First Day with my Quest.

I took the day off, went to the freight depot and picked up my new Quest. Put it in the truck and brought it home. One of the fun days we work and live for!

Paul next to unoppend box

Paul next to unoppend box

My friend Paul came along to give moral support, drool over my new toy. :-)

Velo Rambler next to box

Velo Rambler next to box

Here I am standing next to same box. You only get one chance to take a picture like this. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. I was savoring the moment, every moment, leading up to the unveiling.

MIss Quest in Original Form

MIss Quest in Original Form

And here is what I’ve been waiting 6 months for She is a thing of beauty.

Now she's mine

Now she’s mine

Added a decal and some chrome. Now she’s really mine.

Share

Shipped Today

Woo! Hoo! It shipped today. Months of waiting almost over.

I hope it’s every bit as fun as I expect. Probably take me a month before I feel comfortable with it. Will be like Christmas morning when it arrives.

2014-04-11-Quest-800x600

Shipped today April 11, 2014. Like waiting for a child to be born. Know within a couple of days when she will arrive. But not exactly.

Share

First Pictures

of my new Quest velomobile.

I can hardly wait for it to get here.

New Blue Quest

New Blue Quest

 

Front view of the Quest

Front view of the Quest

 

Rear view of my Blue Quest

Rear view of my Blue Quest

Randy says he hopes to be able to ship Monday the 7th or Tuesday the 8th. I’m looking forward to it!

 

Share

LCVMG 2014, Los Osos, California

Or for those not in the know, the Left Coast VeloMobile Gathering

Moro Bay seen from Cayucas

Moro Bay seen from Cayucos, California

 

 

This is a great place to have a velomobile gathering. Craig and Vicky did a first rate job of organizing, planning the routes and welcoming us to their home. I’ve never seen so many velomobiles in one place, except in pictures on the web. :-)

LCVMG in Craig's Garage.

LCVMG in Craig’s Garage.

Many of us commented on the tidiness of Craig’s garage. Looks like something from a Home & Garden magazine. Great place to park a lot of velomobiles.

IMG_0576_800x600

When your Alleweder gets run over this is what you get to replace it.

I was pleased to see this, since the top is the color of my velomobile when it arrives. My anticipation is growing.

Velocity Velos  Velomobile had one of the most unusual paint schemes.  Real conversation starter.

Velocity Velos Velomobile had one of the most unusual paint schemes. Real conversation starter.

The owner of Velocity Velos was at LCVG and  brought two of his along. This  was the most unusual paint job. Very artistic.

The famous Alleweder velomobile goes back to the late 80′s.

The famous Alleweder velomobile goes back to the late 80′s.

For the person with lots of time, and a desire to build it himself, the Alleweder is just the ticket. There were several at LCVMG, one even has electric assist.

Go-one Evo with Bionix electric assist.

Go-one Evo with Bionix electric assist.

For Salt Lake City this is probably and ideal velo. He rode most of the day with the canopy raised to allow the air to circulate. The Bionix drive means that he was out front much of the ride.

Milan GT, was a popular "test ride" for those who could get in. It's very fast, with the right rider.

Milan GT, was a popular “test ride” for those who could get in. It’s very fast, with the right rider.

You have to love the “bubbles”. This is a very light, very tight velomobile. The suspension is very stiff. Did I mention that it’s also very fast, with a fast rider.

Two homebuilt, coroplast velomobiles

There were two homebuilt, coroplast velomobiles built over standard trikes. They held their own with the commercially produced velomobiles. Good entry level Velo for someone has more time than money and is handy.

They were just as fast as the guys in the commercial velos. I venture to say they had just as much fun. Fun was had by all.

Second Corplast Velo. Both bodies were built by the same person.

Second Corplast Velo. Both bodies were built by the same person.

Orin built both these velos, I believe. And they are works of coroplast art. How often can you say those two words together?

For a bunch of strangers, we sure could talk. I think Saturday was almost an hour late starting. "Because we were waiting for late arrivals."

For a bunch of strangers, we sure could talk. I think Saturday was almost an hour late starting. “Because we were waiting for late arrivals.”

There were all kinds of bikes. Not just Quests.

There were all kinds of bikes. Not just Quests.

The neighbors seemed to get a kick out of the whole event. I’m sure they all like Craig and Vicky. That’s just the kind of people they are.

