Sidney, BC to Indio, CA

Lompoc to El Capitan SP – Oct 18th…

At 65 km it was not a long day of riding but got me as close to Santa Barbara as I could get and guarantee somewhere to spend the night. I’m in the Hiker/Biker area of the El Capitan Beach State Park in a lovely scenic location overlooking the ocean. The only problem is that the freeway and active railroad track is next to the  Hiker/Biker area too – earplug night! Reminds me of Porpoise Cove Park near Squamish in BC – that was next to the highway and tracks too.
But for one night it won’t bother me too much – I’m half deaf anyway 😉

My Campsite at El Capitan SP

My Campsite at El Capitan SP

No other riders here yet, but I’m sure that someone will show up sooner or later.
I wasn’t sad to leave Lompoc – not very  impressed with the place – lots of vagabonds wandering around and ignorant drivers that didn’t want to give me any space on the streets; I nearly got wiped out a couple of times yesterday! And I’ll doubt that I’ll ever stay at a Motel 6 ever again – I had to pay $2.99 extra to get Wifi – and flakey Wifi at that! My tablet wouldn’t connect so I asked the front desk clerk to help me – all I got was a phone number from him so that ‘I’ could call tech support – I would have thought that he could have done that after charging me for the service. I phoned in anyway then had to tell them what device I had, the MAC address etc., what a rigmarole to just get connected. I’ve been booking most of my motels through Booking.com, they ask for reviews – that Motel 6 will not get a good review for me. I was offered my $2.99 back though after some thorough admonishment from me.
Sunny and warm again with favourable winds and today was one of the few days that I can remember that I had a very good space to ride on for all day. But It was busy roads all day too – not too bad on Highway 1, but when that ended and we joined US 101, it felt that we were on a major freeway – and we are as it the only  road into Santa Barbara from the west coast. Highway 1 did have that high hill that I mentioned yesterday at 1100 ft, but it was mostly a gentle highway grade to get up there – nothing like that Harris Grade Road yesterday crossing the Purisima Hills. When I got to the top of that climb. there was a sign for a 7% descent for two miles – that was a good one! Gentle corners and almost straight down – a  68 km/hr ride!

Down we Go!

Down we Go!

A few kilometres after that run is when Highway 1 ended and we had to join the freeway – still a great shoulder to ride on though and I was just happy to be back next to the ocean again. 101 mostly runs along the coast in this area all the way to Santa Barbara – a scenic stretch for sure. The freeway has been improved many times over the years, the next photo shows an old highway bridge that was one lane only – it’s just there for posterity now at a Vista Point.

Vista Point Bridges

Vista Point Bridges

The higher bridge in the background is the Amtrak rail bridge.
I passed Gaviota and Refugio State Parks, both of which are beach parks too, either one would have been a quieter choice than where I am but I was more interested in getting as close as possible to Santa Barbara – I think it will be slow going tomorrow as much of the route to Ventura has to be on bike paths and back streets to avoid the freeway which cyclists have to leave on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.

Onto Santa Barbara and then Ventura tomorrow – I’ve booked a nice hotel in Ventura, the end of the Pacific Coast for me and will be resting there for  a couple of nights – more about that in tomorrow’s post.

More pics at… Oct 18th

AdamK & (And no earplugs for me tonight I guess! – It’s okay for him – deaf bugger!) Basil.

El Capitan SP to Ventura – Oct 19th…

Today I had to perform some major navigating as much of the route had to be off the freeway and on bike paths, lanes, city streets etc.
Leaving the campground (after a restless sleep due to traffic noise and lights from the freeway) I had to ride on US 101 for about 13 km before the sign that forced bicycles off the freeway at Hollister Ave. A short hill led me to the suburbia of Goleta and breakfast! After breakfast, I followed Hollister, then the bike route turned right towards UCSB (University of California at Santa Barbara) where I was supposed to make a left onto an extensive bike path that led all the way to downtown Santa Barbara. Well guess what? That road and adjacent path were all dug up and closed with no detour signs or help on which way to go whatsoever. So I rode following my nose and instincts and eventually found the elusive bike path. It was well worth finding though, as it did make a good job of avoiding any busy areas – being Sunday it was quiet everywhere too.

Bike Path Crossing at Goleta Slough

Bike Path Crossing at Goleta Slough

The path ended close to the city and the rest of the route was well marked with “Coast Route” signage.

Good Signage at Key Places

Good Signage at Key Places

So along the city streets of SB on good bike lanes heading towards the waterfront beaches. From there it was just about all on bike paths or on roads with very good bike lanes. I stopped in the small town of Summerland for lunch on a section where the route parallels the freeway – nice little town. Then the route took me through Carpentaria very easily.

Bike Path on Left and even Road has Sharrows

Bike Path on Left and even Road has Sharrows

What a fabulous way to end my tour down the Pacific Coast – nearly all the route from SB to Ventura was next to the spectacular ocean beaches of Ventura County. This was a very nice goodbye to me from the coast – simply marvellous.

Beautiful Beachside Riding

Beautiful Beachside Riding

At one point, the bike route mentioned the need to ride on the freeway for 8km, but an amazing bike path has been built adjacent to the freeway on one side and the bay at the other – it is really one the nicest paths that I have ridden on – it was only completed recently, hence my lack of prior knowledge that it existed – a great addition to the Pacific Coast Bike Route.

