Sound to Sand - Chapter Three

Total Miles

    Day 1   Day 2   Day 3   Day 4   Day 5   Day 6   Day 7   Day 8   Day 9   Day 10   Day 11   Day 12


Day 1 - 7/16/22 (43 Miles)

We drove away from our house in the Accord at about 8:30, headed to Drew and Kaylie’s house. We got to their house, chatted a bit, played with Wanda (the wonder kitten) watched Drew and Kaylie try to keep track of the tiny chihuahua they were “baby sitting”, and then hitched a ride with them from there to Old town Sac, and our quasi-sketchy bus stop where the Flixbus was supposed to meet us at 11:00 and whisk us away to an Oakland BART station.


We were quasi determined to take as much public transportation as we could, to get back to our bike at Ron & Sandy’s house in Hillsborough, hence the bus and BART. Also, then we could fly back to Sacramento instead of SFO, saving us the pain of having to drive through the bay area on the return trip.

It worked great! The bus was comfy, we didn’t have to drive, it was cheap, and it was right on time to BART. We took BART to the end of the line in Millbrae and had a short UBER ride to Ron & Sandy’s, where their son, Aiden, greeted us with our bike, water bottles, and a bike pump.

We slipped into our bike clothes, loaded-up the bike, and headed off on the 25-mile jaunt to sister Sue, and broth-in-law, Jerry’s house. On the way we stopped at Roberts market in Woodside, and ate fruit as we watched all the Tesla’s and Porsche’s zoom by.

Thank you to Ron, Sandie, and Aiden for storing the bike, and to Sue and Jerry for wining, dining, and entertaining us with their psycho-talk.  A great start to Chapter 3!

Day 2 - 7/17/22 (55 Miles)

We left Sue and Jerry’s at a little past 8am, after we noshed on bagels and had excellent coffee. About 1.5 miles later we arrived at Villa Sienna, and visited with Grandma Pat. She was chipper and chatty, as usual, and of course, snappily attired in her Croc shoes and Peanuts fleece.


Pat bid us adieu, and we started through the residential area of Los Altos and Mountain View, until we reached Steven’s Pass Rd. Anytime you’re on a road with the word “Pass” in it, you know there will be some climbing involved. And, climb we did – both pedaling and walking. The 2,500, or so, feet we climbed up to Skyline Drive was, perhaps, the single most difficult climb in any of our 5 cross country trips – long and steep – “brutal steep” as a passing cyclist told us.

We were entertained on some of the climb by the Porches and motorcycles that were flying by on this winding, perfectly smooth road. Several of the motorcyclist’s knees were almost touching the ground as they zipped by in both directions, like crazed insects.

We reached Skyline Drive in good shape, but with only about a pint of water left, and started an 8-mile coast to the Sawmill restaurant for a rest, and to grab some lunch. Timely stop – good food, and about 3 root beers later, we continued over hill and dale through Boulder Creek, Ben Lomond, and Felton on our way to Santa Cruz. Lovely countryside, with lots of Redwood trees and friendly people.

In Santa Cruz, we got on a bike path and zigged and zagged our way along the coast to Capitola where we stopped in a traffic and people mosh pit at Polar Bear ice cream. There was a huge line of traffic to get into Capitola, and, of course, we zipped right past it on the bike. Probably passed 5 Porsches, which is probably some kind of record for us.

After ice cream, we navigated through the neighborhoods to Aptos, and our friends, Steve and Helen Benedetti’s newly remodeled house, on the cliffs, overlooking Santa Cruz Bay. Good timing, once again, as the remodel was only completed about 3 months ago. Beautiful house! We dined, once again, with Gnarley Charlie and Libby (see Sea Ranch) and Steve and Helen. The girls pretended not to be bored while the boys marveled at how all three graduated from UC Davis in the pre-grade inflation days.  A good day of pedaling, and a great evening catching-up with old roommates.



Day 3 - 7/18/22 (43 Miles)

We joined Steve and Helen on their early morning bike ride, South from their hose. They lead us through the neighborhoods and we stopped at Sylvan Beach overlook which afforded us terrific views of a huge, flat coastline. Much different from the huge, gray sand beaches up North. This is starting to look like the Central Coast – we are making progress.


