8/17 Day 37 - Originally we planned to go only 30ish miles this day and then another 30ish to San Diego the next day as well as bike to the border (and back). The more we thought about it though the less appealing it sounded. Ideally we wanted to get closer to San Diego so we didn't have that many miles to cover on our last day. Pretty much the only way we could do that was to pay for a hotel or try CouchSurfing or WarmShowers. We've known about CouchSurfing for a long time and really never had the opportunity to try it. We had only recently heard about WarmShowers. It's essentially the same as CouchSurfing but it's specifically for bike tourists. Basically people open their homes to travelers (or bikers) to stay on their couch or extra bed and get a hot shower too. We sent out a couple CouchSurfing requests and some WarmShowers requests and crossed our fingers.
(I woke up early to look for some tide pools, but came up empty. I did find a dead leopard shark on shore though and walked the pier to a great view of surfers, gulls, and the sunrise. -E) It was the hottest morning we had thus far and we were not looking forward to riding in the heat. We rode on a really short bike path for a while and then went to McDonalds (2 miles out of our way. -E). We stayed there for a while in the air conditioning. Ethan ended up plugging his phone into an outlet in the ceiling... (I used a dry sack and attached it to a hanging light and put my phone in there so it wasn't just hanging from the cord. Genius! -E) People gave us some interesting looks. After that we headed out. It was a bit hilly getting back on our main path, but wasn't too bad.
The details of the rest of the ride are a bit fuzzy by now, but the highlights included riding on an abandoned stretch of highway 101, passing a nuclear power plant and riding through Camp Pendleton (a very large military base). The stretch of 101 had been left there when they built highway 5. It was really strange, but also pretty nice because it was so wide. It was a section of the bike path that we rode through Camp Pendleton, but it was before the base.
We finally got to the part where the bike path heads into the base and were relieved to hear we could definitely ride through there. (There had been a few signs indicating the camp was closed to cyclists this day, but we decided to check it out because we really didn't like the alternative... riding on Hwy 5. We also passed a sort of shrine to fallen cyclists on the route. It was sad and inspiring at the same time. -E) Sometimes they are doing training or stuff that closes the camp to bikers. If it is closed you have to turn around and ride your bike on the highway. Normally it's illegal to do that, but since there is no other way to get through that area for bikers that section is overlooked when the camp is closed. Luckily it was open and we continued on. We were a little nervous going through because we weren't sure what to expect. We ran into a guy on his bike though that seemed to take an interest in what we were doing. He had biked through there many times so he led us most of the way. He also told us a bunch of stories about what they do on the base and the encounters he has had with the people there. It was interesting.
We got to a part that we had heard about where you have to show then your ID. No big deal. Ethan showed his, but I was too slow to get my ID out I guess because the guy told me to just go through. Okie dokie. :] It was really hot riding through there and I saw a baby rattle snake so we were really glad when we got out of there.
By this time we had heard back from a lady on WarmShowers who said she could host us. Woohoo! We were to meet her at a pub in La Jolla and then we would all ride to her house. We were super relieved. The only other notable thing that happened was we rode up this huge, stupid hill to get up to La Jolla and we stopped at Torrey Pines Golf Course. It was cool I suppose. It wasn't much farther to the pub after that.
We walked in and had no idea what Julie looked like only that she was wearing a blue shirt. We walked around and didn't think we saw her. Finally we hear Ethan's name and there she was. We walked right past her somehow. We chatted with her and her friend (can't remember his name), Ethan joined the two of them and had some beer and we got some food. We learned that she was from MI (Detroit suburbs), she likes swimming, biking, surfing and craft beer. She also started a website called PubQuest. It maps all the microbreweries in the country. She likes to bike tour to different breweries. Ethan loved the idea. After a while her friend left (and then texted her that he didn't think we were serial killers) and we left a little after that.
It was another 8 miles to her house in Pacific Beach and we decided to take the scenic route. It was pretty hilly at first and I, of course, was on the struggle bus. Anyway, we finally made it, then we showered and went out to dinner. We randomly ran into some friends of hers too. They were really nice.
We had bought a groupon for kayaking in La Jolla so we decided that Julie would drive us out there in the morning and if we got to kayak we could take the bus back and if not we could maybe catch a ride back to her place with her. She was going swimming with a friend nearby.
We went to bed hopeful that we could kayak in the morning...