On Hold

Felix tends the fire for our chicken dinner.
Felix tends the fire for our chicken dinner.

Fleeing the wrath of Hurricane Odile, I am back in San Clemente. My journey is on hold. The storm has created a good swell for the surfers. The competition is on. I spend my days on the beach watching the competitors ride waves many times their size. The quickly paddle then stand up and ride down the face of the wave. They race along dodging the break. They fly off the top of wave crests like skateboarders in a half pipe. Surfing is an intense and fascinating sport as fun to watch as participate.

The campground here allows hiker/bikers to stay one night only. Odile is currently devastating Cabo San Lucas. I must wait for it to pass. If it wipes out the road – and there is only one down the peninsula – I must reroute to the mainland. Due to the campgrounds policy, under the cover of darkness I sneak in each night.

Spending multiple days in the same campground, I discover other cyclist on similar trips to my own. This is how I met Felix. Felix and his friend Lucas flew to San Fransisco, CA and are riding to Puebla. Puebla is a Mexican city just south of Mexico City. Lucas has been unable to keep pace with Felix so he rode on without him. Continue reading

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Surfs Up!

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Surfing is a very popular sport here in Southern California and I happened to be here at a wonderful time. The Hurley and Swatch Pro Surf competition is taking place. The worlds best surfers are here at Trestles. The boards they ride are short and pointed allowing greater mobility. The board I rode was long, black and named Darth Vader. I practiced a sport similar to surfing; not drowning. Not drowning is very difficult, possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. My knees are scraped and my foot bleeds. Yet, I am addicted. Surfing pervades my thoughts and I cannot wait to get back on the water.

My surfing experience was made possible by a wonderful couple who stopped me as I pedaled along. Bob and Kate were on their way to rent electric bicycles and asked me to follow them into the parking lot. We covered the basic questions: Where did you start? When? Where are you going? How many miles? Then the unexpected: “Would you like to stay with us?” It was early in the day and I had only traveled twenty miles. I planned to camp close to the border then cross in a few days. Their offer was too good to refuse (not that I would have as meeting new people is the best part of traveling). It also came at an ideal time. I had new gear to prepare and test. Continue reading

Los Angeles, California

Swimming in the Pacific Ocean for the first time then dodging Lamborginies and Farraries, Bentleys and Benzes; through the streets of LA I race. Seeing the Hollywood sign provokes intense jubilation. Though I could never reside in this reality, this city has captured my heart.

I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
I spent most of a day here at the observatory study the stars, the planets, the sun and even a giant pendulum that eliminated any doubt from my mind about the earth being round..
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.
At the top of Mount Hollywood watching the sunrise.

For the last few days, I have been in Los Angeles, California. Someone special arranged for me to stay with a friend. For three nights, their apartment served as a basecamp for me to explore the city and prepare to cross the border. Thank you Matthew and Sarah! Sarah, it was a pleasure meeting you. I used this time to order new supplies. A tent and battery pack are waiting for me near San Diego at the home of a fellow tourers father. I also downloaded maps for Central America and had my front derailleur fixed at a local bike shop. Yesterday, I planned to escape this sprawling metropolis but its gravity was to large.

In an apartment in downtown LA, I awoke yesterday morning with every intention of resuming my ride south. Instead, I worked, explored, and slept in Hollywood in front of the infamous sign. I decided I must see Hollywood Blvd, and the stars in the pavement, before departing the city. Then, heeding the siren call of those very large letters, I turned north for the sign. I climbed steep hills and ignored road blocks. I passed Mercedes limousines and extra fancy houses. I was on a mission. I reached the top of the hill. I dismounted and walked up a sandy ridge and I captured a selfie with the Hollywood sign. I was as close to the sign as I could get. Or so I though. Continue reading

San Fransisco, Ca to Monterey, Ca

Monterrey, California

1,750 miles-to-date

A cemetery sprinkler system forced us to retreat to the front
A cemetery sprinkler system forced us to retreat to the front “yard” of this church.

In Starbucks I sit recovering from a growing sleep deficit. Coffee consumed, my thoughts resume. I’m about to enter Mexico. As the border grows nearer, the gravity of this crazy undertaking slows my southerly progress. Three nights spent with Charles and his family. One under the Golden Gate Bridge. One terrible night along the side of the road 70 miles south. One in Santa Cruz 20 miles further south. Two nights contemplating life 10 miles further. Half-a-night in a Monterrey cemetery 30 miles south. And the other half in the front yard of a nearby church.

San Fransisco is a beautiful and diverse city with a dramatic landscape. And enough cannot be said about the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a sight to behold. The weather is cool, typically in the 60’s or 70’s. Fog is an almost daily occurrence this time of year. Walking the streets, numerous languages add an exotic feel. Old cable cars traverse the city. A modern subway system whizzes below. And buses fill the void. The houses are colorful most with bubbling bay windows. San Fransisco is VERY hilly. And thanks to the incredible hospitality of an Oakland family, it sits high on my list of favorite cities, though not one in which I would reside. It is simply too large and too populated and EVERYONE aggressively targets your money, even monks clad in robs. They are selling world peace. Continue reading

From Forest Fires to Fiery Bridges

Saturday 8/15/2014 – Monday 8/18/2014

1,571 miles-to-date

 

Todays modern world would be as foreign to Captains Lewis and Clark as the west was to them in their time. Yet their thoughts still ring true. As a modern-day explorer, this is all I require: a place to lay my head at night, food, water, company, and the occasional shower. Everything else is a bonus.

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“So much will a good shelter, a dry bed, and comfortable supper revive the sperits of the waryed, wet, and hungry traveler.”

– Captain Meriwether Lewis

Two days of rest revived the “sperits” of this “waryed, wet, and hungry traveler.” I was excited to be back on the road. I was more excited to be entering my first forest fire. I woke early Saturday morning and tackled the Leggett climb. Since the beginning of my journey in Portland, people warned me of this hill. They do not know hills and should spend some time in Pittsburgh! The climb was fun and scenic and, aside from platoons of firetrucks, I had the road to myself. Shortly into the climb, the smoke began perfuming the air like a cedar incense. It wasn’t too thick. My lungs didn’t hurt. My chest did. More of a tightness really and on the left side. If I was an old man, I’d be seriously worried about having a heart attack. The smoke cleared as I bombed down the mountain. Continue reading

Solace in a Sofa

The Peg House

Standish-Hickey SRA

2 miles north of Leggett, CA and an uncontrolled forest fire

Sometimes in life, the daily grind and monotony of routine wears a person down. New experiences loose their luster. Waking is all the energy one can muster. In these trying times, some find solace in their sofa, perhaps spending days reclined on pillows reading and napping. I do not have a sofa; though, I do have a camp mat. I do not have pillows. I have a sleeping bag and a bag of clothes.

Lethargy may have begun after waking to early in my driftwood fortress. Crazy clowns threatened me no longer. I enjoyed a peaceful slumber. Until 6am, that is, when a thick mist enveloped me like a blanket attempting to soak everything I own. I quickly packed – I have it down to ten minutes at this point – and selected the only available option. I pedaled ever onward. Continue reading