Sunday, January 6, 2013

P4W2 Day 1 California Diversity Pacific Beach - Julian, CA 70 miles

It hard to imagine a more varied day of my life.   And all within 70 miles.   This morning I said goodbye to hosts/relatives Austin and Shelley and finally got underway about 9 AM.  It was a perfect temperature as I wound through the numerous bike paths of La Jolla and beautiful Torrey Pines, of golf fame.  Views of the placid Pacific were stunning.  This morning I was passed a day rider who then graciously waited for me.  It was Nelson Vails, a retired pro bicycler and Olympic medalist ( ) .  Nelson gave me some great route suggestions and told me how the San Diego area is a mecca for cyclists.  Given how many passed me today, I believed him.  I wondered if coastal North Carolina would ever be like that.  Later a Navy pilot and I rode together for several miles.  It was good to have company and get encouragement.

The route east took me through immensely diverse terrain.  Orange trees and surf boards in the morning, and apple trees and the smell of woodstove fires in the afternoon.  All the while I gained elevation on what was for the latter half of the day a windy road through broken desert and scrub oak country of south central California.  When I arrived in the picturesque town of Julian at close to dark, a fog cloud had descended over town and it was snowing!   It made the still-lit town Christmas tree look quite nice.  Where was I!?   Suddenly I felt like I was in a Vermont ski town!  Seventy miles, 4000 feet of elevation gain, 90 pounds of bike and gear, and 70 miles of all new terrain for this east coaster made for a very tiring day.

I look forward to sharing with you the wildlife sightings as I progress across the country.  Today I saw many raptors, including red tailed hawks, red shouldered hawks, and kestrels.   There was a diverse group of puddle ducks in the saltmarsh just north of Torrey Pines, perhaps this is close to their southern terminus along the Pacific flyway.  And mammal sightings included several groups of mule deer.   

1 comment:

  1. Thinking about you, Paul! I am glad to see that you've traded in the white bike shorts for some black ones. Nice to hear that you sat next to Norm's son on the way out - good start to the trip! Be safe. -DD