Final Thoughts

Well, the journey is done, completed, and successful.

Left Carlsbad on Saturday morning for the final 35 miles.

Had my second mishap of the ride when I stupidly overfilled my tires.  with all the extra weight I was carrying (around 40 lbs in the panniers) the overfilled tires popped about 3 miles into the ride.

it was kind of scary, as it sounded like a gun shot. when I pulled the old inner tube out it had a 7 inch gash in it.  I was just thankful that it was not on a fast downhill, as that could have been serious.

once the flat was fixed, I continued onward.  up Torry Pines hill, which didn’t seem that bad… apparently, I have gotten stronger during the course of the ride.  then it was onto La Jolla, one of my favorites,  through Pacific Beach, and onward to Point Loma.

As I was heading through Ocean Beach, I was approached by a Paramedic Van, lights flashing, I look over and it is my friend JJ, tracking me on Runtastic, wishing me well.  it was great to see him.

Then it was up Hill Street (stupid me… why would I consciously choose a street noted for its steepness).  well anyway, I did make it up and onto the final stretch all the way to the finish line: the Cabrillo National Monument.

I was very surprised as I arrived, the first person I saw was my Brother, Pete, then I noticed m son Neil, my wife, Monique, then a whole bunch of people I knew, my friends Ken, John, Tom, my in-laws Buddy and Jill, Phil and Robin, Gloria, my nieces Maile and Keala, all cheering me on and happy to see me.  it was quite an emotional moment for me.  I was overwhelmed.  Then it was off to a victory dinner.

I am very grateful to Monique for planning all this and to Robin for making the sign, to Gloria for all her support during and after the ride, Buddy and Jill for the Burke Williams massage, to Shad and Melissa for sharing their place and letting me crash. To those who rode with me through LA, and guided me safe passage.   To Tom, John and Ken for coming out and cheering me on at the finish, and for everyone who sent me messages of encouragement throughout the ride.

when all was said and done, I rode 710 miles,

had 2 flat tires,

stayed in 1 hotel, 7 motel 6’s, 1 cabin, 1 youth hostel, 1- apartment.

climbed over 41,900 feet

meet people from all over the world including: Scotland, Brazil, Netherlands and all over the US.

So… what of it?  what did I get out of it?  what revelations did I have?

I think that the thing that struck me the most was how nice people were.  Everywhere I went, everyone was interested in what I was doing and genuinely  wished me well and good luck on the ride. it was very encouraging.

the other question I have been asked:  what was the best part.  I must say that arriving at Pigeon Point Youth Hostel was my favorite memory.  it was at the end of a 90 mile first day ride.  the trip had taken me much longer than I had anticipated so I was racing the sun to get there.  It was getting cold as well, so, with the sun setting, the weather getting colder, and on the verge of exhaustion, seeing the lighthouse come into view was such a welcome sight, when I walked into the office, it was so warm and the staff was so friendly, it was a wonderful moment.

my other favorite moment was arriving at the finish line and seeing Monique, my Son, my friends and my family waiting there for me,  that was touching indeed.

My least favorite part?  riding through San Pedro.  the roads are a mess, torn up from heavy truck usage, debris everywhere, large semi-trucks flying past me… not much fun at all.  I was very happy to arrive in Long Beach were they had a nice bike trail.

So…now it is over, time to get back to work and all the other necessities of life.

I wanted to do something big before I turned 50.  I am so glad I did.  It helps put things into perspective,  gave me a chance to think things through,  it is difficult to explain.

So, what is next?  A focus and re-commitment to my family, my job and my career, a chance to re-establish that which has slipped away and a will and determination to complete those ideas that are still rolling around in my head

Cheers

 

Almost there

Wow! I can’t believe I am almost done.

I arrived in Carlsbad today.  a 77 mile ride from Long Beach.

thanks so much to my Shad and Melissa for allowing me to stay at there place last night.

Had a nice breakfast with them, before they left for Joshua Tree and I for Carlsbad.

Next thing I knew, I was in Orange County and out of Orange County.

for 77 miles, it sure went bye quickly.  My mother in law, Gloria, had lunch for me as I passed through Dana Point, then I was off and running to the San Diego County line.

So… tomorrow is it.  the end of the line for this trip.

if you happen to be in San Diego tomorrow, oh… say around 2pm, atop Point Loma, at the Cabrillo National Monument, stay awhile and watch as I arrive.

