479 ft of Climbing
Last day of the ride, folks. No need for my tent, sleeping bag, stove, food, clothes, hygiene kit, etc. Today was Supposed to be just a little 28 mile ride to the Mexican Border. I rode with just my handlebar bag. A couple of riders had told me that they easily got to the border by following the bike path, with no navigation for most of the day. Yeah, right. That was bad information. There were turns in the bike paths, that, if you don’t take them, send you into rabbit hole cul-de-sacs, marinas, etc. After 34 days on a bike, those little missed turns were beyond irritating.
I started out a short block from the hostel, riding on the beachfront bike path. Early in the day, there is very little traffic on that path, so riding was quite enjoyable.
After passing through Mission Bay and Point Loma, I was supposed to catch a ferry to Coronado Island, but the map and street signs were in conflict. They had me turning right at this big San Diego Airport sign, which seemed incredulous, but that’s what my map told me, so I did it. Turned out that the ferry to Coronado Island was really just a boat, so I rode right past it twice. But eventually, I made my way to the island.
Right off the ferry, I caught a bike path that took me all the way through Coronado, past the Naval Amphibious Base, through the Silver Strand, and back into San Diego. It was smooth sailing–some mighty fine cycling.
After a stop for brunch at Denny’s, I headed south toward the border. And from that point until I actually arrived at the border, I felt like I was already in Mexico. I passed by dilapidated ranches, disassembled horse boarding/training facilities, and worn out houses and mobile homes, until I started running into a lot of US Border Patrol agents on horses and in vehicles and helicopters. It’s a busy place, down there.
This is the entry to what was formerly probably a city or county park, but now it looks like it’s on no man’s land. Cars aren’t even allowed on the road. I felt like I was at Panmunjom, on the border of North and South Korea. Is this just propoganda? Are the large condos/apartments on the other side of the border real or just staged? What the heck is Imperial Beach? I thought it was a city or beach, but the sign was marking a huge field.
By the time I reached what seemed like the end of the road, I hadn’t seen a human in over 5 minutes, and this is where the ACA maps let me down. There really was no way to get to or cross the border, with all the threatening signs and fences–a US fence and a Mexican fence. Okay, so I’ll admit it was pretty darned anti climactic. But I’m over it. I turned around, and headed back to town. Finding the first transit stop I could, I hopped on a bus and rode buses, the trolley and my bike to pick a a rental suv that easily held my bike.
This is the Bullring By The Sea, where bullfights appear to be scheduled monthly. You obviously don’t cross the border here to get to them. You pay for a shuttle that takes you through an actual border crossing. Sounds kind of fun–the bullfight, not the border crossing.
After picking up my gear at the hostel, I headed over to Julie and Charlie’s, my sister and brother-in-law’s, house. It was great to see them and have a real chair to sit in, and a real shower to shower in, and clean floors to walk on, and a computer with a real screen and keyboard to work on–all those little things you take for granted when you’re not living in campgrounds and cheap motels. Thanks for the great hospitality, Julie and Charlie! Ending the ride at your place was a great way to wrap things up!