(September 28 – written by Dave)
We were up early and on the road by 7AM. Our hosts, Donnie and Susie were off to work early and that gave us an excuse to hit the road before rush hour traffic. (Thanks again guys for everything). We didn’t even make it out of Dana Point before reaching The Bagel Shack (highly recommend by Donnie) and stopped for brekkie. They make all of their bagels onsite daily from scratch so it was a good stop. I splashed out having a cinnamon crunch and Nancy had the more traditional the cinnamon raisin. The shop had the great smell of fresh baked bagels and both of our bagels were still soft and warm – spread with homemade honey butter – yum.
From Dana Point we had some nice bike paths and side roads, mostly following a route that Donnie laid out for us. He rides his bike at 5AM every morning to work at the Onofre Nuclear plant where he is part of a crew that is helping decommission the plant. Donnie has been working here for 3 years on this project and said it could go on for several more years – it takes a long time to properly decommission a nuclear plant.
From the plant we had more quiet riding on roads and paths nestled between Interstate 5 and the ocean. It mostly felt like our own personal bike lane, except for the other folks out riding, and there were quite a few. Before long we reached the guard station for Camp Pendleton – a very large US Marine base located here on the coast. You are allowed to ride through the base but you have to ride single file and not take pictures. You are supposed to register before you arrive – which we did. But you are supposed to register a week in advance, which we didn’t. It didn’t seem to matter.
Two nice, very young, marines greeted us and asked to see our US drivers licenses. Well, we have Aussie drivers licenses, and US passports. Surely the passports would do the trick. Well, not really. The junior guard knew that we needed US drivers licenses and sort of didn’t know what to do next. He walked over the other, more senior guard and they discussed it. Senior guard was not thrilled but he said eventually agreed that our passports would suffice and they let us pass. In sort of a funny note, they never actually looked at the passports. We have them in a waterproof bag that is a bit tight. Nancy spent the entire time while the guards were thinking things over, trying to remove the passports. Once the guards had agreed that we were safe, they didn’t even ask to see the passports. Roger that!
We’d been told that the base would be quiet but it was actually pretty busy. We saw tanks and armoured personal carriers driving around, helicopters flying and heard lots of guns shots near the one of the “Range” signs. We rode single file as instructed and took no pictures – except the two below, one before we entered and one after we exited. All and all it was a smooth ride through.
We didn’t see any jets but just outside the base on the far side, the house from the movie Top Gun (where Tom Cruise and Kelly McGuiness got frisky) was marked by a few signs. I kind of clutched it here and forgot to get a picture of the house but with Tom and Kelly nowhere to be seen, I lost my inspiration (it’s possible I even have the wrong movie with the fly jets sir blog title – anyway, if you know the house, you would have probably enjoyed a photo!).
We are now in Oceanside and close to our next Warmshowers stop in Carlsbad. We didn’t want to get there too early so we stopped for a long lunch at a local bakery/cafe, followed by a stop at Pacific Coast Cycles. Lunch was good, the bike shop better. We found bright rear lights – for safety in Mexico, a new spare tire for Mexican roads, a new cage for our extra fuel bottle so that I can carry it on my frame and not in a pannier, plus a few other items. The owner of the shop was fun to talk to and very helpful – highly recommended if you are in the area.
After a short, but very scenic ride through Carlsbad and its waterfront, we made it to Gary and Lee’s house, where we have landed at yet another wonderful Warmshowers host. We don’t really use Warmshowers that often but we have a bit of late – we are being spoiled. We had a very nice meal and more stimulating conversation. Garry and Lee are headed for AU/NZ in a bit over a year’s time so there’s a chance we could see them again downunder – naturally, they would be most welcome at our place in Sydney.
Tomorrow we head to San Diego, staying with a former Carson City nurse and good friend of my mothers. We’ll be there a couple days. It’s a shortish day but we’ve heard that it is pretty scenic. We’ll be testing our new taillights out – they are bright, even in the daylight hours – probably a good thing as we reach a larger city.
(Senior editor is sleeping – all errors are solely the responsibility of me, the junior editor)