Day 42: Koreatown to San Clemente

Left at 9am. Mr Garmin playing up (saying can’t route me), so I followed my hunch, first to Main Street, then south all the way to the sea. Got to go through Compton, amongst other areas. Not noticeably worse, but definitely a poorer area neighbourhood.

Cycled slowly til about 11. Not sure why, but legs felt a bit leaden, and lots of traffic lights (how does anyone get Anywhere in this town?!) meant it took longer to get them warmed up. Thankfully it was all flat. About 11 I was at Wilmington, and turning off Main St to head southward to Long Beach, Newport, etc.

At that point the sun came out, and I had a great run down the coast, on a bike path along the beach.

Got to Newport beach about 3. Italian for lunch. Mixed anitpasti, followed by a rich creamy blue-cheese sauce Gnocchi, which was stuffed with spinach. Yum.

Restarted about 4. Hadn’t realised it was another 40km (was thinking it was more like 10). Still, nice enough afternoon ride. Not quick, but I’m perfectly capable of just switching off and putting the miles under the belt. On this section I noticed (1) that I got to go on a ferry (for 1000ft, but cool, all the same — at $1.50 for the crossimg, and $4/gallon it was about the equivalent as a car that gets 0.5mpg!) and (2) there are a LOT of expensive properties on the coast south of LA.

Got to San Clemente. Planned campsite was meant to be San Mateo, a little inland, but as Mr Garmin was playing up I slowed when I spotted another (beach-front) site, swung by, asked, and they gave me a cheap hiker/biker rate even though they didn’t have any official hiker/biker spots. Nice!

Quick shower, and then headed into town for wifi, and a slow pint. Tired though, so after planning tomorrow’s route it’ll be off to bed!

Except it wasn’t. After finishing the first beer, and sampling+rejecting options for a 2nd, I went a couple of doors down to a Hawaiian place called Haju. There kitchen had just closed but they squeezed in a mixed-plate for me, which was great, and I spent a happy hour chatting to two filmmakers (primarily documentaries) sat at the bar next to me.

Odometer… 3242 km
Distance… 114.6 km
Climbed… 475 m
Time taken… 5 hrs 28 mins
Avg speed.. 20.9 kph
Avg HR… 120 bpm
Calories… 2057


Day 41: Malibu to Koreatown (LA)

Got up late. Cycled along beachfront to Venice beach, then up Venice boulevard into Korea town. Got to Kevin’s at 1.30. Had some lunch (homecooked Korean noodles and sushi).

Sat and chatted until about 4. Then I off loaded my bags, and cycled George up to the Hollywood Hills, where the Griffith Observatory is. Got there an hour before sunset. Looked around half the exhibits, ate in cafe, watched the sunset, saw the rest of the exhibits, saw LA light up, saw the moon rise, and as I waited for the telescopes to be set up, I noticed a full-size adult deer strolling through the woods not 20ft (below, and out from the fence) from us. Nobody else noticed it, and it seemed completely unphased by the 100-strong group of visitors walking around upstairs!

And then they brought out the telescopes. Venus was up, as is common, but isn’t much to look at so they picked up Saturn. I looked through one of the telescopes and saw the RINGS of Saturn. To put that into context — most of us know Saturn has rings, indeed I’ve seen many photos of them, but I have never actually looked at them with my own eyes. The image through the telescope is nowhere near as good as the photos I’ve seen, but I’m looking at it WITH MY OWN EYES!  That is a fundamentally different experience — in that moment I felt excitement, as I’m sure Galileo (or whoever it was) must’ve felt when he first saw them.

After that I cycled back across LA to Koreatown. Had a quick chat with Victor, and then he, Kevin and I chatted with the centre leader about their form of meditation (“Maum Meditation”, in case you’re interested).

Then to bed!

Days stats…
Hmm, the Garmin has a messed up record for it. It does say…
Distance… 60.49 km
Time taken.. 2hrs 54mins
Climbed… No idea, but a bit in the hills.

Day 40: Point Mugu to Malibu

Short ride. Left early. Got to Malibu at 9am. Celeste didn’t arrive until 5.30pm,so I spent day chilling, in starbucks, then the library, then the beach.

Distance…33.4 km
Time taken… 1 hr 33 mins
Climbed… 246 m
Avg speed… 21.4 kph
Avg HR… 123 bpm
Calories… 646

Day 39: Refugio to Point Mugu

Up early. Set off earlish (?) toward Santa Barbara — our lunch spot. I had a lovely morning ride, met Kelley around 8km out, we cycled in together. Got coffee. Wandered around town. Lovely place. Grabbed sandwiches and sat in park chatting. Another coffee, and then it was time to go our separate ways.

I got on the road about 3.30, heading for McGrath State Campground. I made good speed, over flat ground, with a tailwind and with only a few photo  stops, covering the ?50km? in about 2.5hrs. Unfortunately it was completely cordoned off and closed. Great.

Mr Garmin told me the next campground was another 30km so along I went, arriving just after sunset at 7.15pm. It had minimal facilities for campers — no hike/bike rate, no showers, portaloos not proper loos, parking bays for RVs, a single drinking water tap for the entire site.  The whole thing existed in the narrow strip of sand that lay between the main road (the 1, a dual-carriageway at this point) and the sea. I ended up having a nighttime skinny dip for my shower, not ideal, and though warmer than Washington, still a little nippy!

The campsite want $35 for the almost-nothing they provide, so I’m just going to clear out early and see if I can skip out in the morning without paying.

