Tour Report: Orange County to San Diego
This year the winter tour moved from Arizona to Southern California. Since it
was a short tour, I give a short tour report below! ;->
Sara's photos are at her Yahoo!
Day 1 - 12/28/01
Orange to Dana Point
about 30 miles
Sara, Amy, Dan, and I kicked off the tour from my house in Orange,
California. The plan was for really short mileage days to allow for sightseeing
and the shorter daylight in winter.
Group photo from my place (courtesy of the self timer...). From left
to right: me, Dan, Sara, Amy
Riders pedaling out my street
This was the maiden voyage for Sara's new touring bike - we could hear the
pinging of her spokes as she rode out of my driveway and onto the street. Isn't
there a rule against bringing new equipment on tour? -) But we treated this like
a "shakedown" tour, since we were always just a phone call away from
help if there were any bugs we couldn't work out on the road.
The first 20 or so miles of the day were to get from my house to the coast,
through a combination of suburbia and farmland. Somewhere in there Sara got the
award for getting the first flat tire. The tire had partially rolled off the
rim, causing the tube to blow. Careful inspection of the rim showed that the rim
tape was misaligned, with part of it taking up the space where the tire bead had
wanted to go. I was able to remove the tape and retape the rim more carefully,
solving the problem.
Sara and Amy...
After a scenic ride through part of Laguna Canyon Road (although it was
unfortunate we were not able to ride on Laguna Canyon the whole way due to a
road closure) we made it to the coast at Laguna Beach. We stopped to walk around
and take a look at the shops and art galleries before heading down the coast.
Pacific Coast Highway gets pretty busy around Laguna Beach, so we opted for
the side street detour given in the "Bicycling the Pacific Coast"
book. I had always used PCH in the past, so the detour was a nice change to see
some of the residential areas that are definitely out of my price range.
Pretty soon the route rejoined PCH, and after some rolling hills we were in
Dana Point. Camping can be an ordeal with short days and cold nights (as well as
the drizzly weather forecast), so we stayed at motels overnight on this tour.
Also, campgrounds are few and far between on the Southern California coast.
Day 2 - 12/29/01
Dana Point to Encinitas
about 40 miles
After a brief stretch along the cliffs of Capistrano Beach, the route goes
through hilly San Clemente. We stopped downtown to look at the shops. After that
we detoured off the route to find a bike shop, San Clemente Cyclery. I needed to
tighten some loose crank bolts and pedals that were causing an annoying squeak,
and Sara needed to get some Tour de France water bottles! -)
South of San Clemente, the bike route goes through some bike paths, a
campground parking lot, the old highway 101, and an aircraft landing strip
before reaching the entrance gate to Camp Pendleton Marine Base. During peace
time, cyclists are allowed to ride through the base, but that was not an option
after the 9/11 situation. So we instead had to ride the freeway shoulder for
about seven miles. The shoulder was newly paved compared to the last time I rode
it about two years ago. Two miles into the freeway ride was a rest stop, which
had well stocked vending machines for a lunch stop.
It was back to civilization again when we exited the freeway and reached
Oceanside, one of the far northern San Diego suburbs. This time it was Dan's
turn to get a flat - after fixing it we went out to the pier to be tourists.
Quite a few surfers out in the water despite the suboptimal weather.
Unfortunately, we were running of daylight, so we didn't have time to stop to
look around in Carlsbad, the next town down the coast. So it was straight on to
the Econo Lodge in Encinitas, where we arrived just before dark.
Day 3 - 12/30/01
Encinitas to San Diego
about 30 miles
After poor service at breakfast (I'm too lazy right now to give details, you
can wait for Sara's tour report....), we headed on our way to downtown San Diego
for the final day of our "mini tour".
There were a couple of big hills on the way up to La Jolla. After getting up
to the top of the second (the bigger) hill, I stopped to take everyone's photo
while riding to the top. Normally I forget to take pictures of people on tour!
We stopped in La Jolla to check out the beach and coastline. Sara took some
pictures of me dipping my front wheel in the ocean - just the front wheel only,
not the bike - a play on the rolling the bike up to the water and dipping front
tire in the water at the end of a tour.
After passing through Pacific Beach and then through Mission Beach (which
seemed like the "Venice Beach" of San Diego) we passed by the airport
and then we were downtown. We tried using the bike path in Mission Beach, but it
so crowded with pedestrians that even cycling at the 8 mph speed limit would
have been unsafe, so we went back to the parallel road. The route past the
airport actually wasn't too bad - San Diego airport is probably the most
pleasant big city airport to cycle out of...
The bikes downtown
Sara messing around with the bikes
Sara and Amy hanging out
We took the train back home from San Diego. The "Pacific Surfliner"
trains that run along this route have 3 bike racks in every passenger car, which
are provided at no extra cost. You stand the bike on its rear wheel, then hang
it into hooks on the wall for the front and rear wheels - easy for an unloaded
bike, a little trickier for a heavy bike with panniers. The only problem is that
the train personnel seemed to give inconsistent instructions to the other
passengers about whether the rest of the available space around the bikes can be
used for luggage stowage.
All in all, a nice short tour for someone who doesn't have enough vacation
time to fly to New Zealand to tour this time of year! :-)