Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

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Day 25: San Elijo State Beach to San Diego

San Elijo to San DiegoFourth of July, what better day to finish our tour? We certainly didn’t plan to arrive in San Diego on the quintessential American summer holiday, it just worked out that way.

Fourth of July meant a festive mood in the campground. The beach (just beyond the chain-link fence separating our campsite from the ocean) was hopping by 6:30 AM. Early morning surfers, campers staking out their Fourth of July beach spots and passing trains made it difficult to catch morning shut-eye. No snoozing for us! It was time to get up and finish this tour. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo (Part 2)

Previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24, Part 1

[continued, Part 2]

Our mood light, we left Carlsbad and started pedaling toward Whole Foods in Encinitas where we planned to buy dinner groceries. We spent most of the ride from Carlsbad to Encinitas talking about food and what we all wanted for dinner on our last night of camping. We settled on some kind of BBQ, thinking we’d cook on the fire. We pulled up to Whole Foods and leaned the heavy gear laden bikes just outside the store entrance. The boys went in the store to shop while the girls stayed outside with the bikes. Tim had been talking about Cocchi all day and was looking forward to some cocktails at the campground that evening. Unfortunately, unlike our local Whole Foods in Seattle, this one didn’t carry it. So he settled for a nice dry rose instead.IMG_1943

Tim sent a series of texts while he shopped. Carne Asada? I replied, Yes! Grilled peppers? Yum! Baguette and chevre? This is getting better. Cherry Pie? Why not? Even though Tim doesn’t eat pie or bread, he’s always thinking about the bread and sweet eaters in the family. He finally emerged from the store almost an hour later, carrying multiple bags for our celebratory feast. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 24: Doheny State Beach to San Elijo (Part 1)

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23: Palos Verdes to Doheny State Beach

Day 24: Doheny State Park to San Elijo State Park

Doheny to San Elijo Since we had to vacate the hiker/biker site at Doheny State Beach by 9:00 AM, we didn’t have time for our usual leisurely in-camp breakfast and coffee routine. A park staff person came by with her clipboard at 8:30 and made sure we were checking out. Seriously? You’re still checking up on us? Thankfully we were ready to go and cheerfully answered her questions before we pedaled out of the campground at 9:00 AM on the dot. Even though we grumbled about the forced exit, I guess we could consider the 9:00 AM deadline a silver lining, we were on the road early! We even had time for a leisurely diner breakfast in nearby San Clemente. Checking Maps

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Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 23: Palos Verdes to Doheny State Beach

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22: Leo Carrillo State Park to Palos Verdes

Day 23: Palos Verdes to Doheny State Park

Leaving Palos Verdes

The morning featured a gourmet breakfast and espresso. Nice! We’d gotten used to our lowbrow, dirt-bag bike touring coffee and home-espresso and delicious home cookin’ was a real treat.

Matt’s family had plans for the day and needed to be out the door by 10:00. That deadline gave us a purpose and great reason to get rolling, since our 57 mile ride would take at least 6 hours. We said our goodbyes, thank yous and promised to get in touch when we got back to Seattle. The kids were a little sad to leave their new friends, my stoker, especially. He kept asking when we’d see them again and looked forward to getting together when we got home.

palos verdes to Doheny Beach 2

Since we were officially off the Adventure Cycling route, Matt printed us a series of maps to get us back on track. He noted areas that might be tricky for us to navigate (like around the huge port). But he’d ridden and driven most of the roads on his suggested route and assured us that the route was safe and easy to follow. After leaving Palos Verdes, we’d skirt the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, the busiest container port in the United States.  Once we got to Long Beach, we’d pick up the Adventure Cycling route again. Seemed straightforward enough. We’re seasoned urban riders and weren’t too worried about navigating the area around the port. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 22: Leo Carrillo State Beach to Palos Verdes

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 21: Carpinteria to Leo Carillo State Beach

Day 22: Leo Carrillo State Beach to Palos Verdes

leo carrillo to palos verdes 2

This was the final week of the tour: the home stretch, the final stage, the last 200 miles! We figured if nothing else went wrong, it would take us four more days of pedaling to reach San Diego.

We’d already ridden 650 miles this summer (and 900+ in the summer of 2012). Since we set out from our house in Seattle on June 10th, we’d endured so many setbacks: riding in torrential rain, days of pedaling with sore knees, and a heat wave. And even though we felt some apprehension about riding through LA, Orange County and San Diego, with its heavy traffic and drivers who have irreverence for bicyclists, we knew this section of the route was part of the coastal adventure. I fantasized about renting a car and driving the rest of the way, but we knew we couldn’t just skip this section. If you want to ride the Pacific Coast from Canada to the Mexican border, you must ride through LA and Orange County.

So let’s do it!

We woke under the trees in the Leo Carrillo campgroud, took care of our usual breakfast and camp dis-assembly routine and eventually set off toward Malibu. Once again, Danielle and Henry were on the road before we even started packing.

Our destination: our friend’s house in Palos Verdes. But this time, our tardiness had a purpose. We’d been warned about impatient and fast-driving Malibu commuters and planned to avoid riding Hwy 1 during commute hours. That knowledge gave us license to take the morning at a slower pace and roll out after traffic died down. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 21: Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo State Park

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

Day 21: Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo State Park

We woke in the gopher site at 6:00 AM to a blaring car alarm followed by the horns of a passing freight train. With tracks running less than 50 feet from the campsite, we were woken several times during the night by trains. The car alarm topped off a bad night’s sleep and we figured we might as well just get up and start the day.

As we ate breakfast and drank coffee in the shade at a picnic table next to the gopher site, I checked the maps again and determined our next campsite, Leo Carrillo State Beach, was a little over 47 miles away. With stops, we average about 10 miles and hour, so I figured 47 miles would take us about 5 hours. Since it was so early, we had the luxury of a slow roll out. We said goodbye to Henry and Danielle before they packed up and left, they were headed to town for breakfast. They planned to camp at Leo Carrillo too so we knew we’d see them again.

Carpinteria to Leo Carrillo

We eventually packed up and got on the road. And after a brief stop in town for second breakfast  and coffee, we started pedaling toward our destination. The bike route meandered through town and eventually joined busy Hwy 1. It was Sunday, in the middle of a heat wave and by the time we got rolling, beach traffic was hopping: lots of cars and large trucks towing RVs and not a lot of space for bikes on the shoulder. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike Tour Day 19: Lompoc to El Capitan State Beach

Day 20: El Capitan State Beach to Carpinteria

el capitan to carpinteria

We met another friendly bike tourist in the El Capitan State Beach hiker/biker site. The five of us shared the giant hiker/biker site with its beautiful ocean view. As we’ve noted in a previous post about last year’s Pacific Coast tour, bike tourists who meet on the road often have little pet names for their fellow two-wheeled travelers. We named the friendly guy we met in El Capitan,  “Mr. California”. When we inquired about his hometown, he replied “California”. He went on to list the real estate he owned up and down the California coast including houses in Ventura, Del Mar, San Francisco, Sonoma County and a couple other places. Continue reading