(This is written by Jim, who has no camera or spellchecker, while I was sick in bed.)
Bi log - Huntington Beach to San Diego.
Today's ride answered the question "if cyclists ran things, what would the riding condition be?:
From just a review of the map, it looked like today was going to be a long one. The Adventure cycling maps put if at about 100 miles. Assuming no hills, assuming no headwinds, assuming no rain, hail or other natural disasters, it was going to be a long day. Keep in mind that it is winter time. The "Impossible Mission" is to get in before dark - 6:00. Drew had a bike shop lined up to ship the bikes - it closed at 6:00. Anther reason to get in on time.
The last couple of days, I've been getting breakfast 20 miles out. That works, if you have a place in mind, or you are pretty sure there will be a place there. Today, I didn't want to risk it, so I breakfasted at the Woody Diner, Huntington Beach. It was there that I discovered that East Coast people, myself, are difficult to understand by West Coasters. It's not just the absence of the words "dude" "man" or "wow" in my diction. Somehow A "sausage and cheese omelet," was heard as a sausage an cheese sandwich." The fact that the waitress was having a conversation about how her Carman Gia was really the "poor man's porshe" may have contributed to the distraction. Had to get out of there, so I just ate the sandwich, and read the morning paper. Turns out a sausage and cheddar cheese sandwich on wheat toast is actually tasty.
Out of Huntington Beach, the motel district, it's Huntington Beach, the state park. Saw a bike trail, so I took a chance. The first of many good ones. 10 miles of bike trail along the ocean. No cars, and lost of cute joggers. After you get back on the road, it's a series of beaches. Lots of rolling hills, with lights synchronized to stop you at the bottom of a hill, or half way up the other side. Obviously, I had not reached that part of the world, yet, where cyclists rule.
Laguna is especially hilly. As I was climbing one hill, I notice a trailer park on the ocean, kind of an oddity, given the mansions I had seen on the ocean side up until then.. Something big and dead was washed up on the beach there. It had a tail, it was pale in color, and it had several chunks missing out of it. Big chunks. Now I'm not interested in surfing.
Then you get to the world go the cyclists. Beginning at San Cemented, there are a series of small suburban roads, that connect coastal highway with the bike route to San Diego. Some times, it's just a block, then you turn. At each intersection, there was a green sign, telling you where to go. Wow, I'm thinking, someone actually knew people like me, who can't read a map, will be coming through here. But it gets better.
You leave San Clemente, and there's a bike path, apparently an old road, for the next 10 miles. The surfaces is in great shape, and there are thousands of cyclists out using it. Just when it ends, and I'm bracing myself to go back on the road, there's more: a trip through a parking lot, and then 10 miles more bike road. Again, it seem the trail is ending, and then, bam, back on a trail. At the final end of this trail utopia, there was half a house parked, to obstruct my getting the bike through the gate. Someone had parked half a pre-fab house. I had to duck under a gate to avoid hitting the house.
Then it's though Camp Pendleton, a Marine base. The guard thought I was crazy for riding to San Diego. When people who leap out of landing craft and charge machine guns hint that you're nuts, you listen. Pendleton was more of the same. Long well maintained roadways, with no traffic. Did see a sign warning of a "Tank Crossing." No tank was crossing them I went though.
When you leave Pendleton, it's back to the real world, and it's the real world right outside a military base. Welcome to Oceanside, California. Anthony's burger joint was there just in time for a late lunch. Two chili burgers were more than I could handle, Anthony's doesn't skimp. For entertainment, they had a T.V with Spanish music video's. If you are a woman and you are interested in getting a job acting in a Spanish music video, you'd better look good in next to nothing.
Beginning with San Clemente, the whole goal is to get you back on Coastal Highway. That happens at Oceanside. Then begins again the parade of beaches.
At Carlsbad there's dog show. Did we a guy in a tweed coat leading a collie around.
As you enter what you think is LaJolla, there's good climb. Then, you're into what you think is La Jolla. Then there's a downhill into what you think is LaJolla, then there's a small climb to a commercial area, that you think is La Jolla. Then you pass a college, arriving at what you think is La Jolla.. Then it's down a steep hill, o ver by the Skrips institute, to what you think is La Jolla, then it's along a road, aground, down a steep hill, and, yes, you're in LaJolla. You know this because there a people looking for parking places, who stop without signaling.
To get through La Jolla, it's series of turns, through suburban-style streets, often one or two blocks at a time. Again, the bike route signs come to the rescue.
Then there's San Diego. With time running out, the map goes cold. I make it into San Diego, but over the wrong bridge. Now, I've got to find my way through traffic to the downtown. I make it to the hostel right at 6:00, thanks to Drew, my phone a friend navigator. What did we do before cell phones?
Did get to see the Queen Marie II pulling in. It's huge. Why anyone needs ship that big is beyond me.
As it turns out, the bike shop wants $200 to ship the bikes, and Drew says we're packing the bikes. I get into the hostel, and meet him dragging the bike boxes back from the bike shop.
We have diner at a bar around the corner, Moose McGillucutty's. I have the chicken burrito. It's huge and hits the spot. Drew orders the calamari, but they bring him something that looks like onion rings. Not enough of a "tentacle" look for him.
Bottom line, is a great day of riding. It's been a long time since I've ridden over 100 miles and felt so good. Maybe it was the tail wind, maybe it was the long bike paths. I have this theory about bike touring. I call it the 18 th hole hypothesis. When you're golfing, you always hit your best shot on the 18 hole - I'm convinced the fix is in, so that you will come back and golf again. So too with biking. Capping a great rip with a great day, just means you'll be back for more.