Captain’s log, star date April 24, 2016.
We were a little slow getting started this morning. The first time you do anything always takes longer than you planned. It doesn’t help that I asked Becky to stop one more time to allow me one more bathroom break. I have already figured out that access to toilets can be few and far between, so you need to take advantage when you can.
I dipped Hidalgo’s rear wheel into the Pacific near the Oceanside Pier at 9:55 AM PST. After a quick rendition of Bugs Bunny’s “On With the Show”, I cleaned the sand from my feet, got my shoes on, clipped in and headed south along the beach. It was beautiful. I was slowed by checking Google maps, having the chain pop off on a quick hill, and some long stop lights. I was sad to turn away from the ocean and start heading inland. Although it was divided highway with 3 lanes on each side, I still had a bike lane. Traffic was not heavy as I made my way to San Marcos, where I went into a grocery store for a drink, filled the water bottles, and took advantage of the restroom. I drank the milk with a lot of my trail mix under a tree in the parking lot. I wasn’t making great time, but this wasn’t a race, so that was okay.
I had a couple of minor missed turns in Escondido. One of them made me climb a hill. I didn’t the need any extra climbing today. In all, I went downhill about 890 feet and up hill about 5120. I have never climbed so much in one day on a bike. To top it off, when I finally got to the hotel, I climbed a short, steep hill which took me to the back of the hotel. I had to walk down a flight of stairs to meet Becky at the front of the hotel. I only had a small bag on Hidalgo, but it seemed to make the bike feel awfully heavy after 65 miles.
None of the climbs had a high grade, but they just went on for MILES! As I started getting tired at the end of the day, it was the length of the climb that was wearing more than the altitude.
As I was leaving Escondido, I had missed any opportunity to get something to eat or drink. I passed a large fruit stand, got 2 waters, a gatorade, a couple of bananas, and a fruit salad. It was watermelon and honeydew. Then they threw in a couple of mango slices that were out of this world good. I was so glad I stopped there. It was 13 miles to Ramona and a turkey wrap at a cafe. When I told the server I was riding cross country she was so impressed she gave me a 15% discount! I gave her my card and a 20% tip.
The final 21 miles to Julian was a long climb. As I was climbing I thought I saw someone walking on the road way up ahead of me. As I gained ground, I saw it was a young woman on a heavily loaded bike pedaling in really low gears. She was traveling with 2 young men, that I caught further up the road. They had started in Miami and had ridden west. They were now on their way to Columbia, through Mexico and South America. I wish I could say it in the same French accent she had.
All in all it was still a very good day, but we will get started earlier tomorrow!
The Lone Rider