Prior to Going Wandering, we moved back to our old home town of San Clemente, California. The town where I grew up and at one time the home of the Western White House, yeah Richard Nixon's lair while president. San Clemente is like so many SoCal beach towns, more surfboard shops than grocery stores. It was actually a wonderful place to grow up, surfing before school, the full Beach Boys life style of the late 60's. My Dad would drop me at the beach on his way to work and pick me up on the way home, carefree days of surfing, swimming and lying on the beach. Those were the days!! But like any idyllic time and place you can't go back. The town of 10,000 is now 65,000. The streets are crowded, the beaches are packed in the summer and the small town of many good memories is now just another over developed blot on the landscape of the OC. Yuck. It goes to prove that you can't go back. Oh well. Moving on.
I was saddened two years ago at the passing of one of my high school classmates. Not a close friend, but a man my age. John had a heart attack while riding his bike. John ran a local bike shop and had done some repairs on a bike of mine. I had just been into his old shop, still run by his wife, to have my bike tuned up. There is a makeshift memorial to John along the bike trail where cyclists have left water bottles, jerseys, bike frames, etc. I was out on a ride and about 10 miles from home when my bike developed this annoying knocking sound in the crank. Every pedal came with a clunk that was driving me batty, but I knew I could make it home and then I could take my bike back in and get in fixed again. As I was pedalling home I decided to stop at John's memorial and leave my water bottle. I stopped for a minute, took a drink and tied my water bottle to the fence. I got back on and began to peddle and the annoying clank was gone. I thought a temporary fix that will come back when I have to crank up some of the hills on the way home. The hills come and go and no sign of the noise. Coincidence, I thought. There really was something wrong with my bike, the noise will return. Well, the next day a long ride and no sign of the clank. An unexplained miracle. I stopped by the shop and told John's wife of my miracle. She smiled knowingly and said her son would be happy to hear the story. Thanks John, still working at the bike shop and never to busy to do a favor for an old classmate.