SANTA BARBARA TO SAN DIEGO
1,775 MILES IN, 0 MILES TO GO
92,505.6 FEET CLIMBED
After a well earned rest day, we continued our quest with renewed vigor. With the hills reportedly behind us, it was now only a matter of 4 days of easy pedaling to reach the finish line. Much of the remainder of the ride was to be on dedicated bike paths which would be much safer than competing with traffic. To make things even better, indoor accommodations had been arranged for us so we had pitched the last tent of the journey.
While we quickly gained access to a nicely paved bike path as we headed south through Santa Barbara, imagine our surprise as hills continued to impede our progress. Although not as tall as those farther north had been, they still demanded to be climbed. By day's end, the accumulated elevation was nearly 3,000 feet, actually exceeding some of the earlier days with higher hills.
The distance for that day was 102.1 miles which was the longest of any of the legs. It seemed shorter due to nice tailwinds as well as the stellar view of interesting beach homes in Santa Barbara, Malibu and other high-end communities. No tick-tacky homes there; each was uniquely designed for its pricey setting.
Hugging the beach, the route was easy to follow. Quite often, the bike path was a 12 to 20 foot wide strip on asphalt, directly on the beach with equal stretches of sand on both sides. While that has some advantages, there also was more pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the more populated areas which slowed our speed, especially on Labor Day weekend. At one point south of L.A., however, a new highway had been built and the old road, in places up to 150 feet wide, was left completely as a bike path. Amazing! But really nice.
I continue to be impressed by the random acts of generosity along the way. In one of the churches in which we spent the night, a woman made an unsolicited $100 contribution to the MS effort. No one in her family has MS but she felt that Bike the US for MS was a worthy organization and just wanted to help. Thank you Pati! In another instance, a big thank you goes out to Ed and Donna who opened their home to us for the night and provided a delicious dinner and healthy breakfast to assist us on our journey.
After 32 days and 1,775 miles of pedaling, we finally reached Imperial Beach, the southernmost U.S. city on the Pacific coast. First, we celebrated the accomplishment with a large pizza lunch directly on the beach as we sat around and collectively reflected on the accomplishment. The last act was to dip our wheels in the ocean. The soft, warm sand was quite in contrast to the cold, hard, rocky beach in Seattle and it was a very fitting end to our adventure.
With continued pedaling and many prayers from our supporters at home and along the way, we did it! It was a far different ride from that of last year's Northern Tier. Although less than half the distance and duration, it seemingly was much more energy consuming. This likely was the result of a far greater number of hills on the Pacific route. However, it also could be due to a relatively short memory.
While scenery on the Northern Tier was beautiful, there is nowhere in the U.S. as spectacular as the Pacific Coast. If you ever have the opportunity to drive the coast, do not miss it. Even better, why not do it on a bicycle?
Tip of the day:
You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.
C. S. Lewis