So the first five days are cracked – and Einstein is proving to be a cracking travelling companion. Easy going, fleet of foot and without an aggressive bone in his body – he’s positively Zen. Sod all use as a guard dog, I sense, but as this trip is all about trusting our fellow humans, that’s ok.
I’ve been doing daily updates about the trip on Instagram (under Tom Fremantle) which my nimble-thumbed daughter, Eliza, insisted is all the rage now. Will do sporadic ones on Facebook, too.
After kicking off from the US-Mexico border on Sept 22 in the no man’s land between Tijuana and San Diego – a poignant spot if ever there was, Einstein and I, accompanied by my friend, Richard Kiy and his son, Danny, walked from 11am (the border did not open until 10am) and finished up, 30 odd miles later, at Camp Land in Mission Bay, close to midnight. Einstein crashed into the tent, snoring heartily within seconds.
Next morning, we joined up with an Alzheimer’s Association’s (a US charity) walk: I am raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, so it was good to link up. Then we yomped out of town ending up on the stunning, dirt-tracked Los Penasquitos Trail, guided by a very welcome full moon, and stars of winking opal.
The following day we hit the hills coming out of Poway and ended up in the secluded Dos Picos campsite near Ramona, before tramping through the charming, one mule towns of Santa Ysabel and Julian (famous for cider and pies, what’s no to like) and on to Camp Stevens, who are kindly hosting Einstein and I on a donation basis. It’s a wonderful spot; a deer pranced by our cabin within minutes.
Sierra, the director at Camp Stevens, even left out home cooked food for us on arrival. Camp Stevens is a Christian focused camp but they haven’t once asked me about my faith (phew!) but simply offered their kindness and chilli con carne – Christian in the best sense of the word.
Einstein and I had a great rest day today – laundry, sorting kit, journal updates, contacting loved ones. We are also wrestling with the best route forward. It’s clear to me now that with a big dog like Einstein, I need to carry lots of food and water for him. This means the walk across the upcoming remote, sizzling desert, will require some kind of back up: or else leaving behind Einstein, clearly unthinkable.
Fortunately, Danny Kiy, my friend Richard’s son, has kindly offered to support us with food and water drops plus staking out good places to camp in the desert. This will be invaluable.
Distances to date – according to my Garmin watch are as follows:
22/09/18 – 31.09 miles
23/09/18 – 23.64 miles
24/09/18 – 21.65 miles
25/09/18 – 13.02 miles
26/09/18 – 22.30 miles
And today – rest day, lots of light pottering!
One thing that has made me laugh: my Garmin, before I started the walk, kept ordering me to MOVE – AND STOP EATING DONUTS! Well, I made up the donuts part, but it’s fair say, I like to eat my share. Since then, everyday it’s been pinging up GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! like David Coleman on Red Bull. Forget kale and quinoa, this Walk Round the World diet is working a storm!
Well, it seems like a lifetime since Einstein and I set off from the US-Mex border – it’s been a great adventure to date. On my return in 3 odd years, I’m hoping the border region will be less troubled: this mooted wall, more porous and less perilous, or, even better, resigned to history.
PS One more thing, PLEASE, if you have made a donation to any of the three wonderful charities so far – the Alzheimer’s Society, the Puzzle Centre or Medical Detection Dogs – then let me know asap, as I want to thank you personally. Some of the donations have gone to the charities but not appeared on the Just Giving pages, so I’d really like to write to each and every one of you. Thank you!