Helen headed home, while Steve pedaled on a bit further with us, and got us back on-route. Now we were in rolling strawberry fields! Heavenly!! We stopped at a fruit-stand in the middle of the fields and enjoyed a small basket of fresh strawberries – best ever!

We went past field after field of strawberries, kale, collard greens, and lettuce. Most of the fields had a crew of folks out there working away. WOW! Those folks are the heroes – that is HARD work! We thanked those we could, and waved, and gave the thumbs-up to others.

Shortly after the fields, we hit the sand dunes just North of Monterey…and… a bike path! Great bike path, we followed for about 10 miles through Marina, Sand City and Seaside before we hit Monterey, and took a lunch break at a McDonalds. Say what you will about McDonalds, but the food is decent, the coffee is ok, and the restrooms are CLEAN.

Beautiful day in Monterey, perfect temp, little wind and not much fog – great views riding along the bay.

From McDonalds, it was a short climb over to Carmel and the Carmel River Inn, where we rented a small cabin for the night. Another great day. Tomorrow, we’ll get an early start as we’ll be out of shade, and we’ll deal with the rollercoaster terrain of Big Sur.


Day 4 - 7/19/22 (63 Miles)

We had the classic road breakfast of yogurt, trail mix, and Odwalla juice for our quick get-away morning, before a long day with lots of climbing (total was 4,862 feet). We took off around 7 am, into a foggy and chilly Carmel morning. Jackets and leg-warmers were the attire for this morning.  Nice smooth road, great coastal scenery, and light traffic made the riding easy, despite the several small hills we encountered as we continued along the coastline with Highway 1.

We reached the River Inn Restaurant after 26 miles, and had breakfast #2: Bacon and eggs for Andy, and more yogurt, berries and granola for Kim. Super cool place the River Inn – lots of rock work inside, including a massive fireplace, and a large section of wood flooring that was 12 x 12 end grain of Fir or Redwood. Neat stuff!

Shortly after that, we were greeted with an 800 foot climb. It got a little hot since now we were off the coast and didn’t have the benefit of the world’s largest swamp cooler, the Pacific Ocean, which had been keeping us cool. We crested the hill and had one of the day’s several stellar downhills. The road was super smooth and the pitch was just right, where we can cruise at 30-35 mph, without much braking.

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Such a gorgeous coastline from Big Sur to Gorda. We stopped at several pull-outs to enjoy the view, and chat with the other tourists. We met one couple from England that were here on their honeymoon, and another couple ladies, also from England, Manchester England. Ideal riding today, as the temp was probably around 70 degrees, so it was pretty hot out in the sun all day, but the breeze of the Pacific made it like riding with an air conditioner blowing on you from the side and back. A cool tailwind… heavenly!

We arrived in Gorda at 2 pm, and had a late lunch before we checked into our room. The place is short-staffed, like everywhere, and when we got to our room, the bed had no linens and the bed spread was on the floor…not quite ready for us. It was “redone” in about 25 minutes.


We saw something today that was quite remarkable. When we got to the Bixby Creek Bridge, which is the famous “rainbow bridge” in all the photos of Big Sur, we of course stopped for a photo-op. In our photo are two miniscule people on the middle of the bridge. Right after the photo one of them jumped off the bridge. After a second of O.M.G.!! The guy’s chute opened and he made a perfect landing on the beach. WOW!! Then the second person jumped and (phew!) his chute opened too and he floated to the beach. So thankful that that all worked out for them, we headed back out on the road.

Another great day of cycling down this spectacular coast. Tomorrow will be about half as much climbing as today. The team says “Yay!!”

Day 5 - 7/20/22 (61 Miles)

Another foggy, but still, morning on the coast, at least at Gorda. We had the usual breakfast, kept cool overnight by an open bathroom window, since there was no refrigerator in our kinda pricy room. Things are expensive here in Gorda - $100 for lunch, and another $100 for dinner last night – and a pack of Sierra Nevada goes for $19.50 – that’s for a 6-pack. The disbelieving German couple that checked-out ahead of us at the Mini-Mart went back twice to check their bill. Welcome to Gorda.