I can’t wait to see my wife and Son and everyone else.

you may find that I am now a little more fit, grown a beard and gotten a little tan.

when all is said and done, I will have traveled over 700 miles.   I hope to reflect a bit more about those 700 miles and what is next in my upcoming post

thanks for reading

cheers

Russ

 

 

riding through LA

Whew!

made it through LA without needing my “piece” (inside joke, ask me about it sometime)

left Malibu this morning looking for a nice place to have breakfast… apparantly no one eats breakfast in Mallibu… oh well.

caught up with a fellow rider about 12 miles into the ride (same one who took me to dinner the night before… thank you so much), and guided me through the various byways of LA. I do believe I might have gotton a bit lost otherwise, I am very grateful.

anyway, I was escorted all the way through Rancho Palos Verdes, where I checked out the whale watching view point, the lighthouse and the very expensive houses in this area. then we said our goodbyes, he headed back north and I headed, dreadfully, South and into San Pedro.

O.K. I’ll tell you right now that this was my least favorite part of the ride by far. the roads are terrible (how I did not get a flat, I do not know), massive trucks everywhere, just not fun.

also, just as I left my companion to find my way through the industrial wasteland of San Pedro, I found that the route I had planned was no good, one of the roads on my route had been subject to an avalanche. I had to retrace my ride and find a new one.

and finally, I discovered that I had inadvertently, forgot to re-ingage my GPS app, and lost 8 miles from the reading. so…it was actually 70 miles and not 62,

594 miles so far.

I was never to happy to enter Long Beach. Here I found my nights lodgeing. my Sister in Law and her husband (Melissa and Shad) graceiously offered space in there house for me to crash. THANKS!!!

When I got there, was greated by Melissa and my Mother in Law who treated us to a very nice Italian dinner. Thanks Gloria!!!

So, tomorrow, I leave Long Beach, pass all the way through Orange County and finally stop at Carlsbad. 75 miles

almost done

cheers

Russ

Getting Closer

Greetings all,

Please forgive my delay in posting.  my intention was to blog every night of the ride, however, that has proven more difficult than I had anticipated.

So much has happened since my last post, lets see if I can update you.

I am currently in Malibu and have ridden 524 miles from the start of the ride. tomorrow, I head into LA with the ultimate destination being Long Beach.  I will continue travel the coast route and will most likely meet up with another cyclist I know who will escort me through Rancho Palos Verdes.  He was gracious enough to meet me today, and treated me to dinner, as part of his unending support of my ride.  I am greatly appreciative off all the support he has given me:  suggestions, tips, informatiion,  Thank you.

I am also very appreciative of everyone who has supported me in this endeavor.  thank you too!

Since my last post, I was heading into San Luis Obispo.  Had a nice break there with my wife, Monique and Son, Neil.  We had a nice dinner at Olive Garden (Carbs!) and latter dessert at IHOP (yummy ice cream!),  the next day, Mothers Day, we had breakfast together at the Apple Farm, and said our goodbye’s until we met again at the finish point at Point Loma.  I was sad to see them go.

I then headed off to Pismo Beach, a rather short 15 mile ride. Leaving here, it was off to Santa Barbara County and Lompoc.  riding through the farm fields, was great mainly due to the incredible smells of the fresh fruits and vegitables that were being grown.

the first town you hit in Santa Barbara County is Guadaloupe.  it was facinating.  it looked and felt like a deserted town.  all the building were boarded up or had bars around it.

heading towards Lompoc, you pass through Vandenburg Air Force Base, it is exciting to just be riding past the space program

Lompoc was depressed as well, not nearly as bad as Guadaloupe, but noticible.  I stayed the night here but there was little to see or do… i did my laundry.

Out of Lompoc it was down to Santa Barbara and Carpinteria.  I miss calculated my ride for the day and instead of 55 miles, it was actually 75 miles.

Santa Barbara has really put alot of effort into its bicycle routes and is very bicycle friendly.

they are getting ready for the Amgen Tour of California bike race and had bicycle banners flying everywhere, made me proud to be a cyclist.

