Friday, May 23, 2014

Day #26 - How many Selfies can you take in one day?

Day #26
Hermosa Beach to San Clemente

Today seemed long.  It is really interesting to me how every day is different along this journey.  Not just the scenery and the route but everything else that is involved.  We have been working on the planning of this ride for well over a year and each of us had different responsibilities.  Since I did not plan the route I think when we said we were riding down the Pacific Coast Highway, I took it literally.  But in actuality we are using that as a general guideline, keeping the ocean to the right, but getting off the PCH as much as we can to make it easier for the bicyclists.  Makes complete sense in retrospect and I am much more comfortable with them being on side roads and bike trails (as I am sure they are too) but it is SO much more work for SAG than just staying on the PCH all the way.  Which brings me back to my point of how each  Some days we actually were on the PCH the whole way and my biggest concern those days was 'how far am I going to drive before I pull over and enjoy the ocean while waiting for the riders?'  (and take another selfie- I think this is the week for selfies for me.  I took one at every beach.  Ha ha.  At least I am not in the bathroom in front of a mirror making duck lips, right?)
Just one of the Selfies along the way today….

Days like today when we are completely in town all day are a lot harder with no down time for Kyle and myself.  We had 3 pages of turns today.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love it, but it is different.  A bit more work to make sure one of us gets to the next turn to get the riders on the right road.  I tried really hard to stay focused and not let Kyle down today and I hope I did OK.  I did not get lost nor did I get any of the bikers lost.  (I did run a few ‘pink’ lights trying to keep up with Kyle- I think he was trying hard to ditch me ;-)

So, let me backtrack….we left Hermosa Beach this morning and are very grateful to our hosts for the evening, the Hope Chapel.  We had a big room that we each staked out a spot in.  We gained a rider first thing in the am….welcome to Galen.  And had a temporary rider mid day as Leisa hopped on the tandem with Carl for an Anniversary Celebration ride.  And at lunch time we also picked up Joey for the rest of the ride.  We gain quite a few more tomorrow.

Getting out of town was slow.  In fact, there were so many stop lights that the bikes were keeping up with me.  That actually worked pretty well since we could tell them where to turn out the window.  I think Hermosa Beach has more stoplights than Phoenix and I am pretty sure I stopped at every single one of them.  I also noticed a very large number of McDonald’s today.  I have not seen that many in one day since we were in Canada.  I should have been smart and used one for their bathroom but that would have been too easy and then I would not have been able to tell you about one of the grossest and scariest bathrooms I have been in in a long time.  When we dropped the riders off on a bike path, Kyle and I detoured to find a bathroom.  We stopped at a 7-11 in Long Beach – no bathroom.  We went across the street to a local store – no bathroom.  So we saw a park and decided to use theirs.  It was not only dirty but someone had actually stolen all the doors to the stalls.  I am super glad I had Kyle waiting outside because I am pretty sure we were not in the best of neighborhoods.

Which brings me to another thought I had today.  (Today is my day to go off on tangents because I only have one more blog after this and I am sad and reflective tonight)  Over the two weeks I have been along, I have found myself on the side of the road by myself a lot - Either waiting for the guys to show up so I can supply them with food and water or waiting on a corner for them to show up so I can send them in the right direction.   There have been a few places where I would never have been by myself in any other situation but I never, not once, felt unsafe at any point.  I find that very interesting and am going to have to ponder why that is.  Any ideas?  (It is not just because of the knife Shane left for me in the center console either.)

We drove through a lot of beach towns today.  Remember yesterday when I said that I found my retirement community in Manhattan Beach because it was chic yet unpretentious?  Well, if I win the lottery and decide that pretentious is really what I’m in need of, I found that ideal retirement area today.  Oh my gosh, Laguna Beach is spectacularly beautiful.   Even the picnic area was ostentatious.  It had an amphitheater style picnic areas so that all tables had a clear view of the ocean.  Oh my goodness, it was gorgeous.

We were going to finish the ride in Dana Point tonight but they were covering so many miles in such good time that we went all the way to the San Clemente Pier.  Joey is a triathlete and finished way ahead of everyone else.  Keith would have also but he decided to ride a few extra miles out and back when he got lost at the end of the day.  We had some ice cream on the pier and then headed to our host church tonight, The Heritage Christian Fellowship.  I apparently had a little miscommunication with my contact and so he was not here and no one here knew we were coming.  We chatted over the phone and he gave me the rundown which included making ourselves scarce until 8:30 when the two activities going on here finished up.  I was a bit miffed about this and felt badly for everyone else as we had to go locate and pay for showers.  We went to dinner, got more ice cream and did our grocery shopping for tomorrow before heading back.  After talking by phone to Toby again, I felt a little more comfortable with the housing situation and we got settled for the night.  Everyone who is here is very nice and gracious and we so appreciate that they are letting is stay in their beautiful church.

