San Francisco to Indio – 2015

Redondo Beach to San Clemente

At 7:30 this morning it was already 76 degrees with forecast of very high temps to come. I had everything ready and rolled out to negotiate the mean streets of LA. I had a choice of the PCH 1 or to follow my Adventure Cycling Association map through the streets. With no visible bike lane on the PCH (my motel was on the PCH) and already a good smattering of cars there, I chose the ACA route. To be honest, I had no problem at all with the street route and found it easier to ride there than in many cities like Vancouver, BC. Yes the LA freeways were living up to their reputation of packed or, as on the 405 this morning, stopped! After a quick 20 kms on the streets the route took me away from the traffic onto the Long Beach Bikeway along the canal.

Long Beach Bikeway

Long Beach Bikeway

One bike path led to another and basically I was on paths for another 10 or 15 kms. The heat was building fast though and I was feeling it – hot comes to mind!

Long Beach

Long Beach

After Long Beach, I was stopped for a short while as there was a race for six-year olds on a short section of the bike path. That was over quickly and I carried onto Seal Beach where I would rejoin the PCH 1. The next great beach to pass was the famous Huntington Beach and that was much busier as everyone seemed to be descending on the beach areas to keep cool – did I mention that it was hot?

Huntington Beach Pier

Huntington Beach Pier

From Huntington Beach all the way through Newport Beach and Laguna Beach ( where the fat cats live) traffic was much worse than back in LA. Cars parked in the bike lane and shoulders made it a nightmare of a ride trying to stay away from cars that were passing, car doors opening and surfboards ejecting from vehicles – I almost broke one in half as the guy was taking it out of his SUV and thrust it into my path – idiot, I had a few choice words for him! With all the beach parking lots full, people seem to park wherever they feel like. Anyway, I was glad to be past that mayhem which subsided at Dana Point. I’ll add that the roads after Newport Beach were undulating all the way to Dana Point. Up and down constantly; on a milder day they would have been no problem, but in today’s heat, every extra effort was exacerbated – it was topping 100 by now!

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Finally after Dana Point there was another bike path off the highway and that almost led me to my air-conditioned motel, short of the flaming hill up to it! I was glad that I booked this motel as camping tonight would have not been pleasant in these temps – did I mention that it was bloody hot! And this was my longest day of riding – I did want to get as far south of LA as possible and achieved that even with the hot weather. Luckily today there were many place to stop and get hydrated with cold drinks etc.

Entering Dana Point

Entering Dana Point

More photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (I had to cover my ears – that guy with the surfboard was a dipstick though!) Basil.

San Clemente to Encinitas

With a short ride ahead of me today, I was in no big rush to leave my motel, the only push was that I knew that it would get hotter again and it would be best to get the bulk of the ride in before the fury of the afternoon sun. Just as yesterday, there were scads of cyclists on my route – no touring cyclists mind you but the weekend warrior pedalheads were out in full force. I can see why they like these routes as today I was mostly on bike paths all the way. I just had to finish the hill from the motel, down the other side and onto a bike path or an old portion of the highway that was closed to regular traffic.
The first place of interest was passing the nuclear power plant at San Onofre…

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant

A very large installation at the shoreline of the ocean. There were many sirens around the facility and luckily they were silent – I guess if they begin to sound and you are close by, KYAG!

The bike path continued on and sometimes it was quite a moonscape as you can see from this next photo… 

Desolate Bike Path

Desolate Bike Path

This part was actually on the Government property of Camp Pendleton – a Marine Corps facility. At the end of this path there was supposed to be an option to ride on the shoulder of I5 or try to get permission at the Camp gate to ride through the facility. Last year my friend (also a Canadian) tried to gain entry and was refused so I was fully prepared to ride on the Interstate, especially as it was only about 12 kms before the next exit. Well, there was a big sign at the end of the bike path stating the Bicycles were not allowed on the shoulder of I5 and to call for a shuttle – crap! I saw some other cyclists heading up the short hill to the gate and thought that I would try my luck. The armed Marine at the gate was letting them through; I was thinking that was ok for them as they were USA citizens, but I rolled up anyway and showed him my driver’s license and he was just surprised that I was a Canadian and asked about my trip, wished me well and off I went through the camp – which was much better than riding on the I5 shoulder for sure. I didn’t push my luck and take any photos while on the base though!

Just after leaving the base, I entered the very pleasant city of Oceanside to find hordes of beachgoers again on the wonderful sands there.

The Beach at Oceanside

The Beach at Oceanside

They were holding the World Junior Surfing Championships there today, so that accounted for some of the crowd, I guess the rest were just enjoying the beach on another hot California day. The beach there stretches for miles all the way to Carlsbad which was my next port of call.

Entering Carlsbad

Entering Carlsbad

A fair amount of traffic there too, but wonderful beaches and atmosphere there as well. The traffic was nowhere near as bad as yesterday in Newport and Laguna Beaches and the weather was a little bit cooler with a nice breeze off the ocean.

I arrived in Encinatas early enough to have lunch at a nice French cafe which made authentic crepes as I remember from my trip to France a few years ago. I had a nice chat with the lady proprietor who was from Paris and was pleased to hear my horrible renditions in French! Oh well, I try!
Encinatas beach drag is not as nice as the previous two towns as it not on beach-side but just a strip with restaurants and other shops related to the beach lifestyle presented down this coast, but it will do for a stopover tonight before I enter the big city of San Diego tomorrow – yahoo!

More photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (I’m glad that the Marine didn’t notice me, I left my ID at home – but don’t tell you know who!) Basil

Continued on Page 5…

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