My journey is done, yesterday I reached the border of Mexico, 1900 miles of new experiences, new friends and a bucketfull of sweat.
Set off at about 9.00 from the hotel and the sun was shining and it was a beautiful California day, I was giddy with excitement. We gave on the bike path through Pacific Beach because of the ammount of people just wandering around. Pacific Beach San Diego is a top place, still has a bit of dirt and grime ie character, something Huntington sold off years ago. This was my first time in San Diego and it is a really nice place, less frenetic than the L.A. area. We caught a ferry to Coranado Island and chugged past at least 5 Navy aircraft carriers, just how many of these things does America have, unbelievable. We can see Mexico as we pedal along Silver Strand Boulevard heading to Imperial Beach a few quick turns head down a quiet backroad past horse ranches and it is just a mile from the border. Saw lots of border patrol people, 3 riding quads and 5 girls riding horses. All wearing leather chaps and looking good and amazingly very friendly. I guess we are on the right side of the border with the right paperwork.
The Adventure Cycling map tells you to go this way and you have to ask why, up on the hill in front of us is a huge stadium which is used for bull fighting in front of us is a huge fence, the border. Hang on really is this it? 1900 miles and we arrive at a fence in the middle of nowhere with a gate for pedestrians open on weekends and holidays only. Mmmmm very strange I did’t mind I had arrived. Sue and I had a heated debate about Iran of all places took a load of photos and then peddaled back into Imperial Beach. Job as they say done.
I have a real sense of accomplishment of having made this journey, from Fluff bailing at the last second to the misery of the Washington Peninsula, the beauty of Praire Creek and the trip across L.A. it has been so satisfying and I lost some weight. Chuffed I kept at it and made it.
The Thorn Raven worked perfectly never got uncomfortable and was 100% reliabe. I used one back tyre and had a total of 8 flats, 6 on the memorable day to Lompoc. The Rohloff has been great and I have abused the servicing schedule, a few false neutrals but nothing to worry about, adjusted the chain once that is it.
Ergon grips were really comfortable I used Specialised gel mitts and am gutted I lost them , no idea where maybe Malibu.
Giordana shorts were just brilliant no soreness and have been worn constantly, I got some of the Wiggle home brand bibs but they just werent comfortable, chaffed me in a really strange place, so got binned.
I hated the B.O.B. trailer at first but then got to love it, followed me like a faithful dog, the bag never leaked a huge thumbs up from me. Now known as “the robert”
I have to thank so many people, Aggie for being min askling, Bruce and Sue couldn’t have done it with out you, thank you so much. Bruces family and friends that welcomed a smelly hairy Welsh bloke into their houses with out question, Hans and Anne, Dan and Ann Louise, Gerry and Mary and cousin Jill. Phil and Liz who spoke such sense and were so kind in Vancouver meeting twice in 1900 miles wasn’t enough but the meetings were so memorable. Good luck with the rest of your trip. Rupert who has been putting the photos up and looking after things at home, Guy Debbie Jake Leah and Archie for putting up with me.
All the great people I have met on the road, Bob Holland for being so rude but he did ignite the fire again. Duncan and Mandy for inspiration, everyone at the E.A. Dave Jack Sam Tris Claire John H and the ex E.A. Ed and Julia. All the people in the Patent Office, Jonesy I hoped you enjoyed it Ann Marie and Andy and Son Son. The SSB crew, Dave that photo is a classic. Chris and Penny at Roaring Mouse who put me up and guided me to the bridge.
Thanks to all for reading this and sending comments.
You have 2 legs!!!!!!!!!!
This is the morning of my last day and I am in a hotel in La Jolla just north of San Diego. Sue has been really rough so the last 2 days have shown how tough the female of the spieces are. I would have wussed out completley. Left Huntington and headed to San Ononfre to camp only for California to lay down its cards one more time, “campsite is closed till next March” even though we had tried to phone them we were told we couldnt camp, Mmmmmm we will see 🙂 anyway the option was going back to San Clemente which wasnt an option. San Clemente wins the award for the nicest place in California, we passed this guy on the road who was in his 50’s who was fiddling with his bike, asked if he was ok. 10 mins later as we are consulting the map he rides past thanks us for looking out for him and pulls the best wheelie I have ever seen. His bike was a big old beach cruiser and he just lifted the front wheel for 150 metres. Very impressive. Rode past Webers and Stewarts which is always good to see.
After hanging around till darkish we put the tents up and disaster one of my poles splits, managed to bodge it together but it failed completley in the nigh during the wind and rain, yes thats right wind and rain in Southern California. I am sure I can get the pole replaced but really frustrating. We had our customary night time visitors marauding around but not Raccoons this time it was Skunks which are pretty cute but don’t piss them off.
The clocks have gone back over here so it is pitch black by 5.30 and light at 6.00 in the morning, that has added a new dynamic to the last few days.
When you leave San Onofre you have to cycle through Camp Pendleton a huge military base or you dont in my case they wont let you on if you dont have a helmet, I dont have a helmet so I had to cycle down the hard shoulder of Interstate 5 that was 7 miles done in a time Mr Contador would have been chuffed with, a bit scarey but I was on a mission from some deity or other.
La Jolla seems to be a stupidly rich area judging by the cars running around, yesterday saw a v12 Brabus Merc outside a frat house and my first ever Porsche Carrera GT wow what a noise, made the Hasselhoff lookalike in the pimped Aston look like pretty small beer.
