Author Archives: Anne

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

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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

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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

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

previous post: Pacific Coast Bike tour , Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

Day 19: Lompoc to El Capitan State Beach

We woke up in the Lompoc city park, took care of our usual morning routine of coffee and breakfast. As Tim made the coffee, I wandered over to the camp host’s site and asked if we could charge our electronics in the vacant RV site next to the hiker/biker. He said, no problem. So we plugged in all of the devices and continued breakfast and taking down our camp.

While we were packing up, the park ranger drove into the campground to collect the fee envelopes from the self pay box. To our surprise, he came over to the hiker/biker and gave Henry and Danielle a refund. They had been used to paying per person in CA State Parks. Naturally, they paid $10 for their site, $5 per person. But at the Lompoc city park, the camping fee was $5 per site, not per person! And he graciously explained they paid too much and gave them $5 back.

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Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour, Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

previous post: San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

Day 18: San Luis Obisbo to Lompoc

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We woke the next morning rested, clean, smelling good and ready to tackle the day. A little rest, some pool time, leg massages and mega doses of ibuprofen  had done Tim’s knees some good.  He was still reluctant and a bit worried about his knees and wasn’t sure they were going to take him 400 more miles to the border but he was willing to keep plugging along.

A couple of months before we left on the trip Tim changed his saddle on the tandem. The more miles he pedaled, the more Tim deduced that the position change from his saddle swap might be contributing to his sore knees. He considered asking a friend to break into our garage, remove his Selle Atomica saddle from another bike and mail it to a future stop.  He figured that would be too much hassle for all parties involved and decided to just manage the pain instead. Continue reading

We Made it! Updates to Come

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We finished our Pacific Cost Bike Tour on Friday, July 5th, 2013 at Border Field State Park, the Southwesternmost part of the contiguous United States, or the DMZ as Tim likes to call it. More on that later. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 15, 16 and 17 San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

Previous post: Big Sur to San Simeon

Day 15: San Simeon to San Luis Obisbo

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We woke up in the hiker/biker site and most of the riders who had arrived late the evening before had already left. Early risers get the worm and get to ride the Hwy in a dense fog. We learned that one of the riders in the late arriving group had to catch a train in San Luis Obisbo so they had a valid reason for getting up and out of camp so early.

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We enjoyed our usual leisurely morning routine with coffee, hot chocolate and oatmeal for the kids while we waited for the fog to clear. We weren’t interested in riding the highway in dense fog. Good call! The fog cleared and we were on the road by mid-morning. Destination: a hotel in San Luis. I couldn’t wait for a real bed, a shower and some laundry! Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 14 and 15: Big Sur to San Simeon

Pacific Coast Bike Tour previous post: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Day 14: Big Sur to Plasket Creek

After a day of R&R at Big Sur campground, everyone was ready to tackle the day. Our daughter was feeling better, Tim thought his knee could handle a short day and we were ready to get back on the road. Our Big Sur hiker/biker campsite campmate, Jay Dancing Bear, gave us the scoop on the next stretch of the coast. Jay reported that the sparsely populated and rugged coastal area would be the best part of our tour. He’d been traveling this area for more than 20 years and had some strong opinions about the set of campgrounds, beaches and services.

big sur to san simeon

Jay Dancing Bear suggested we take the next section of the tour slow and to relish the tranquility of the remaining section of Big Sur. He scouted our Adventure Cycling maps and told us where he would camp if he was us. We appreciated the inside tips and settled on Plasket Creek campground, a forest service campground 33 miles south. Our friends, whom we traveled with last summer on the northern portion of the Pacific Coast stayed at Kirk Creek campground when they passed though Big Sur last year. They reported it was beautiful but had no potable water. They left the campsite thirsty and dehydrated and suggested we aim for Plasket Creek instead.

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A little tip about grocery stores in the Big Sur area: they are scarce and expensive along this stretch of coastline! We stocked up on groceries at the small store three miles from the Big Sur campground, still more expensive than a splurge at Whole Foods, but still cheaper than grocery options further down the road. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 10 to 13: Santa Cruz to Big Sur

Previous post: Oakland to Santa Cruz

Day 10: Santa Cruz to Monterey

Santa Cruz to Monterey/Pacific Grove should be a lovely day on the bike. That is, unless there’s a raging headwind and your  normal power pedaler is hitting day 10 with puffy, sore knees.

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When mapping a daily route via Google Maps, it generally figures 10mph average pace to allow for stops, traffic and the like. We’re normally right on that. However today was closer to 10mph *moving* with actual average speed for the day more like 7.

Speedy.

santa cruz to big sur

If you can get past the wind, speed, and pain, it really was a lovely day. The sun was out, the views, view-worthy, and the animals (otters, seals and a pelican or two) in abundance. It was just that damn wind and the sore knees that pushed us close to a family breakdown. But the kids’ spirit and desire to get to San Diego kept us moving forward. Continue reading

Pacific Coast Bike Tour Days 8 and 9: Oakland to Santa Cruz

previous post: A Drive to Oakland and Rest days in the Bay Area

Day 8: Oakland to Half Moon Bay 

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Destination of the day: Half Moon Bay. We started with a Bart ride from Rock Ridge to Daly City. Although bikes are allowed on Bart, two giant bikes take up a lot of space and we didn’t want to be rude. We waited until commute hours had passed, to avoid loading two giant tandems on trains crowded with commuters. Good plan! Bart was mostly empty mid-day and the trip ended up being stress-free and uneventful. Continue reading