OK, let’s repeat it again. It was a cool morning and a gray sky that started our ride today. Our Warm Showers host had a home just up the hillside in Laguna beach, so we had to use our brakes to keep us from jumping into the traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway as we went downhill. We had a nice view of the hills as we headed south.
Soon we were on a dedicated bike path going along Capistrano Beach.
I always say that 2nd breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I really didn’t have much of a first breakfast, so our stop at the Sunrise Cafe in San Clemente was especially good.
Less than 5 miles outside of San Clemente we found the original Pacific Coast Highway. The old version of the road was a combination service road and dedicated highway for non motorized recreational traffic. We saw a lot of surfers carrying their boards. Some were on bikes while carrying them either under their arms or with special racks on the side of the bike. One had his wet suit on, his board on a side rack, and a large German Shepherd in an oversized plastic crate on the rear wheel. I wish I was fast enough to have captured it with my phone.
Shortly after we got on this road, we caught up with Danny, who had also been at the same warm showers home last night. I think he passed us while we had stopped at the cafe earlier. We headed down the road together. We weren’t traveling at the same pace, so we were soon separated. I won’t say who was riding faster.
Ron and I were passed by a group of half a dozen riders our age or so. If we hadn’t been loaded down, we would have passed them! They were very encouraging to us when they learned about our long journey.
This old Pacific Coast Highway was going to end near the north entrance of the Marine base, Camp Pendleton. Civilians are allowed to pass through the base so that they don’t have to ride on Interstate 5. In fact it is illegal to ride a bike on I 5 for most of California. Last time, I had tried to go through the base. While civilians are allowed, you must have obtained permission in advance, at the SOUTH Gate. This is difficult to do if your’e already at the north gate, with no passage to the south, except on I 5. So, last time, I obeyed the nice marine with his gun, turned around and rode on I 5. As it turns out, bikes are allowed on this stretch that leads to Oceanside.
We had been playing leapfrog with Danny, as we would stop to take pictures. When we got off the old Pacific Coast Highway, we got on together and stayed together for a large portion of the 7 mile ride on I 5. It was a noisy but safe ride.
When we reached Oceanside, the sun finally broke out. As I looked out at the waves hitting the shore near the pier, I had fond memories of starting a cross country ride in 2016 that took me from the Pacific to the Atlantic.
By the time we left Oceanside, we had separated from Danny. While the sun made the ocean views even better, we were getting hot and thirsty. We took a short rest in Carlsbad at a park with the “oldest barn in the area”. At least the restroom was modern and open.
We held off on quenching our thirst until we made it to Del Mar. Along the way, I realized that maybe I could use some help with my self realization.
By this point we had about 13 miles left in the day’s ride. Ron knew the landscape much better than me. He told me we had 2 more big climbs left. The first went down to the ocean and back up a long hillside. The other led to his home.
We ground our way up the hill, climbing about 380 feet in a little over 1.5 miles. It was not the worst climb of the ride, but certainly the longest we had in days.
Once at the top, we were at the entrance to the famous golf course.
I was clueless on where to go from here. Ron had new enthusiasm as he was literally heading for home. There were on short inclines as we drew closer to his house. We made one more turn, then we were hit with a steep incline and finally to his driveway, which had an angle whose sine was approaching 1. (That’s straight vertical for those who didn’t take trigonometry).
It was an utter joy to be in Ron and Carol’s home. Although they are not officially a warm showers member, it was definitely the best place I will stay on this trip. Ride stats are here.
The Not So Lone Rider