Friday, February 27, 2015


It's been interesting doing a lot of biking in San Diego. It has made my bike handling skills get much better in a hurry so it's been really good to be here for two weeks. Today we explored an area to the north of us. It had steep canyons so we were again able to work on hills. We have almost worn out our Bikeways map from using it so much. It isn't 100% accurate on some street names but we have a AAA map that we use along with it if we need to. Dave is a good map reader and gets us back over the correct bridge to our hotel; no small feat since there are freeways criss-crossing everywhere. We have been able to find streets with bike lanes and bike pths. One segment we did today is called Ruby Canyon. It was definitely a canyon and pretty. Too bad that the canyon was partially filled up with a noisy freeway.

It sounds like a bunch of folks from our tour group will arrive around Wednesday of next week and that's when we will move over to another hotel on Dog Beach. This one where we have been staying is a couple miles away. The hotel has been ok. If they would just rip up the stinky carpet it would be fine.
They are predicting a "winter storm" here. The wind has increased but I found out that my laid back recumbent position is more efficient in the wind. I was cruising at 14 MPH and Dave said he had to pedal hard to keep up. The weather reports are saying there will be snow in the mountains this weekend so I'm glad we're  not leaving until next weekend!

The bike path along the San Diego river has a lot of waterfowl. I took a bunch of pictures this morning so we will use a Birds app on our smartphones to figure out what their names are. We had a Great Egret come up pretty close to us so I got a nice pic. My phone does quite well at photos. I can choose to put myself in the shot too so I did that just for fun.

We have been so busy biking and seeking out hills that we haven't taken a day just for sightseeing. We do hope to get over and see Balboa Park, as a friend strongly recommended it. Someone else mentioned the Aviary in the zoo as not to be missed. Not sure we want to leave our bikes locked up there so we are hoping it actually does rain and we could do a strictly sightseeing day and use a taxi to get there. Our "winter storm" right now consists of the sun coming out again before sunset.

There is a lot of waterfowl along the bike way near our hotel.
This was a wonderful tree we saw on Point Loma yesterday.
Me biking in Ruby Canyon on a bike path.
American Coots alongside the bike path on Mission Bay

Longbilled Dowitcher (we think?)

Lesser Scaup?

American Widgeon

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hillwork, Point Loma again

We like Point Loma so well yesterday that we decided to back again today. On the way out to the far end of the point we did some hill work by going up and down neighborhood streets again. We zig zagged pretty intensively in one area and I definitely felt much more comfortable on the bike. I even managed to get up a hill that was steep enough I almost felt like I was going over backwards. Still don't know if I'm going to be ultimately in shape enough to do the mountains but I'll give it my best shot a week and one day from now.
The couple from England that we met has gotten through the mountains east of San Diego. Julie commented that the climbs were the hardest they had done. Oh boy, they previously made it through the Rockies. We had trouble in the Cascades! See:
We stopped at the National  Monument this time and read about the Spanish conquistadors. Hey we are doing touristy things as well as training. While we were there a submarine came into the harbor escorted by smaller Navy boats and three destroyers. Dave was really interested in seeing this so we watched for quite a long time. There were a lot of sailboats and other pleasure craft out to see the sub come in and in one of the photos you can see that a smaller Navy boat is heading off a sailboat. The operator out front has a gun so they are serious about keeping people away.

Another set of photos shows an area on the bike path near us where someone has created rock cairns. They look gravity defying. 
We packed and sent home a box weighing 16 pounds. These are items we decided we didn't need as well as a couple of packs. I had bought a different one so that replaced another.
If you are interested; this is a link to a cute video of how our dog has gotten our dog sitting mom to fetch for him.

There are huge numbers of homeless folks living down near the beach, under every overpass etc. There seems to be different strata, those with bicycles, those without, those with vehicles or not etc. Really sad to see.
On a happier note, lots of shorebirds.

Say, for those who are getting used to longer posts from me, I should predict that when I am actually on the bike tour, I may be very tired and not posting long posts. Especially for the first couple of weeks until I get my muscles in shape, it may be all I can do to post some pictures and minimal description! As well, we will be meeting lots of folks and we have a meeting every night to discuss the following day's route so blogging may not be as high priority for me. I will try to blog a little bit every night that we have wifi or cell coverage.

Point Loma, more hills and saw an accident.

We had a gorgeous day of riding on Point Loma. We found a route with bike lanes to reduce the pressure on us from traffic. The point is a Navy base but the road is open to the public down to a lighthouse and a national monument. It is very scenic being on a high overlook with one side to the open ocean and the other overlooking Coronado Island and the city.

