11/6/19 – Long Beach to Rancho Santa Marguerita

Distance: 60.85 mi

Climbing: 2024 ft

We had Blue Bowl on the brain, as we pulled out of our Airbnb in Long Beach, this morning. I am a breakfast eater, but not today. In Huntington Beach, we had an off route errand planned to get an açaí meal from the best bowl makers in the world.

After cheating death with traffic on our Google Maps route, yesterday, we relied on Steve’s knowledge of the good LA bike routes and paths today. We started out on the Los Angeles River Bikeway, which took us to the oceanfront Shoreline Pedestrian Bikeway in Long Beach.

Continuing down the coast, we rode through Sunset Beach and Seal Beach, then at Huntington Beach, we turned inland for our Blue Bowl feast. After almost an hour of Nirvana, we headed back to the coast and got back on route in Newport Beach.

Marinas and house lined the many inlets we crossed, today.

See the gnarly boulders along the bike path below? They are very similar to what Steve landed on when he had his accident last year. Definitely pain givers.

In Newport Beach, we turned inland and followed a few different bike paths through Newport Beach, Irvine, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo on our way to the home of one of Steve’s long time friends.

These dinosaurs tried to scare us, but we didn’t fall for it.

Every few days, a bee makes its way into Steve’s helmet while we’re riding. You would be amazed at how quickly he can stop and hurl that helmet to the ground. The bees never survive.

And at last, we made it to our destination. We enjoyed a Mexican food dinner with and were entertained by Dan McCormick, who stays on top of some really interesting advances in health and wellness and tells great stories.

Tomorrow will be the last day of our ride, as we make our way to San Diego. We’re looking forward to seeing my sister and her husband, and having a day to rest, before heading home.

11/5/19 – Agoura Hills to Long Beach

Distance: 60.68 mi

Climbing: 2474 ft

Last night we had the best night of rest yet, since leaving Washington. Thanks Todd and Lindy Turley for letting us stay over in that super comfortable bed in your guest suite and for breakfast and for setting us up with snacks to get us through the day and and and….. Todd rode out with us for over 20 miles, this morning, guiding us through the Santa Monica Mountains and back to the Pacific Coast Highway, and telling us about landmarks along the route.

We rode past a Paramount Pictures film location where two current TV series were filmed, before last year’s fire burned it to the ground. We also saw the location where scenes from Mash were filmed, back in the day.

One of the last times Steve and I rode here, the mountains were really really green and lush. No rain since Spring has turned most of the green into dry tinder that could easily fuel another massive wildfire. We hope they get some rain here soon.

We eventually ended up on Topanga Canyon Blvd, a high speed, mostly downhill stretch that took us back to the PCH.

It was nice to be back riding along the beach. We were riding in familiar ground, now.

After Santa Monica, we were headed to Venice Beach. I was craving an açaí bowl, and was disappointed, but not surprised that the Bowlology Steve built during part of our honeymoon was closed, due to reduced winter hours. Wait a minute. Don’t people flock to Southern Cal and Venice Beach year round?

The discussion after passing through Venice Beach was that we would be fine if we never went there again. Homeless people, drugged out people, mentally ill people acting out on others, women dressed like hookers, young people booming profanity over loud speakers, etc. are elements we prefer to avoid.

After passing the LADWP ocean front power plant, another scar on the beach, we enjoyed the rest of the bike paths till we turned inland at Redondo Beach.

Tonight, we are staying at a really nice little Airbnb in Long Beach, then we have. Long day tomorrow as we go in a quest for a Blue Bowl and to visit a long-time friend of Steve’s who lives in Coto de Caza.

11/4/19 – Santa Barbara to Agoura Hills

Distance: 81.56 mi

Climbing: 3009 ft

Packing up and getting going takes less and less time, the further we get on our ride. Today, we had a long day ahead of us, so getting an early start was important. We rode past the historic buildings of Old Town Santa Barbara on our way to the waterfront. After cycling down the coast for a few miles, our route took us inland, until we reached Carpinteria.

