San Francisco to Indio – 2015

Encinitas to San Diego

Hope that you had a happy Thanksgiving weekend back in Canada!

I looked out of the motel window this morning to see cloudy skies. Good, I thought to myself, it may be a little cooler as the heat of the last couple of days seems to be taking its toll on me. As soon as I got on the road I knew that my theory of the clouds was wrong – it was really humid… and hot! Which made for a real sweat-fest over the distance to San Diego.
The road was fairly kind to me though as there were not any major hills to stress my sweat glands excessively. Any hills that I did ride were done at a snail’s pace.
I rode through Cardiff by the Sea and Solano Beach, where the beaches were fairly deserted except for the dedicated surfers here and there. It was so overcast that I didn’t really get too many photo ops either.

Paddle Boarders Braving the Surf

Paddle Boarders Braving the Surf

I rode past the Torrey Pines Golf Course where President Obama was playing golf yesterday; he was scheduled to leave San Diego today and I wondered if I would see his plane, Air Force One when I was to ride past the airport later?
Just past Torrey Pines is the district of La Jolla, which seemed a very pleasant area of Greater San Diego. I could tell that I was getting nearer the core of the city as the traffic was increasing as were the bodies. It was Columbus Day here, so at least the traffic was not as bas as a normal work day, but there were quite a few people in La Jolla I rode the beachfront bike route there around the Cove.

Seal Lions at La Jolla Cove

Seal Lions at La Jolla Cove

Riding on from La Jolla the bike route follows the coast into the city via Mission Beach where there were a lot of people holidaying in that area. Mission Beach is a beach Peninsula about two miles long. The bike path is next to the sand on one side and next to hundreds of vacation rental homes on the other.

A Quiet Stretch of Mission Beach

A Quiet Stretch of Mission Beach

At the end of this strip is the Amusement Park where there is an old Roller Coaster and some other rides.

Roller Coaster at Mission Beach

Roller Coaster at Mission Beach

Leaving Mission Beach, a bridge took me over to Point Loma and a section of San Diego Harbour – lots of marinas etc. Then the bike path got confusing, but I rode on the out skirts San Diego Airport and all the rental car places – no Air Force One in sight though. After that, I all of a sudden was in the downtown area… and trying to figure out which one-way street to take to the area of my motel? After studying the map for a little while it seemed to make sense and off I went.

Entering Downtown San Diego

Entering Downtown San Diego

I’m taking a day off in San Diego to regroup etc. With the humidity, I’m really feeling the heat – it’s 94 degrees and with the humidity, it feels like a lot more.
I was going to ride to the Mexican border, but it seems such a waste of effort as I have to come back the same way and I need rest, so I’ve elected to take the commuter trolley (like our Skytrain in Vancouver) to the border and back for a quick look and photo and then see a little of San Diego on my day off.
I’ll post more photos so am saving this report until then.

Day two in San Diego and I did catch the transit to San Ysidro, which is the town that borders Tijuana on the USA side. I was just taking a selfie when a young fellow showed up with his empty bike, I could see that it was a touring bike and it turned out he was doing the same as me, but brought his bike along for the photo too – personally I didn’t need the fluff, just the photo. Anyway, he had an Aussie accent but was living in Vancouver, BC at present and had ridden down the coast, left his panniers back at his digs and came to border for the photo-op. He thought I was a Brit from my accent, so I told him that I was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, but emigrated to Canada way back when. Now this is a coincidence – he was born in Leeds too… and born at the same hospital that I was – go figure that! He was only eight when he left Britain for Australia, hence his Aussie accent. We each swapped cameras to have the full frontal photos of ourselves.

AdamK at the Border

AdamK at the Border

I forgot that I had Basil in my bag and forgot to take a photo of him at the border – oops!

I didn’t take any photos downtown as it’s mostly tall buildings that seem meaningless and I didn’t venture to any real touristy places, I’ll leave that for another visit.

More photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (I’m pissed – stuffed in the bloody bag again when there’s anything interesting!) Basil.

San Diego to Pine Valley

Today was a difficult day – did I say “difficult?” Brutal is more like it.
The smartest thing that I did though was to cut a piece of my riding off by taking the Green Line trolley from Downtown San Diego to its terminus at Santee. If I had ridden that portion I would still be on the road now and probably looking at the “wall” that all bike riders fear. The trolley ride eliminated about 25 kms of city riding, which at the best of times is slow.
It wasn’t the length of the ride, it was the constant climbing in, once again, humid and hot temperatures. The only blessings were some periodic shade from trees and a breeze from behind helping me along. Leaving Santee Trolley station to the bike route is fairly kind and there are lots of services such as food and other outlets.
A short section of Highway 8 (Business Route) was ok to ride on adjacent to the I8 Freeway. The the road passed under the I8 and I was on Old Highway 80 and the climb began and I was zig-zagging the I8.

Some Shade from the Trees

Some Shade from the Trees

The only problem with this route was that I expected a low grade as it was over a decent distance to clear the required 4000 ft. But the average grade is never like the real grades which at times were quite significant especially on the section named Alpine Boulevard – which was a real roller-coaster and I was sweating bullets by the time I reached the town of Alpine. I vacuumed down a Subway foot long sandwich there and had lots of drinks, I also picked up lots of fluids and ice for the rest of the day as I was going through fluids like crazy trying to stay hydrated. I looked at my GPS in Alpine and I wasn’t even half way to my summit yet – crap!

Off I went and more roller-coaster until Alpine Blvd. ended and I was forced onto the I8 which was adjacent to me for a long while and I could see that although it was also climbing, it was a constant grade rather than a roller-coaster like I was riding.

Old Highway 80

Old Highway 80

I’ll mention that from Alpine there are no services, hence my stocking up on fluids there before venturing farther east.
Once on I8, the heat was relentless and there was no shade whatsoever to take a break. I’m glad that I had lots of water, as I kept dowsing my head with it.
On and on I cranked up the hill.

Not There Yet!

Not There Yet!

I was supposed to leave I8 at Japatul Valley Rd. but that was a road going into the mountains whereas I8 carried straight on, albeit still upwards! And I8 was about 4 or 5 kms of a shorter route. So I took a chance and ignored the “Bicycles Must Exit” sign and cranked on up the hill. My body was just about done for at this stage anyway and any extra up and down hills would have been almost impossible for me. So I rode on the nice wide shoulder of the freeway until I was about 5 kms from my exit when a police car behind me turned on his loudspeaker – scared the crap out of me too, as I was head-down cranking slowly along. “Leave the freeway at the next exit” he blared, so I waved and said OK! Thinking to myself that I was going to do that anyway. I don’t know why Basil didn’t warn me though? But ultimately, I got away with that one.

Just About There!

Just About There!

Finally I got to the 4000 ft sign and the hill continued to 4030 ft after which I was getting some speed up and going downhill – thank God! If that last few kms has not been downhill I would have been very disappointed.
Anyway I arrived in the very small town of Pine Valley, cute little place with one restaurant, one motel, one grocery (with cold beer), so what else does a man need?
I hope that tomorrow is a bit kinder to me as I’m sure feeling the effects of today. My map shows a bit more climbing, but beyond that there will more downhill than uphill to be ridden.
I’m looking forward to a good sleep after today.

A few more photos at THIS LINK.

More tomorrow,

AdamK & (That cop sure snuck up on us – don’t tell him, but I was napping!) Basil.

Continued on Page 6…

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