On the days we decided to have our packs transported for us to our next stop, we would just leave the backpacks by the door, some times inside and sometimes outside, of wherever we had spent the night. We would walk the 15 to 18 miles to our next stop, and there would be our packs, again sometimes indoors and sometimes out. While in some cases anybody could have searched through them or stolen the whole pack with ease, but no such thing ever happened.
Then we fly into San Francisco, we were met by Sara, who was kind enough to offer to pick us up, and the three of us went to dinner at Nido’s Kitchen, a Mexican restaurant at 4th & Oak in Oakland. We came out of the restaurant to find that the back window of Sara’s car had been smashed out, and Monica’s backpack was the only thing stolen. How sad, nobody was ever more attached to their backpack than Monica. If it was a choice between saving me or the backpack, it would have been a tough decision. An hour back in the good old US of A and we are victimized. What time is the next bus to France?
I called OPD to make a report for the Insurance claim, and identified myself as OPD retired, and the Dispatcher apologized as there were no units available, as they were all out on 245PC’s (Penal code for Assault with deadly weapon). She suggested that I just relax, get a good night’s sleep and make the report online the next morning. Thanks for the call, and good night.
Just thinking, we have walked 1200 miles plus a lot of training miles, and I am feeling pretty proud of myself – it is a personal best. But HEY! I am a Marine, I am OPD, I have done marathons and triathalons, I have bicycled the length of California, and circled the Mojave Desert by bike, and backpacked all the major mountain ranges of Calif., so why would I expect less? Before I get too smug and self congratulatory, I think of Monica. Monica wasn’t in the military, wasn’t a Cop, hadn’t bicycled, ran, or backpacked. Her qualifications were being a successfully self-employed Mother of four (don’t sell those qualifications short). Shoulder to shoulder, step for step, Monica was with me for all of those miles; and I have no doubt when I take my last step, that Monica has the courage, the innner-strength, the determination to go further. I thank God for one amazing lady. Incidentally, yesterday she was at REI shopping for a new backpack. Lord, give me strength.
Our last days in France were spent exploring the area of the Dordogne River. It is advertised as having a thousand and one Castles and Chateaus, it really seems too. It also has several villages that border the river and are built into the limestone cliffs. A fascinating area that we could have easily enjoyed for a longer time.