Foggy morning so we really couldn’t see the surf, but it sounded beautiful. Yesterday, we felt like birds as we glided 1,000 feet above the water. Neat stuff – on a smooth road with no traffic. Today we glided, but could only see a couple-hundred feet, which may have been good, because then we also couldn’t see the nasty pair of 600 foot climbs we had to clear this morning.


Along the way we did see huge steel nets a few hundred feet up the cliffs to our left, to catch any wayward rocks. Fortunately, no rocks came our way, and we continued through the fog to breakfast #2 at the Ragged Point Restaurant, 12 miles and 1,300 feet of up and down from Gorda. You guessed it: bacon and eggs for Andy, but Kim changed it up and went for French toast…so adventurous! We ran into two other cyclists that were also heading South, one to Santa Barbara and one to Ventura.

We played leap-frog with one of them, as he would pass us on the up-hills, and we would zoom past him on the downhills. He passed us one final time as we took an extra long break to check-out the enormous Elephant Seals that were splayed-out all over the beach at one of the pull-offs.

The landscape changed dramatically when we reached the San Simson area. We now had rolling grasslands, cows, sage brush, AND fog! It was like some of the areas we pedaled in Montana, except with an ocean on the left. We went slightly inland at Cambria, and the fog left us.  Off came the jackets and leg warmers for the final push to Los Osos. We loaded-up with “fuel” at the French Corner Bakery, and hit the road.

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When we got to Morro Bay looking for a late lunch, or dinner #1, and a bathroom, a guy outside of a middle-eastern restaurant, The Grape Leaf, was yelling at us to come in, and try the “best Gyro in Morro”. So, of course, we stopped and had some excellent Gyro and Falafel. Good stop! The guy wouldn’t let us tip him – “Save it for the road” he said. It was the liveliest sidewalk dining we have had in some time.

From there, it was an easy five-mile cruise to the Baywood Inn in Los Osos. Glad to be here! Los Osos would be a great place for a rest day – great room and excellent little restaurants, but Lompoc calls…


Day 6 - 7/21/22 (65 Miles)

We had an excellent breakfast – with a breakfast burrito and a “Sol Bol” – of yogurt, berries and granola, from the Nautical Bean – the coffee shop across the street from our HUGE room at the Baywood Inn. All fueled-up we headed out to the flatish hills of Osos Valley Road, just south of San Luis Obispo.


We caught-up to a cyclist ahead of us, and it turned out to be the guy we sat next to at breakfast at Ragged Point, yesterday. Nice guy. He caught-up with us again at Highway 101, when we made a small wrong turn and had to back-track a bit. Beautiful light fog floating through the farmland this morning, before we crossed the hill and headed back to the Pacific and Pismo Beach. Pismo Beach, of course, means cinnamon rolls at the Great Western Cinnamon Roll Company. We got lucky and got our roll and mochas before the crowd descended. Soon, there was a line out the door of 30-plus people.

We cleared Pismo Beach, Grover Beach and Oceano, and headed inland again. We took a little short-cut through the fields, and it worked out nicely, until the road went straight up the bluff, to rejoin Highway 1. Ouch! A definite “walking” hill, but, luckily, it was only about 100 yards long.

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In Guadalupe, we ran into a giant “Road Closed” sign, and job site with several people and large equipment. It looked like the job was to make a lot of dust. Mission accomplished! At the worksite, we met two cyclists, and asked them what the work-around is. They let us know it was no big deal, and most of the work (dust) was to the right, all we had to do was skirt around the left side, and we could continue on the same road.

The big question they asked was “Harris Grade or Highway 1?”, testing the team’s fitness level.  Great question and the gauntlet was thrown! Harris Grade is, as it sounds, a Grade, aka “a steep climb”. Highway 1 had no steep climb, but it was about two miles longer, with much more traffic. We spent about four miles on a four-lane divided highway, so we opted for the Grade. It wasn’t the worst we’ve seen, and offered us a great view of the perfectly plowed fields we left behind.

