Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Day 1: San Diego-Dana Point
The pacific coast highway (PCH), a combination of US1 and US101, would easily find a spot at the top of the list of scenic drives in the United States. Starting somewhere between the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego in the south, the highway runs all the way upto about 40 km into the state of Washington in the north, bordering the pacific ocean over majority of its length.
The scenic drive starts off with a series of wonderful beaches in Southern California. La Jolla, Malibu, Santa Monica, Pismo, Santa Barbara, Venice to name a few are very easily accessible if not present right at the edge of the scenic drive. My friend kacy and I decided to tour the PCH from San Diego to Santa Barbara, roughly a 300-mile trip. The goal of the trip was to bike hundreds of miles, camp under the stars, and see the California coast, one bike mile at a time. Our return ticket would also be along the same coast, but on an Amtrak.
Day 1: San Diego-Dana Point
Total Mileage: 80 miles
After battling to get to San Diego on Sunday in Kacy's Volvo (radiator problems) and a broken chain on Sunday, we started out in San Diego with the intent of making some ground. Starting from the Volvo dealership in National City, we managed to make it to Campland of the Bay campground as a prologue to the start of the first day.
A picture of me testing out the rig and the BOB trailer across from the Volvo dealership
The campground was a little disappointing. At one point, our neighbors and us were counting how many domino's pizza deliver drivers came into the campground. We counted 4 before we headed to bed at about 9pm after chatting with our San Fran neighbors.
On Monday, we got up at 5:30am to get an early start. The route took us near La Jolla Bay before climbing up the most difficult hill of the trip next to UC San Diego. The bike paths in San Diego were amazing, especially around Mission and Ocean Beach. A typical bike path in San Diego
Outside of San Diego, I saw another tourer with a BOB trailer. That brings me to the debate of why I chose the BOB trailer instead of panniers. I figured that the BOB would allow me to hold more items and would be easier to use after the trip. It has paid off, especially with short jaunts to the store or to do errands.
Leaving the beaches, we headed to the Coast 101 Highway that had a very nice, big bike lane that went Leucadia, where we stopped at Mozy Cafe for some coffee and carrot juice at about 1030am. It was a nice, little, quaint place off the side of the highway.
Camp Pendleton was our next big stop. The base requires all cyclists to bring an ID, something I had realized that I left in the volvo. It was going to be a challenge to try to fanaggle our way past the guards instead of having to take the bus across the base. Since Interstate 5 is the only road the shoulders the coast, Pendleton is the only option for bike touring on the PCH. So while we were at the gate, the private was asking me why I did not have my ID. Some where in the conversation, I mentioned how I was trying to save weight by not carrying my library card, bus pass, etc in my wallet. Turns out I just took everything out of the wallet while I was getting ready in the parking lot next to the Volvo dealership. Yes, it was a dumb move, but luckily he let me on the base.
The ride within the base went without incident. At the checkout on the other side of the base, I snapped a few shots of Kacy before entering into our own bike highway on the side of Interstate 5. This "bike highway" continues on for a few miles. We saw tons of triathletes on this segment of the trip. The "bike highway" eventually crosses back under Interstate 5 with a tunnel. We stopped for a quick break here before continuing on.
At 4:00 we stopped at Capistrano Beach for a quick swim. Kacy near Capistrano Beach
I am trying to get accustomed to swimming in the ocean for triathlons and the La Jolla Open Water Race, so I did a quick 800 meters. Surprisingly, we there were just a handful of people on the beach. After about an hour of swimming and enjoying the water, we headed up to Uncle Manuel's house (about 5 minutes off the PCH). Uncle Manuel showed us a few photo albums of his touring in Germany. I did not know this, but Germany is one of the best countries in Europe to tour since it has so many bike paths across the country.
Outside Manuel's house, me and Kacy before starting off on Day 2 of our adventure