Point Loma. The orange lines are designated bike paths, green are signed for bikes and blue are bike lanes.

We stopped at a National military cemetery and then biked out to the point. We could see  Navy ships out in the ocean and a helicopter doing some type of exercises.
My recumbent bike gets lots of attention as apparently they are rare out here. A National Parks employee was very excited about my bike. A few days ago when we biked on Linda Vista Avenue, about five pre-teen aged boys very excitedly whistled and hollered  "nice bike".  And yesterday, prior to boarding the ferry, a guy with a tricked out shiny chrome plated recumbent  cruiser said the same thing. We returned the compliment of course!

After being out on the point we biked back toward the mainland to stop at a Subway for some lunch. Just as we were walking out of the shop we heard a crash and the sound of metal. Ugh. A car turned left into the path of a motorcycle. 
Luckily the motorcycle driver seemed unhurt but he was furious at the driver; an older man who tried initially to argue with him which just infuriated him further. He loudly demanded that someone call the police so since I had my phone in hand I dialed 911. They patched me to the paramedics who wanted me to tell him not to eat or drink anything. Uh yeah, I didn't really want to interrupt his tirade and have him mad at me! But another guy handed him a cigarette and he sat down and calmed down. Within minutes the fire department was there and further calmed things down. It took the police and paramedics about 15 more minutes to arrive.
You can easily see who is at fault here.

This type of accident is all too common in city traffic. A woman in an SUV was right behind the motorcycle and Dave thinks the at fault driver was intent on making the turn before the car and disregarded the smaller motorcycle. Luckily the biker wasn't going very fast or he probably would have been catapulted over the vehicle. 
As bicyclists the sight of this shook us both up. We would hope that since we don't move as fast as a motor vehicle that the impact wouldn't be as hard but we are still vulnerable in traffic. It makes us very grateful that we live in a rural area and usually don't have to ride in dense city traffic. We will also be riding coast to coast on mostly isolated roads.
As soon as I verified that I could leave we went to find some lightly traveled neighborhood streets with hills to do our practice riding. I am e-learning the finer points of shifting, planning ahead so I'm not caught on the ascent in too high a gear. Since I've spent so much of the last 19 years on the tandem I haven't need to use this. I also found out that I do much better when I use my inhaler before starting out to ride. I have exercise induced asthma which used to only bother me in sub-zero weather. It now seems to happen when biking as well.
By going down some STEEP hills (cautiously) we discovered a beautiful park, Sunset Cliffs, where we watched some surfers. 
We finished up a great day at a bistro. I found this funny cartoon in the bathroom which perfectly describes our dog, Corkie.

The weather report this morning warned of "winter storms". Down at this elevation the storm prediction is 2/10's of an inch of rain. Really!? However of more concern for us when we start riding next week is the possible six inches of snow at 4500 feet. Hope it melts by March 7th!
I saw on Facebook (see The Recumbent Duo) the couple from England that we met has made it to Alpine. They have another day of climbing before they start their descent to the desert.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hills in Ocean Beach & Coronado Island

Today we returned to Bernie's bike shop and the Ocean Beach community. After Dave changed my tire to a newer, thicker inner tube we set out to go across the point of Point Loma. OMG we picked the steepest hill to climb! At one point the grade was so steep I could not get enough momentum to start again after a breather. The view was beautiful at the top though.

Coronado Island
Top of Point Loma. Not too proud to say I walked a section.

We continued on the bike path to the ferry landing.
When we were waiting for the ferry we talked to two sets of bike tourists. One duo were two guys who take a couple of weeks every year for a bike tour. They are from Montreal and have escaped their cold weather to ride the Pacific coast.
Another couple that we met are from England. I was so pleased to realize that they had written a blog that I followed online when we were planning our Northern Tier tour. They completed a route from Virginia to Oregon on a Hase Pino, which is a German version of the half recumbent, half upright bike on which we did our 1200 mile tour. They are now going to do the Southern Tier on single recumbents. Their blog will be on We unfortunately had to cut our conversation short to catch the ferry over to Coronado Island. 
Coronado Island has a very nice bike path and bike lane on the Island that we followed for about an hour. The main road we were on has speed bumps to slow cars, somewhat startling on a bike at first. We missed our ferry so took the time to have some bbq. So nice to sit outside on a patio in the sun and eat dinner, knowing that at home they are issuing snow advisories. Remind me of this when I'm sweating in the sun on the bike on a hot day and whining about that.

