Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Big Day- we make our Left Turn

Brown Pelicans at La Jolla Cove
Our last view of the Pacific Ocean. The next time we see an ocean it will be the Atlantic

Greg makes the big "LEFT TURN" the path going up under that bridge in the back, and East

Dani riding East towards the mountains

The Big Day- we make our Left Turn
Carlsbad to Lakeside, CA
Day 47
63 miles

This morning we had a great breakfast of whole wheat banana-walnut pancakes and eggs with Barb and Tom. It was SO good and very filling. The perfect breakfast before a big day of riding. We said goodbye to Tom early as he left for work. We went to Trader Joe's before leaving, then packed up all of our gear. It was great to see my uncle and to meet Barb. Greg and I got some rest and relaxation, as well as having some fun at the ocean and seeing a little of the city. Today we will begin heading East for the first time on the trip.

We left Carlsbad at 11AM, which was a little later than we aimed for. We rode south into San Diego, back through La Jolla where we had been the night before with Tom and Barb. We rode along the ocean for the last time and into Mission Bay Park. We got to a point on the route where we realized that we were turning from the South to the East. It was strange thinking about how we would no longer have the company of our constant companion, the ocean. We would not hear it rhythmically crashing as we slept each night. The sun would no longer bear down on our right sides for the majority of the day, and instead we would wake each day to face the sun. The amount of people and amenities would change and I'm sure we would quickly feel a change in the character of the communities as we left the coast. There is a definite feel to people on the coast, kind of laid back mellow attitude. As we made that literal turn away from the ocean, it immediately felt like a big change in the figurative direction of the trip. Now we had proven to ourselves that we could do it, ride the miles, live the lifestyle, and now it was time to see just how far we could go.

Riding through San Diego was awful. As we left the ocean and eventually the bike path, we rode on a highway in the Mission Valley that felt more like a freeway, with exits that appeared without warning taking drivers off the road into the shopping malls. We got cut off by one driver and felt like we were not a welcome part of the flow of traffic. We couldn't wait to get out of this place! We reached a county park where we rejoined a bike path. Before long we met up with yet another friendly, helpful, local cyclist who offered to guide us through town so that we could travel the less busy roads. This guy was named Bill and he took us through town on a route pretty similar to the one our map showed, but he helped us find our way quicker than we would have just by looking for streets on our own. We are constantly impressed by the amount of caring and helpful people we meet along the way. We began our big climb today, and we could definitely feel the earth gradually rising beneath us.

We ended up having to ride for a little while in the dark to get to our campground, at Lake Jennings Park. Our map showed that the park was owned by the county of San Diego, but we found out otherwise when we arrived. The county no longer ran the park, it was now run by the Helix Water District, which had always owned the land. They had taken over control of the campground after vagrancy and drug dealing had become a problem in the park and campground. The park was fenced off and a sign notified us that only registered campers were allowed in the park, and we were not registered. Walk-up registration was only available until 5pm, and we arrived at 5:30. We were getting tired and didn't really want to keep riding that night, but didn't know where to go from there. We were lucky that just as we got to the gate, both the campground host and an administrative ranger arrived, one leaving, one entering. They don't accept cash, but made a generous exception for us because they didn't want to see us head back out on the road. The campground turned out being really nice, situated on the top of a hill overlooking the small reservoir. The host even gave us a bundle of firewood for free and we had one of our first real campfire of the trip. I really enjoyed our stay at this little park. We slept well, even with the pack of coyotes that came through in the night and howled just yards from our tent (Greg said he heard their footsteps.) Tomorrow we tackle the biggest, steepest part of the hill.

It was pretty odd to suddenly turn East and leave the ocean. There it was, our last look at the biggest ocean on Earth. It served as our temperature moderator, moisture provider (not really a good thing on a bike), and natural noise maker for almost six weeks. I think we will miss the incredible views the most though. For me at least, every time the ocean left sight for any amount of time, the next sighting of it was just as exciting as the first time we saw it on this trip. Pacific Ocean here is to you.

Just before we left Carlsbad, we used a bathroom scale to weigh some of our gear. We have been wondering what our stuff weighed, so we thought we might post it here so you would have an idea.

Dani's burden
-rear panniers plus the rain gear all carried on the back of her bike = 35 lbs

Greg's burden
- front panniers full of food = 22 lbs
-bob trailer bag = 46 lbs
- bob trailer itself = 15 lbs

As you can see, we are not ridiculously over weight by any means, but we are carrying a good load. My bike's weight, plus the gear, plus my weight is about 300 lbs. A lot of weight to drag up hills, especially the hill we have coming up soon. When we get in the desert we will need to carry extra water for obvious reasons, so I will have two gallons of water extra on the BOB trailer. An extra 16 lbs is nothing to sneeze at. I am sure I will notice it.


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