170825-Questionable Decisions

Last night I sat in the tent, reviewing the situation for the next couple of days. As I considered my options, I heard a young woman’s quavering voice outside my tent. “Hello. Hello?” as she tapped on my tent. I unzipped the tent to find Laura standing outside peering in. After blinding her with my headlamp, we both turned off our lights to talk.

The hostel we had called in Machyllneth had called back, and said they had a bed available for the night. They had requested that I call back in the morning, but if they didn’t hear from me they’d save me a space. Problem, at least in the short term, resolved. I found Laura this morning to again borrow the phone and confirm my stay. Of course, cycling to there today, I passed a campground at the very least every 2 km. While the GPS/OSMAnd+ had showed only a few, that number of campgrounds was wildly inaccurate.

OSMAnd+ comes with another consideration. Having discovered the ability to see the upcoming elevations provides another data point for making route decisions. More data means it takes more time to evaluate.

I arrived at Harlech Castle shortly after it opened, yet another castle designed by Master Mason James of St. George. It’s a more basic and conventional castle than the others. Well worth a visit.

From there I had nothing else on my agenda but the ride to Machyllneth. Looking at OSMAnd+, I had two choices for routes. One ran along the coast along a highway and was generally small elevation changes. The other climbed deep into the hills, with a gradient up to 14%, for long periods of time. 14% is steep. I’ve seen steeper, here in Wales. I waffled back and forth for a while before selecting the coastal route. I didn’t get killed in traffic so it at least wasn’t a bad decision.

Since yesterday I knew I’d be climbing a lot, I’d let my groceries level drop to a critical level. When I stopped for groceries today, a young girl of about 12 years old parked her bedraggled bicycle in front of mine. I noticed the chain was solidly rusted. Given that I have this new supply of chain oil, I oiled her chain for her while she was in the store. Less for me to carry. When I exited the store her bicycle was gone.

As I worked on finding places in the panniers for all the groceries, an elderly gentleman approached me to ask about my trip. He had once cycled across France, and was excited to talk to another cycle tourer.

I’m glad I had grabbed a screen capture of the directions to the hostel. The location on the GPS was wrong by several hundred meters.

The path ahead looks like climbing no matter where I go. I’m about three days from Fishguard and the ferry back to Rosslare, Ireland. Along the way I’m going to stop at Sam’s. Although Sam is in the process of cycling through South America, he volunteered his dad as a place to stay, and we’ve corresponded back and forth over the past week.

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