Let's run errands, and find hills.

On Sunday we did about 22 miles out and back starting on the Adventure Cycling map of the Southern Tier. The beginning of this route is also Bubba's route that we will take on March 7. There is a bike lane, mostly, but it tends to disappear at some critical times. Also there are two freeway overpasses to negotiate with traffic either entering or exiting the freeway. Very difficult for me to crane my head on a recumbent  to see what is curving up the ramp so I decided I needed a mirror on my right side,  which we bought at the end of the day. One steep hill to climb, so my granny gear came in handy. We stopped before a long descent and turned around at that point. See the 1st photo. The weather report was predicting rain and we could see it in the mountains in the east. (Honest! It was! It even sprinkled on us later).
On Monday we decided to get some items at REI which is about 10 miles from our hotel. Dave's inflatable pillow ( Cocoon brand) deflates, so we were interested in trying another brand. Also REI replaces items that don't work, unlike trying to do that via mail order with other stores.
Dave found a route with bike lanes so we climbed to the Kearney Mesa area on Linda Vista road. Note the words "mesa" and "vista". The hills were quite doable. After we did some shopping we added a loop. One hill was especially steep, called Murphy Canyon. We should probably go back and do that for a full day to simulate the mountain climbs. Very difficult to make ourselves do that though!
We had dinner in Old Town on the way back. Thanks for the recommendation of the Casa de Reyes restaurant, Carolyn. Very pleasant courtyard with patio heaters and potted plants all around. We ended up with 27 miles.
One thing about trying to train in the city is that there are so many stop lights with long waits for the turning lanes that we couldn't maintain any kind of sustained heart rate. The bikers we saw here are much more comfortable in traffic and they are out in the turn lanes and go with the traffic, whereas we often use the pedestrian crossing lanes with the buttons to change the lights. Much slower but safer. Hopefully we will still get the training we need by seeking out hills.
Tuesday we plan to bike on Coronado island.

Sunday, overlooking mountains where we turned around.
This is a sign on the bike path that we use quite frequently to leave our hotel. Haven't seen one yet! Pictures of the birds below are also seen from the bike path which follows the San Diego river. We even saw a seal in the river during the morning on Sunday.

This is at San Diego University, a very pretty campus where the buildings have an old Spanish architecture.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Trying to get used to biking in a city

Today we did a 14 mile bike ride with some errands and rode on a bike trail around some beaches. I think in one day I really improved my bike handling skills dodging groups of walkers, and casual bike riders not to mention the ubiquitous homeless folks and their gigantic shopping carts. Not very used to doing any maneuvers up in northern MI on the lightly travelled roads there. Did a couple of bridge overpasses that were steep but haven't tackled any hills yet.
Both of us were really sore last night from being on our knees assembling the bike most of the day yesterday. I am really missing my yoga classes. What with our long drive and plane trips, we haven't gotten any real exercise in a week.
Dave woke up during the night with cramping in every part of his legs. He said all the opposing muscle groups were cramping so he couldn't get the cramps to stop by stretching in the opposite direction. I was vaguely aware of his expletives but mostly couldn't  (or wouldn't) wake up. That's what jet lag will do to ya!
We visited Dog Beach today. From what we could see, every dog who ran onto the beach did his business right away. Most of the owners picked up after them...
We will be staying at a hotel on the beach and will leave from there after a ceremonial dip of the back wheel into the Pacific in exactly two weeks.

Dog beach and the Ocean Villa hotel from the Mission Bay side of the San Diego River

Dogs, dogs, and more dogs

Are you opening a bike shop?

We arrived safely in San Diego after one layover and some long flights. Our lodging is in a hotel that we got through using points from our credit card. Our first contact with the desk clerk was through bulletproof glass. Oh joy. The hotel room is freshly painted but the carpet...Well this is our home for the next two weeks. There are several stores and restaurants nearby, which is good since we just have bikes for transportation. Lots of people seem to walk to get around in this area so it seems safe enough in the evenings.
Putting our bikes together in San Diego was an interesting process. Dave wanted to do it himself rather than have the bike shop  put them together. So we spread out all over the sidewalk next to Bernie's bike shop. We were in front of a vacant storefront so the first person who asked "are you opening a bike shop?" was funny. The 15th, not so much. Interesting how so many people who don't know each other can all make the same joke. Common humanity I guess.

