Monday, July 30. Temecula, CA to Oceanside, CA. 36 miles of riding in 2:23 hrs.
Did it. Have to admit that after yesterday’s ride I was super concerned that my last 30-40 to the coast would be as hair-raising as the Sunday ride. Really, I cannot explain what a bloody cluster F my ride was yesterday. I was just mentally maxed out at the end of that ride. But, still, we slept relatively late this morning, with me getting up at a recreational 5 AM and working for a bit, and then I went through my final morning’s tear down/load up routine. We did a cheapie little continental breakfast at the motel and then we were off.
I decided to take Pechanga Pkwy south to jcn with Rt 76 west, and then get off of 76 before it turned into an expressway in Oceanside. I’d take a chance on E. Vista and then Oceanside Blvd. This was really throwing it up there and hoping for the best. I also wasn’t sure if I’d be climbing any more, or just descending down to the coast. So the ride began at 7 AM down Pechanga, which was fairly light in traffic this morning, but devoid of a berm. But at least it wasn’t like the Autobahn I was on yesterday. And within 3 miles I began this great little switchbacky descent – with zero berm. And this guy was TIGHT. It definitely got me thinking to myself during that run: “WTF, does this state have any berm at all on their state and local roads?” Again, just like yesterday, there were blind corners around rock outcrops where I was right up against the wall. No room for error here – for me or the traffic. So this pup descended hard and fast until I flattened out and saw a sign for elevation – 650 ft. That was all I needed: I was out of the mts and onto the coastal plains. There may be more zero berm roads to ride but no more mts to climb. That helped to really take the sting out of the no berm riding.
We ended up in the Indian Reservation town of Pala where we turned west onto Rt 76, again, pretty much little to no berm. But the traffic was fairly light, so no problem there. It was only when we crossed over Rt 15 that the traffic got much heavier, with the addition of 18-wheelers. Prior to that no vehicle over 40 feet in length was allowed on the roadway. So I really tried to hug that white line for all it was worth. After 2 days of this I’m a pro at holding my line!! So that stretch down 76 after passing over I-15 was just a tad gnarly. But, just nothing like yesterday. So I was ok. The terrain was typical of what I’d ridden through Sunday – dry, semi-arid coastal mts. The temp was just great – round about 70. By this time I could smell the ocean. Ocean fog still hung in the early morning air, blocking out the sun ever so slightly. Around me were palm trees, prickly pear cactus, all sorts of exotic flowers and grasses. Kids were scooting around on skateboards and folks were pedaling along on cruiser bikes. The wind was blowing lightly out of the west, but honestly, it could have been blowing at 30 mph and I’d still have been pumped to be at the end. Hell, there could have been a earthquake and I’d be in the zone to finish.
The closer we got to Oceanside the more the traffic got and the happier I was to have made the decision not to take 76 all the way to the coast. It just looked like it was way too intense on the map, and the name changed to Expressway with about 10 miles to go to the coast. So I got on google and found a kind of round-about way to get down to the beach. We took a left on E. Vista Way, where I had a blooming bike lane. Well I’l BD! So that was a small climb and then a descent down into the city of Vista where we took a right on W. Bobier, where again I had a nice bike lane. Now I was grooving, and all of a sudden the stress of no berm riding in SoCal was a thing of the past. W. Bobier soon turned into Oceanside Blvd when I entered Oceanside. And you guessed it – full on bike lane!
The riding was casual and my pace was relaxed. Actually, on any of the small climbs I just had zero gas in the legs. My legs had not felt this toasted in the whole trip. So I just really spun it out in easy gears with a high cadence. No worries though as I was kind of in Zen land – with a burst of thoughts popping in and out of my head of all the riding I’d done on this trip. It was a kind of flashback ten or fifteen minutes where I’d just move backwards in time to certain rides that stood out over the past two months. I eventually drifted all the way back to Maryland and the C&O trail. That felt really good. Met Judy down about a block from the entrance to I-5, where I told her we had to go another mile or two to get to the beach. And sure enough we went under I-5 and across Highway 101 and Oceanside Blvd deadended at S. Pacific Street and the Pacific Ocean.
I asked a local if there was a place to park to gain beach access and he directed us to a place down the road to the south just about a quarter mile. So we took a Louie on S. Pacific St. and found Buccaneer Park, situated right across the street from the ocean and a public beach. Took a stroll down about 100 yrds of beach and Jude took a couple pics of me next to the ocean. And with that we were done, and I stress the word WE. I couldn’t have done this route, this trip, this year without the help of Judy. This was a tough one – mentally and physically - and I’ll go into that more on tomorrow’s blog, the last blog of this trip.
Right across the street was this little on the east side of the road was this little café. I changed in the van out of my rotted out kit – I’m going to take a picture of this crap and post it cuz you just wouldn’t believe it. We sat down and ordered some breakfast burritos and coffee and just relaxed at 10 AM. I haven’t had that luxury for 2 months, to chill out and drink coffee and eat breakfast in a relaxed manner at 10 AM! The burritos were spectacular. We sat there for a good hour just people watching and talking about the past two months. Jude was curious if I was sad to see it end, and I gave her an emphatic NO. I was totally ready to be done this year. Again, more on all that psychological crap in the Epilogue tomorrow.
Finished up and did the I-5 and Coastal Hwy 1 north to Glenys’ house in Newport Beach. And that’s where I’m at right now, sitting in a cozy little house right on the water on a peninsula. All is good. Judy and Glenys went out for a walk around the peninsula while I catch up on my work. We’ll be doing some fillets on the grill tonight and hang out at the beach.This year as opposed to last, I will indeed write one last blog – the Epilogue. This will pretty much be my synopsis of the trip and what all this – these last 4 year’s of crossings – have meant to me and how they’ve changed me, and where I’ll go from here. Anyway, we’re done and we’re safe and sound, and I’m quite happy to know that I can get up tomorrow and not get on a bike. I think Judy would second that one! All the best everyone………..Pete