Soon, we found ourselves coasting into Lompoc, at a little after 1pm. We were quick today, without hurrying – a comfortable 65 miles. It must have been the cinnamon rolls in Pismo, and the excellent tailwind we had for a large section of the ride that enabled  us to keep the brisk pace. Plus, there was plenty of flat today. We can really move on the flat, once we get the entire enterprise up to speed, especially with a tailwind.

Good day! We even got to park our bike in the Mexican restaurant across from the hotel at our lunch stop. That’s a first for us – table for two with enough space to park a tandem, probably need a booth. Success!!

Day 7 - 7/22/22 (66 Miles)

Foggy, again, this morning in Lompoc. We left a bit after 7am, after a semi-ok breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn. The same guy that waited on us last night, Douglas, was there again, early in the morning. The staffing shortage that has hit the US, is a great opportunity for someone that likes to work.


We wound our way through the town, back on to Highway 1, and we started a 5-mile, mostly gentle, but slow, middle-ring climb to start our day. We got about  half-way into it, and saw Ragged Point breakfast guy, a little way ahead. Man, he starts early! When we caught him, he said “ You guys got a late start today”. Turns out his real name is Peter, and he takes the train to San Jose to see is brother, then cycles back to his house in Oceanside.  He’s done it about seven times. Good plan!

Peter warned us about a very steep downhill ahead, which is “either thrilling or terrifying… and, sometimes both.” It was both! We topped-out at about 45 mph, and that was with a good amount of braking. Thank goodness the road was smooth! After the thrilling/terrifying descent, we had a 23-mile slog on Highway 101. Ugh… The traffic was fast and noisy, but the shoulder was huge and clean… so, easy riding, but noisy!

We happily pedaled off of 101 on Exit 110, and started the cruise through Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Summerland. We found a bike shop on the route, and topped-up our tire pressure, tightened the timing chain, and asked for restaurant recommendations. Luckily, there was a café two doors down, Old Town Café. Great veggie burritos, and bacon and egg sandwiches.

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Leisurely, comfortable (and flat!) cruising took us along the beaches of Santa Barbara, where we saw endless beach volleyball setups, oil derricks, and plenty of cyclists, including 5 tandems! We fit right in, except for all the gear we are hauling on our bike.

We arrived at our lovely Motel 6 for the night. The room has everything we need – barely. But, it’ll work fine for tonight.  It has AC, warm showers, and is across the street from a 7-11; it’s all here! Tomorrow is a short day – only 31 miles, and we are beginning to feel the gravitational pull of The Border, as we close in on it.

Day 8 - 7/23/22 (30 Miles)

Rest day today – only 31 flat miles – so we slept in until 8:00 and then walked across the street to the mini-mart for some yogurt and trail mix to bring back to the room. The Motel 6 was only medium bad – loud, no fridge, towels so thin they had only one side – but the good news is that it’s super-easy to leave these hotels. We finished up the yogurt, geared up, and hit the road at about 9:30.  The route took us through Carpinteria’s downtown. Beautiful little town.


Bad news was, at the end of town, we had to jump back on Highway 101, but just for a mile   and it was downhill so not so bad.  We then rode onto a bike-path/bike lane that took us all the way to Ventura. The bike-path was probably the finest path we have been on in our journeys. The path hugged the coast, mostly far enough away from Highway 101, so all we could hear were the waves lapping on the shore and the hum of our tires on the asphalt. The Pacific was very pacific today, no big waves for the many surfers waiting in the surf. Great ride into Ventura through a medium-high, broken fog day, that kept the sun’s rays at bay. Another perfect day for riding.

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In Ventura, we promptly got semi-lost but quickly followed our noses to Harvest Café for a delicious breakfast #2 of egg-avocado toast, waffles with strawberries, black berries and bananas; cinnamon rolls and cookies. Great stop, and plenty of fuel to propel us the remaining 13 miles to Port Hueneme – all on bike lanes through Ventura, Oxnard, and Port Hueneme. Oxnard Harbor reminded us a little of a mini–Inter-Coastal Waterway in Florida. Lots of water, boats, and houses at the harbor’s edge. Oxnard… who knew they had so much going on.

