San Diego '01



Tour Report: Orange County to San Diego

Winter 2001  

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! group site.

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...

...then Dan

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.

Freeway entrance

Freeway exit

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!

First Amy...

then Dan...

...and Sara

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

Cruise ship

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! :-)


Page Last Edited (though probably not for content): 14 September 2010