Carpenteria was one of the stops on our honeymoon. We camped on the beach and got rained on, back then, but today, the weather was perfect. As we headed toward and through Ventura, we clung to the coast on bike paths.

The route turned inland, after Ventura, and we passed through miles and miles of crops and orchards.

In Oxnard, just past what we thought was our half way point, we found the best lunch stop we could. Let’s just say that the pickings were slim.

We let Google Maps bike route be our guide for the day, and after lunch, we were reminded that it is sometimes not to be relied upon. We were off the Adventure Cycling route to get to the home of a friend of Steve’s in Agoura Hills, when it sent us through a regional park to a mountain bike trail and then to a sewer plant that completely blocked the road, as in turning it into a dead end.

These goats were busy posing, when they should have been consuming dry grass and weeds to help prevent wildfires.

Our next Google maps suggestion was a super long bypass of what is normally the route to Agoura Hills. According to Maps, the road was closed, but there were dozens of vehicles heading toward us from the direction of the closure. I waived down a FEDEX driver who confirmed that the road is actually open. Thank goodness for that. We were pushing the window of daylight to make it to our destination, without adding on additional miles.

We really appreciate the hospitality of Todd and Lindy Turley, who hosted us for the night. After a delicious dinner and a bunch of great cycling stories with them at Woodfire Ranch BBQ & Grill, we headed back to their house and turned in for the evening.

Tomorrow, we’re headed to Long Beach, where Steve and I first met. We’ll not be stopping at Long Brach Memorial Hospital.

11/3/19 – Lompoc to Santa Barbara

Distance: 54.13 mi

Climbing: 2303 ft

Did you know that in 1896, Susan B. Anthony said, “The bicycle has done more for the emancipation of women than anything else in the world.”? No wonder I feel so liberated.

Back to the ride…..

Backtracking a bit on our route to get to a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Chapel, we started the day at church, before embarking on a leisurely Sunday ride.

Riding through miles of the Los Padres National Forest, we passed over hilly ranch land and climbed through mountain passes as we headed back to the coast.

After a miles long climb, we were just starting downhill, when I had a major tire blowout. Thankfully, it happened BEFORE I got up to speed, because at 30+ miles per hour, I would have crashed. Showing off his amazing tire repair skills, Steve duct taped the gash in my tire, replaced the tube, and put a boot (a rectangular piece cut from a tire, while we were packing for the trip) between the tube and tire. And it worked. We got back on our bikes and kept riding. Lesson learned: Road bike tires don’t have the thick protective barrier my touring bike’s Schwalbe Marathon Plus’s had. Cycling across the entire US and down the West Coast, I never had a flat–ever.

A few miles after finishing our big descent, we were back riding along the coast again.

We found out that since we left San Luis Obispo, we have been riding on the Camino Real, a 600 mile road that in the 1700s and early 1800s connected 21 Franciscan Missions. These bell signs mark the route.

This historic marker caught our eye when we stopped for a snack in a rest area. If you are a cyclist, you might want to zoom in and read it.

Santa Barbara is a beautiful city with really nice bike paths, multiple Habit Hamburger shops, and, apparently, S&H Green Stamps. Who knew?

Steve has been working on our route for tomorrow. We will be leaving the coast, after we ride through Oxnard, to ride up to Agoura Hills and stay with a friend if his.

11/2/19 – Arroyo Grande to Lompoc

Distance: 42.17 mi

Climbing: 1975 ft

Last night, we sorted through our gear, again–this time, to gather up our cold and wet weather clothes, and anything else we haven’t been using. Our first stop this morning was the Post Office, where we lightened our loads by mailing home a large priority mail box of gear. I was happy to say goodbye to my sweet roll handlebar bag.

Today was a bit of a sleeper. We passed through miles and miles of fertile farmland, some of it being worked by laborers. On the first photo below, you may have to zoom in to see the ocean in the distance.

I’m the midst of the farm land, we crossed over into Santa Barbara County. And then, a few more miles down the road, we passed a busy golf course in the middle of nowhere. Strange place for a golf course, if you ask me.