Beyond Santa Barbara, it was onto Carpinteria,

Once in my hotel, I heard tragic news.  an old friend since Jr. High School passed away.  Clark was a friend for over 35 years.  I joined the navy with him, we went to boot camp together, he officiated my wedding as the preacher.  He will surely be missed.  I spent a lot of time thinking about him today and the time we had together.  it was a hard day.

on top of all that, I got my first flat tire of the ride, happened in Oxnard. and tore up my leg a little, when I ran my leg into the front gear.   guess it goes with the day.  the day did get better though…

So that leave us to today.  it was from there to my present location, Malibu.  staying at the Malibu Country Inn, where I have a hot tub in my balcony…ahhhh!  helps to relieve my sore back (which has been the greatest hardship of the ride).

So… tomorrow it is off to LA (where’s my “piece”, to protect me? — inside joke, ask me when you see me).

looking forward to seeing Rancho Palos Verdes.and a few of the sights that you forget when you live in the area.

that’s it for now,

take care everyone

see you soon

Cheers

Russ

 

 

Moving South

Hi all,
Looks like another night of limited Internet access. Going to have to wait till Carpinteria to make a decent post.
A good day of riding, lots of farm country and Vandenberg AFB. Now at Lompoc (less impressed).
Even though I paid for Internet access the signal is poor and my computer won’t link : (
Next is Santa Barbara… Wow getting close, can’t believe it.
Cheers
Russ

20120514-174720.jpg

Reflections so far

Half way through the ride and I wanted to reflect a little about my thoughts so far.

First though, Happy Mothers day to all the moms out there. I was lucky enough to have my wife and son meet me in San Luis Obispo for the weekend. They arrived in town shortly after I had. SLO was where I met Monique while attending Cal Poly. So it was a very nice reunion, so to speak.

the town has changed quite a bit, there are a lot of new shopping centers and housing now, it was amazing to see. Cal Poly was changing too, growing with many new buildings and improvements. We reflected that it seems that all the best changes come after you have left. Of course this is not true, but it sure seems the case.

I was asked what was the best part of the ride so far, and initially I did not have an answer, however, thinking about it a little more, I find that that first day on the road was truly the best. exploring San Francisco was really awesome (with the exception of the seriously steep hills). I just loved riding through the Presido.

it was interesting that when I reached the summit of Twin Peaks, I realized that I was going to be racing the sun to reach my days final destination. I did not want to cut short the ride for the day so continued with my planned route. when heading down from Twin Peaks and back into the Presido to cover the western part of the park, the clouds moved in and it turned cold!

Never the less, I continued on, knowing I still had 45 miles to go and had not yet left the city.

Heading into Pigeon Point, the sun was almost completely set, and by now it was really cold. but it was my favorite part because I felt such joy when I finally saw that lighthouse and walking into the office it was so nice and warm and the people were so friendly, it was just the best.

later in the evening when I was unpacked, I was able to go back outside and watch the lighthouse shoot into the night sky.

pigeon point lighthouse at night

Other things that I have enjoyed so far include:

Having my room upgraded when I arrived in San Francisco.

the view of the stars from Big Sur

finally making it up the final peak in Big Sur and coming down the other side.

finding that everyone I am meeting is so nice. Truly, this is amazing, lots of people just wanting to talk and hear where I am going, where I started, etc. I’ve met people from Scotland, Brazil, Netherlands, and a few other places (that I can’t remember now…oops)

and finally, seeing Monique and Neil in SLO, and having time with them.

Well, I will leave it here on a happy note, tomorrow, I will talk about the… less appealing aspects of the ride so far

till then

Cheers

Russ

Made it to the half way point: San Luis Obispo

Hi All,

all is well here in San Luis Obispo, half way point of the ride. 326 miles ridden so far. Met my family here for the weekend, it was great to see them.

Started off the day in San Simeon, went into Cambria, hoping to find a bike shop. seems that I inadvertently left my riding gloves on a rock somewhere in Big Sur… bummer.

Made a stop in Harmony (population 18) and picked up a last minute mothers day gift at the glass shop (shhh, don’t tell Monique : ) )

No luck with trying to find a shop and had to wait till San Luis Obispo.

even worse though, I somehow lost my SDI Micro card for my contour camera, meaning that I lost all of my footage through Big Sur, I am very bummed about that.

taking tomorrow off (for the most part) only going as far as Pismo Beach. I really want to rest my legs, in anticipation of the 2nd half of the ride.

really must spend quality time with the family now, so… promise a better post tomorrow,

Again, thanks for all the encouragement I’ve been receiving

loving it
cheers

Russ