Wednesday, 24 August 2011

We have finished our west coast ride.

This is Wednesday, Ronnie and I fly home tomorrow, Thursday the 25th.  Luke and Amy also leave tomorrow by car for Boulder, Colorado.  He has a job interview there next week.  I am happy to be headed home.  I suspect Gucci has missed us, I look forward to seeing the kitchen project and the garden.

Saturday the 20th was our last full day of riding.  We ended at my friend and high school classmate's home in La Jolla.  Sunday we left Jim and Carol's home to do the last 35 miles through San Diego and ended at Imperial Beach, right on the Mexican border.  We rode down the fence between Mexico and the US to the beach where the fence ended out in the Pacific.  Mexico is heavily populated there, the US side is a closed federal park, so it is barren with frequent trucks and vans from the Border Patrol passing us.  Luke has attached a picture of this area.

The west coast ride was more difficult than the cross-country ride in 2008, largely because of the coastal hills and mountains that follow the coast the whole way.  We had many miles of 4-6 miles per hour, whereas on the cross-country ride the prairie and mid-America was pretty flat with a prevailing wind out of the west.  We did have some days of very favorable winds, but a lot of the time the wind was out of the west, coming over our right shoulders.  When I finished the 08 ride, I said I wouldn't do this again; here I am finishing another old tour.  I feel similarly this time, I have had enough of long tours.  This one was exacerbated by the large urban areas: Vancouver, Bellingham, Astoria, Cresent City in Northern California, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and everything after that.  Sometimes it felt like we were competing with traffic for space on the road.  In Southern California they allow cars to park of the roadside beside all the beaches.  I don't know that I would recommend this ride to anyone if I were asked.  My answer would include a lot of description of the above.

The counter-balance to the challenges was the opportunity to ride this whole month with Luke and Amy and spend the month with Ronnie seeing the west coast.  This time was absolutely precious to me.  Spending so much time in the redwoods, along the beaches and coast, seeing LA from a bike and getting to the Monterey aquarium, the San Diego Zoo and many other experiences that I don't recall as I write but will when I'm waiting for planes tomorrow.  Our gratitude to Jim and Carol for having us in their home these last four days has been wonderful!!!

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