Three awesome velomobiles. Variety is good.

Three awesome velomobiles. Variety is good.

There were several times I nearly talked myself out of going to this event. Although I didn’t sleep well either night, and it rained all night long Saturday night. I had a great time, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Alleweder in Fron Velociy Velo behind

Alleweder in Front Velocity Velo is behind

We made our own little parade through town and onto Highway 1. We made a big splash everywhere we stopped and there were always questions. More people were exposed to velomobiles and some may become future owners. The planet and they will be better for it. In my dreams I like to think about velomobile traffic jams in the morning commute, instead of automobile traffic jams.

Who's  feet are those?

Who’s feet are those?

Some people just naturally stand out, because of their personality. Some people wear funny socks. :-)

Three little velos

Two Quests and a Velocity Velo.

I was headed out of town, stopped to take pictures of the Velonauts on the way.

Ian in his Quest

Ian in his Quest

Ian was probably the youngest velonaut. He and I crossed paths several times on the Saturday ride. This is him Sunday.

Rotovelo movin' down the road

Rotovelo movin’ down the road

The rotovelo was a popular test ride. Almost as popular as the Milan GT. I went for a test ride. I was so fatigued by the days ride, I wasn’t able to push it hard. I’m not that big a fan of tractor steering. Just doesn’t feel like a bike to me.

Go Go Go-one

Go Go Go-one

With the  Electric assist, it’s pretty fast. And climbs hills like a guy on a DF. :-)

Pretty in polished aluminum and Red Nose.

Pretty in polished aluminum and Red Nose.

 

Not everyone rode a velomobile

Not everyone rode a velomobile

Just a little slice of heaven

Just a little slice of heaven

I’m looking forward to the next LCVMG when I won’t be the odd man  out, riding a DF. I had a great time. Everyone made me feel welcome and I made a lot of new friends. I can hardly wait for my Quest to arrive.

 

 

 

 

Share

Do you know the way to San Jose (It is what it is.)

The title for this ride is because the original plan was to take the train to San Jose, then ride from there. Later we decided that driving would shorten the trip almost two days.  The challenge was to find a place to park the car, while we toured. I asked on the bicycle touring mailing list, and the plan changed again. Anne came to the rescue with an excellent route, and we could park the car at her house. Many thanks to Anne for her assistance and for the excellent advice for routing. In the future, I will try to consult a local before making a plan to tour in some distant place.

Tuesday July 30, 2013

Rest Stop

Rest Stop in the California Central Valley.

Here we are at the rest stop along I-5 with the two bikes on the roof. The bikes traveled just fine, though they can be a little tough to get up or down if you’re tired, as Paul would find out later.

Here’s the map of our ride Tuesday July 30th. We left San Diego County at about 6:00 A.M. drove for eight hours to Los Altos, about 480 miles. Then we did this ride to the first campsite. Notice how the last mile suddenly turns up? We were walking there. :(

LosAltos-SanbornSkyline-Map

Tuesday July 30

Here’s what the road looks like as we started climbing that last mile to the park entrance.

Sanford Road

Looking up Sanborn Road end of our first day of touring.

We almost gave up, and returned downhill to Saratoga Springs campground, we were glad we didn’t. It was really challenging after 8 hours of driving and a strenuous climb to Sanborn Road. The reward was the campsite. There are only walk in camp sites. No cars allowed. There is a parking lot at the bottom, but you have to carry in all your gear. Bicycles are not allowed, since we arrived by bicycle, they allowed us in, but we had to walk our bikes. That was fine, since we didn’t have the energy to climb the hill on our bikes.

First Night Camping

Tuesday night July 30, first night camping.

The reflectors on our panniers really stands out in this picture, because of the camera flash. The spot was definitely worth the work to get here. See Paul is cooking his dinner.

One of the other campers introduced herself by asking “Are you 7?”. We affirmed that we were camping in site 7. “Glad to meet you 7 I’m 5.” was her response. We never did find out her real name.

Wednesday Morning

Same picture without flash.

Wednesday July 31, 2013

This is how we left the site in the morning. Just a little slice of heaven. It was a great place to spend the night. Blue Jays woke me in the morning with their chatter.