Bike Path Alternative to Freeway Riding

Bike Path Alternative to Freeway Riding

After 88 km today, I’m finally here! Wow!

One more small step though before I am truly done…

Let me tell you my plans for the next leg of the trip to Indio. I never really relished riding the next section east to the Coachella Valley. My main intentions were to ride the California Pacific Coast as far as I could and riding over the Golden Gate Bridge. Riding south past Ventura is riding into the Megapolis of Los Angeles, which is less than a 100 km away, not something any touring cycling would look forward to. I met quite a few that were making arrangements to get around LA by train or other transport. So I can leave the coast satisfied that I have seen the best of the rugged California Coast from the seat of a bicycle and today’s ride capped it off in a spectacular fashion.
Riding east to Indio would mean an elevation gain of over 3000 ft over a three or four day ride, probably headwinds from the east before descending down into the Coachella  Valley. That part doesn’t really bother me, but what does, is that to get there I would have to ride out of and then through three major cities and suburbs – to me that is not pleasant riding as the drivers in some of the suburbs seem oblivious to the space that cyclists require – especially the touring cyclist with panniers sticking out each side. I haven’t enjoyed riding many of the inland areas up to now – especially the suburbs – and to ride another 350 km through some areas that are not scenic, questionable neighbourhoods and busy suburbia does not appeal to me. I’ve ridden and arrived safely up to now and I want to pause at a good stage. So a rental car will take me to Palm Springs Airport, where I will ride my final lap of this trip. I’ve looked forward to (and dreamt about!) riding into Indio on my touring bike – I know the roads there well and will relish my achievement with great satisfaction for that last 35 km or so. For now, two days at Ventura Beach sounds like just the ticket!

So no report tomorrow, but I will conclude with a final post when I reach my final destination of Indio.

More pics at… Oct 19th

AdamK & (Did you see those beach volleyball ladies – wow!) Basil.

Ventura to Indio – Oct 20th & 21st…

I had a really good rest & tourist day in Ventura (officially called The City of San Buenaventura) – I wandered a lot, ate a lot and basically lazed about a lot!
But it gave me time to wind down and realise that I would be finished with my adventure in a day or two.
Ventura is a lively place, especially on an evening on main street, music, live bands and lots of eating and drinking establishments to choose from. During the day, the beaches are busy with surfers, sun worshippers etc. Once again I noticed many vagabonds and lost people and even though begging is against the local by-law, it still goes on especially by via the silent beggars with the cardboard signs. I’ve come to realise over the years that every city seems to have its rougher edges no matter where I travel, but all in all, Ventura seems a good one for anyone to visit, kick back and enjoy some sun and surf on the beaches of Southern California.

Long Pier at Ventura Beach

Long Pier at Ventura Beach

I picked up a rental vehicle and load the bike and panniers in without any trouble the night before. Then I set off at about 7:30 a.m. yesterday morning – what a rude a awakening from riding a bike for weeks on end! Straight into the LA commuter traffic for many miles on the freeways until all the filter routes south were exhausted. After that it was an easy drive – even with the commuter traffic, my drive was only three and a half hours to Palm Springs Airport. I unloaded the bike there from the vehicle and fastened my panniers on for the last time on this tour and set off east on very familiar roads to Indio.
It was an easy ride and I took it very slowly as the temperature was in the nineties and I knew that I had to acclimatise gently.

Familiar Locales

Familiar Locales

And I wanted to relish the final few miles as much as I could. It was a real treat to arrive at our community and ride my touring bike through the gate – even Basil had a tear in his eye! I don’t know where he is now, but he does deserve a break from hanging onto the saddle for days on end! Oh, I hear him calling – I think he wants a refill!

2407 km is the final tally – overall a great trip and many good days of spectacular coastlines made up for some of the more challenging day, but that’s what bike touring is about, creating a good balance and trying to get as much weight on the good side – and it usually does not disappoint. I’ve arrived safe and sound and without too many unpleasant experiences (all bad, inattentive drivers) and close calls, but I’ve had lots of those in the past too, so not above a average for this tour.
I enjoyed the trip immensely and met a couple of great guys and fostered a friendship, thanks Scott and Bob. Bob is still riding on the west coast, hoping to reach Tijuana as his final stop – he is determined and I know that he will make it, way to go Bob. I also met many other cycle tourers and interesting people along the route – that’s another plus of travelling by bike – people are not shy of talking to a cyclist and everybody wants to know about your trip, where you’re from etc. I think almost everybody I met knew Victoria, BC and had played tourist there! But Sidney, not so much, thank God!
I’m very proud of myself as this was my first major tour for about four or five years now; circumstances including some health concerns have held me back, but I overcame that and proved to myself that there’s still life in the old dog yet!
I hope that all the reader of this tour have enjoyed “riding along” vicariously. I’ve enjoyed writing the blog and it has given me a record of my progress each day which will be nice to reflect on, especially the who, what, where and when!

Arrival!

Arrival!

End of my Bike Ride

End of my Bike Ride

See you all next time.
AdamK & (Where the hell is he with that bloody drink?) Basil.

Finis!

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