Day 79: LA throws surprising bike paths

The campground was beautiful indeed and ought I was up at 4 am or so, I snuggled in for a while in the cool morning and waited for the sun to be up before getting out.

We packed up after b’fast in leisure and that’s when I realized I don’t really have my next hist’s address. Ouch. Ah well, I had sent him a message and figured we’d be able to check in when we had wifi, along the way.

He route was flat and we rode into the town of Malibu, checking out the expensive real estate lining the entire stretch. Houses were huge to say the least and perched up on the mountains and the ones by the beach, were literally on the beach. Lots of surfers were running out from their homes to catch the morning swell and it was fun riding along the beach. Part of Malibu had a bit of a traffic jam and I was feeling smug with a snarky smile as I overtook the Porsches, the mclarens, the AMG GT’s and a host of other expensive cars stuck in traffic.

We stopped before Santa Monica for lunch and rode along the bike path. The marina we passed had literally thousands of boats. I am starting to see where the Singapore ultra rich get their inspiration to spend money from. The bike path was pretty winding through the wide beach and beautiful to ride in. The meat market was out in full force, as it was yesterday. I suppose it’s to be expected in a affluent tour as his is and I also suspect a lot of the crowd here are out of work actors and wannabe movie stars. Just a guess. It was fun riding thro for sure, real eye candy.

At one point I missed krissi, we tend to ride within shouting distance in urban areas and I rode back a few km to see she had a flat. Bummer. But not bad, her first flat in 6000 km. I had stopped at a couple of cafes but haven’t gotten a message back from out host. Dang. We eventually decided to hangout at a Starbucks till it got to 6pm and as a backup looked at potential hostels nearby. As luck would have it, there was a hostel, and in the worst case, we’d not have to wild camp in urban beaches.

Route: Sycamore canyon campground to Hermosa beach (LAX)
Distance: 90 Km
Ascent: 1150 ft
Descent: 1200 ft
Expenses: $ 56.25
Comment: The beaches were stunning!

Day 78: SoCal starts with a stunning ride

It was a nice start to the day as I managed to catch all of the family to bid farewell. Maureen was super sweet and offered to chaperone us thro her ‘hood when we reached LA! So we have a day of sightseeing lined up!

We left at 9 and headed first to a supermarket to get some supplies. I had to get toothpaste and picked up a tomato for dinner. The route was promised to be flat and beautiful and it didn’t deceive. We had a bypass to the highway most of the way. The ride to capenthia was dull, but once we hit the ocean facing road, it was just gorgeous riding, at some point, we got into a brand new bike path which was separated from the highway and right next to the waves crashing on the rocks. We met a local cyclist eh pointed to some interesting bits and we got to Ventura, about 45 km, without even breaking a sweat.

I had a burrito for lunch (if food remains this good in Mexico, I am in for a treat). And we rode out on the bike path again. We reached the town of Oxnard after 20 km and found that the city is oozing wealth in every pore. Imagine this, they had rows and rows of houses, on the Marina. And not only that, the front of the house has a driveway and the back has a boat parked. You could drive home from work, grab a picnic basket, hop on the boat and head into the ocean! Oh, the decadence!

The next bit was looping inland to avoid a naval base and before we could say, canyon, we were near the campground. The first one we got to didn’t have a biker spot and was right on the beach. No shelter or trees or showers and was 35$. Duh. We decided to get to the next one and this one was 5 mins walk to the water, plenty of trees, shade, showers and nice elderly couple for camp hosts. The best part was it was 10$ for the site! Cool.

A quick dinner followed by a walk to the beach for another perfect sunset! Days don’t usually get much better!

Route: Santa Barbara to Sycamore canyon campground
Distance: 90 Km
Ascent: 750 ft
Descent: 1500 ft
Expenses: $ 31.88
Comment: No wonder SoCal is such a sought after place to live

Days 73-77: No place like home to rest

Staying with Chris’s family was such a treat. It was a total blast and I have one more mum on my list!

Maureen, Marty and Maggie made me feel like I am back in the cozy confines with my family! I can go on more, and more,. But nothing can describe it as “I was at home”.

As it turned out we stayed longer then I planned to, but it was difficult to get my ass up back on the bike. In the meantime, I recovered from my flu and kris I caught it I reckon. The additional day did a world of good for her and i spent the time getting some essential upgrades to my kit.

The biggest one was that I traded in my phone for an iPad mini. The phone wasn’t keeping good battery and given the mini 2 dropped prices, I ended up picking one. I also found a use based battery charger for the camera and that might be useful when it’s time comes. I also decided to go ahead with just my hammock and picked up some lengths of ropes.

In addition, I have been offered USB charging systems from Sinewave cycles and Sunup Eco. I spent a while fixing them on the bike and now I am oozing electricity thro every pore! Setup posts, an initial review and a couple of long term usage reactions would come later. Both these companies were fantastic to correspond with and all I offered them was honest user review on my site! Great!

I spent a while researching routes in Baja and have had some good advice on routes and logistics. So I am feeling pretty good about going forward.

