Even within the same hotel chain, there didn’t seem to be any consistency between what to expect from their continental breakfast. Yesterday, there had been bananas and instant oatmeal that was worth taking. Today, the banana was the only thing worth having. I used their coffee to wash down one of my own breakfast bars. I would need something early in the ride.
Once I got outside, it was sunny and cool, another beautiful day in Southern California. I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time on beach trails similar to what I had seen yesterday. Even with the GPS, I had trouble finding an entrance to the trails without stairs. I asked some pedestrians and they pointed me to a place down the street. It was blocked. But like so many times on this trip, they weren’t closed to everybody, just the general public. Hidalgo and I squeezed our way through the barrier, made a short walk through the sand, and were ready to ride.
It was beautiful ride. There was a light breeze and not many people were out to get in my way. I had to get back on the street to cross over a bridge that led me past the marina and a McDonald’s. There, I was able to get something resembling breakfast, talk to Becky, and make a nature stop. After a few miles on Highway 1, it was a flashback to the beach paths I saw yesterday. At Huntington Beach, I had a nice conversation with a woman and her octogenarian parents. The parents had a tandem with them and we talked about my ride and they were kind enough to help me with a photo op. Further up the road I saw packs of surfers heading to the water and in the water.
The beach paths eventually ran out and I was back on Highway 1. There was an especially beautiful view after a long climb near Laguna Beach. As was usually the case, it was a view you couldn’t have seen in a car. By the time I reached Dana Point, after 30 miles, I was ready for lunch. The next miles had me alternating between Highway 1 and some dedicated trails. The dedicated trails no longer took me right up to the shore. At best, I might get peaks of the ocean. South of San Clemente, the old Pacific Highway had been converted into a dedicated bike path. It eventually passed through a state park. There were hardly any people and I felt like I had the place to myself.
I thought it was especially cool that it went under I 5 away from the ocean and closer to the mountains. Along this section, I saw a falcon swoop down to try and get a piece of a roadkill, but it flew away when I came riding by. The path finally ended. I got my bearings and headed towards Stuart Mesa Road. This was part of my programmed route. Google maps told me I needed to go down I 5, but I knew better. Heading towrd Stuart Mesa I saw warning signs about the fact you were entering Camp Pendleton. There was also a sign about rules for bicycles, so I still felt OK. When I met a fine upstanding marine at a checkpoint, I asked if bikes could travel through. He said they could if they had been pre authorized. I was not pre authorized and I didn’t think it was worth arguing my case for letting me pass. I checked Google maps, with bicycle directions enabled multiple times and the conclusion was clear. I had to get on I 5.
At first, I thought I would only need to get to the official rest area, 2 miles down the road. With that short distance in mind, I got on the entrance ramp and saw a sign that said, no pedestrians allowed. I was not a pedestrian, so I started pedaling for all I was worth. I made it to the rest stop without incident. The only roads besides the freeway, were dirt and also part of Camp Pendleton. I got back on the freeway for a five mile sprint. The roaring traffic sounds and speeding vehicles didn’t scare me as much as the thought of being arrested. The shoulder was wide and in good shape. I saw one car that looked like it might have been an unmarked police car go by. It had a search light, cop tires, and cop suspension. A few minutes later a Border Patrol vehicle passed me by. I was maintaining 15 to 21 mph all the way, with the exception of an uphill climb. I finally made the exit at Harbor drive in Oceanside and rewarded myself with some ice cream. You can see the ride summary here.
Riding along the beach at Oceanside took me back in time 3 years ago, when I dipped Hidalgo’s rear wheel in the ocean. That wheel was now in a bike shop near Marina Del Rey.
I was less than 8 miles from Brian and Paula Gallagher, who were hosting me for the night. It was all uphill from the shore up to the hills of Carlsbad. It was also a pleasure to be in the company of old friends and their family. They fed me, helped me do laundry and gave me a comfortable place to sleep. The best part, though, was the time we spent, sharing our lives like we had in the past.
The Lone Rider