Day 431-432 – Jacumba, CA > San Diego, CA > San Clemente, CA

I am so close I can taste it!

I had a good swim At Jacumba hot springs before getting on the road to San Diego. It was a real treat approaching from the mountains since I got a chance to go through a couple more small towns on the way to the beast that is SoCal. I liked the looks of Pine Valley a small community in a valley far enough from I-8 that you don’t know it’s there.

Then I went through Viejas Reservation passing the Viejas casino and outlet stores – pretty water features during a dry time. I stopped in Alpine to load up on sushi, craving something other than sandwiches and Mexican fare. I saw lots of yummy looking fruits and vegetables for sale along the roadside, but thought they would be too hard to pack along.

Finally, I rolled into San Diego and my motel around 8 PM. Got cleaned up, did laundry and looked through a route to Los Angeles that I downloaded. With a few tweaks I found a route that would get me to my friend Dan’s house through the fractured cycling infrastructure of LA.

Day 432 I got on the road by 8 after a fabulous breakfast at a diner. My route took me through the western edge of the University of San Diego and momentarily fantasized about being a college student again before quickly coming to my senses. I stopped at Torrey Pines State Beach for a ceremonial toe dipping into the Pacific Ocean (see video) and it felt wonderful if not a little understated. To others on the beach I was a tired looking guy talking to his cell phone, but I knew I was a badass that just finished a self supported, self funded trip halfway around the circumference of the continental United States! Rock on brother.

At the diner there was a sign to ask for water. At the park was the second indication of the drought – all the showers and all, but one sink were turned off to conserve water. I’m not sure that is the best way to conserve, but I guess they have to try something.

While I was there I spent some time checking out the bike – I debated about changing out the rear tired since the base layer of rubber was showing through the worn tread. I took out my folded spare tire, but realized the old one had more tread on it. Also the spare tire looked hard to fit on the rim since it was floppy. I’m really amazed I got 2,500 miles out of it.

In Carlsbad I heard from a Warm Shower host in San Clemente, so for my final night of the trip I got a chance to stay with a family. Very nice. I really enjoyed riding through all the beach towns on my way north – Del Mar, Solana Beach, Encinitas – delicious smoke salmon sandwich, Carlsbad – favorite seaside living, and Oceanside.

I discovered it is possible to ride through Camp Pendleton using I-5 for 11 miles. They were doing shoulder work so there where signs saying the freeway was closed to cyclists, but I took my chances anyway. Luckily work was done for the day so no one bothered me and I was even able to get behind the jersey barriers demarcating the work area of felt even safer from traffic.

I saw an army vehicle stuck in the mud from some distance away and thought it was abandoned, but then saw a group of soldiers surrounding it and we exchanged waves as I passed by. I got a change to ride through a couple miles of the base on the northern end. It is nice they accommodate cyclists, complete with ominous signs to keep people from wondering off the route.

After the camp I road on the old Pacific Coast Highway, which is also a big camping and surfing area. I saw at least a 100 camper, tent sites filled with people having a good time. There were also lots of road cyclist training and people surfing. Overall a great vibe and I would have stopped to chat if I had time, but I was running late.

Just before San Clemente is the San Onofre nuclear power station. They shut it down in 2013 after the newly installed steam generators turned out to be defective. For the next 20-25 years they will be dismantling it.

A few miles past the power station I noticed a flat tire on my trailer. I spent an hour trying to fix it, but could not get the patches to hold on the tube. Very frustrating. I decided to ride the last 7 miles with it flat and made it up a bunch of steep hills to my host – Donnie and Susan house in San Clemente. It turns out they had been living in Houston before coming out to California for Donnie to work on remediating the San Onofre power plant.

Donnie is a project planner and rides his road bicycle to and from work most days. It is a nice ride with good hills and view of the Ocean. Susan works as a nurse about 5 minutes from the house. They are both professional hosts – with a pasta dinner waiting for me, my own guest room and a business card with their wifi address on it. Thanks so much for hosting me. It was a pleasure to stay with you my last night on the road.