End of the ride

Day 10, Dana Point to San Elijo State Beach, 42 miles

A beautiful morning, sun on the tent, excited to ride again. A simple ride, following El Camino Real, then a stretch of I-5 through Camp Pendleton, then back to the Pacific Coast Highway. Of the several tours in recent years, I’ve opted to ride all the way to San Diego just a few times. Getting past LA is part of the issue. The huge sprawling megalopolis is intimidating. Somehow the isolation of touring feels heightened in such large urban areas. San Diego seems to have a different feel. Not as overwhelming. Nicer beaches too.

And then, this lovely campground. The last on the Pacific Coast Bike Route, San Elijo sits high on a bluff, tucked between the beach and a busy rail line. Just on the other side of the tracks, Cardiff-on-the-Sea, a quaint, overdone coastal tourist town. Just up the road, Encinitas, surf town.

I pull into camp and in the next site there are a couple vans, with the name of an Episcopal school. A church group. One of the kids says it’s a special surf trip, that they just come down from San Juan Capistrano. I realize it’s going to be a noisy night. No Kum Ba Yah from their camp, but lots of giggling and yelling and kids stumbling back and forth, traipsing through my site to the bathroom. On one such transit, I talk to one of the young men, ask if he could tell the others there’s bicyclist sleeping here.

Two bicyclists actually. For I just met another rider, Pierre, from France, cycling the Pan American route, Alaska to Argentina. Always amazed to meet these folks. We talked a bit, I told him I’d get him info about Al, who I met in October, now somewhere in Mexico. Maybe they could meet up, cycling into South America together.

What a trip that would be. I’m not ready to commit so such an adventure, but my sights are definitely broadening. I love my repeated excursions down the Pacific Coast, and it’s become routine and comfortable. I practically know the route like the back of my hand. It’s still an adventure each time, meeting new people, seeing vistas in a new way, and always, always finding new insights about my heart and mind. And also, the open road calls, beckons me to distant lands, new cultures, experiences, challenges.

For now, I’m planning to spend a couple days on the San Diego beaches, staying with a friend. Then take the train back north, stopping to see the boys in Oakland before the long haul back to Oregon. I’m missing Oregon, missing my sweetheart, longing for home, ready to face the challenges of my work. Just a little more time in the sun first.

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