One Pack. No Turning Back.


Number of miles driven today: 124

Total miles driven on road trip: 764

Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts? Starbucks 

Cheapest gas I saw today: $3.33

Most random occurrence: The receptionist at the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce used to work for Upper Deck baseball cards

Number of hotel clerks I met from Cabool, MO: 1, Eric at the Ramada Limited in San Marcos

​"People have Garry sightings around town."

That's what Hal, the development of director for the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, told me when I asked if Garry Templeton was well known in town. Templeton keeps to himself for the most part, but emerges when the town calls upon him for various speaking engagements, such as his keynote address at the Chamber's Installation luncheon last year. 

When I checked in to the Ramada, I asked the front desk clerk if he had heard of Templeton. He grinned broadly at me, his thin lips parting to reveal a front row of teeth that looked like a mouth guard and mere black nubs where his bottom teeth should have been.

"Shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres? Never heard of him," he said, proud of his sarcasm. He had grown up in a small town in southern Missouri "that just got electricity last week," and was a die-hard Cardinals fan. 

Clearly, Templeton is a celebrity here in San Marcos, a town of almost 90,000 about 30 miles north of San Diego. 

Later in the evening, I got to meet Jumpsteady himself, and my nerves were immediately calmed by his affable, easy-going aura.

Simply put, Garry Templeton is smooth.

​There's no better word in the English language for the Padres shortstop of the 1980s. Even the hitch in his walk, the result of 7 surgeries on his left knee, comes across more like swagger. He oozes cool, projecting the same laid-back attitude that was often labeled laziness or nonchalance during his playing career. But Garry doesn't care about the haters. He's done things his way for 59 years and has more than 2,000 hits to show for it. Not to mention a tight-knit family of four kids, two grandkids, and a wife of 37 years who still makes him giggle.

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Day 6: Los Angeles, CA to San Marcos, CA, 6.24.15