All said, it has been a productive few days and Again, words can’t express how amazing the days have been with Maureen, Marty and Maggie!

Route: Santa Barbara
Distance: 0 Km
Ascent: 0 ft
Descent: 0 ft
Expenses: $ 312.63
Comment: Good times, really good times.

Day 72: I am home again

I was woken up at 6 by Christina as she was heading to work super early. She bid us farewell and let us sleep in and leave when we were ready. I kind of rolled out at 7 and decided to get b’fast again at a cafe. Cities are spoiling my budget.

But then again, when I can get a large portion of potatoes, eggs, fruits and a big hit of French toast with raisins, I can’t really complain. I couldn’t eat it all and packed a bit for lunch. The route out of Lompoc was supposed to climb. It did, but at a extremely gentle slope of 2-3%. I just put on a low gear and made my way up gently. The day seemed like it was going to warm up considerably and I had to hydrate often.

We got to the 1000 ft summit after 25 km (duh) and then the route descended quickly to the ocean. We hit 101 again. 101 is like this relative that one does not like to meet, but you occasionally bump into at family gatherings. You tolerate them, but get the hell away from them as quickly as you can. This time 101 was to stay for a while, but luckily it was well behaved with really wide shoulders and not too much traffic. Though there were a couple of asses along the way.

We wanted to stop for lunch at one of the state parks, but the park warden was a bit snooty and after asking a few times, gave us a 15 minute pass to enter the park to fill water. We decided to sit outside the park and eat instead. I also finished the oranges I had picked up from Christina’s tree. We are in orange season now and I have been spotting ripe ones pretty much everywhere. Nice.

The day had been extremely hot and combined with the dry spell, it was hard work on the saddle. I spotted a few dead birds on the road and a few of the monarch butterflies succumbed to the heat too. The route however was rolling gently and we made it to a starbucks in the outskirts of SB. After a good rest, we headed towards the UC Campus which was pretty neat and had some lovely bike lanes and rode along the bike path for most of the way into town. A couple of loops later we ended up along a nice route to Chris’s home.

Oh, yes, Chris. The one I rode with for many months in SE Asia. His folks live in Santa Barbara and his mum, Maureen, had invited me to come over and stay.

We reached the place and after a short while Maureen was home and she had bought tons of food and veggies for us. I was delighted to meet her, like I was with meeting Andres’s mum. It’s like I am going from one home to another. Maureen was utterly sweet and she made sure we had everything we needed (more than what we really need) and made some dinner for us. We chatted a while and Marty and Maggie came in later.

It was lovely meeting the family that I have heard much about from Chris and it was also funny when every one went, ‘Oh, That Raj’! He hee.. Its like I am meeting old friends after a long time. We seem to know a bit of what’s happening in the other’s lives, but we would be very interested in picking out details and finding out more.

I guess the next few days are going to be a lot of rest, relaxation and tons of fun for sure. Don’t expect me to be writing!

Route: Lompoc to Santa Barbara
Distance: 101 Km
Ascent: 2700 ft
Descent: 2400 ft
Expenses: $21.38
Comment: A severely hot day, but lovely to be home.

Day 71: Powered by tailwind

30 kmph tailwinds, I didn’t even feel like I was riding :-)

We started today at 8 and we bid farewell to our lovely hosts. Jerald joined us to the b’fast place around the corner and today was when they had 2 for 1 burritos! Kevin joined us on his way to work and he brought with him some early Christmas presents! A pair of socks was a good addition to my wardrobe and it would go a long way too!

The fellers had to get going to work and we finished the burrito and started on the road too. The day was windy and that too in the right direction! Hasn’t happened too often and a welcome sight every time it shows. The start was pretty flat and we hit the road at speed. As we were getting out of town another kiwi tourer caught up with is and chatted a bit before we parted ways.

The route went thro some sweeping farmlands and it was pretty sight, though there were few trees in sight… We had a plan B which was to stop at Guadalupe, about 50 km in. But we hit the town before noon and it was easy to decide to carry on.

With all the strawberry farms, it was going to be a matter of time before we spotted a farm stand. And, when we found one, we ended up eating half a kilo of strawberries each heh.

The road wound inland a bit and that’s when we felt the strength of the winds. Pretty glad we aren’t heading north in these conditions. The only bit of work was a small hill before reaching Lompoc. The descent was really sweet and I was pushed into the roads a few times by the side winds. Got my bike under control and we found a bike path taking us into town.

We have a Warmshowers host tonight and since we were meeting her much later, we spent the time hanging out at a Starbucks and relaxing the legs, heh. Can’t believe I am 90 km in and feeling ready to ride on :-)

We met our host, Christina, doing yoga in the park and we headed home at 7 pm. It was a really spacious place and we had a nice little cabin to sleep in. Christina has been thinking of travelling and I suppose talking to us probably made her resolve stronger now. Heh.

Route: San Luis Obispo to Lompoc
Distance: 97 Km
Ascent: 2600 ft
Descent: 2600 ft
Expenses: $26.25
Comment: Tailwinds are a cyclist’s best friend!