Our last day of cycling on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route was a short one. We left Coronado this morning after a breakfast at Clayton’s Coffee Shop – a folksy, old-timey American diner that has been in Coronado since the 1940’s. (We also bought our celebratory cinnamon bun there for later consumption). The Silver Strand Bikeway is a well-paved trail that connects Coronado Island with the Imperial Beach, passing by several military installations along the way.
(A Naval Amphibious Base where the SEALS train and Lincoln Military Housing – also a Naval Air Station is located on the northwest portion of the island).
Once we reached Imperial Beach we only had about 8 more miles to cycle to reach the US/Mexico border at the end of our route.
Those last few miles were reflective as we both thought about the last 1900 miles we had traveled. We’ve met many cyclists, traveled across many bridges, climbed many, many hills, had one flat tire, one broken seat, one broken gear cable and two sets of brakes changed (from all those hills we had to descend.) Those of you following on Facebook know that we also celebrated 47 years of marriage today and I can’t think of a better way to “be together” – Just like our trip, we have had our challenges over the years, but the good times sure outweigh the bad and the products of these years together – our three unique and wonderful kids are the best things that happened for us. We love you, Kristi, Trip, and Kate. Thanks for supporting us and encouraging us to take on the challenges of triathlons, 1/2 marathons, cycling the PCH, kayaking, engine repairs, house repairs, sharing you kids and dogs with us and celebrating with us. WE ARE FAMILY!
We really did cruise on a passenger ferry! The day dawned gray and dreary as most mornings have here in sunny sometimes southern CAL.
Bill captured more “old vehicles” with his camera as we were leaving Encinitas
and I wanted to stop at the Swami Beach. When we were staying in Capistrano Beach, the owner of the motel shared with us that Swami Beach was developed in the 1930’s as a place of meditation and reflection, now a very popular surfing spot. From wikipedia -“Swami’s, also known as “Swami’s Reef'” and “Swamis”, is an internationally known surfing spot, a point break located in Encinitas, San Diego County,California. Swami’s was named after SwamiParamahansa Yogananda, because the grounds and hermitage of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, overlook this reef point.” I was more intrigued by the gardens of the Swami.
As we left the beaches of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana and Del Mar,
we headed inland just a little and climbed a long, gradual hill (417 ft).
And I thought we were done with those hills. We cycled past the Torrey Pines State Preserve and on into La Jolla, joining the coast again at the Coast Blvd, where there was an interesting sea cave and a kayak school.
We traversed La Jolla through the seaside neighborhoods (big homes$)
and onto the boardwalk at Pacific Beach. Bill was so engrossed with the views on the beach, we missed our turn to Mission Bay Park and had to cycle back a few blocks or so.
We took a detour to the Dog Beach at Ocean Beach Park where Bill and his brother and sister-in-law started their Southern Tier trip last fall.
As we headed into San Diego on Nimitz Blvd., my gear cable broke. Bill tied it off in a temporary fix as we were 1.7 miles from a great bike shop, Moment Bicycles. Bill replaced the cable and we had a delightful conversation with the owner, who shared with us a great place to eat on Coronado Island.
After the bike repair, we only had about 4 miles left to the ferry landing in San Diego harbor where we boarded the passenger ferry to Coronado. The ferry dock is right next to the old Navy ship, Midway, quite an impressive ship.
Dinner at the Coronado Brew Pub was excellent and now we are ready to finish this trip!
Bill assures me this is the last 40 mile ride of this trip. As we approach the end, he has broken up the final miles for tomorrow and Tuesday so that we have about 25 miles each day to ride. Can you believe this trip is almost done? I can’t.
For the previous three nights, sleep was evading me and I was so tired last night I fell asleep at 8:30 and did not wake up until 7:00 AM. Thus, the title for this day’s ride. It is amazing what a good night’s sleep can do for one’s energy level and attitude. We stopped for breakfast at a small cafe in San Clemente called, Ellie’s Table – excellent croissant sandwiches and quiches. I managed to love on a sweet puppy to make up for the fact that I haven’t seen my granddogs for months.
As we left the cafe, we discovered one of the cycling teams that will be Racing Across America
– they were working on gear and bikes in the driveway and we stopped to talk. The rider they were supporting is from Austria, we think. The support person was from Switzerland and we shared our stories of riding down the Rhine River last year. The Race starts Tuesday, just as we finish. I’ll be watching for news of the riders, especially the one from Austria – who we think is Gerhard Gulewicz.
3000 miles nonstop from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis MD. Wow.
Anyway, we continued on through the hilly neighborhood streets of San Clemente – a fun ride because you could gather speed going down the hill and have enough to get up the next hill, just like a roller coaster. After San Clemente we were out on the beach road through San Clemente State Beach, past the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant (very well-protected).
We cycled for about 10 miles through the State Beaches then onto Camp Pendleton.
