I am half a day away.
I woke early in Doheny, a combination of my early-rising neighbor, the trains, and my bladder. I got in a long lovely early-morning chat with Julianne as I looked over the waves, surprised (but only a little) to see surfers and a few stand-up paddlers already out there already. An adorable little girl came up to point out one of the latter, her friend who would take her out on his board sometimes.
Then the usuals. Packing up the tent, cooking breakfast–more hash browns & eggs & coffee. Then cleaning up, more packing, and off on my bike.
Today was a short day, only a little over 40 miles to San Elijo. So I stared the day out with an 8-mile side trip to San Juan Capistrano and the mission there. They call it the “Jewel Of The Missions”, and I was tremendously amused that they charge an admission fee like it’s an amusement park. I played along and ponied up the $9–I’d already biked all the way there. And it’s certainly very nice inside, lots of flowers with butterflies and hummingbirds flitting about in the morning sun. Also several sections of the original walls still there, including several-hundred-year-old adobe.
I’ve been thinking about how California’s mission chain is similar to the lighthouses I adored along the coast. Each a chain of similar-in-function buildings to be a beacon of sorts, literally for the lighthouses. Each remote, needing to be largely self-sufficient. But the missions kind of creep me out, what with their raison d’être of christianizing and civilizing the native population.
Backtracking all the way to Doheny State Beach, I was finally underway. I found (with the help of a security guard, who was extremely helpful but was not about to let me into the beachside resort area she was protecting) the bike path that paralleled the coast highway, through another long state beach and then into Camp Pendleton, a US Marine Corps base camp. The bike path goes through this massive area, the only other alternative being riding on the shoulder of I5. Being on a military base was weird but preferable. Some amusing street signs–troop crossing or tank crossing signs.
I stopped at a brewpub in Oceanside for some lunch, a big salad and breadsticks. They had a beer on tap called Keenan Kolsch. I had to give it a try, of course–pretty tasty!
Then into Carlsbad, then Encinitas! Practically San Diego. I got to the park here & got the tent set up. I zipped across the highway to a shopping area that was reputed to have an ice cream shop but I struck out, I guess they closed. I settled for a coffee ice cream bar from the supermarket.
Then back to camp where I pulled on swim trunks and walked down to the ocean for an extremely pleasant swim. The water is so warm! By Seattle standards at least. The sun was coming down fast and I got out, found a warm rock to sit on and watched the colors and the surfers still out riding the waves.
Then a shower and, even though it already feels like I’ve had so very much to eat today, I made myself some more spaghetti.
And now it’s 9 pm and I’m exhausted!
Tomorrow I hit Mexico and the journey is complete. I have such mixed feelings about it. There is so very much to look forward to in returning to my normal life. Yet I’ve loved every minute of this adventure. It’s been hot, cold, dry, damp, hungry and exhausting and hard and painful and so rewarding. If I didn’t have such a life to return to, I could easily see just continuing onward. But I do.