The words of Henry Miller ran through my head as I pedaled in and out, up and down throughout the bluffs and cutout sections of rockface. I'd naievely worried that I would become saturated with coastal beauty, but somewhere like Big Sur allows no room for a lack of appreciation. Riding on the windy roads with over 1000 feet of sheer drop only inches to my right gave me that buzz you get when you really feel alive. At rest stops I stared endlessly along the jagged shoreline that looks just as prehistoric as ever, save for the single road running along it's edge.
It took over an hour and some very strong words with myself, but finally I got my mind back on track, and reminded myself just how lucky I was to be here, and essentially to stop being such a whinger. That worked, to an extent. I resisted the urge to cheat the last few miles, cycled to the international border and stood in Tijuana not quite sure what to do. I no longer had the time to spend doing any real cycling in Mexico, so the trip across was really just for show. The problem was that in Tijuana I couldn't find anywhere I was comfortable taking out my camera. Even just riding in on my bike I felt hundreds of pairs of eyes burn through my belongings. I heard many warnings about how dangerous Mexico is, and how I shouldn't go there, and I'm a firm believer that most people are just over-worried. But it's definitely true that if I was going to run into trouble, chances are it would be at the border in drug and crime ridden Tijuana. The situation was not ideal. I quickly filmed a few moments of shakey footage, then joined the queue to get back into the USA. It was a poor show from me, but I was beyond caring. I rode back into San Diego and slept without any sense of achievement.
Since then I'm pleased to say I've wised up a little. Perhaps I've learned something about the nature of taking on a challenge as vast as this. The nature of achievement is such that I don't feel any - I may have cycled 5,500 miles across a continent, but all I am really aware of is how fortunate I am to have been allowed to do so. The scale of North America has blown me away, and I really haven't even begun to collate my experiences into anything coherent. I think my body and mind were ready for a rest, and even a change to begin this process. It's a shame that I wasn't able to embrace the final section, but I was always aware that I would have an underwhelming sense at the finish. I fell in love with America - the people, the landscape, the culture, the atmosphere. It constantly surprised me, and left me wanting more at every turn. I know the country so much better now than I could ever have hoped, but still I realise that I have absorbed only a fraction of what this great county has to offer. How do you even begin to deal with that?
I hope to be able to give a summary of sorts at some point, but for now I am delighted to be beginning a new adventure - New Zealand awaits. It's all change in the South Pacific, and I'm ready for it - I am in the mood to explore, and there are two islands of great beauty around me. I pedal out tomorrow, brimming with energy and I hope the right attitude to make the most of what lies ahead.