In about 2 hours I will set off for the border which means this is my last day will be very strange not to ride the bike 40-50 miles a day. Stand by for photos of the border and tears. My bottom bracket started to make some funny noises yesterday so maybe the bike wants a rest as well. On the other hand my bottom has always made funny noises……… I will get my coat.
it’s his last day today, to the Mexico border!
This is the blog of Bruce and Sue who have put up with me for the last 5 weeks. Photos and much more detail than my ramblings.
I am getting confused where I have been and what the hell is going on. Spent the night in Ventura and one of the funniest moments of the trip happened. Bruce Sue and me were sitting outside a bike shop on the edge of Ventura when we see Jamie flying down the road, we all shout and whistle but he flies right on by with out hearing us. I say to Bruce he must have his tunes on and cant hear us when this voice just screams out ” or he is really stoned ha ha ha ha ha ” I spin around and right behind me is this homeless woman who looks like Zelda out of Terrahawks. She is laughing so hard and just cackling like a witch, after 55 miles we just fell about, I really thought I was going to pee myself.
Next stop the Malibu Beach RV park, Dear God the houses we cycled past, millions and millions of dollars but most of them look as if a kid playing with Lego was the architect. Bits sticking out all over the place and just huge. Amazing to go by these places, I am sure there were famous people in some but to be honest who cares. Arrived at the RV park and had to cycle up a cliff to register, crossing 4 lanes of Pacific Coast Highway was interesting. Paid $28 to have a Canyon View, $36 for an Ocean view and discovered that I couldn’t see any canyon at all just Ocean. The difference in the sites was 5 yards, Hey I paid for canyon views but all I get is this perfect view across the Bay to Palos Verdes. Where is the Canyon? An incredible sunset as well.
Been in camp an hour and Phil and Liz show up, just so amazing for us to have started in Vancouver then we hook up again in a little RV park in Malibu. They looked as immaculate as ever 🙂 really special people, so good to see them.
In the morning they set off early as they were going to Laguna Beach which is about 85 miles, we set off at 9 and cycled to Huntington Beach.
One of the most memorable parts of the entire trip, Malibu Point was flat, never seen it work. The road to Santa Monica has a shoulder but it was bin day so spent the first 15 miles dodging bins getting yelled at by car drivers and trying not to stare at the beach houses. Then we got onto the Beach bike path and off we went on a tour of every beach in L.A. Santa Monica, Venice which is like Camden Market but with an Ocean and better weather, Redondo, Manhattan just mind blowing. Then to miss Palos Verdes we went inland through Torrence and Carson and down the side of the L.A. river to come out at Long Beach. Oh look its the Queen Mary then its into Seal Beach, Sunset Beach then finally Huntington in all 69 miles. We were knackered and Sue had a real bad cold going on. Not a well girl at all.
I have to say that Manhattan Beach is my fave, just a nice vibe not to flash and not swarming with vagrants. The weather was just perfect lots of people waving at us, In Torrence school had just turned out and kids were pointing at us and asking questions. Arrived at Bruce’s dads house and got fed the best steaks ever. All in all about as good a day as I could imagine.
I wonder if someone would get the same sense of excitement riding into and through London? Answers on a post card please.
For the SSB crew, seen some amazing breaks, Rincon, C street in Ventura, County line. Malibu was the only place that wasn’t working at all. Venice had a little wave and then as we went south all the beaches were working to some extent. Just hundreds of breaks.
Saw more dolphins as well at Redondo.
Its getting very hot about 92 and cycling from Lompoc back to the coast is the last day of climbing on the whole trip. Actually it wasn’t so bad just gradual ups for about 3 hours then 2 kickers and it was done. Came across a scene of utter car/wild boar carnage nearing the top of the last climb. A family of piggy wiggies had failed to utilize the Green Cross code with the inevitable consequences. Bits of at least 3 big pigs all over the place and sadly a whole bunch of little piglets as well. Don’t think the car came out of it to well either. Set a new downhill record to the coast as well 44.7mph. That night we were heading for El Capitan state beach to camp and California does it to the cyclists again. squeezed between the 101 the Amtrak line and the sea a little piece of ground for us to put our tents on. Nearest bathroom .5 of a mile away. Just ridiculous and making my blood boil until I watched Dolphins for an hour or so. Calmness and serenity returned until the first train went past and I thought it was the Big One (earthquake) the ground did actually move. Just as we aere cooking food Jamie arrives so the happy band was enhanced again. It is hard to explain the camaraderie that exists among cycle tourists. We had first met Jamie in Northern California and was great to catch up again. Another stunning sunrise in the morning and yet more dolphins. Cant get enough of Flipper and his mates.
Jerry Brown is the new old Governor of California it seems that the Austrian wont be back and leaves a state that is bankrupt and wondering where all the good times went.
El Capitan to Ventura takes you past some great surf breaks, Rincon is just a machine, what a great set up.
We were cycling along the beach path in Santa Barbara when this guy whips past and about 5 seconds later I figure out what was different about him, he only had one leg. He sorted us out with directions but what an inspiration, because of him we have a new saying, “you have got two legs” just repeat that to yourself if you are tired or pissed off, I realise that it is pretty daft advice if you only have one leg.
Next installment is Malibu and the trip across L.A.