May 30, 2016
San Juan Capistrano to San Diego
74.1 miles, 5:33 in the saddle, 2422 ft of climbing
Total Miles: 1469
The motel free breakfast opened at 6:30, and I was there. I enjoyed the waffle, eggs, sausage, etc. I was packed up and out the door about 7:30 for my last day on the road.
First up, was the 3.6 mile ride back down the flood control channel to Dana Point.
Bike Path down the flood control channel
Soon I was in San Clemente and was going to try to follow the circuitous ACA route, but was soon off route and googling a way through. I discovered (okay, Google showed me) a neat dirt bike path that took me through part of town and then back onto the route on Ola Vista and Ave. del Presidente (wasn’t Nixon from San Clemente?).
Dirt trail in San Clemente
San Clemente neighborhood
When Ave. del Presidente ended a bike path started, which was in places a former road, i.e., it was this huge expanse of pavement with nothing but a few bikes, and surfers hiking with their boards to some beach somewhere.
I passed the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. Lots of security around the plant, but I thought it interesting that the sign near the main entrance did not say anything about Nuclear.
Then I entered San Onofre State Beach. This appeared to be a linear campground. The road went on for miles, with campsites lining the seaward side of the road. I mean miles and miles. Restrooms were spaced regularly along the route. But the ocean was not necessarily near by. It appeared that the ocean was a bit of hike down a bluff.
San Onofre SP, this went on for miles
Glimpses of the ocean
After Onofre, the road ended, well it continued, but as a bike path, onto Camp Pendleton according to the signage (but before the entrance gate). This went on for some miles, and was pleasant riding if not very scenic.
Old road as a bike path
I caught up to Logan just before the Pendleton Gate. He was riding along and chatting with a local guy on a Long Haul Trucker. He thought Logan would have no trouble getting onto the base to ride on through to Oceanside. With security and all, this has been a problem for some, and the alternative is to ride the I-5 shoulder through this section. But the shoulder has recently been closed for construction, meaning if you can’t go through the base you’re in a bit of a pickle. Pendleton’s website has a place to sign up in advance, that is supposedly necessary to get onto base.
Well, the senior marine at the gate appeared to be clueless about things, and the two other marines, who seemed to understand that all we wanted to do was get through the base to Oceanside, we’re obviously concerned about disagreeing with the more senior idiot. They checked our IDs, and let us through, but the idiot said we could not exit at Oceanside. So, I guess he was letting us in to just cycle around and come back? I tried explaining a bit, but eventually we just carried on, and of course had no trouble exiting at Oceanside.
I was glad to get off the base. Having worked for the Army on military installations for 15 years I know how anal and ridiculous they can be about things. The idiot at the gate had gone on and on about dangerous roads etc. There was hardly any traffic as we went through, and the roads were fine. Idiot. Sorry, it just irritates the dickens out of me, when they have a website with specific information, and then the man in charge at the gate is clueless about it.
Pendleton is a big installation! We finally exited though and were in Oceanside. We made our way to the Strand, the road/path by the beach. Here, Logan and I parted, this time for the last time. He was taking a break at the beach, while I continued on looking for a place for my second breakfast.
Well, it wasn’t until 43 miles into the day and 11 am that I pulled into a small cafe in Leucadia and enjoyed my breakfast. Only 30 miles to go!
The road I was following eventually became N Torrey Pines Rd that dropped down to beach level and then started up what was a huge climb (it seemed to me). From my phone app it appears to have been 500 ft or so. Anyway, I was sweating buckets again, hoping this was the last big one. I eventually got to the top, where a group of cyclists high-five’d my valiant effort. Thanks guys.
After riding by all kinds of various research institutions (Scripps, Salk, etc.) and skirting the UC San Diego campus I cashed in the climb and dropped into La Jolla. This being Memorial Day, I guess, traffic was inching single file onto Coast Blvd, the beachside road in La Jolla and the ACA route. I decided to skip the traffic and headed down Prospect St. where I found a Starbucks to chill for a bit.
I googled my way across La Jolla and found another (using the bike routing) cool dirt bike trail that got me back to La Jolla Blvd and the ACA route.
La Jolla dirt bike path
Before I knew it I was on the Pacific Beach trail, another congested bike/pedestrian path along the beach running all the way to Mission Beach. I missed my turn onto Mission Bay Dr. and followed the beach all the way to the end, which I then had to backtrack a considerable distance around the Mariner Basin to get to Mission Bay Dr and the ACA route. I was a bit disgusted with myself for missing the turn, but it is actually kind of fun riding and dodging people down the beach paths.
At the bridge over the San Diego River, I left the ACA route for good to get to my motel just south of the Old Towne area and close to the airport. This took me up the San Diego River on a lonely, it seemed, San Diego River Pathway east to the Pacific Hwy, where I turned south and eventually onto San Diego Ave where I arrived at my motel at 2:45 pm, the ride done.
It was a bit anti-climatic. I supposed I should have asked the desk clerk to take a picture of me, but as Saree knows, I wasn’t inclined to do so. So here’s the noble Surly, done with the ride.
It was a relief to be done. I’m booked for a return flight to Anchorage on the 2nd. I got laundry going while I showered and then headed to Old Town for a pizza and a beer.
It’s been a great ride. I enjoyed the cycling immensely. I had great weather most of the time. It was never really hot. And I had great tailwinds for the majority of the ride. The uncertainty of where I would lay my head at the end of the day, what food I would need, etc., seemed to weigh on me more than it should. I’m still sorting out how I’ll deal with this on future tours, as I still want to tour again.
I plan a few future posts to talk about how my gear worked and general thoughts on the tour. I hope my posts were enjoyable and at least somewhat informative. I found writing the blog to be work, but therapeutic as well, as I think it helped me see what I had accomplished and reflect on what it meant.