A pretty nifty day, all-in-all, 31 miles, almost all on separate bike paths, or very well marked and smooth bike lanes. Tomorrow, we enter the jaws of LA and we’ll try to make it through the melee of the LA beaches. Oy vey!

Day 9 - 7/24/22 (64 Miles)

Early start this morning, to try to get to Hermosa Beach before the heat sets in. No yogurt this morning, but we did have leftover pizza, which was, at least a change-up. We had a long (6-mile) straight, flat ride through the fields south of Port Hueneme, out to Highway 1, then about 3-miles of frontage road along the Point Mugu Naval Air Station. We pedaled by a fine display of Navy jets and missiles – your tax-dollars at work – super cool, impressive engineering, and depressing, all at once. So it goes.


We anticipated a scenic, low traffic, smooth road to Malibu, but instead it was so foggy, the bike, the bags, and us, were pretty soggy by the time we stopped at the Malibu Starbucks. After an overpriced breakfast #2, we were fairly dry, and we headed back out into the thinning fog.  If not for all the super-cool cars and spectacular homes / cabins (?), the ride from Malibu to Santa Monica was… horrible. Very trafficy, lots of garbage on the road, and many cars, with doors just waiting to open into us, parked along the road. We were thrilled to get on the beach bike path at Will Rogers State Park. Lovely!! Smooth, mostly uncrowded, and no cars! We took that trail for about 20 miles, all the way to Hermosa Beach – a terrific way to skirt around LA.

The path took us through Santa Monica Beach, which was huge and a mob scene of families and beach volleyball players. Next up was Venice Beach, which was like Berkely with an ocean. We didn’t stop there. We went inland at Marina Del Ray, and missed a turn, which gave us a better view of Culver City. Shortly after finding our way back to the beach, we stopped at the Ocean Side Grill for a tasty lunch, before tackling the last six miles to the Hermosa Beach Hampton Inn.

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At the  Grill, we met another tandem couple, and the husbands had a lively conversation about how, apparently, the wives never pedal. The other couple were out for the day on their Cannondale, so they wished us well, and headed back to LA, while we continued South. Hard to believe we are now south of LAX! Riding on the beach from Santa Monica to Hermosa really gave us a good idea of just how much beach there is in LA – there’s a lot of beach here!

We bailed off of the biked path at Hermosa Beach to avoid the mosh pit near the pier, and wound our way to the hotel. Tomorrow, we finish one more beach, on this side of Palos Verdes, Redondo, and then heading over to Long Beach. More Beaches!

Day 10 - 7/25/22 (61 Miles)

From the ocean view balcony of our suite at the Dana Point Beachfront Inn and Suites, it seems like a pretty good day – Hawaii weather! We started a little early this morning… (did I really tell Tino we’d meet them at 9am for breakfast?) since we had about 24 miles to get to Seal Beach by 9am. The morning didn’t start so well , as Andy had an “issue” with the waffle iron at the Hampton Inn. The iron did not want to part with the  freshly-made waffle. That episode probably cost us 5 minutes, another hazard of the road.


Undeterred, we headed out into the early morning empty side streets of Hermosa Beach and found our way back to the route.  We took a sharp left after one of the many hotels and headed to Torrance. The route took us through some very well-kept areas of Torrance – little 100-year-old houses that had manicured front lawns surrounded by large trees that formed a tunnel over the street.

All that gave way to some industrial style riding through Carson and up to the Los Angeles River.  Once at the river we were able to ride on the levee, free of cars, for about 5 miles, all the way into the Long Beach central business district. While on the levee, we saw quite the cross section of living conditions, which ranged from cute little houses, to houses with horse stables, to homeless camps along the river.