We saw so many cyclists today – guess it has been the first sunny day for the past three and a Sunday to boot. Many stopped to ask us where we were from and where we were headed. The pannier bags give people a clue that we are long distance cyclists. We passed one young man on a very inexpensive bike who was traveling to San Diego from Long Beach and was having trouble with his bike. I thought he said my tires are like jelly. BIll stopped to pump his tire up and we left. Bill noticed that he was walking and rode back to see what was wrong. He said the bike rode much better but his thighs were like jelly! Guess I heard him wrong the first time, but I’m glad we stopped.
On to Camp Pendleton, what a big base! No pictures allowed, though.
When we exited the base,
we cycled into Oceanside, where the Race Across America will start – it’s a town, with a beach and a pier, just like all the other seaside towns in California – well almost. There are more and more surfboards!
and more and more Woody’s
Leaving Oceanside, we cycled into Carlsbad which Bill described as a more blue collar beach town. It is not as typical as the other seaside towns have been – then two more state beaches – Carlsbad and Leucadia.
We have stopped for the day in Encinitas and are enjoying the patio with a view of the ocean.
Tomorrow we will head to Coronado and then Imperial Beach and the End on Tuesday. Can’t believe the end is in sight.
I know, how else would we get there? Since there was no wifi this evening, this will be short for posting tomorrow when we have wifi.
Thought today would be a short day but it turned into 40 miles. We left Long Beach at 7:00 in a light rain that lasted until about 1:00 PM.
The rain got heavier as did the wind as we traveled through Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, but finally stopped even though the sun still did not come out.
Half the day was spent on beachside trails. The Californians don’t care if it is rainy and windy, they are out with their canopies and umbrellas staking their claim on the beach. Volleyball competitions were going on and lots of folks on the trail as well as lots of traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway.
We have stopped for the day in Capistrano Beach at a quaint 1930’s bungalow style hotel.
Tomorrow we cycle through San Clemente and Camp Pendleton with a destination of Encinatas.
Today’s ride was the longest so far, 57 miles! I think I could have ridden another 10, maybe, but glad to have stopped and cooled off. It was one of the warmest days as we traveled through urban areas during the last half of the day, LA is not “my cup of tea”.
We started the day early, leaving Malibu a little after 7:00 AM.
After traveling for a few miles on the Pacific Coast Highway, we were able to pick up the beach bike path, right after passing the J. Paul Getty Villa.
The beach names were familiar from movies, TV shows, etc. but what different cultures they have “in person”; Malibu Beach, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo Beach.
When we went under the parking area for Redondo Beach on a designated bike trail, we faced a hill climb up Torrance Blvd. Stopping to get our bearings, we were advised by a local fellow cyclist and a member of the LA Bicycle Coalition that the hill was not that bad and if we needed a lunch place, take a left on Catalina and go two blocks to the Catalina Cafe – which we did. After lunch we were on urban multi-lane streets (some with bike lanes and some without) until we reached the Los Angeles River bikeway
which took us to the Long Beach shore area. The shoreline has been revitalized with a beautiful boardwalk area lined with restaurants and shops.
I’m glad we managed to get through beach areas today as I expect them to be fairly crowded tomorrow with weekend beachgoers.
We did meet a young Brit who was starting his northerly trip on the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – did not have much experience on a bike before he planned this trip. He had ridden his bike four times before he brought it, his pannier bags, and camping gear on a plane to the states. He has about 6 weeks to go before he hopes to reach Vancouver.
Tomorrow is a short day, on to Capistrano Beach, only about 37 miles.
From Oxnard to Malibu, our route was only 30 miles. As we were heading out from the hotel this morning, we passed a pickup truck with a UVA sticker on the back bumper. When we stopped at the stoplight, we signaled for the fellow to roll his window down. I shared that I, too, was a UVA post-grad. He indicated that he was from Virginia Beach and had gone to Cox High School, my alma mater – small world – “6 degrees of separation”.
As we left Oxnard, we cycled past the Naval Base Ventura County while the National Anthem was being played.
NBVC is a diverse installation comprising three main facilities—Point Mugu, Port Hueneme and San Nicolas Island—and serving as an all-in-one mobilization site, deep water port, railhead, and airfield.” Wow, that is a lot of land, a lot of activities and a lot of personnel. As we passed by the Air National Guard part of the base, Bill took a photo of the airplane on display at the gate (for our grandson).
Security quickly drove up and said, “No more photos!” Another mile down the road, we came across the Missile Site, similar to the one near Langley on Mercury Blvd. and there were plenty of planes to photograph there.
We also cycled past the military shooting range as the shots echoed loudly through the canyon. “If the red flag is flying, it is dangerous due to practice shooting.”
Once we cycled past the military installations, we were back on a coastal route, the Pacific Coast Highway, bordered by the rugged Santa Monica Mountains. The next highlight was a “split rock” at Point Mugu, quite an interesting geological formation.
As we reached Point Mugu, many emergency vehicles began to pass us. We cycled for almost 10 miles before we came upon the scene of a horrific crash… some type of vehicle had gone off the cliff and ended up at the base of the boulders with wheels up – not sure whether it was a truck with trailer, or a camper, or car or pickup. (News report – car and 1 fatality). I felt sorry for all the emergency workers that have to deal with situations like this much too frequently on this highway. Made me more alert for the rest of the ride today.
We have stopped at the Malibu Country Inn for the day. Photos below are views from and of the room.
Malibu is sure a pricey place to live. I couldn’t believe the size of all the cliffside and oceanside mansions or the price$. Oh my, not my cup of tea – or coffee.
Tomorrow we cycle mostly along the Pacific again through the outskirts of LA to Long Beach.
This morning’s weather was more of the same – cloudy and overcast- as we left Goleta. Bike trails and bike lanes are now the rule instead of the exception.
As we traveled out of Goleta and through Santa Barbara, we were on bike trails or side streets with our own lane.
Once we were out of Santa Barbara,
we traveled south through Coastal Village, Summerland, and Carpentiera – paralleling Route 101, but on a side road with a bike lane. After a coffee stop in Carpentiera at a Cupcake Shop, we headed out for what we thought would be at least a five mile ride on the 101, only to discover another beautiful paved separated bike trail along the water.
That took some money and was not even mentioned on the bike map so it must be pretty new. When the trail ended in Mussel Shoals, we were routed on to the Pacific Coast Highway, lined with huge RV rigs camped right on the oceanside.
When we reached Ventura, we were routed onto the Omar Raines Oceanfront Bikepath and from there had to travel about five miles on Harbor Rd. to reach Oxnard where we have stopped for the day.
After 50 miles of cycling, it’s nice to have a great view of the marina and listen to the seals in the harbor.
Overcast skies and a little bit of mist covered our departure from Lompoc this morning.
After breakfast at the Budget Cafe in Lompoc, we cycled quickly out of town and began the ascent of our last “hill” – at least the last big hill on the profile section of Map 4. We meandered through a valley,
following a creek through brown fields for about 14 miles
with a steady climb, 100 ft. up, then a 50 ft. downhill, then up again, then a downhill until the last two miles where we climbed to the summit of 1100 ft. At 9:30 the sun came out.
The descent was sweet, two miles downhill 7% grade in about 5 minutes!
We stopped at a rest area where Route 1 ended and we merged into Route 101 again (Las Cruces). At 10:30 the sun went back in again as we approached the coast.
The last 27 miles were on a four lane divided highway along the coast.The views were limited with the overcast, foggy skies over the ocean.
We have stopped for the day in Goleta and plan to go see Alice in Wonderland. Tomorrow we will cycle through Santa Barbara with Oxnard as our destination.
Leaving Oceano early this morning, we headed out under cloudy skies. What’s new, right?
Within a few miles we took an alternate route, and due to the fog, did not see the steep hill we needed to climb until we right upon it. After that hill, we rolled through the countryside, miles and miles of fields filled with strawberries, and salad fixins (similar to our ride north of Monterey).
Leaving the fields behind near Orcutt, we traveled into town to find breakfast at Kay’s Country Cafe, scrumptious breakfast and lovely decor. We cycled on back roads until we reached Route 1 again then traveled a few miles on Route 135 to reach Harris Grade Road.
The word grade should let us know that it will be a climb. It was long and steady but not steep
The 1000 ft. climb to the summit gave us a grand view over the town of Lompoc. (Photo at top of blog) A steady, quick descent brought us into Lompoc by 1:00 PM.
Since we couldn’t check into the hotel until 2:00, we cycled around town to find a barbershop for Bill. He now does not look like a grizzly polar bear.
Tomorrow our destination is Goleta on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.
A foggy day again as we left Morro Bay – couldn’t even see Morro Rock! Oh well, maybe we will later in June when we meet up with our son and grandson.
As we walked through the parking lot from breakfast this morning, one of the Scout dads from Day 45 (our 50 mile ride from Big Sur to Ragged Point) came out to chat with us. Another “small world”. He also recommended good eats in SLO (San Luis Obispo) and we should be there in time for lunch.
The ride between Morro Bay and SLO was on country roads again and brown prevailed.
After a few hills, we cycled into SLO in time for a brunch at PFMcLintocks – where the locals eat. Check out the wall hangings and decor in the photos below.
When we left SLO we only had about 10 more miles to our destination of Oceano, again all of it was country roads that paralleled Route 101. We saw many day cyclists today going the other direction. Overcast skies greeted us as we were back on the coast again, cycling through Pismo Beach and Shell Beach, very developed areas with lots of “beachgoers”.
Tomorrow’s ride will take us by Vandenberg Air Force Base and I’ll be thinking of all my Air Force friends…our destination is Lompoc.