The only town we passed through, today, was Guadalupe–a farm town with a population of about 7000. It had several murals with real people on them, but the women in most of them looked sad. Had to go for this happier one.

And then, on the way out of town, we passed a row of amateur sculptures. This was the only statue that wasn’t a weird abstraction.

  • We arrived our motel early and hit the laundromat. While babysitting our load, we played a few rounds of our favorite game,

    Tomorrow morning, after we catch church, we’ll be taking a leisurely Sunday ride down to Santa Barbara. Should be a great day.

    11/1/19 – San Simeon to Arroyo Grande

    Distance: 56.26 mi

    Climbing: 2349 ft

    Today was a recovery day, after yesterday’s extreme distance and climbing. It was going to be an easy 50 miler, but we found a way to pump up the climbing with a couple of off route errands. 

    Throughout the day, we rode through dry hilly ranch land, a lot of it with grazing cattle.

    Our favorite town was Cayucos. Billboards on the route informed us if the upcoming Brown Butter Cookie store, and it did not disappoint. Cute young ladies gather around tables and chit chat, while they hand roll cookie dough into thousands of little balls that they arrange on cookie sheets for baking. Tough job, eh? Can you imagine doing that all day long without licking your fingers or eating a spoonful? That would be complete torture! We sampled several cookies and bought several more to snack on.

    The town had some great murals, and vintage cars were cruising the main drag and lining the streets, in preparation for a big car show we won’t be in town for tomorrow.

    When we reached San Luis Obispo, we had some errands to run. Our bike lock escaped Steve’s bike a couple of days ago; my lip balm fell out of my top tube bag yesterday; a clip on one of our Revelate bags broke this morning; the air in our tires needed to be topped off with a real bike pump; and Steve’s supply of chamois lube was dangerously low. This called for stops at a drug store, an REI and a feed store–all in close proximity to each other, but off the route. With all missions accomplished, we took Google Map’s suggested route to our motel, which was a very bad idea. We ended up on our longest climb of the day, when we should have been coasting downhill to the finish line. Grrrrr!

    Tomorrow will be another easy day, as we make our way to Lompoc to catch church Sunday morning.

    10/31/19 – Monterey to San Simeon

    Distance: 95.63 mi (Steve rode on to 100. You go, Steve.)

    Climbing: 7103 ft

    Today was the longest and most climbey (is the even a word?) day of our ride. We woke up and got out the door earlier than we have yet, to allow as much time possible to make it to San Simeon. Being susceptible to leg cramps, I was anxious about even being able to climb the 7000+ feet on our route, without cramping up completely and having to hitch a ride.

    Within a few blocks of our motel, it was, “Good Morning legs,” as we faced down a super steep 350 ft. climb. And that was the beginning of our climbing day. Nice, eh?

    After passing Carmel, we were riding along the coast–headed toward and through Big Sur. The coastal scenery was spectacular.

    After passing through Big Sur, we entered Los Padres National Forest. The terrain included more ocean cliffs and sea stacks, but now, lots of grassy ranch land.

    The highlight of Steve’s day was the endless oceanside climbing. The highlights of my day were the elephant seals we saw toward the end of our day and getting off my bike at our San Simeon motel.

    Halloween should be a national holiday. Happy Halloween to our kids and grandkids!!! Everyone be safe tonight.

    10/29/19 – Klamath to Humboldt County Airport

    Distance: 48.24 mi

    Climbing: 2897 ft

  • For several days, we have been listening to the news, following the weather ahead on the route and discussing possible options for what to do when we catch up to the fires in Northern California. Last night, was the moment of truth. We started getting calls from Travelocity about upcoming reservations being cancelled due to the PG&E power blackouts. It was a long hard night, as we weighed our options. The blackout was expected to impact the next 6 stops on our route, which meant we would be unable to charge our phones and lights. Navigation and visibility are high on our list of necessities. Warmth, laundry, clean rooms and cooked meals are a notch below, but still very important.
  • The low (10%) fire containment; the extreme wind and weather predictions; the electrical blackout; and discussions with many locals brought us to the decision to rent a van at the closest town to the power blackout, drive down the route to the first rental car return location beyond the blackouts, then continue our ride. That meant we would follow our route out of Klamath to the Humboldt Airport in McKinleyville, pick up a rental van, then drive all night to get to Monterey. There, we would take a day off to regroup and plan our route from Monterey to San Diego.

