170826-Too Fast To Slow

Last night’s hostel was more like a junkyard than a hostel. When I first arrived I though the building abandoned. I tried to ascribe it to “intentionally quirky” but it was well beyond that. Nonetheless, it had a kitchen, bathroom, and bed. Despite concerns about getting a reservation, I was the only inhabitant.

Leaving this morning I spent a while talking to Matt, the hostel owner. I pointed out that the hostel indicated on the map is in the wrong place. He said there used to be a hostel there, but it had closed. At least now he can take that into account when providing directions.

I left intending to follow the major coastal road to Aberystwyth 30 km away, have lunch there, and end the day in at a campground outside of Abaraeron. The next campground beyond that would add another 15 km should that be necessary.

Traffic on the way to Aberystwyth continued to increase as I got closer. While I occasionally had a sidewalk or path, it wasn’t enough, and I was spending a lot of time on narrow, winding roads. Cars still gave me plenty of room, but the traffic was wearing me down, and there weren’t spots to stop when the hills overwhelmed me. The closer I got to Aberystwyth, the heaver the traffic got, until I decided I had to, no matter what, get off that road.

I backed up a kilometer to a secondary road. I then spent a long time looking at the map for another way. Any other way. There was a national cycle path that would eventually get to Abaraeron, but following that path would add roughly 100 km! I finally cobbled together a route through back roads. Progress was slow; I spent a lot of today walking up hills. However, little traffic (or anything else but tractors).

I stopped earlier than planned, short of Abaraeron, at a campground in Nebo. That gave me the campground in Abaraeron as a backup, and the original backup as a tertiary backup. Arriving, Registration was closed, with a sign to call or email. I used the campground’s Wi-Fi to send email, and set about to wait. The problem with the relatively new ubiquitousness of cell phones is everyone is expected to have one. Wi-Fi is rarer, and hostels and campgrounds don’t offer computers anymore. That’s a major change from even two years ago!

As I waited, I met Aaron, who lives in a small cottage on site. He said he’d call Registation for me, but we needed to wait or his phone needed to charge. As we talked his daughter showed up with a bicycle problem. We identified the problem as a frozen link on the chain, which we sorted out in short order.

He gave me his now charged phone. I called only to be told that the campground was full. I was not looking forward to another ride, only to potentially find another full campground, but sometimes that’s how it goes. I handed Aaron his phone back. As I prepared to depart, Aaron told me to wait, and placed a call to Lorraine who said I could stay. Aaron walked me over to the camping field, and told me someone would come by later for payment.

That left me a bit conflicted. I had someone who said I couldn’t stay, and someone who had. If someone showed up later and told me I had to leave, time (and daylight) could be short to get to the next place. I set up my tent, but left the bicycle loaded as I waited. Over an hour later Janet showed up to ask if I had a reservation. I relayed my story, and she left to give Lorraine a call.

She returned to collect the fee; I have a place to stay tonight. Glad that was all sorted out, I headed to the nearby store to pick up a few things for dinner. In this small village, closed for the holiday weekend. I cycled back to camp, planning to cobble together enough calories from the various food sources on the bicycle. As I road back into camp, Janet stopped me to tell me that the store was closed due to the holiday weekend. However, she was about to drive into town, and would be glad to pick something up while she was out. She returned with a huge portion of fried chicken and chips which handily met the day’s caloric requirements.

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