Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Thursday, May 15, 2008
La Jolla, CA to Capistrano Beach, CA
61 miles (3775 total miles)

We regretfully left Stu & Colleen's comfortable home this morning at 7:30 and headed north along the coast. Pat quickly discovered that the speedometer wasn't working. It turned out not to be working at all - the odometer, the mileage, the whole thing was unresponsive. We thought we'd have to get a new one and knew there was a bike shop about 20 miles away in Leucadia (thanks to Hank and Carolyn who tipped us off to it the other day when we said we'd need to buy some tubes). So we pedalled away without all that useful information. It turned out that the thing was stuck in reset mode and just needed to have all its numbers put in again. But we still lost the information on the first 20 miles or so of the day.

We passed a lot of points of interest today. The first one was nearby, still in La Jolla - the seal beach. There was a nice little cove that Elizabeth Scripps had donated money to make into a children's beach, but the seals decided it would be a great place for them to hang out. And so they do. They were mostly all snoozing on the beach when we saw them. A couple of them went in the water for a swim and others flapped around a little now and then, but mostly they just lay there looking perfectly content! The waves were pretty calm in La Jolla today, but there were plenty of people out enjoying the beaches all along the coast - walking, jogging, biking, and just sitting and watching the ocean or playing on the beach. After a bit, we turned inland a little and climbed a very big hill up past the Scripps Institute and the University of California at San Diego. The Scripps Institute had several very scientific buildings (i.e. not very interesting architecture) but one very nice one which seemed to be the Geophysics building. The University had a lot of large buildings, and were constructing new ones (as universities are always doing). We were impressed by the number of students who biked around campus, especially given the hilliness there. We finally came down the hill, back to the coast and passed a number of very picturesque shore towns - Del Mar, Solana Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, Leucadia, Carlsbad, and Oceanside. They all had great coastlines, lots of big, probably very expensive houses and lots of cute shops and restaurants. Solana Beach had a beautifully landscaped Rail-to-Trail path along the coast road as well. One beach had some decent waves and a number of surfers were in the water.

After the shore towns, we entered Camp Pendleton, the Marine base. It wasn't at all what I expected. There were a lot of cars going through it - it started out as a 4-lane road and only later petered out to 2 lanes. It was a somewhat stark but beautiful landscape, hilly and covered with grasses and desert plants. There was also a shopping mall in it, though, a McDonalds, a large school, and housing that didn't look at all like barracks. We did see some troop movements and some training areas, but most of the area was deserted. After Camp Pendleton, we went along the coast again on a series of bike paths, through the San Onofre State Beach Park, past the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, and through the lovely town of San Clemente, following a very circuitous route through the neighborhood streets.

We finally came to the town of San Juan Capistrano and the Doheny State Beach Park where we were going to camp for the night. The camping area was quite large, with some campsites right on the beach. There were a lot of families and other folks set up here. We arrived around 5, having had dinner at a restaurant in Capistrano. We went somewhere between 61-63 miles in probably about 6-1/2 hours or so of bike time.

Interesting rocks near the seal beach

Pelicans roosting on a nearby rock

The little cove making up seal beach, and the beach covered with snoozing seals

Another interesting rock

Some bored seals hit the water

Two little faces swimming happily

This guy looks like he needs a tummy rub

And this one gets energetic and tries to get himself up

Sign advising people to stay away from the seals

One of the Scripps Institute buildings

The geophysics building at the Scripps Institute

The Institute had various entrances, all with strange names

These UCSD dorms were a series of buildings each named for a continent

Another UCSD building

Houses in Del Mar clustered on a hill

Looking down at the road we'll be on, with ocean on the left and lagoon on the right

The lagoon on the edge of Del Mar

Classy restaurants...

and big condos in Del Mar

People bobbing in the ocean

Houses strategically arranged to maximize the ocean view

The entrance to the town of Solana Beach

Beautiful grasses and flowers along the rail trail in Solana Beach

A woman jogging with her baby on the rail trail

Houses in Solana Beach

Surfers waiting for a wave

A street corner in Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Condos in Carlsbad

A Cape May kind of house

People enjoying the beach in Oceanside

The scenery in Camp Pendleton

Can these be barracks?

One of the Camp Pendleton signs

Troops in trucks pass us

More scenery

A tank on display in a training area

Along San Onofre State Beach, mountains on our right

And park benches and ocean on our left

The nuclear power plant at San Onofre...

and the massive transmission lines coming from it

A park in the town of San Clemente

A school and church across from the park

Mountains along the road in Capistrano

Our tent site at Doheny State Beach Park...

conveniently located near the showers and restrooms

Campsites along the beach

A couple relaxing on the beach

Waves caressing the shore

A plaque explaining the original adobe archway entrance to the park

The adobe entrance

Sailboats in the ocean and seagulls in a channel