Campland on the Bay, San Diego: Tough Day with Perks

Today was a tough day. I had a total brain blank 10 miles into the day and went in the wrong direction after missing a turn, causing me to do a big climb twice. I was near tears because I couldn’t “see” the map. Even Google audio prompts didn’t make sense. I started to panic and then just shut down. A man in a BMW pulled up to me while I was in the bike lane parked against the curb, and ripped into me. His timing couldn’t have been worse. I went 3+ miles off course in steep terrain, with no leg juice left, on what was supposed to be a 38-mile day.

A little background would help here; I had a craniotomy to remove a brain tumor 12 years ago and, as a result, have brain damage, my “executive skill set” took a hit. One of the challenges I have now is I can’t read maps. I look at a map, but I can’t absorb and process it correctly. It’s like trying to read kanji. To decipher a map I have to patiently break it down into digestible pieces. If I’m tired, multitasking, or already confused about something, I can’t even do that.

Yesterday it was very hot, hilly, with aggressive drivers and traffic. L.A. was a breeze in comparison. My brain was completely overloaded, and the twists and turns that the ACA map takes through La Jolla was challenging.

I just tried to let it be, adjusted by shortening the day. Luckily I found a place in striking distance that was affordable, albeit an expensive resort campground. Four pools, jacuzzi, laundry, hot “free” showers, electricity, and water. I felt so fragile when I pulled up, the counter guy was super sweet and helpful, and that helped change the air around me.

The brain blank was scary, emotional, and a little concerning. But, this is just how Houston is. (My brain’s nickname is Houston, as in “Houston we have a problem”.)

As a former backcountry ranger who regularly relied on maps, it can be an emotionally tough blow at times because I used to do it with such ease. In the past when I looked at a topo map I saw a three-dimensional world come to life.

I need to remember on this trip to sit quietly and go slowly in tiny steps and try to break down the map. Today there were a lot of weird turns and detours through La Jolla, which, by the way, is NOT on my potential desirable places to live list. It’s a hell realm. Yuck.

Fortunately, the trip doesn’t have a lot of tricky navigation or obviously I couldn’t do it. Today was just a reminder that 1. Houston will be Houston; respect that and adjust accordingly. 2. I’m not in stellar shape; accept that and be patient as it improves. The bottom line is I need to be patient, more compassionate and have more realistic expectations.

It wasn’t all bad, pedaled through some beautiful coastal areas and someone pointed out the famous San Diego dog beach. Enjoyed watching the furry sisters racing around and frolicking in the water. Bodhi and Dory individually made some new buddies.

And I got to soak in the jacuzzi (yahoo!) with a woman and man with green hair who had enough tats and piercings to make a metal detector explode.

There’s always a silver lining

Debating about whether or not to go to the border, so close. But, part of me is afraid I’ll just want to cross and start pedaling. The urge to go south is REALLY strong. But today was a wake up call that I need to be more realistic and go slowly, stay within my safety zone, sort of ish.

Off leash dog beach near San Elijo
Bodhi joining in on a game of fetch.
Bodhi in classic Jack Russell form
The expression on this dog’s face–
Feeling fast
Dory’s signature post swim sand bath. Our tent will be a sandbox by morning.
The rig
Approaching La Jolla. Little did I know.
Scored a bag of Orijen dog food. This is an awesome pet food company.  High quality, locally sourced, organic, and grass-fed when possible.  It’s a Canadian company, check them out.  
Morning at Campland on the Bay. At night I store the panniers in the dog trailer and Bodhi likes to wait for breakfast perched on top of her future breakfast.
My office. A very kind maintenance man lent me an extension cord to move the office to the picnic.
The sisters ripping it up.

6 Replies to “Campland on the Bay, San Diego: Tough Day with Perks”

  1. Kat,
    What an honor to have met you last night. I had fun. I am anxious to follow your travels. I am not sure but I have a feeling that over the course of your journey the map reading will improve. If not call me and I will look at a map and will help you figure it out. There are parts of San Diego that are tough to ride through. You have done it though and tomorrow you head east.
    I will be in touch as my departure time gets closer. I truly look forward to a rendezvous with you later this month.
    I love the pics. Dogs just have so much fun.
    Have fun out there.

    1. Janet–

      Thank you so much for a lovely night. That ceviche was mind blowing, we couldn’t have had a better meal at a restaurant.

      Today I kicked back; did laundry, wrote a little, napped to refuel Houston, and soaked in the jacuzzi.

      I’m feeling a bit more confident and inspired after chatting last night. I hope you are right about the map reading. 🙂

      Looking forward to seeing you again when you head for the Grand Canyon.

  2. You’re a heroine! I’m glad to see you taking care, and also following your adventurous nature. Gentle warrior!

    p.s. I thought I smelled the seaweed and salt air, really. I grew up there. The sisters look really happy.

    1. Awww Laura, thanks. 🙂 The sisters seem to be in their element. They’re adjusting to the desert, I think they miss their ocean romps.xo

  3. Hello Kat,
    I am friends with Janet and used to work with Jim. I admire your tenacity and vision on your cross country jaunt with your dogs. I’ve cycle-toured across and around the US and will be keeping up with you and your activities. Your approach is sound–don’t worry about the daily distance and stay focused on the people you meet and the countryside. Best to you. John

  4. It was very nice to meet you today.I was really inspired by your undertaking of this epic journey (even more so now as I have learned more about you). As I told you I had contemplated the same trek many years ago to which you replied: “it’s never too late”. I agree that we’re never too late or too old to begin living the life God has intended for us. Although, I will probably have to wait until retirement to take on such a monumental ride; taking lengthy leaves of absence are not an option where I work. However, early retirement is!! ha ha I am going to strongly consider doing that! You are inspirational, courageous, and kind! I will pray for you and your K-9 companions. Shoot me an e-mail every now and then to let me know how you are doing and where you are “on the road”. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *