(October 1 – written by Dave)
The day started with us saying goodbye to our new friends Joyce, Susie and Adam (well, maybe telepathically to Adam, as teenage boys do not get up on the weekends too early) – and ended saying hello to our new friend Barb. We didn’t know any of these folks before the trip started but all of them have graciously opened their homes to the two of us. We connected through our “friends of friends”” network, so we’re not complete strangers. All the same, we are grateful for all that we’ve been given after basically showing up on their doorsteps as two unknown, hungry, smelly bicycle travellers. Thanks a ton guys, we really do appreciate all that you’ve done for us.
With more good conversation this morning, we lingered over brekkie. We were not on the road until nearly 10AM. Based on Susie’s advice we skipped the ferry and headed down the Strand and around the bottom of Coronado Island. There were a lot of other riders out for their Sunday morning spins. A good number that we passed, or that passed us, wanted to know our story. Telling one couple that we were “heading for Argentina, but not today”, elicited a follow-up question of “are we just practicing today?”. It was quite funny – “nope, we are actually doing it today, just not all the way to Argentina – bit far for today”.
At the “bottom” of the bay, we stopped for morning tea at a new coffee/bike shop called Trident. They specialize in cold brew coffee – in their words, “more caffeine, less bitter”. We had them steam/warm a couple of the cold brews and it was quite nice. Too bad we’ll be leaving the land of cold brew and other yuppie coffee drinks in a day’s time! A nice Philipino/American couple who passed us on their tandem was also stopped here – they insisted on getting photos, saying that riding an hour was good for them – they couldn’t imagine riding for 1.5 years.
Further around the bay we rode past the South Bay Salt Works. This is the second oldest business in San Diego (the oldest being one of the local newspapers). They started mining salt here in 1860 and are still going today. They produce commercial grade salt that is used in everything from fish processing to table salt. A good chunk of the original ponds have been converted back into marsh land as there are some endangered species of microbial in the area (I’m not sure what that is?). The rest of the ponds are supposed to be left for salt production into the future.
We rode past some fun bike art a little further around the bay. I couldn’t help myself but to hop in the bunch and but the hammer down. Nancy doesn’t get to take my picture very often but I think I look pretty fast in this one!
Soon after the bike art we left the harbour path and headed east out across San Diego. We were still early enough that traffic was not too bad. We eventually made our way to a mall where we had Chinese food for lunch, found a bank, a Target and a Trader Joes. We stocked up on most of what we need to get us at least a few days into Mexico.
I mapped out the route from the mall to home for the night (at Barb and Steve’s place). I called Barb to let her know that we were on the way. She asked where we were and was surprised. She said that the road we picked may not be sealed/paved. Oh well, it was the shortest route and we needed to get a move on. Well, you guessed it, Proctor Valley Road is not paved. We had a good 5 miles of sandy, bumpy, washboarded road to deal with. I had a nagging concern about this road but it was too late, a re-route at this point would have added many more miles. We pushed on, slipping, bumping, swearing (mostly my senior editor) and generally riding really slowly.
We reached Barb and Steve’s place (Steve is travelling and not home) about 1.5 hours late. But it was all fine. Barb welcomed us like old friends and smoothed out what would have been a bumpy finish to our day. And she did this even though she didn’t get much sleep last night, only flew back into town early this morning and is actually starting a new job tomorrow. Wow – thanks Barb.
Tomorrow we are doing our last and final shopping before Mexico, taking a day off here in Jamul. We’ll probably review the route a few dozen more times as well. Nancy has done a great job working out a super detailed plan. I’d better cut this off here and look at what she’s done tonight – as they say “Teamwork makes the dream work”.