San Francisco to Indio, California

The Route at a Glance...
San Francisco, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara,
Los Angeles, San Diego, Pine Valley,
El Centro, Salton City, Indio

September/October 2015

 Last year I elected to finish riding and drive from Ventura (just north of Los Angeles) to Indio, CA, mostly due to unfavourable route options and some time restraints. This year I figured out a better route farther south to get to my destination. I particularly enjoyed the west coast last year south of San Francisco, so that’s where I’ve elected to start riding from and repeat the route to Ventura. Also this year, I have allowed more time to be able dawdle at areas that I may find interesting. Of course, the route south of Ventura will be all new to me, so that’s where the adventure really begins. I could head east from San Diego, but a quick visit to the border crossing at Tijuana, and a selfie!, will complete the west coast of North America for me as over the years I’ve ridden as much as I can of Highway 101 and its tributaries. From that border crossing, I will have to turn around and head north-east, climbing up to about 4000 ft. before descending into the Yuha desert, Imperial Valley, Salton Sea and ultimately the Coachella Valley where Indio is located.

I'll be leaving on September 24th, on an Amtrak train from Vancouver, BC bound for Portland, OR, to connect with an overnight train the next day which would deposit me, my bike, gear and Basil in San Francisco, CA (or to be more exact, Oakland, CA) early on the 26th, where I will start my ride south to the Mexican border at Tijuana.


Here's a rough outline of my intended route...

Route Map
Courtesy of Google Maps

Days 1 & 2
Oakland to Half Moon Bay

So I managed to wake up, crawl out of my warm motel bed, pack up and roll a short distance down Main St. in a light rain to Vancouver's Pacific Central Station early, I mean real bloody early, last Thursday, Sept 24th; overnighted in Portland, OR and then left there Friday afternoon Sept 25th, to arrive in Oakland, CA the next day, Saturday the 26th.
Oakland is basically a suburb of San Francisco on the east side of the bay. There is no convenient cycle route from there to the coast where I wanted to start riding, so I took BART, which is equivalent to a subway or our Skytrain in Vancouver. I took that BART train to Daly City and started my "real" ride from there.
After getting somewhat lost a couple of times, I eventually found the bike route south that I had ridden last year, so familiar territory and very familiar hills that I had almost forgotten, but was soon reacquainted with! I'll add that it was warm and sunny in Oakland, but Daly City was in a fine mist which drifts in from the ocean very frequently in this region.
All went well and I was on route until I hit the town of Pacifica - the bike route takes one along the main street of Pacifica, which is usually fine, but yesterday it was "Fog Fest," go figure! Well, Fog Fest includes a huge street market that goes on for many blocks and made it impossible to cycle there, so I detoured to a beach front alternative that I discovered and carried on.


Fog Fest
Fog Fest

Soon I was beyond the Fog Fest and the light fog riding on the steep hill out of Pacifica on Highway 1. Almost at the top of the hill is the cut-off for the Devil's Slide road that I rode last year. But then I rode it mid-week and hardly saw anybody - yesterday, being Saturday, it was busy with the recreational crowd out of San Francisco as were the beaches that I passed. I found the roads to be quite busy too for a weekend as everyone seemed in a hurry to find a parking spot somewhere near a beach area.


Busy Beaches
Busy Beaches

I arrived in Half Moon Bay to find the campground completely full as was the day parking area. I rode up to the entrance booth and found out that the hike/bike area had room - in fact it was empty when I got there. I quickly picked as good an area as possible and erected the tent there. Nobody showed up for a while, but by dusk there were about half a dozen other cyclists there. I got to chat with a few of them before the sun disappeared and a light mist began to leave a layer of dampness on everything - this curtailed my blogging last evening as besides being tired from the travel, it was awkward to continue in my small tent - so I read instead! That was before falling asleep quite early! I did manage to get a photo of the sunset last evening before the fog hit...


Sunset at Half Moon Bay
Sunset at Half Moon Bay
Evening Sky at Half Moon Bay
Evening Sky at Half Moon Bay

This morning I packed up a damp camp and foraged around for a breakfast place in town, which was not difficult! After that, the majority of the riding today was in a light mist and very undulating. I think there were a couple of significant hills but it was still pleasant riding as I kept skirting the oceanfront and the many fine beaches in this area. These morning fog patches soon dissipate and I'll probably be rid of them once south of Monterey. I booked a motel in Santa Cruz, which is where I am now and enjoying the comforts of same.


Surfer Dudes
Surfer Dudes

I had lots of time today to stop and take in whatever sights came along. The only small town on route was Davenport, where there is a very nice bakery, which I just had to stop at and partake of the fine wares there!


Hawaiian Photo Shoot!
Hawaiian Photo Shoot... In California!

There are a few more photos to view at... This Link

More later,

AdamK and (push, push, push - that's all I do and no bakery for me!) Basil.


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