Day 29 and 30

September 5 and 6

All done!! And Sunday night we stayed at a home of a former bike the US for MS rider, then had breakfast at a church. We biked 60 odd miles partially on bike lanes but also an 8 mile stretch on interstate five. Last night we stayed at a beach side campground and buked an easy 30 miles into San Diego.

Looking back at the trip, while I have not always been the most enthusiastic fan of church community rooms, it is amazing how generous people have been with their space and with their time. This has been true of former riders as well as churches. As a Jewish person riding with other Jews, I can’t help noticing that synagogues have not been sites where we have stayed. I don’t know whether this is because they haven’t been asked, but others Have suggested that security concerns as well as other issues would preclude the possibility.

Overall, this has been a great trip. The group raised over $100,000 for MS care, we rode past stunningly beautiful coastline and redwood forests, and the climbs were as challenging as I could’ve possibly imagined. The route has felt more dangerous than I recall from the 2019 northern tier ride. We have been on four-lane highway with no shoulders as well as narrow roads with hairpin turns and logging trucks. I don’t recall much of this on the previous trip. We all survived and I’m grateful for the continued capacity to make this kind of effort as well as the friends I’ve made along the way.

Day 28

September 4
Third to last day! Today we rode from Santa Monica to Huntington Beach; most of it was a bike path although we rode through Central LA on city streets. It was much less hair-raising than yesterday. The Southern California beaches are endless. At least so far I guess I can recall, they started north of Santa Monica and have extended more than 100 miles south. They are all the same; on the stretch we rode today there is a bike path and vacation homes lined up viewing the water. Many of them are obviously incredibly expensive but they all look out on tens of thousands of people doing their thing probably almost every day of the year.

Another thing to note is that in the war of E bikes versus pedal bikes in Southern California, the e bikes  have won. I would say that 80% of the bikes on the bike path are electric. In general they are driven by kids who have no idea how to use them, drive far too fast, and should be riding on the streets rather than paths. E bikes are a 21st invention century invention that have not significantly improved the state of the world.

Tomorrow we head down to Carlsbad on our penultimate day and San Diego on Tuesday.

Days 25-27

September 1–3.

Last three days have been 90 milers with a rest day in between. On September 1 we biked to Goleta, 10 miles north of Santa Barbara. This was the first day where it got really hot while biking; I guess there is a heat watch over all of Southern California. Lots of biking on incredibly busy roads.

Kathy met me in Santa Barbara we spent a very nice day wandering around UCSB, the waterfront, and the mission. Today was an introduction to Classic Southern California biking. We rode on route one where there is a shoulder but it is completely clogged with cars and RVs. route one is a four-lane highway and all of the parked vehicles meant I was riding in the middle of the road for more than I was comfortable doing. The waterfront is probably pretty, but you can’t see it because of all of the vehicles. I am hoping that the next three days will not be more of the same. Regardless, we will be finished on September 6.

Day 24 & 25

August 30 and 31.

Yesterday and today were beautiful days but quite hard. Yesterday we rode through Big Sur almost entirely from north to south. The mountains come right down to the ocean and the road is cut through the mountains so that the riding was steep and hard. However the views are incredibly dramatic and it was a great day.  Today we left Big Sur and saw how the land flattens out so that we were riding almost at sea level past endless beaches. About 90 miles but with a good tail wind. We are almost done; There are five more days of biking before we finish in San Diego. Another great biking trip; not too late to contribute if there are those reading this who have the urge.

Day 22 & 23

The last two days were studies in contrast. Yesterday we biked from half Moon Bay to a campsite In the middle of the California farm country. Half of the ride was along the coast and half thru very fertile huge fields of Brussel sprouts and kale. This morning we began in farming country; it is picking season for strawberries and brussels sprouts and workers were everywhere manually picking in the fruit and vegetables. Around  noon, we got to Monterey with a beautiful coastline, crowds of tourists and a ride called the 17 mile ride which borders the Monterey Peninsula which the the descendants of the Del Monte family and the community have privatized and charge cars $40 to drive through.

Day 20 & 21

August 26th and 27th.

Yesterday was a rest day. I took the ferry from Sausalito to San Francisco and wandered around the waterfront. To a casual eye, San Francisco has not thrived during Covid. At Fishermans Wharf, probably  40% of all of the restaurants were shuttered. All along the waterfront, the piers that used to be busy commercial hubs seemed empty. There were crowds in the area, but overall it seemed a lot less vibrant than I remembered.

Today we biked across the Golden Gate bridge and down the coast to half Moon Bay. Riding across the bridge was a trip; there’s a separate bike lane but the crosswinds were really quite strong and so it was an adventure riding across. The bridge is amazingly high above the water; a lot easier to appreciate on a bike than a car.

Day 19 & 20

August 24 and 25.

We are in Sausalito, about 2/3 of the way down to San Diego. Yesterday was kind of a hellacious ride; woke up to incredibly thick fog and a road with no shoulder, steep uphill climb and descents, and trucks that were for the most part quite considerate but not always. After about 25 miles the fog lifted and one could appreciate the beautiful coastline. We found an oyster farm along the coast that sold unshucked oysters for about a dollar each. I learned how to shuck oysters which I’m sure it will be a valuable skill going forward. Last night we stayed in a very nice campground on the Point Reyes  peninsula and today was an easy ride from there to Sausalito. Tomorrow is a day off which my legs dearly need and then we head down the coast once again.

Day 18

August 23.

Today was a very long day, more than 80 miles in 6000 feet of climbing. Virtually all of it was along the coast on Highway one. The road is intermittently empty and wonderful to ride, and filled with cars and logging trucks which made riding quite frightening. The marine layer which hugs the coast is also very interesting. Last night it was so Misty one could barely see your hand in front of your face. Today it was mostly offshore, but occasionally you could see fingers of it coming onto the land dropping the temperature by at least 10° and reducing visibility. I’m not sure whether there are geographic characteristics that govern where it comes in; I know that it rolls in over the San Francisco Bay quite frequently and makes summer there cold and damp. We will be there in two days; hard to believe that at that point the ride will be almost 75% over.

Day 17

Today was a particularly arduous ride. We started in the redwoods and climbed 1900 feet over a pass and arrived at the ocean in about 35 miles. The temperature change was immense. To the east, we were in the 80s, dropping  into the 50s by the time we hit the coast. As you can see the coast is beautiful but the marine layer rolled in around 1 PM and the rest of the day we biked  in pea soup.

I admit it. I hate sleeping in churches. I arrived late and all of the choice spots were taken so I ended up sleeping in a pew in the back of the church. 15 elderly snoring farting and and prostate challenged people made for a very restless night. There are about five possible church days left in the trip; I will do my best to find a cheap motel everyone of those nights. I know this sounds grumpy but I got no sleep.

Days 15 & 16

Yesterday we moved away from the coast and into redwood country. We rode 30 miles on the Avenue of the Giants which was spectacular, with lots of small trails going through massive Groves. The history of redwood forest preservation in California started more than 100 years ago, as a Redwoods were being aggressively logged for railroad ties and other uses. I guess it was one of the first examples of successful conservation programs. Now the biggest threat is fire; I just read that 20% of all redwoods in the world have been killed in the last two years due to fire.

Tomorrow we head back to the coast, where I think we will stay for the remainder of the trip.