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Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 57 – Done!

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.

Silver Strand Bikeway leaving Coronado
Silver Strand Bikeway leaving Coronado
Blue Heron on the Silver Strand leaving Coronado
Blue Heron on the Silver Strand leaving Coronado

(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.

Cycling outside of Imperial Beach to the Border Field State Park
Cycling outside of Imperial Beach to the Border Field State Park
Horses on Monument Road on the way to Border Field State Park
Horses on Monument Road on the way to Border Field State Park
The fence
The fence
The Fence at the Friendship Garden - binational garden only open on Sat. Sun 10-2
The Fence at the Friendship Garden – binational garden only open on Sat. Sun 10-2
View from the Border Fence looking out over the Tijuana Esuarine Reserve
View from the Border Fence looking out over the Tijuana Esuarine Reserve
The last hill -
The last hill -Border Field State Park

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!

Celebrating 47 years today
Celebrating 47 years today
Done - Border Field State Park and Beach - US/Mexico Border
Done – Border Field State Park and Beach – US/Mexico Border

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 56 – Cruising to Coronado

We really did cruise on a passenger ferry! The day dawned gray and dreary as most mornings have here in sunny sometimes southern CAL.

Leaving Encinitas
Leaving Encinitas

Bill captured more “old vehicles” with his camera as we were leaving Encinitas

Another old Woody
Another old Woody

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.

Plaque at Swami Beach
Plaque at Swami Beach
Meditation gardens at Swami Beach
Meditation gardens at Swami Beach
Pedestrian Surfer Crossing
Pedestrian Surfer Crossing
Surfers at Swami Beach
Surfers at Swami Beach
Looks like a seal to me
Looks like a seal to me

As we left the beaches of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Solana and Del Mar,

Surf statue
Surf statue

we headed inland just a little and climbed a long, gradual hill (417 ft).

Doesn't look like much of a hill in the background but it was!
Doesn’t look like much of a hill in the background but it was!

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.

The Cave and kayakers
The Cave
Kayakers near The Cave
Kayakers near The Cave La Jolla

We traversed La Jolla through the seaside neighborhoods (big homes$)

Windsea Park La Jolla
Windsea Park La Jolla

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.

Pacific Beach Boardwalk
Pacific Beach Boardwalk

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.

Ocean Beach Park, Dog Beach, San Diego
Ocean Beach Park, Dog Beach, San Diego

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.

Near the ferry dock in San Diego Harbor
Near the ferry dock in San Diego Harbor

Dinner at the Coronado Brew Pub was excellent and now we are ready to finish this trip!

San Diego skyline from Coronado
San Diego skyline from Coronado -red, white, and blue lights on the left are on the Midway.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 55 – Energized for the ride to Encinitas

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.

a puppy at the cafe
a puppy at the cafe

As we left the cafe, we discovered one of the cycling teams that will be Racing Across America

Racing Team for Gerhard Gurlich we think
Racing Team for Gerhard Gulewicz we think

– 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.

We think this is Gerhard Gulewicz
We think this 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).

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant
San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

We cycled for about 10 miles through the State Beaches then onto Camp Pendleton.

Looking over the rooftops in Oceanside towards the beach
Looking over the rooftops in Oceanside towards the beach
Oceanside
Carlsbad State Beach

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.

Cycling through San Onofre State Beach on Marine Corp property
Cycling through San Onofre State Beach on Marine Corp property

On to Camp Pendleton, what a big base! No pictures allowed, though.

Cycling towards Camp Pendleton - looks like an airstrip
Cycling towards Camp Pendleton – looks like an airstrip

When we exited the base,

Offbase, photo allowed
Offbase, photo allowed

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

Woody in Leucadia, part of the community of Encinatis
Woody in Leucadia, part of the community of Encinatis

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.

Carlsbad State Beach
Carlsbad State Beach

We have stopped for the day in Encinitas and are enjoying the patio with a view of the ocean.

View from the room, Encinatis
View from the room, Encinatis

Tomorrow we will head to Coronado and then Imperial Beach and the End on Tuesday. Can’t believe the end is in sight.

 

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 54 – Cycling to Capistrano

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.

Leaving Long Beach
Leaving Long Beach

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.

Rowing in Monitor Bay near Seal Beach
Rowing in Monitor Bay near Seal Beach
Outriggers near Newport Beach
Outriggers near Newport Beach

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.

Pacific Coast Highway approaching Laguna Beach
Pacific Coast Highway approaching Laguna Beach
Interesting house on the cliff - near Laguna Beach
Interesting house on the cliff – near Laguna Beach
Looking back over Crystal Cove State Beach, near Laguna Beach
Looking back over Crystal Cove State Beach, near Laguna Beach
Cycling into Dana Point
Cycling into Dana Point

We have stopped for the day in Capistrano Beach at a quaint 1930’s bungalow style hotel.

Sailboat viewed from dinner on patio at Capistrano Beach
Sailboat viewed from dinner on patio at Capistrano Beach

Tomorrow we cycle through San Clemente and Camp Pendleton with a destination of Encinatas.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 53 – Long Ride to Long Beach!

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.

Leaving Malibu, Malibu Pier
Leaving Malibu, Malibu Pier

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.

J Paul Getty Villa
J Paul Getty Villa
Another view of J Paul Getty Villa
Another view of 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.

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
Marina Del Rey, Venice Beach
Marina Del Rey near Venice
Venice Beach
Venice Beach
Homeless at Venice Beach
Homeless at Venice Beach
Graphic Arts Venice Beach
Graphic Arts Venice Beach
More graphic art
More graphic art

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

Los Angeles River bikeway
Los Angeles River bikeway
Seal in the Los Angeles River - out of place
Seal in the Los Angeles River – out of place

which took us to the Long Beach shore area. The shoreline has been revitalized with a beautiful boardwalk area lined with restaurants and shops.

Long Beach Shoreline Path
Long Beach Shoreline Path
Lighthouse Point - Shoreline Village - Long Beach
Lighthouse Point – Shoreline Village – Long Beach

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.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 52 – Marveling at Malibu

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.

Naval Base, Ventura Co.
Naval Base, Ventura Co.

I felt like I was back at GBE! This base designation encompasses many smaller bases – from Wikipedia “Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) is a United States Navy base located near Oxnard,California. The base was formed in 2000 through the merger of Naval Air Station Point Mugu and Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme.

Seebee's
Seebee’s

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).

"No more photos" says security
“No more photos” says security

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.”

Shooting range, Point Mugu
Shooting range, Point Mugu

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.

Mugu Rock
Mugu Rock
Cycling along the coast again
Cycling along the coast again

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 Country Inn
Malibu Country Inn
Views looking over the Santa Monica Mountains from the "patio"
Views looking over the Santa Monica Mountains from the “patio”
Another view from the patio
Another view from the patio

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.

Malibu homes
Malibu homes
Malibu "castle"
Malibu “castle”

Tomorrow we cycle mostly along the Pacific again through the outskirts of LA to Long Beach.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 51- On to Oxnard

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.

Crosstown bike trail, Goleta
Crosstown bike trail, Goleta
Science lesson on the trail
Science lesson on the trail
Part of the science lesson
Part of the science lesson

As we traveled out of Goleta and through Santa Barbara, we were on bike trails or side streets with our own lane.

Nice bike lane on shoulder as we traveled into Santa Barbara
Nice bike lane on shoulder as we traveled into Santa Barbara
Beachside trail/sidewalk in Santa Barbara
Beachside trail/sidewalk in Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf and Marina at Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf and Marina at Santa Barbara

Once we were out of Santa Barbara,

Looking back on Santa Barbara from above the freeway
Looking back on Santa Barbara from above the freeway

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.

Well protected bike trail parallel to 101 from Carpentiera to Mussel Shoals
Well protected bike trail parallel to 101 from Carpentiera to Mussel Shoals

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.

Along the beach near Ventura
Along the beach near Ventura
Nice bike lane approaching Ventura
Nice bike lane approaching Ventura
Views east from Ventura towards the mountains
Views east from Ventura towards the mountains

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.

Cycling 14.5 mph down Harbor Road at end of ride
Cycling 14.5 mph down Harbor Road at end of ride

After 50 miles of cycling, it’s nice to have a great view of the marina and listen to the seals in the harbor.

View from our room this evening - Oxnard - Channel Islands
View from our room this evening – Oxnard – Channel Islands

Tomorrow – Malibu!

#PacificCoastBicycleRoute – Day 50 – Done with One

Overcast skies and a little bit of mist covered our departure from Lompoc this morning.

Starting the 16 mile climb on Route 1 outside of Lompoc
Starting the 16 mile climb on Route 1 outside of Lompoc

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,

Meandering through the valley of Salsipuedas Creek and others
Meandering through the valley of Salsipuedas Creek and others

following a creek through brown fields for about 14 miles

still climbing
still climbing

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 sun came out...
The sun came out…
The summit! 7% grade on the downhill run
The summit! 7% grade on the downhill run

The descent was sweet, two miles downhill 7% grade in about 5 minutes!

Downhill on Route 101
Downhill on Route 101 and the sun begins to hide in the clouds

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.

Along the coast again near Gaviota State Beach
Along the coast again near Gaviota State Beach
Coastal view, no sun
Coastal view, no sun

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.

Historic Camino Real
Historic Camino Real
Karen drafting an RV
Karen drafting an RV

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.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 49 – Leaving for Lompoc

Leaving Oceano early this morning, we headed out under cloudy skies. What’s new, right?

Leaving Oceano, had dinner at the Rock and Roll diner last night
Leaving Oceano, had dinner at the Rock and Roll diner last night

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).

Fields of salad fixins
Fields of salad fixins
Irrigation pipes and more green fields
Irrigation pipes and more green fields

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.

Interesting eroded rock outside of Orcutt
Interesting eroded rock outside of Orcutt

The word grade should let us know that it will be a climb. It was long and steady but not steep

Harris Grade Road on Bill's gps
Harris Grade Road on Bill’s gps
Starting the climb up Harris Grade Road
Starting the climb up Harris Grade Road
Still climbing
Still climbing and yes it was a little warm today in the sun.

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.

Nice bike trail into Lompoc
Nice bike trail into Lompoc

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.

Pacific Coast Bicycle Route – Day 48 – Off to Oceano/Grover Beach

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.

Leaving Morro Bay, Morro Rock is barely visible
Leaving Morro Bay, Morro Rock is barely visible
Cycling through Morro Bay State Park
Cycling through Morro Bay State Park

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.

Heading to Hinds Summit between Morro Bay and SLO
Heading to Hinds Summit between Morro Bay and SLO

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.

PF McClintocks Grill
PF McClintocks Grill
More from McCLintocks, SLO
More from McCLintocks, SLO
and one more decorative shot
and one more decorative shot PFMcLintocks

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”.

Pismo Beach, quite a green contrast to the browns of inland Central CA
Pismo Beach, quite a green contrast to the browns of inland Central CA
Just a few miles inland from Pismo beach
Just a few miles inland from Pismo beach – Los Oso Valley

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.