Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Monday, May 12, 2008
Alpine, CA to La Jolla, CA
40 miles (3714 total miles)

Short day today, but a very important one - we reached the Pacific Ocean! We started out late again, at 7:50 (this has got to stop!) and had a long, fast descent from Alpine. The 25 miles into San Diego must have been the fastest 25 miles we've done yet on this trip. We zig-zagged around I-8 and SR 67, with mountains in the background and houses and stores along the road. We were definitely back to city driving now - the traffic was heavier and there were a lot more buildings along the road. Thankfully, though, this is a bike-friendly area; nearly all the roads we were on had marked bike lanes. The sky was cloudy (what the locals call May Gray) and the temperature was cool all day. The sun came out briefly while we did our bike wheel dipping ceremony in the Pacific Ocean, but it clouded over again later. We went through the towns of Lakeside (near Lake Jennings) and Santee before getting into San Diego. Santee was a very pretty town with large expensive houses, many shopping malls, and beautiful landscaping along the roads. We got onto Mission Gorge Road in Santee and soon after turned onto the Father Junipero Serra Trail. It was a very scenic trail, part of the Mission Trails Regional Park, and was the site of the Old Mission Dam. The dam was constructed in the early 1800's by Father Serra to irrigate the farms in the valley. We saw some more of the orange grass that we had seen yesterday and realized that it wasn't a shrub as we had thought. It looks more like strands of tangled grass that gets blown by the wind and trapped in other bushes and plants, sort of like tumbleweed. Very interesting color.

We got back onto Mission Gorge Road and stopped for a rest and a snack in a restaurant. We called Hank & Carolyn from the San Diego Tandem Club, who were going to meet and ride with us today, and it turned out they were only about 10 minutes away! We sat and chatted a while at the restaurant and then set out for the ocean. We were lucky to have Hank & Carolyn as escorts, because the roads got a little more complicated and the traffic was pretty heavy. They took us through a few back streets to avoid some of the worst traffic. We stopped at the first Catholic mission built in California and they explained that there were a series of missions built about 20 miles from each other, such that the Franciscan monks could walk from one to another in a day. We crossed over the San Diego River onto Friars Road. They pointed out the Qualcomm Stadium and the huge Fashion Valley shopping mall along the way. From there, we went onto Sea World Drive. We didn't see much of Sea World except for a roller coaster in the middle of a parking lot. Soon after that, though, we were headed straight for the Pacific. There were a few swimmers in the ocean, a few more sunning or playing on the beach - it was still cool although the sun did come out for a little while, in honor of our reaching the ocean. Hank, Pat & I headed across the sand and Hank took pictures of us taking the bike for its dip in the Pacific. There were lots of large sea gulls around (I swear they look bigger than their east coast cousins) and every so often a small flock of pelicans would soar by.

After that, we headed further up the coast and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Then Hank & Carolyn headed back home and we continued up to La Jolla where we would be staying at the home of Stuart & Colleen Patton. Stu is a first cousin of Pat's mom. We chatted for a while with them in their lovely home, got settled in and cleaned up, and later were taken out to dinner at a nearby restaurant. Tomorrow, we'll have a much needed rest day and hopefully do some exploring of the town and the beautiful nearby beaches. We ended today at just under 40 miles, in 3 hours and 40 minutes of bike time.

A valley along I-8 after the descent from Alpine

We're not even in the city yet and they're talking about carpool lanes

Houses at the foot of the hills

Looking back up the hills near the town of Lakeside

A street lined with daylilies - flowering in early May!

Santee - a very new, clean, professional-looking town...

with lots of beautiful landscaping along the roads

Houses in Santee

A freeway bridge over a valley in the distance from Mission Gorge Road

We approach the Father Junipero Serra Trail

A sign about the historic dam along the trail

A view of the dam

Views of the hills along the trail

We see this orange grass again

Back on Mission Gorge Road, impressive trees in a residential area

A golf course between the road and the mountains

We meet Carolyn and Hank Peterson and they escort us to the ocean

The first mission built in California...

by Father Junipero Serra in 1769

We cross the San Diego River but don't see any of it

We pass under a maze of highway bridges on Friars Road

Sign indicating we're in Mission Valley

There are some very fancy houses here

VERY fancy

From Friars Road, we turn onto Sea World Drive...

and see some pretty purple flowers...

a tree with pretty red flowers...

and a roller coaster

We take a bridge over Mission Bay...

and head toward the Pacific Ocean

Some shops by the ocean at Mission Beach

Hank and Carolyn pose in front of the ocean

All set to dip the bike wheel into the Pacific

We head out into the waves

We did it! The bike's been in both oceans now

The Pacific Ocean sea gulls look fatter than the Atlantic ones

A flock of pelicans float overhead

There are a few hardy swimmers in the ocean

Beach houses along Mission Blvd.

Hank and Carolyn celebrate with us over lunch

A little while later, we're in La Jolla

Pat in front of his mom's cousin's house

The view outside Stu & Colleen's living room window

Portraits of Stuart & Colleen hang in their living room

Another view of the living room

View of the front yard from the living room

The dining room

A view of the ocean from the lower level balcony

Looking north from the same balcony

Stu & Colleen take us out to dinner

The four of us at dinner