Once again everyone else is sound asleep and sawing logs as I type this but I made a commitment to myself to not get behind on blogging this time.  Shane asked me an interesting question this morning as we went to get breakfast at the “Best Donuts”  (they might not have been lying.  And “haven’t you heard, never rob a bank across the street from the world’s best donuts?”)  He asked me if I am always up so late and awake so early - I am also the first one up every morning so that I do not get in their way as they get ready.  I do stay up late at night and get up a lot earlier than I have to for work but I think the reason it is so extreme on this ride is that I like to reflect during the quiet time. (although it is NOT quiet - there is stereo snoring going on.)  I am so energized by this experience that I am not tired.  I do not want to see it end tomorrow but I do know that the memories and things I have seen and learned will carry with me for a long time.

On that note, I better get this posted and hit the air mattress that we finally figured out my ‘sleep number’ on for the last night (84.)

See ya at the Beach!

San Clemente Pier

Happy Anniversary Carl & Leisa!

SAG Selfie of the day!  Kamrie joined SAG for part of the day!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day #25 - They think I was lost…but I really just wanted to go to Venice Beach!

Day #25
Oxnard to Hermosa Beach

Thank you so much to our Oxnard Host, Carolyn.  She opened up her beautiful home and also took us to her favorite restaurant for dinner and it was the most delicious Greek chicken I have ever eaten.  Shane, Shannon, Keith and I slept outside on her back patio and it was a crisp, clear night.  All the guys fell asleep instantly so I used my Sky View App and could see Mars and Saturn amongst all the stars. I also found it interesting that no one snored outside.

Thanks for dinner, Carolyn.

Today was officially ‘Big Delicious Day’ – at least that’s what I’m calling it.  Thanks Shannon for wearing those bike shorts one more time just for me…you can say it was because you wanted to wear bibs, but I know better and I appreciate it!  ;-) 

Big Delicious

Day #25 - Thanks Carolyn.

Goofy Day #25

It started out a bit overcast but nice.  We got to ride past Ft Mugo Naval base and stopped to take pix with some old planes and missiles. 

I see the resemblance

We rode through Malibu and I have to say, it looks a lot more impressive on “Two and a Half Men.”  We ate lunch in parking lot using our portable picnic set up of a roll-a-table and camp chairs and if the signs had not said Malibu, we could just as easily been in Glendale.  Nothing spectacular to write home about.  I think they must have been hiding the nice areas from the passers by.  I had to stop for gas and a bathroom break and I chose a station poorly.  I had to wait in line for a pump and it seemed to take forever.  I was very worried being away from the riders because they had a turn coming up and I felt like I was at the gas station for an hour.  (it was probably only 15 minutes but that is ridiculous amount of time for a gas station these days and I was in a hurry)  It turned out OK because I found them and they really had not gone nearly as far as I expected but I was sweating bullets and only half filled the tank.

I met some interesting people on the side of the road today while I was waiting on the boys.  Ramiro, the guy working road construction duty…I pulled up behind his truck and he got out to see what we were doing.  He had been at work since 8pm the night before and I think he just wanted me to keep him awake while he waited for the rest of his crew to finish.  There was also Dachaw, the state park parking lot attendant.  When I told him about our ride, he pulled out a note card from his pocket to show me that his goal for the day was to make a difference in the world just like I was doing.  I thought that was pretty cool. 

I forgot to mention earlier that we gained a rider today.  Carl’s son, Jordan, joined the ride mid morning.  As we get closer to San Diego we are going to keep picking up riders. It is also going to get a bit more difficult to navigate.  We keep telling the riders to keep the ocean on their right but it is not that simple.  We have lots of little detours off the PCH to make it as safe as possible for them and the more we get off the PCH, the more complicated it is for Kyle and I.  Although he is a navigational genius – almost reaching savant levels - he still has to work with me and I am very seriously navigationally challenged and hold him back quite a bit.  I am pretty sure that I was bugging Kyle today with calls and questions and will do my very best to not annoy him tomorrow.  Sorry Kyle.  There was a time today when he thinks I got lost but really I just wanted to go to Venice Beach.  (Shhh….don’t tell him I am not as directionally dysfunctional as he thinks….I have a reputation to uphold.)

SAG selfie of the day
I found where I am moving next today (That is if I decide not to park an RV on the great wall from yesterday.)  Manhattan Beach is my favorite beach we have driven through in any of the cities.  I love it.  It has personality but is not pretentious.  I am definitely coming back.  Most of the afternoon, the riders were on bike paths and we had to work our way around the city to find them.  We drove along the coast without riders all the way from Venice Beach to Hermosa Beach Pier where we ended for the day.  Surprisingly (due to traffic and parking) we beat them there and actually had to wait for a bit before they came riding down the ocean walk.  We loaded up and drove to the Hope Community Church for our evening’s lodging.  Tonight was youth night at the church and there were tons of people around but it was fun to talk to all of them and they made us feel right at home.  We have a really large room all to ourselves and have each staked out a corner. 

Hermosa Beach Pier

Kyle and I worked on the route (basically Kyle worked on it and I tried really hard to follow – I promise to try and not get lost tomorrow, Kyle) and then we had visitors join us.  Another rider and his family who are joining us tomorrow and my cousin Lora, who I have not seen in about 10 years.  She joined us for dinner and it was really nice to catch up.  She fit right in to the group and we had a great time. 

