Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Saturday, May 17, 2008
After yesterday's bad experience with the bike path through LA, Pat swore he'd never get on one again. I finally sweet-talked him into trying the one Adventure Cycling recommended as an alternative to Route 1. I had also gotten some confirmation last night, from a fellow college alumna, that the bike path was pretty straight-forward. She also assured me that it would be easy to find because there would be a million people on it today, given it's Saturday. So we set out after breakfast in a local diner and found it quite easily. It was a very nice path, not so crowded that we couldn't move at a good pace, but definitely well-populated. There were several lovely shore houses right along the path and then a wide stretch of sand to the ocean. There were lots of surfers in the water in places, and we saw something new today - people standing on surfboards rowing with long oars, almost like a Venetian gondolier. We decided this must be a way to strengthen one's arms and legs for surfing. There was one obstacle on the path, a set of stairs we had to climb, but someone kindly offered to help us up them. The day was sunny and the beach was quite hot, but the ride was smooth and enjoyable.
We went around a large marina, Marina del Rey, with some help from other bikes on the trail - this was the only tricky part of the trail - and ended up in the town of Venice. Venice was a very colorful town with brightly colored markets, street vendors selling all manner of arts and crafts, and some interesting sculptures and murals. We went past several state beaches and ended up at the Will Rogers state beach in Santa Monica. There the path ended and we turned back on Route 1. The highway was busy, but it had a good shoulder so it wasn't difficult riding. We soon came to Malibu which promised to be very scenic, but the road was being repaved and it was currently scraped of the old asphalt, so the surface was very rough. This went on for 4 or 5 miles with a little break of smooth surface in the middle. This spoiled our appreciation of Malibu's scenicness somewhat, but there were definitely some nice houses in town, several expensive restaurants, and some beautiful beaches. We didn't really see the beach until near the end of town, since the houses blocked the view from the road. Many of the houses along the beach overhung the water.
As we headed out of Malibu, the ocean was still hard to see in many places, either because of the terrain or landscaping, or because there were so many cars lined up in front of it. We could always tell where there was beach access by the cars lining the road. The terrain became more mountainous, and there were several impressive canyons along the route. We met a lone biker who was almost as loaded down as we were (he has the unique distinction of being the only bike slower than we were!). He told us that one of the canyons we passed was the site of a very bad wildfire last November that destroyed a lot of houses. Clearing brush is taken very seriously here, and we saw workers doing so in a couple of places. The combination of the tall mountains and their stunning foliage on one side, and the beautiful ocean on the other was quite delightful.
We had planned to meet Heather and Kevin - Heather being the sister-in-law of Pat's daughter Sarah - somewhere in Point Mugu State Park and as we neared our destination, we saw Heather flagging us down. As they live about 20 miles off route, they graciously offered to drive us in their car and pickup truck to their home for the night. We spent a pleasant evening together, ate lasagna and salad that Heather prepared for dinner, played a bit with their 2-year-old daughter, Katie, and then finally got to work on the website. We biked almost 50 miles today in almost 5 hours, a decent average considering the hilliness on the second leg of our trip. Tomorrow, they'll drop us off back on route again and we'll head off to Carpinteria.