(September 22 – written by Nancy)
It was a bit hard to tear ourselves out of bed this morning at our Warmshowers hosts’ house – such a nice sleep in one of the most comfortable beds we have had in a long time. Coffee was already made for us when we got downstairs – I could get used to that! We ate a quick bowl of oatmeal and hit the road before 8 am. Thanks again to Rob and Evelyn for hosting us and giving us some great info for alternative routes, even as they were busy getting ready for a trip to Minneapolis today.
Our re-jigged route takes us over to the Pacific Coast, so our first step today was to get halfway there, to Santa Clarita. The ride was pretty easy – only 40 miles or so and with just 1500 feet of climbing it felt like a bit of a holiday ride after the last week or so. We had nice sunny blue sky as well, with very little wind so that also helped lift our spirits. We are both looking forward to our revised route – it will certainly be different than the route up in the high desert and mountains. I don’t think we’ll have to worry too much about getting food and water along the route!
The first part of today’s ride was out through Palmdale and out into the country again. The road we were on, Elizabeth Lake Rd, did not have much of a shoulder but the traffic was very light so it was not an issue. The road winds through a canyon, and there were random ranch houses – some that looked quite fancy. It’s hard to understand why someone would choose to live out in places like that – not a tree to be seen anywhere! There is apparently an Elizabeth Lake somewhere out there, but it is currently dry.
We had a decently steep, but short, climb leaving Elizabeth Lake Road to head west toward the little community of Green Valley. The downhill was great though, and we stopped for a second brekkie at Heart & Soul cafe in Green Valley. Cute spot with good coffee and food – especially the pancakes!
We went under a big set of pipes, the California Aqueduct, which is used to carry water from the various reservoirs in Northern and Central California to Southern California. It looked quite strange, these massive white pipes going up and down the hills as far as the eye could see. Must take a lot of power to get the water up and down all those hills.
We made our way down to Santa Clarita, a fairly decent sized city – especially given its proximity to LA. There doesn’t seem to be any camping options here so, dang, we ended up at the Hyatt Regency. Honestly, it was the cheapest place we could find. We got checked in and then just rolled our bikes through the lobby and up to the room, without a word from the staff so I guess it’s okay! Dave took his helmet off before registering so as not to look overly homeless – no offence to homeless people of course.
We went out a bit to wander around and find some food, and were both a bit dumbfounded by the traffic. One of the main streets near us has 6 lanes on one side – and gosh do they drive fast! That is something we will have to get used to as we go down the coast.
Tomorrow we complete the trip to the coast and start heading south. We are aiming for a state park that is about 60 miles from here, Point Mugu state park. It appears to be mostly downhill – at least no big climbs – so it should not be too hard of a day, despite the mileage. We haven’t really planned the rest of the way down the coast yet, other than a short break we are going to take in Manhattan Beach – a bit of a holiday from the holiday, as it were.