    And this is where our day began. On the way out of Klamath, we crossed over this bridge with life sized gold bear statues on the 4 corners. Why 4 gold bears on that particular bridge? We never could figure that out. Pretty quickly, we arrived at the first California redwoods. Almost having the quiet narrow road through the county, state and national parks to ourselves, we had ourselves a nice private tour.

    If you’ve never seen them, redwood trees are unbelievably huge! They remind you of how small and insignificant you really are.

    When we got to Trinidad, Google Map’s bike route sent us down over 3 miles of this lovely road. Wish we had been on mountain or gravel bikes, instead of road bikes with racing wheels.

    I had shaken baby syndrome at the end of that crazy road, but the scenery along that torturous section was unbeatable. Almost made it worth it. Naw, it did make it worth it–amazing sea stacks followed by a cool sand bar separating the waves from the shore.

    Here’s a 3 man game we passed on the road. Each guy lined out a box for himself, then they attempted to throw and catch a football to each other without stepping out of the box. Let’s just say–it did’t work very well.

    As I mentioned above, we’ll be going dark tomorrow to regroup and plan the rest of our ride to San Diego, then pick up our ride from Monterey on October 31st.

    10/28/19 – Brookings to Klamath

    Distance: 48.12 mi

    Climbing: 2310 ft

    As we headed out of Brookings, this morning, we passed several statues, which made me think statues just might be our theme of the day.

    But then we hit the California border, I stopped looking for statues and started paying attention to signs. Instead of being marked by Oregon Coast Route signs, we were now following Pacific Coast Route signs.

    This is the first California beach we encountered. Bigger waves than we ever saw in Oregon and smaller sea stacks.

    One other change was the increase in roadside funk. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I like roadside funk. It’s one of the many things that make me want to go on these long bike rides. (Note: 2 of the next 4 funk photos are statues)

    I have a confession to make. Having only our phones to play games on has turned us into Ticket to Ride phone gaming addicts. At the end of the day, after we check into our motel, get cleaned up, run errands and eat dinner, we play at least one game. And that often turns into 2 or 3 games. I only post the score screen below, because today, after being annihilated twice by Steve, I booked my highest score and highest number of completed routes ever. Is that an accomplishment or what?

    Tomorrow, we head to Fortuna–maybe. The rolling PG&E power outages are knocking the power out along our route from about 20 miles south of Klamath to just before our planned destination for the day after tomorrow. The outage will last 2-3 days.

    We are closely watching the Sonoma County fires. Smoke inhalation is a concern, as we ride down Highway 1, if that is even possible. Beyond that, the entire county has been evacuated. Our lodging will be without electricity or closed down, when we arrive in Bodega Bay, and we won’t be able to jump in the car and head down the road.

    Keep the people of California whose lives are being impacted by the fires and power outages in your prayers.

    10/27/19 – Gold Beach to Brookings

    Distance: 27.82 mi

    Climbing: 1965 ft

    Sleeping in, this morning, was amazing! Steve schmoozed the front desk into giving us a late checkout, so we had time to go to church, clean our chains and take our time packing up. As a rest day, we had a short, leisurely ride ahead of us.

    The scenery of the day was sea stacks. Big ones, little ones, little families, large congregations–all kinds of configurations. Sea stacks and pristine unpeopled beaches. I wish we could have spent the day walking the miles of sea stacks, but it was frankly quite cold out, all day long, so that wouldn’t have been much fun.

    Below, can you see the wet sand being blown by the heavy winds? Heavy tailwinds pushed us down the route today. What a treat.

    Before long, we arrived Brookings, the most welcoming town yet, in terms of welcome signs. Tomorrow will be another downsized recovery day, so we can rest up for a sequence of long hard days.