Traffic here in the big city is startling to us. We have gotten used to the quiet back roads of northern MI. Cars seem respectful to bicyclists, at least in the neighborhoods. The bike shop where we shipped our bikes sold a lot of second hand cruisers and the colorful assortment of characters in the Ocean Beach community certainly acted as if they owned the right of way. Whether that will be true elsewhere in San Diego remains to be seen. We plan to ride in the Mission Bay area today. There is a bike path called the Ocean Beach bike path that goes part way.

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My prayer for travel safety. I have it on my seat back.
These mountains are what we will climb the first two days of the tour!

The bikes all assembled.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Wild trip to St. Augustine

We drove through an11 inch snowstorm in Kentucky to get to St. Augustine. We managed to get around all the vehicles that were stuck on I75 and the following morning got beyond the snowbelt. 
We left our car with John "Skip" Nock. He took us around his very well equipped cabinetry shop (Heartwood Cabinetry) and introduced us to his sons. Then he drove us to Jacksonville and would not even take gas money! Thanks Skip!
Today we fly out to San Diego where we will spend two weeks riding outdoors again. Our bikes have already arrived at Bernie's bike shop. Dave will be assembling them tomorrow.
You can see some photos of our trip down to St. Augustine at my Flickr website. Use this link

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A link to a video about our Northern Tier Adventure.

Below is a link to a video I created on Vimeo about our 1200 Mile trip this summer. I created it for my women's group at church. It was my first attempt using IMovie and adding music. If you click the bottom right icon (looks like arrows pointing in four directions), you can make it full screen.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Our Itinerary C2C 2015

We are two weeks from our 2nd attempt to cross the country on a bike. Our tour this year will be on single bikes. We have signed on with Bubba's Pampered Peddlers and will be biking in the south. We leave from San Diego on March 7 after dipping our rear wheel in the Pacific ocean. If all goes well, 52 days later we will be dipping our front wheel in the Atlantic on April 27 at St. Augustine, FL.
We will be biking with 42 other riders and 15 to 20 staff. The staff includes a chef, bike mechanic and a masseuse. The staff sets up tents each day and blows up our air mattresses. So we are going about our trek far differently than our Northern Tier adventure this past summer. (You can read about our Northern Tier Adventure in past posts on this same website). I have the actual blog as well as my digital scrapbooks online.
Why are we doing it? Well we have had this idea on our "bucket list" for a long time. However we hadn't done much more than talk about it until we realized that we are getting older and needed to either make the commitment to make it a reality or take it off the list. We tried deciding that it was off the list, but it weighed on us and so finally we added it back and went ahead with the planning and doing. Thus came the first attempt which you can read about it previous posts.
Our second tour came about by feeling incomplete after we didn't finish our first tour. However we needed to save wear and tear on the joints so decided to join a tour so our baggage wouldn't on the bike. Bubba's tour is our choice because we are hoping the extra "pampering" will make it possible for us to finish our dream and cross the country. 
A lot of folks have been asking what towns we are stopping in. Bubba sent us a handy dandy itinerary and here it is:
0 San Diego, CA  
1 Alpine, CA 42
2 Live Oak Springs, CA 32
3 Calexico, CA 63
4 Yuma, AZ 64
5 Dateland, AZ 70
6 Gila Bend, AZ 52
7 Casa Grande, AZ 78
8 Catalina, AZ 70
10 Tucson, AZ 44
11 Tombstone, AZ 73
12 Douglas, AZ 50
13 Rodeo, NM 59
14 Columbus, NM 95
16 El Paso, TX 77
17 Ft. Hancock, TX 57
18 Van Horn, TX 72
19 Marfa, TX 75
20 Marathon, TX 57
22 Sanderson, TX 55
23 Comstock, TX 82
24 Brackettville, TX 73
25 Concan, TX 74
27 Kerrville, TX 72
28 Blanco, TX 59
29 Lockhart, TX 62
30 La Grange, TX 60
31 Richards, TX 89
33 Shepherd, TX 62
34 Silsbee, TX 61
35 DeRidder, LA 73
36 Opelousas, LA 91
37 St. Francisville, LA 67
39 Franklinton, LA 86
40 Poplarville, MS 45
41 Ocean Springs, MS 68
42 Dauphin Island, AL 82
44 Milton, FL 85
45 DeFuniak Springs, FL 55
46 Marianna, FL 69
47 Tallahassee, FL 75
48 Madison, FL 48
49 High Springs, FL 77
51 Palatka, FL 85
52 St. Augustine, FL 44
  Total Miles 2925
  Daily Average 66