Day’s stats…
Odometer… 3034 km
Distance… > 98.0 km
Climbed…391 m
Time taken… > 3 hrs 53 mins
Avg SPD… 25.2 kph
Avg HR… 129 bpm
Calories… >1603

Day 38: Coastal Dunes (Pismo) to Refugio

Breakfast, bagels, in Broadway. Not very good. Starbucks for coffee and wifi.
Set of late, just before 12.
I cycled, quite quickly. Kelley drove to Lompoc, then cycled back about 10 km to meet me by the Vandenberg air base – Space Command! Too late for lunch at Floriano’s so instead did the Jamala Cafe; was okay.

Skipped the remaining 25km in favour of more time chatting with Kelley, and being able to have dinner on beach at sunset. As it was, the hills forced an early sunset, so that didn’t happen. But we did swim in the sea, and then found a much better (and presumably more expensive) campsite next door that had a great little cafe that we sat in and warmed up over a cuppa. Then got back to tent about 8.30, some ransoms turned up needing somewhere to park/pitch so we let them share out pitch. They’d brought the wrong set of polls for their tent. Hilarity ensued as they tried to jimmy something together.

We wandered down to the beach and sat a while atop a lifeguard hut chatting. Then bed. Had the outer on, but both sides of the doors rolled up, to get a good airflow — the previous night there had been too much condensation with two of us.

Day 37: Paso Robles to Coastal Dunes

In morning just sauntered around Paso Robles downtown, had coffee in the Amsterdam Coffeehouse, worked a bit in the library.  At 2.30 I cycled the couple of km to the outskirts of town to meet Craig and Kelley at Firestone Brewery. We ate our last group meal, then drove down to the planned campsite, as that maximised the remaining time I got to spend with Kelley, and she seemed a little too worn out to be enthusiastic about a ride.

The planned campsite – that is the one that had told me was good for hiker/biker told me upon pur arrival that Nope, we don’t so hiker/biker, and nor does the next state park. The next option was the county place (Coastal Dunes RV Park and Campground) a couple of miles down the road, that charged me $13 for hiker/biker, and then $12 more for the car. Well, whatever, we were in.

Drove down ON to the beach and sat and chatted as the last light drained post-sunset and the stars came out. Had a beer each and some nibbles. With it being a Saturday night lots of people were down on the beach with their pickups having BBQs and parties. But the beach was so big that it wasn’t crowded at all, just nice to have the hustle and bustle.

About 10pm we headed into downtown (where were we?). Found a diner, and split some chowder and chilli fries.

On our way out two groups of teenagers, looking like two rival football teams, kicked off. Glad to see some things just don’t change no matter where in the world you go.

Route Plan: Paso Robles to Memorial Park (finish)

Can’t quite believe that in 10 days I’ll have reached the end of this ride. Wow.

37, Sat 14th: Meet at Firestone Brewery in Paso at 2.30. Eat, probably leave around 4pm.  Craig drives to LA.  Kelley and I cycle/travel the 75km to Pismo/Arroyo Grande. Stay in Ocean Dunes or Piano Beach State Parks (close, maybe 2 miles apart).

38, Sun 15th: 125 km (78 miles) to Refugio State Beach — it has palm trees!! 75 km to Lomboc. Kelley drives there, cycles out, we meet and cycle in together, have lunch — Floriano’s Mexican (319 E Ocean) has great reviews and does tri-tip burritos; the Jalama Beach Cafe (400 E Ocean) has good reviews as a backup. Then onward for the 51 km to the campsite. Decide at lunch whether it’ll be me or Kelley driving ahead/doubling back.

39, Mon 16th: morning ride with Kelley, 37 km (23 miles) to Santa Barbara. She turns back at lunch. I go on a further 82 km (50 miles) to Point Mugu state park.

40, Tues 17th: In the morning go the 37 km (23 miles) to Malibu. Spend day chilling, stay in Motel.

41, Weds 18th: Go the 40km (25 miles) to LA to see Kevin in Koreatown.

42, Thurs 19th: 110 km to San Clemente state campground.

43, Fri 20th: 46 km to Carlsbad Calavera park, before noon (for ultimate). Stay at Rob’s.

44, Sat 21st: catch up on emails, and then…relax! Stay at Rob’s.

45, Sun 22nd: leave at midday. Cycle 42 km to the transit centre in Old Town, San Diego.
Current plan (but may change): call Peggy from Solana Beach, which is about 11 km south of Rob’s. Meet her at the transit centre and cycle back together.

46, Mon 23rd: Morning cycle 52km (26km each way) to friendship park, which is at the border, and back, or maybe get the “trolley” back. Afternoon – explore SD. Stay with Peggy.

47, Tues 24th: source a bike box from somewhere. Explore SD. Maybe play some pickup, or get a kite-surfing lesson. Stay with Peggy.

48, Weds 25th: take apart and box up George. 😦 More explore San Diego. Stay with Peggy.

49, Thurs 26th: Be at airport by 10.00am?
Flight 1 — AC778 at 12.55 from T2, Lindberg Field S. Diego (SAN), landing Toronto Pearson (T1) at 20.42.
** 1hr 13mins layover **
Flight 2 — AC862 at 21.55 from T1, landing in LHR (on Fri!) at 10.00 in T3.
** 1.5hrs to change terminals **
Flight 3 — BA1442 at 11:40 from TLHR T5, landing Edinburgh (EDI) at 13:00