Ah yes, the Queen Mary..

Last night I got back from LA after dark, and walked the 2 miles from the metro station to Ken’s house, through unfamiliar neighbourhoods. Ken had given me a key to his house, so when I got back, I opened the door, only to see a little boy on the other side. I was very puzzled, then I heard voices, and then shouts, and the phrase “call the police” rang out resoundingly.

Damn, I’d just tried to enter the wrong house! And now they were going to call the police…… The father came out, a tall strong looking chap, and mother opened the window….I pleaded my case, told them it was a genuine mistake, ladled on the English accent, told them I was a simple confused Brit, and, magically, they calmed down, and even started to make moves to help me….if I’d prolonged the subservience, they might even have invited me in for a beer…. Phew, another neat side step out of trouble.

The next morning, I rode with Ken for a couple of miles, he on his way to work. He is a therapist, with a speciality in helping victims of addiction, and he put me on the road to visit the old Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach harbour, and now serving as an event centre and hotel. I asked one couple who were coming off from having spent the night on her, what it was like. The unadorned answer was “Well, it was another thing to cross off the list”. The ship had been decommissioned in 1968, and from the outside, it certainly looked old and tired.

On the last lap of this epic ride, I am winding down the pace, cruising along beach trails, along endless beaches….

…past artificial islands that had to be built to mask the unsightly oil drilling platforms put there in the 70s….

…and when I got to Crystal Cove campground, to be told that tent camping would cost a whopping $55 a night, my jaw dropped to my knees. So, summoning up, once again, all the Englishness and old school refinement that I could, coupled with an expression of genuine shock, the camp host paused….then said: ” Go to site 30 and pitch your tent behind my RV”.

Did I detect a wink and a smile when he said that….?

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on October 26, 2018, in Vancouver to Mexico 2000 miles and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. lucky you didn’t get shot, what with so many guns in the US

  2. I didn’t even know they give cyclist discounts. That’s pretty cool.

  3. Fifty bucks for a campsite? Welcome to California. Sadly, they charge for that nice weather, my friend. Try Michigan next time, a summertime trip around the Great Lakes, maybe. I think we’re closer to $15-20 for a campsite. 😉

    • It seems to be just southern California that lacks the hiker biker sites….obviously, there’s no money in it. Everywhere else has been $5-10, including a couple with pools and hot tubs…

  4. Good to see you’ve extended your skills to breaking and entering! University of the Third Age 😂

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