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Once we reached Long Beach, we were on another beach bike-path, our new favorite brand of path – flat, smooth, and no pedestrians or cars. We took the path to Tino and Martha’s house in Seal Beach, and had a great breakfast with them, great to catch-up on all the happenings with the families. After breakfast, it was back on the path through Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach – a great bike path along Huntington Beach! Past the zillions of surf camps, and them through Newport and Corona Del Mar. No wonder so many people live here – great beaches and cool little villages along the way.

When we got to Laguna Beach, we stopped at Las Brisas, a restaurant on the bluff, overlooking the beach. Great view, tasty lemonade, and timely rest before the last 10 miles to the hotel. Refreshed and ready, we got back on Highway 1, which had an excellent bike lane, and soon reached the turn-off for downtown Dana Point, another nifty beach community. We have a very spacious, and quiet room tonight, which may be our last quiet room, since tomorrow we plan to stay at Hayden’s house. Hopefully, she’ll be a good sleeper while we’re there.

Two more days to the Mexico border!

Day 11 - 7/26/22 (45 Miles)

Lazy start this morning, as it was supposed to be a flat route of 52 miles, but somehow it ended-up being only 45 – we’ll take it! We hit the road at about 8:30, and had a nice, protected bike path along Capistrano beach. At San Clemente, we headed inland through the cute and well landscaped neighborhoods of Tricky Dick’s western hang-out while he was President.

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We finally ended-up on a frontage road to Highway 5. It was very wide… we figured it must have been the old highway before Highway 5 was built. We stayed on the frontage road/bike path past the San Onofre nuclear power plant (very unsettling) and then into San Onofre State Park, which is huge – must be at least 5-miles long.

The maps told us that when we reached Camp Pendleton, we’d have to show some form of ID to ride on the base. Wrong… Even though we pay gobs of taxes, the friendly, machine gun and shot gun adorned young Marines would not let us cross. Bummer. The alternative is to ride on Highway 5, for about 7 miles, to the first Oceanside exit. Ugh! Extremely doable, but not fun. It’s not really that dangerous – the shoulder is huge – but, it’s just so noisy. Besides, after watching the lettuce harvesters working in the fields near Watsonville, on Day 3, we promised to never, ever, complain again. Those folks are hard workers!  So off we rode onto Highway 5.

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When we finished the noisy grind of Highway 5, there was  Denny’s at the off-ramp. Good enough for breakfast #2. The fruit was great, the omelet was fantastic, and the coffee was.  Onward. Fueled and ready to go along the beaches of Oceanside and Carlsbad – very impressive. Great beaches and parks along the way. As they say, “Tan your hide in Oceanside.”

More great beaches, and sweet bike lanes on the way to Encinitas. It was now just about ice cream time, and as luck would have it, when we stopped at a traffic light upon entering Encinitas to our right was Gelato 101. Excellent gelato! We found a corner table – with chairs – in the shade and basked in a job well done today and also our good fortune of finding the gelato shop.



After our bask, we went across the street to RIDE Cycles, and discussed having them pack the bike to ship back to Grass Valley. They said they could do it, so the plan is to ride to the border tomorrow, take the bus to the train, and the train to Encinitas, and drop the bike of at RIDE, which is adjacent to the train station. That’s the plan.

We mopped-up the last 4 miles to Hayden’s house, and she showed-off by taking about ten confident steps across the living room. Great to be here – can’t believe we only have one more day to get to the Mexican border. Yay!!

Day 12 - 7/27/22 (49 Miles)

Last day.  Wow!  Hayden got us up and going by about 7:15. We made it down the incredibly steep Pacific Ranch Drive out to Manchester Road and out to a brand-new suspension bicycle bridge hung underneath I-5.  Cool bike bridge but we were soon greeted by a 5% three quarter mile grade up to Lomas Santa Fe Road.  That warmed us up pretty quickly for the day ahead.

From there it was a nice rolling cruise through Solana Beach, the Torrey Pines area, and past UCSD; another beautiful part of the coastline.


Next up was La Jolla – absolutely beautiful but the roads were the worst we’ve seen.  If someone would have told us beforehand that La Jolla would have the worst road surface of the whole coast, we wouldn’t have believed them.