Dinner at Fire Pit Pizza

See, Carl, I have cousins too. 

Well everyone else is already snoring so I am going to end this now.  (Shannon says I type loudly so I am probably keeping him up but he is too polite to throw a pillow at me.)  This amazing journey is nearing the end and I know the riders are super excited but I, for one, will be sad to see it end.

See ya on down the road in San Clemente!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Day #24 - The Great Wall of RV's

Day #24
Carpenteria to Oxnard

It was nice to be back to the beach today.  I love the beach.  The sand, the water, the smell…When I moved to Arizona, that was the hardest part for me…. I have long since adjusted but it is so nice to visit.  We packed up the vehicles and took our traditional morning pix – along with a few non-traditional ones.  Thank you again to David Magnusson and the LDS church in Carpenteria for your taking such great care of us.  We appreciate your hospitality.
Day #24

After a few quick blocks we could smell the salty air and hear the seagulls again.  Today was nice and short due to lodging circumstances (remember, I had issues with Goleta so we had to go all the way to Carpenteria instead which was about 35 miles closer to today’s destination.)  We pretty much rode along the ocean all morning.  The coolest thing I saw today was The Great Wall of RV’s.  It was along a nice wide road  and it was basically an RV park right on the sea wall.  There were 127 ocean view spots and RV’s parallel parked all along the road (Mona- can you imagine parallel parking one of those?)  They went on and on.  If I had an RV, I would definitely come park it here for a week.  What a spectacular view for $28/night.

The guys spent the 2nd half of the miles today on a bike path which was easier for us than I thought it would be because it did meet up with the road in a few spots so Kyle and I just waited there.  

Does anyone else think this is the coolest name for a bank?
We had SO few miles today we were just about done by lunch time so I drove ahead and found a cool lunching place.  At Channel Islands Harbor we dined upstairs on a patio overlooking the marina.   We caused quite a stir with the two-man staff at the Lookout Grill and Bar because they were grossly understaffed and worried that we were going to be upset about waiting.  On the contrary, like I said, we were almost done for the day and way too early to show up at Carolyn’s house yet.  Carl’s family showed up and joined us – Carl had not seen them in almost a month so he has literally been giddy for the last two days. 

Now we are relaxing here with Carolyn who is hosting us tonight is her delightful art-deco home.  We had so much extra time that Shannon cleaned the bikes, Kyle and I did tomorrow’s route and then he and Shannon did the rest of the ride while I was in the shower (I guess I took a longer shower than I thought.) We have done 3 loads of laundry and Carl and crew went back to the beach.  All before 6.  I might actually get this posted before dinner and we can all go to bed early.  I am not sure what that is like.
Carolyn - tonight's 'Hostess with the Mostess'

Her amazing backyard.
Who is that with the colorful dreds?

Shannon cleaning bikes

See ya on down the road!  

And Now….Deep Thoughts…. by Mona Abalona

To sum up my 10 days with Pops Ride in just a few paragraphs is going to be tough.  I thought coming in mid ride would be more stressful seeing as the guys all had their routines locked down, but no, it was a smooth transition, out with the old, Dwayne and Jerry ( no pun intended) and in with the new, but since Nate-Dog is only 19 it is safe to say. Nathanial, Keith, and I arrived in Medford OR and we were met by Dwayne's wife Grace. Grace had the patience to drive for 3 hours, pick up 3 strangers and then drive for a few more hours just to pick up her husband, she must have missed him.  After some instructions from Shane, we were ready to settle in for the night.

What an adventure I had, from Medford OR to Paso Robles CA, it was fun, exciting and full of laughs. Oh don't get me wrong there were a few tense moments.  Sorry Doris, I almost took out your husband on the side of the road.... A miscommunication? or my inability to read BIKE sign language? 

I had a few firsts along the ride, a Black Bear decided to make a mad dash across the street while I was riding peacefully along the "Avenue of the Giants", a whale was slowly swimming across the bay in Point Arena CA, The Golden Gate was pretty intimidating but I was able to win it over, and then there was the first experience of sleeping under the stars, I liked it so much I did it once again a few nights later. I was able to introduce some of my Arizona 'family'  to my California family, when we rode into my hometown of Paso Robles, this was the start of my "oh no it's over already to my whoo hoo I get to see my family" phase.  I am grateful to Henry, Mom, Tawny, Lloyd, Miranda and Cavan for opening up their home and letting me bring in these wonderful people. I love all of you!  

If the views, the weather and the incredible giving nature of people didn't amaze me enough, then Carl and Jerry did. I learned that these two have such heart and strength! to ride every day, keep smiling and enjoy life no matter what they are handed.  Both of you astound  me! I hope I can look to you for inspiration when I feel like it is getting too tough.   Carl, I will dance with you on the street anytime! Yes, Jerry we will always stop at the fruit stands to purchase Cherries! 

I am back home now and ready to get back to normal, with a few less magical tears.  Luckily I do have my memories of my 10 days of awesomeness!!!!

Mona Abalona

Rachel and Mona