Sept 25: San Elijo State Beach to the Mexican Border! (54.7 miles)

I captured a nice slim sunset last night

I actually did not sleep so well after all, I’m thinking it was due to the excitement of this journey’s imminent conclusion. I got up early and headed out.

I had one last big hill on this trip: Torrey Pines Road. I sweated up it and navigated my way to La Jolla. The beach wildlife was waiting for me

In La Jolla Cove

A few more miles down the road I boarded the Coronado Island ferry because the brig bridge is closed to bicyclers. I got a fuzzy picture of the famous WWII Victory Kiss statue. Worth noting that a man named Glenn McDuffie claims to be the sailor.

I got a great view of the San Diego skyline

I had a nice tailwind from Coronado south and east to the border. I cranked through the quiet streets until I finally arrived at the border with Mexico!

This trip is now complete, and while it was not the PCT, I’m still pretty darn happy and proud of myself.

Yay! Now I just got to work out my get-back-home strategy.

Sep 24: Costa Mesa to San Elijo State Beach Bear Encinitas (78.3 miles)

Today’ intended ride would have been a bit over 60 miles riding on a combination of Hwy 1, some nice oceanfront trails and quiet roads through Camp Pendleton Marine Base. I’ll explain the “intended” below…

I slept in late, until 7:30 and felt guilty about it! I was then off riding down to PCH and to the beach our family used to visit often, Big Corona in Corona del Mar.

Our beach spot was near that big rock.

Nearby is Little Corona beach with its iconic arched rock

This is the beach for scuba diving!

I did a quick stop to check on the house my mom built a while ago. It’s looking great still

I rode on south passed the old yellow “Date Shakes” shack (now a much nicer place) and Laguna Beach, which seems way bigger to me now.

There was a nice oceanfront trail from Capistrano Beach through to San Clemente which saved from a bunch of hills. A bit sandy but worth it.

Next came Trestles Beach, a famous surfing location and the entrance to San Onofre State Beach, a 6-7 mile long park on the bluffs, which abuts Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Normally, the base is open to bikers passing through, but not today :(. A nice young Marine had the unenviable task to inform anyone who just rode those 6-7 miles to reach him that the pathway is closed due to military exercises. That means I have to bike back those 6-7 miles to Trestles and get on I5, a crazy-busy freeway. Too bad a note could not have been posted at the park entrance! Luckily, CalTrans has made allowances for this situation

So, I got to ride an extra 12-14 miles today, but I have to say, today was the day to do it: it was overcast and there was no strong wind blowing any direction.

At a rest stop on I5 I got a closer view of the military operations: helicopters ferrying equipment between a ship at sea and the base ( you’ll see the ship in the background)

And here’s what was ferrying the equipment to/from the base

I finally arrived at Encinitas at 5pm. I never saw the sun today, but that’s ok: I was nice and cool all day.

My campsite is right on busy Hwy 1 with a train tracks just beyond. It’s noisy as all hell but I think I’ll still be able to sleep well. Tomorrow, and I can’t quite believe this, but tomorrow after about 55 miles I should arrive at the Mexican Border!

Sep 23: Leo Cabrillo State Beach to Costa Mesa (87.9 miles)

The next possible campsite is at Doheney State Beach in Dana Point, but they have recently shut down their Hiker-Biker site due to abuses by vagrants. The next site is 10 miles south in San Onofre, and the next after that is San Elijo, another 31 miles.

So, I’m not guaranteed a spot in Doheney, and that would be 2 days away. I will need to get s hotel or a WarmShowers house tonight as far south as I can get today. My goal is Long Beach, but feel more comfortable with something more southern. WarmShowers has been 0 for 3 attempts so far, so this time I’ll rely on Orbitz or to get me tonight’s room.

It was a warm night and I was glad to have a night without the normal campground noises and lights. I got up early and hit the road. Hwy 1 through Malibu was great and starting at Santa Monica I had a beach side bike trail all the way to Redondo Beach!

I believe a version of Romeo and Juliet’ was filmed on a this setting in Santa Monica

I lunched in Redondo Beach with a great view north

The ride from Redondo Beach to Long Beach avoided Paola Verdes and passed through Torrence and Carson instead. This was a lot of hot, city riding, but I came across a couple of young girls selling fresh squeezed lemonade! Score!

It was a nice ride down a bike path to Long Beach where I saw the standard attractions

I made such good time getting to Long Beach that I decided to push on to Costa Mesa, just a bit inland from the coast, but significantly cheaper hotel rates.

By traveling this far I have more options for tomorrow: a short ride to Doheney to find out if they really do not support bikers, or a longer ride to San Elijo State Beach which would put me a day ahead of schedule.

Sep 22: Camarillo State Beach to Leo Cabrillo State Beach (53.4 miles)

It was a noisy campground- lots of Friday night partiers and cars/campers arriving. My earplugs did their best but it was not good enough.

