Day 22: Marina del Rey to Doheny State Beach, 68 miles
It’s extremely difficult to comprehend population on the scale of Los Angeles. Rather than one city, the LA metropolitan area is composed of many, many cities. Today I cycle through just a few of them, mainly those on the coast.
Up before dawn, greeted to sunrise over the marina. Cycling in the cool morning, down through El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach. Then inland through Torrance, large industrial swaths, the back to Long Beach. Traffic is light, even though this is Friday. Where is everyone? From highway to side streets with craftsman houses in Seal Beach.
I rejoin the PCH and cycle through “surf city” Huntington Beach. Route 1 here is a four land highway with wide shoulder bike lanes. Miles of empty parking lots, white sand beaches, off shore oil platforms, oil wells next to the highway too. Newport Beach yeilds swank shop malls, spas, resorts, 5 star restaurants, late afternoon coffee break at Starbucks.
Google Maps has me turning inland to avoid the PCH for the last stretch. But this adds nearly 15 extra miles and hills at the end of a long urban day. I opt to cycle straight on through Laguna Beach. The highway narrows, climbing and descending through business areas. Traffic is still light, though now rush hour on a Friday. I deduce that Southern Californians simply do not come to the coast in November. They must fear the chill, though the mid-70s are balmy by my standards.
At last Dana Point and a quick grocery stop at Ralph’s. Some expensive firewood here. If I drove down with a trailer load of Oregon wood, I could make a killing. I make it to Doheny State Beach just in time for an amazing sunset. I set up my tent in the crowded Hiker/Biker site at Doheny campground, 5 other cyclists. Amtrak blasts back and forth, neighboring families chatter on in Spanish late into the night. I’m checking my emails, texting with Dave who is a day ahead. The other Dave, with one with the sitar, he must be a few days behind. I look forward to arriving in San Diego soon.
As I make my bed for the evening, a quick bit of research reveals the LA metro area is 4800 square miles, over 17 million in population. For readers at home, the Willamette Valley covers 5800 square miles. Imagine it completely urbanized, merging city upon city. Your small town Oregon son has cycled this today.