5:30 am: I wake up coughing, go hack up a bunch of radioactive-looking phlem. Go back to bed.
7:00 am: I am awake and can't sleep. I text Shannon because I miss her. Then fall asleep. Then wake up a bunch coughing and fall back asleep a bunch. Then, somewhere in there, I take an cyproflaxin.
8:00 am: I wake up, as we had planned to do at 8am. Robbie says, "You are sick. Sleep in important. Take your time." So I did.
9:00 am: We get up, and start packing our stuff. We text people in L.A. and look up routes to figure out how we are going to get there. While we are doing this, Jerrod blasts into the intercom to our room that little ditty they play before raced. "DA da da-da da, DA da da-da da, DA da da-da da da DAAA DA. DA DA DA DA DA DAAAA, DA DA DA DA DA DAAA" etc. That made us laugh. We went upstairs to get some cereal.
11:00 am: We leave Joel and Jerrods, hugging them and Harley and Rayray and thanking all of them for helping us out. We use their pump to inflate our tires, then we roll north on Pacific Coast highway back towards Camp Pendelton, passing the Top Gun House on the way (which is very run down and shabby now. It's sad).
11:15 am: We arrive at the intersection where, just one day earlier, the biggest moron on earth sent us climbing the bombing range mountains of CP. We turn left this time, and go on our way. The trail along the coast in Camp P is really nice. We must have seen hundreds of cyclists in racing outfits on that trail. Beautiful. There was also alot of roadkill. We saw a dead rabbit, and the rib cage was sticking up, plainly visible from out moving bikes. Also in CP, we decided to see how fast we were going, so we pulled out the GPS while moving and looked: at that point, on flat ground with a tail-wind--19.8 miles per hour. Neither of us were winded, and we were having nice chats about doing bike races in Michigan when we return (look out, Ben).
1:00 pm: We are in San Clemente and my tire pops. It took quite a while to unload my bags and my Uke from their bungied security on the rack, take of the tire, dispose of it, put a new tire in, and inflate it to a safe pressure. With my little emergency pump, we can only get about 90 pounds per square inch in my tire. I discovered why it popped while changing it; there was a jagged, metal thorn of sorts jammed in through my tire. Good I found it, or I would have left it in my tread, put a new tube in, and the metallic menace would have popped that, too. The needs more like 140 pounds per square inch, so we googled directions to "bike shop" on my iphone and found the nearest one was only a mile away. That bike shop: San Clemente Cyclery, selling and fixing bikes since 1974. They were extremely helpful, giving us a top-off with their full-sized floor pump, and selling me a few new tubes to have on hand when the ones I have now pop. Their number is 949-492-8890. If you are touring past, save that number in your phone and they will help you when shit hits the fan.
3pm: We roll through Laguna Beach. It wasreally nice. The hills along the coast, however, were hard to get up and down. Once, I got going as fast as I could down a hill to build momentum for the upcoming mountain, and my light blew off my helmet right at the bottom of the dip, so I had to walk my bike up the monster. my knees feel very tired. I'm icing them now, as a matter of fact. The pressure required to climb a big hill really wears on the knees, and the speed at which one climbs a hill like that isn't much faster than walking. Cost-benefit analysis. Walk. Laguna beach was super nice. There were lots of fancy-looking girls there, and lots of older ladies who had once been fancy looking girls but had passed their prime and failed to receive the memo. When I'm bald and fat, I will find a new style that works for a fat bald guy. That will reduce attention to my flaws, though people will still wonder why Shannon has settled for me, if she has indeed still settled for me. The hazard of being with somebody alot better looking than you: people wonder why.
4pm: I'm dying of hunger and losing energy to pedal very fast. We stop at Ralph's in Newport Beach, where I go into the store, eat some free-sample cheese and crackers, and buy oranges, bananas, protein drinks, a gatorade, and 6 clif bars. We feast outside, chilling with a funny security guard, who told us that we were about 40 miles from Santa Monica yet. Turns out we were 54 miles from Santa Monica. I looked at google maps, having learned my lesson with that piece of crap in Camp Pendelton. There were 4 hours between that moment and nightfall, and 54 miles between us and our final destination. We decide to go for it, as we have a place to stay in LA (3 actually. We are popular there) but not only part of the way to LA. Although we had already ridden roughly 45 miles, we hit the road, prepared to ride even farther.
5:30 pm: We have passed alot of boring stuff, except we went past a nude beach next to a power plant with two adjacent dome buildings that looked like boobs. Now, we are riding quickly across much flatter terrain. Rob had to tinkle, so we stopped at at grocery store so he could do so, and refill our water bottles (with water, not pee). It looks like we are on a good pace to make it to Santa Monica, on the northwest side of LA.
6pm: We rolling into Long Beach, our halfway point for part 2 of the days journey. The next 15 miles was in the ghetto or in industrial parks. It was not a fun place to ride. People were smoking weed on the streets, crackheads were pillaging garbage cans. The green signs that said "Pacific Coast Highway Bike Trail" had bullet holes in them. There were dozens of taco stands (which would normally be a good thing, but it smelled really good and we weren't about to stop). The industrial parks probably gave us lung cancer. Gross places to be.
7pm: We have been hitting alot of traffic lights, which really adds time to the journey. It will be nice when we are passed Southern Cali into more wilderness where we can bike uninterrupted by cars and their needs. We see a sign that says, "18 miles to Santa Monica." I am very tired, but the adrenaline rush makes me pedal like crazy for the next hour. Robbie keeps up fine. He isn't tired at all, as he is in much better shape than I am. At times, we are doing 30 mph, at other times, we are stopped at lights or walking our bike up a massive hill. The scariest portion of this hour-to-the-finish was going through LAX (massive airport in LA). It was still a legally condoned bike path, and we had our headlamps on the back of our helmets, but motorists were not impressed with us. Rob got honked at and yelled at by some Pakistani cab driver. I was really cranking it through there. Lots of 4 lane tunnels of 50mph traffic. We must have been doing 35 for most of that stretch. Fear=speed.
8pm: It was dark, we had made it about a mile past the airport. It was also very cold. We were someplace close to Santa Monica, and all we new is that our place to stay was someplace close, so instead of going into the heart of SM, we decide to call Aaron and Ron, our hosts, and see about getting picked up instead of biking in the dark. Aaron says he'll come get us, and we are only about 10 minutes away from his house, 5 miles from Santa Monica (oh yeah).
8:30. We have been sitting by the shopping carts at a Ralph's, eating the rest of the tortilla chips we bought when we were lost in Camp Pendelton. Aaron shows up with a moving van. We throw our bikes in and peace out. We get to Aaron and Ron's house, which is gorgeous (all my uncle's friends have gorgeous houses, as does my uncle. It's a competition they have which has directly benefitted the bike tried, though we are now at the end of the hotel chain and must find alternative lodging from here on out.) We take hot showers and throw laundry in. We go eat some Brazilian food, where the waiters were upset that we requested a pitcher of water. It was delicious. We walked back, and now I am typing this blog.