Even their attempt at a “quaint” road doesn’t work for cyclists.  They had a brand-new portion of the steep hill down to the water done in concrete but they stamped it so that it had the look of bricks.  Looks good, but not great for cyclists especially down a steep hill as one’s front tire wanted to get stuck in the ruts between bricks.

The water was deep blue just off the La Jolla coastline and the La Jolla Cove was full of tourists on the sand, lots of swimmers out in the ocean, and one Sea Lion lounging on the beach and occasionally getting up to stretch for the crowd.

We left the cove and wound our way through the fancy neighborhoods of La Jolla.  Nice place!  But they need to fix their roads…

We climbed our way off the coast and back up to the bluff.  Once there, we tied into La Jolla Blvd and stopped at a breakfast joint for breakfast #2.  Another great breakfast stop of egg and bacon, and veggie breakfast sandwiches and tasty mochas to get us to Mexico.

We then zipped through the beach communities of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and over the San Diego River to Ocean Beach.  In Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, we opted for the road rather than the bicycle/ped path at the beach since it was choked with peds.

Soft pedaling on Nimitz Blvd over the Point Loma peninsula for our final hill of the trip. We are done with hills.  Weird.  We pedaled past the airport and into downtown where we caught the ferry to Coronado.  It’s always relaxing taking the bike on ferries; a great way to travel with a bike and the views of downtown from the water are fantastic.  It’s amazing how much the San Diego skyline has changed in the last 30 years, looks like a major city now…

When we disembarked at Coronado, a freshly (last week) retired local teacher guided us through town, under the Coronado Bridge, and sent us on our way down the Silver Strand, the long sand bar south of Coronado.  Flat and downwind, we made quick work of The Strand and picked our way through Imperial Beach past horse ranches (didn’t see that coming) and out to Border Field State Park, our terminus for the trip. The “Park” was depressingly underwhelming.  The road to the beach was closed to cars about mile and a half from the beach so, of course, nobody actually went to the beach.  When we reached the bluff above the beach there was us, a border patrol agent, a bunch of abandoned concrete picnic tables, and another border patrol agent going back and forth on a small quad.  He apparently was having trouble with one of the electric rolling gates at the secondary huge fence on the US side, behind the huger uglier real border fence.  It all looked pretty unnecessary for that location. 

The Mexican side looked pretty lively with several folks under beach umbrellas, several more out in the water, and an active cafe/bar scene off the beach.  Our side looked like an abandoned nuclear waste site; no people – literally just us and the border guys - , weeds growing out of the side walks next to the concrete tables and shade structures, and the road half covered with sand; it looked like nobody had been there in  years. Not a lot of Friendship going on in the Friendship of the Californias Picnic Area this day.  However, the restrooms were spotless!  Your tax dollars at work. (CA residents only)

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We did it! Our 5th TransAmerica ride.  Now we were only faced with a downwind 8-mile victory lap to the light rail station at the San Ysidro border crossing, “The world’s busiest border crossing”.  When we got to the outlet stores we knew we were close.  We came up to a sign that read: “Ped Bridge to the San Ysidro Transit Center”, so we hopped off the bike and started walking across the bridge – this was a long bridge - were we unwittingly walking into Mexico!?  No, couldn’t be – but given our history down here, how could we be sure?  At least we have our passport cards with us – don’t we?

Hallelujah!  We finally did arrive at the transit center and hopped on the light rail back to San Diego where we changed to the heavy rail, The Coaster, which took us back to Encinitas where we started today.  It was a very slick operation getting back to Encinitas.  We didn’t even miss our stop!  One mishap was the bike fell over in the train while the front wheel was secured to the train so it knocked the front wheel out of true but luckily we were done riding that bike for some time.

The bike shop, RIDE Cycles, is about 30 yards from where we stepped off the train – so convenient.  And, adding to our convenience was Gelato 101 just across the street; let the official celebration begin!

We continued the celebration at Beachside Bar and Grill for a couple beers until Alex picked us up on his way home from work.

A great final day to a fantastic trip – stunning scenery, we were able to visit many friends and family members, plentiful bike paths and lanes, no mishaps, and terrific food.  5th Trans-Am trip done!