March 6 - 11: California

3/7 - Alpine (33 miles 33 total)
33 mi from san diego's dog beach to the country inn in alpine, CA
it was a beautiful day for dipping. elisabeth rode with us & peter & our bikes to san diego's dog beach; it was wonderful to have her there for the sendoff. when she arrived at sari's, she gave me a bouquet of purple flowers & a fresh-picked orange from her garden. she'd put the flowers in a little vial of water, so they adorned my bike bag all of today's ride. i refilled the water when i got to our motel this evening, & i think i'll get at least another day out of the lovely bouquet. i thot the winds might whip them as i rode, but they're hardy.
as for dog beach, it's like a dog park with sand. & there were plenty of dogs there when we arrived. we'd been warned that we needed to make our way carefully down to the water's edge, as not all dog owners who use the beach for exercising their pooches are so careful about picking up after them.
here's a photo of sari, elisabeth, & me on the sidewalk at dog beach; you can see the flowers merrily riding in my bike bag.
& here we are doing the official dipping. i had backed my bike up into the edge of the water (since of course one dips the rear tire in the beginning ocean & the front tire in the ending one). but then a large wave broke behind me, & before long i'd also dipped my shoes & socks.
elisabeth helped me carry my bike back up to the walk. none of us wanted to coat our bike tires with sand. i took off my wet socks & put them in my bike bag & knocked as much sand as possible off my shoes. sure am glad i wear those all-weather birkenstocks, 'cause they don't mind getting wet.
we first traveled along a bike path, but not for long. then it was out along a busy road for quite a long ways. the worst part was negotiating the areas near the on & off ramps along the right side of the road....trying to dodge the cars that were coming onto the road & the ones wanting to get off. ugh.
we got a short reprieve as we rode through mission trails park, but then it was out onto mission gorge road again. at about 25 mi we started climbing in earnest.
in this photo you can see tiny specks way off in the distance; those are sari & another biker. note that we had some noisy traffic to contend with on this road, too.
the climb lasted about 7 mi. at one point on a more level stretch, sari & i came across bev stopped along the roadside working on her bike. it turns out that her bike seat had come off the seatpost. she felt lucky that it had happened as she was coming to a stop. otherwise....OUCHY!!! francis came along in the subaru (our sag vehicle) & got out her tool kit in hopes of finding tools that would help bev attach the seat.
you can see in this photo that they succeeded in re-attaching the seat. unfortunately, a little later when bev got to the motel, the seat had come loose again.
sari & i got to the motel around 2:30. then she called peter to alert him to come get her & patty. he also brought my luggage. he arrived around 4, then sari & patty loaded up their bikes & left. i found my room (very nice rooms), cleaned up, & went out for supper at 5.
just before dinner i caught michelle working away in the galley; can you see that beautiful salad she was concocting....& the beautiful cherry tomatoes? unfortunately the shadows obscure michelle's head in this photo, but at least you can see the clever galley that's been custom-made into the back of the luggage trailer.
with the salad (which included cold cooked asparagus, the tomatoes, & was topped with crumbled feta), we had grilled salmon that michelle cooked on the charcoal grill on the back lawn of the motel. in fact, at the riders' meeting yesterday in san diego, when michelle was giving us an overview of the food she'll be providing us, she mentioned the meals would be heavy on fresh vegetables & that she would serve quite a bit of salmon. ohhhhhh, it's such a rough life.
at the map meeting after supper, michelle told us that we'll be doing about 51 mi tomorrow....mostly uphill, with a downhill or 2 thrown in. also at the meeting, anne presented the energizer bunny "award" that she'd received in past years for being a tireless biker to jane, who had to ride a borrowed bike today because UPS still hasn't delivered her bike. jane told us that she learned upon arriving at the motel this afternoon that UPS found the bike in their san diego warehouse, where it had been since tuesday. & a UPS supervisor was driving the bike here to alpine this evening to arrive by 9 pm. UPS is sure having its problems with bikes these days.
tomorrow we're to leave around 7:30. that oughta give us plenty of time to cover 51 mi, even if much of it is uphill.....tho' many of us are still in training mode.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail my son Mark with your request. Stay tuned....

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