We departed as scheduled on Dec 18th. Saying goodbye to the family was difficult but we had a chance to celebrate Christmas on the 17th with a great dinner and presents for the kids. Day 1 (12/18/2010)
: On the day of departure, the weather forecast was far from ideal: Winter Storm with rain for the next 4 days and winds from the South at 20MPH, gusting at 30MPH. Should we wait another week before we hit the road? It would have made for a more pleasant ride, no doubt. But we decided to stick to the plan and battle the elements.
Friends were waiting outside our door at 7:30am. Frank and Selene wanted to wish us luck on our journey and paid us a surprise visit with some good advice (like using a rubber band to prevent your pants from getting caught in the chain) and some videos of our departure
. Then Gianni and Oliver showed up to escort us on our way South. Miki was nice enough to accept the role of support vehicle. The first 30 miles down to the ocean where fun and pretty much windless, but rain and cold made the hot Subway sandwich very welcome.
We then continued down the coast with a few short hills, strong headwinds, and more drizzle/rain until Laguna Beach where Johnston was waiting for his turn to join the fun ride..
After 60 miles in less than ideal conditions we were now climbing hills. When Oliver and Johnston asked if they could try our fully loaded bikes for the last couple miles of the day we gladly accepted, ending the day at 70 miles at Johnston's condo right when the daylight faded. We then enjoyed a wonderful Pho dinner cooked to perfection by Terri. Delicious! Johnston and Terri, we can't thank you enough for what you did for us. All the best to you in Mammoth! Day 2 (12/19/2010)
: We wake up, warm and dry, to steady rain outside. We are not really looking forward to battle the severe weather outside but Johnston's pancakes & eggs breakfast convinces us otherwise. We get in the saddle at 8am. The crew for the morning ride consisted of Johnston, Oliver, Kevin (who did his own ride in the rain the day before) and, of course, us. As we cycle down the coast, the rain never stops even for a minute. We are soaked to the bone, and the only thing that will prevent us from getting sick is to keep moving. As we take one short break in San Clemente, we miraculously connect with our friend Adrian who will join the fun ride for a few wet miles. Adrian qualifies as "crazy" per our standard. Others might call him "insane" as he recently cycled from the US to Costa Rica in 29 days at an average of 113 mi/day. In comparison, we are planning an average daily distance of 35 miles (55km).
As we ride through Camp Pendleton we really get hammered by the wind and can’t wait to eat some warm food. We end up stopping at a burger joint in Oceanside for a well deserved break and a chance to replenish those precious calories. Then arrives the last of our escort crew: Jason (x2) and Vicki. As our party of 7 riders departs Oceanside towards San Diego, we know we are cutting it really short. We WILL run out of daylight. That is a fact! Fortunately we have two support ladies (Miki and Vicki) ready to assist. As we battle the strong headwinds and the hills, the light starts to fade. We turn our taillights on and continue as a tight formation. Then it gets completely dark and we struggle with directions, so we play it safe, calling it quit for the day after 70 miles of arduous effort. The two of us end up getting a ride from Miki to our friend Joan who lives 6 miles away. At Joan’s place, we pick up our Dog Dazers
(graciously donated by Dazer International
) and spend the evening in comfort and luxury. Joan, thank you so much. You are a wonderful host! And thank you Miguel for taking care of our dinner.
Nothing beats "good/epic" times with good Friends! We miss you already.
Thank you to Miki, Oliver, Gianni, Johnston & Terri, Kevin, Adrian, Jason C, Jason R & Vicki, Joan & Miguel for your friendship and support as you set us off on our journey to Patagonia.
Tomorrow we are crossing into Mexico! Day 3 (12/20/2010)
: As much as we dislike the idea of stepping outside (wet and windy) and leaving all our friends and family behind for the next 12 months, we pack up and head for the Mexican border in Tijuana. As we struggle with directions to find the crossing for bicycles and pedestrians, Shirley crashes her bike at low speed. Fortunately the only damage is a minor scrape on her elbow and a tear in her rain jacket.
We pass the border without any issue. Nobody even asks us for our passport. Then comes the epic part; We have to ride on the highway to the ocean and the shoulder is either nonexistent or loaded with debris. Somehow we make it in one piece despite getting splashed by cars, buses and trucks. We make it to the toll road only to be kicked out by the first security lady that tells us that bikes are not allowed there…bummer! She tells us that we have to backtrack several miles and take the free road which would easily add 2 hours to our ride to Rosarito…no way, Jose! We only have 3 hours of daylight. We decide to circle around the guard station through the residential area below, and climb back up to the toll road after a dicey mud climb. Another mile later comes the toll booth, and we get stopped by an armed guard telling us we shouldn´t ride on the toll road. Yannick’s sweet talking and the miserable weather conditions outside convince the guard to let us through, thankfully! At 3:30pm, we arrive in Rosarito, exhausted, and head straight for the McDonald’s in town….home sweet home! Free Wifi, heat, and warm french fries.
We realize we barely ate anything all day. As the light fades, we head for Chick’s welcoming trailer not far away, after 40 miles for the day. Chick (that we met through warmshowers.org
) is very welcoming and we enjoy great conversations through the night. He has lived in Mexico for several years and tells us about Mexico Travel 101, myths vs reality
. Tomorrow looks like it will be another crappy weather day! Not sure what we will do yet! We need to rest so we’ll take it easy. Day 4
: No miles today because of extreme weather. We are spending the day in Rosarito ...most of it in Chick’s mobile home sheltered from the torrential rain and strong winds outside. We are so glad to be indoors on a day like today. For a short moment we were debating putting in a few miles to reach Primo Tapia, roughly 20km down the road to make some headway.
Instead, we took care of some overdue maintenance. The bikes are so dirty right now that the center stand that we love so much is getting stuck because of mud and sand. We spent the morning eating Huevos Rancheros (expertly made by Juanito) and fixing Shirley’s rain jacket that she damaged in her crash yesterday. The afternoon was spent cleaning the bike chains and going to town for some awesome tacos and horchata. The town looks very much like Venice with muddy rivers instead of canals. Clearly this town was not architected to evacuate water. Tomorrow, if we can safely ride the roads, should be interesting.
Note: We’ll start writing distances in km
(instead of miles) and temperatures in Celsius
(instead of Fahrenheit) as this is what our bike computer indicates. Hasta Luego!
After roughly a month of 'forced" rest, the 3rd phase of our triathlon is on its way.