This morning I was greeted by Drew who has been following my blog since the PCT days and lives in Carpinteria. He rode his bike down to the campsite just to say “Hi”. That was so cool!

Today is an average distance day down coast to one of the last coastal campsites north of LA, but with no real hills and a likely strong tailwind.

A stop at a local Starbucks got me going and I was off. The ride was mostly along Hwy 1 with a generous bike lane, some nice bike-only trails, a few streets through Ventura and Oxnard, and a short stretch on Hwy 101.

I passed by the Pt. Mugu Naval Air Base and viewed their outdoor museum. I recognized the F4 and F18

But not this one

I captured a view looking back at Pt Hueneme

And a view of a great looking beach near Pt. Mugu

And arrived at tonight’s destination: Leo Carillo State Park. This park is a few miles south of my intended stop, but I got there early and this spot is the last campground before LA.

It is very windy here, and given the huge fire that burned near Carpinteria last year I am surprised to see that campfires are allowed. Oh well, hope this plays out well…

At first I was worried about the state and location of the Hiker/Biker site when I saw this sign

But it turns out we are off the road in a beautiful grove of old Sycamore Trees

We are far enough away from other campers that I think I’ll finally have a nice quiet evening!

Tomorrow I hope to reach Long Beach where I will need to get a cheap hotel or stay at a biker-friendly residence through the WarmShowers app. The end is in sight! I’m hoping to arrive at the Mexico Border on Wednesday!

Sep 21: Gaviota State Beach to Carpinteria State Beach (50.0 miles)

It was a warm night and morning. The dew on the tent had mostly dried by the time I awoke.

Today’s ride is on or paralleling Hwy 1/101 south to Carpinteria.

The haze was just burning off when I reached UC Santa Barbara, the alma mater of of a few of my good friends.

UCSB knows a thing or two about bicycling: at intersections it’s the cars who have to stop for bicycle traffic on the trails!

Unfortunately that did not last too long and I was back into the world where cars are king.

Lunch in Santa Barbara was nice

I reached Carpinteria early in the day. I loaded up on dinner and breakfast and hit the beach

I found a nice shady place on the beach to have dinner and enjoy the views

The mountains inland burned a few years back. The town of Ojai is behind them: I lived there for a year way back in 1984.

Sep 20: Pismo Beach to Gaviota State Beach (67.4 miles)

I packed up early and, yes, the tent was soaked again. Today’s journey is an inland route east of Vandenberg Air Force Base and Point Conception and rejoining the Pacific at Gaviota State Beach. There is no continuous public coastal road around Pt Conception.

A lot of what I saw today was farmland, and much of it is being harvested

I had some big hills today, and while climbing them I was really missing the cool coastal breeze

It was a very warm day today and I was gulping down the water and sweating it out! Any turnout with shade was welcomed! The first half of today’s route had little to no shoulder (see above), but the second half had a smooth and generous shoulder. Even so, I found myself dragging my bike across grass and brush to get respite from the sun.

I finally summited the last hill and enjoyed a downhill run on Hwy 1, then a tricky merge onto Hwy 101 and finally arrived at the ocean at Gaviota State Beach.

When I registered for a site the ranger said that I looked like I could use a cold beer. I heartily agreed, but mentioned that food stores are too far away. She told me not to worry: she keeps a cooler with cold beers to give to Bicyclers who come here! On the PCT we call this Trail Magic from Trail Angels. I guess this is Toad Magic from Road Angels!

Here’s a view of the beach

Here’s a view of the hills I descended

There is a pier here

The campground is separated from the beach by train trestles

I am now in the Southern California Bight, the area between Pt. Conception and Dan Diego. I believe the big hills are now all done, and most of my ride will be through So Cal cities.

Here’s proof I’m in So Cal: I think this is my first Palm Tree

Tomorrow is a coastal ride through Santa Barbara, including UCSB, to Carpinteria.

Sep 19: San Simeon State Park to Coasta Dunes RV Park near Pismo Beach (58.3 miles)

The wind stopped sometime last night and the fog moved in and drenched everything in our campsite. I packed up and headed out into the fog to the city of Cambria looking for a warm breakfast.

Today’s ride follows Hwy 1 through Morro Bay and then side streets to Pismo Beach

The fog lifted south of Cambria and I got to see the ocean again

The last of the morning fog was burning off at Morro Rock and I started heading inland with another great tailwind!

I arrived at Pismo and found a pod of Humpback Whales spouting and jumping out of the water!

I stopped at a market to buy food but just couldn’t get the clerk excited about Humpback Whales in the bay. I rolled down Hwy 1 a bit to the campground and found it closed for repairs. Yikes! Luckily there is a San Luis Obispo County RV site that takes bicyclers just a few miles down the road. It also has a laundry room so I get clean clothes out of the deal, or at least as clean as hot water and no detergent will get them…

Tonight will be another earplug night as the park is bounded by Hwy 1 on one side an Amtrak trains on the other.

Tomorrow I head out to Gaviota – another place I do not recall ever visiting.