations with my wife — to update her about my progress and let her know that I was OK — and every now and then I talked to my sons. That was pretty much it.

I exchanged some text messages with Steve, my mentor, but today we actually talked on the phone.

He told me, “You are not a cyclist who took on touring. You are a tourist who took on cycling; this is different, and it is a lot tougher. You should be proud of yourself. I admire and respect you. You said you were going to do it, and you did it, and that means a whole lot.”

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Day 20 – Bethany

I am going to buy some food to have in my room. It is a way of saving some money…  skipping meals in restaurants.

On my way to the supermarket I pass through Heavenly Village, a newly developed complex in South Lake Tahoe, with condominiums, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, and retail stores. It’s quite large and just one block from where I am staying. It is a nice place to hang out.

“Unfortunately the cable car is not open for the public,” I am told. “It will resume operations next week.”

Bummer!

I get to Raley’s to buy some groceries. I want chocolate milk, bread, cheese, and some fruits and vegetables. There is a mini refrigerator in my room.

That’s where I meet Bethany.

 

Bethany in the supermarket

First, I cannot believe my eyes… It is cold outside, and here she is, wearing a bikini… in a supermarket! I can’t resist, so I ask her, “Would you mind if I take your picture?” She does not mind. She even strikes a little pose. She tells me her name and her age, and that she doesn’t have the same body she had when she was younger. I listen to her, but I don’t have the nerve to ask why she is wearing a bikini, sandals and a backpack, and if this is the attire she usually wears when she goes out shopping.

Later, I had to think that maybe she wasn’t mentally sane, and this thought made me a little sad.

O well… We certainly meet some interesting people on the road.

///

P.S. … a friend of mine just brought to my attention that probably there was a hidden camera in the supermarket filming people’s reactions to the girl in bikini.

How naive I am!

That possibility never crossed my mind. 🙂

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Day 20 – South Lake Tahoe

Here I am in South Lake Tahoe after a nice bus ride. I took a nap along the way but woke up in time to enjoy the amazing views from the top of the mountain pass.

I don’t know where to stay so I look at guides and maps.  I decide to check in the Capri Motel – nice and affordable – and the lady at the front desk is kind and helpful.

The motel is located on the Stateline road which separates California from Nevada. The difference between one side of the road and the other is evident; there’s no gambling in California, so this side is full of small two-floor motels like the one I am staying, but across the street tall buildings and casinos populate the Nevada skyline.

I walk down to Lakeside Beach. It is a beautiful day and the view of the lake and mountains is breathtaking.

I am happy to be here!

Life is good!

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Day 20 – Bus Ride to Lake Tahoe

I woke up and folded all bed sheets, trying to leave the room in the best possible condition for Shirley to have the least amount of work… I’m just trying to be a good guest.

After breakfast I said goodbye to Shirley, we exchange one of those long-time-friends hugs, and I am riding with Bill to Sacramento where I will catch the bus this morning. On our way we stop at a UPS store to ship a box to Florida full of stuff that I will not need any longer.

Bill takes me to Amtrak station in Sacramento and we say goodbye. I don’t know if I will ever see them again, but they surely will not be forgotten. They left a good mark. They have re-taught me a lesson; with their kindness and generosity they have increased my willingness to be kind and generous.

I reflect… the kindness and generosity you give out increases and multiplies through those who have received it.

Amtrak Station in Sacramento

I sat down at the station and waited for my bus. The day before Bill had given me one of his old coolers, “Here. Use this.” So here I am with my 2 pieces of luggage: the black and yellow handlebar bag, and my piece of “Hawaiian luggage” — Bill’s cooler with a bungee cord around it to keep it closed. I probably wouldn’t need to carry the cooler had I decided to ship the tent and the sleeping bag, but I have decided to keep both with me because I am not completely sure what lies ahead.

And here I am, on my way to Lake Tahoe!

The only stop along the way... Placerville, I believe.

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Day 19 – Total Eclipse of the Sun

Today I have a to-do list.

1 – Do the laundry

2 – Purchase a bus ticket to Lake Tahoe

3 – Ship the bike back to Florida

4 – Buy a pair of jeans for the rest of the trip (because I only have biking clothes)

5 – Buy a duffel bag to carry my stuff (since I am shipping the panniers back to Florida with the bike)

We took care of the first two items in the morning. Shirley helped me with the laundry, and since all my clothing is made of fabric that doesn’t go in the dryer, we hanged everything in the garage. It worked just fine.

I checked in the Internet the available bus rides to Lake Tahoe. Buses don’t stop in Cameron Park so I will have to get the bus in a city nearby. I couldn’t find one to my final destination –Incline Village — which is located in the north of Lake Tahoe, so after checking with Bill if he could give me a ride, I decided to purchase a ticket in the bus that leaves tomorrow morning, at 10:15 AM from Sacramento and takes me to South Lake Tahoe. I figured that once I get there I will find transportation to the north of the lake.

After taking care of those two items, Bill, Sophia and I left for shopping and shipping.

Bill took us to a nice outlet where Sophia did her shopping at the Nike store (an item she will wear at her pool party tomorrow), Bill purchased what he needed at the Jockey store, and I bought my Levi’s jeans. We ate lunch at the food court and we took the bike and the panniers to Bicycles Plus in Folsom. They said they would take care of packing and shipping, but Taylor told me that it would take them at least one week because they had a lot of work to do before they could get to it. I agreed.

I looked at duffel bags but couldn’t find a simple and inexpensive one; all they had were fancy ones with wheels and handles so I decided not to buy.

Bill showed me a little bit of the historic section of Folsom and we took the scenic road back to Cameron Park. It was a beautiful day.

On the way back home, Bill told me that once, not having a suitcase, someone had assembled a carton box with a handle, and his sister-in-law, who is from Hawaii, pointed at the box and said, “This is Hawaiian luggage.”

“I guess we will get a piece of Hawaiian luggage for you to carry your stuff,” Bill said with a smile.

Later that afternoon we saw the solar eclipse.

I got the image below from the following website

http://www.memoryjournalists.com/blog.cfm?postID=1705&solar-eclipse-in-northern-california

It was interesting to see the shadows projected on the wall.

Again, we had a nice dinner, enjoyable conversations, and I had a lot of gratitude in my heart. I realized that the Wingates were the ones who created the conditions that allowed me to experience such happiness.

I said my own little prayer of gratitude and recommitted to help the people I meet.

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