Wednesday Morning

Wednesday Morning

Boy Scout Ryan Pachauri of Troop 407 in Cupertino as a part of his Eagle Service Project is constructing a stairway for the RV Campers to provide a safe path to the restrooms and showers. Whenever I find these Eagle Scout Projects, I like to bring attention to them. It is my opinion, too much attention is paid to the bad things young people do, and not enough to their good works. I know this is a big project for Ryan. I’m sure he’ll do a fine job and many people will appreciate it. Three cheers for Ryan Pachauri.

Eagle Scout Project

Ryan Pachauri’s Eagle Scout Project

Here’s a map of our ride Wednesday. About a six mile climb in the beginning, then a little flat. When we got to Alpine Road we started dropping down. Lot’s of hairpin turns and steep downhills, through Redwood forest. At moments I thought I was riding through a Tolkien landscape. I was watching for Hobbits.

Wednesday's ride

Wednesday July 31

Sanford Skyline County Park, to Butano State Park

Leaving me behind

This is Paul leaving me in his dust climbing the six mile hill. When you have to ride in mountains it’s ideal to start with your big climbs in the morning and get your downhills in the afternoon. By that measure Wednesday was an ideal day of riding in mountains. We did miss a turn and had to take an alternate route on Stage Road to get to our destination at Butano State Park.

Roadside Memorial

Small Cross and wind chimes

Small Cross and wind chimes memorialize someone who lost their life here.


No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Riding in front

For at least part of the time I was in front of Paul. This picture proves it.

Paul and I swapped off the lead for all five  days. He would be out front for a while, then I would take  the lead. I do tend to be more daring  on the down hill rides, so I would often be waiting at the bottom of a long hill. We ride about the same speed, on average, and are well matched in riding abilities. We’re both slow. :)

Viewpoint Highway 9 & Highway 35 Intersect

Highway 9 or Big Basin Way and Highway 35 Skyline Boulevard.

This is the view from where Highway 9 or Big Basin Way and Highway 35 Skyline Boulevard. We get back to this intersection later in the week.

Velorambler Wednesday

You can see the marine layer over the distant mountains.

Trying to catch the views off the ridge toward Santa Cruz. If you look close you can see the marine layer over the coastal ridge behind me.

Mossy Tree Alpine Road

Mossy Tree Alpine Road

We missed a turn near Sam McDonald State Park at the bottom of Alpine Road. We should have taken the left, which is Pescadero Creek Road. Instead we went straight ahead on La Honda Road. We stopped at a small market/bar/gathering place and got directions from people we spoke to there. We learned that we were about six miles north of where we thought we were. So we headed South on Stage road. This lead to a small adventure. Stage Road is under construction. The crews were completely removing the asphalt and reconstructing the road bed. According to the men on the crew, there are a lot of natural spring in the area and they create a lot of extra work for the road crews. We learned all this as we waited for the road grader to arrive where we waited. Then we walked out bikes about half a mile in the tire tracks of the grader. The road was so loose from the work they were doing, that only the tire tracks were firm enough for us to push our bike through. About half a mile later we were on hard packed road bed and back on our bikes.

We stopped in the little town of Pescadero and bought a few supplies, for dinner and breakfast at Norm’s Market in Pescadero.


View Larger Map

Every bike touring blog post should have an obligatory picture of food. We at a lot of freeze dried meals. Here’s a picture of one of mine.

Mary Janes Farm Organic

Yes that is really the name.

And here’s a picture of our campground in Butano State Park, another uphill entrance. We bought firewood. Fortunately we were able to get the camp host to deliver it to the campground for us, instead of having to haul it up the hill. This was our campsite.

Butano State Park campground

Butano State Park campground

Near the water faucet I saw the only banana slug I saw on the entire trip.

Banana Slug

Banana Slug mascot of the University of California at Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz Banana Slug

Butano Trees

Butano Trees

Here’s the base of the redwood in the image above. You could camp inside the base of this tree, except it’s in the middle of the road.

Base of giant redwood

Base of giant redwood

Thursday August 1, 2013

Thursday we headed down toward the coast for an easier day of riding. Good break from all the climbing.

Butano State Park to New Brighton State Beach

Thursday August 1

The skies were blue the road was beautiful and we were well rested from a good night’s sleep.

Leaving Butano State Park

Leaving Butano State Park

The narrow roads were no problem. I think we were passed by only three cars while we traveled this road to the coast, about half an hour and four miles, almost like heaven.

Cloverdale Road

Cloverdale Road between Butano State Park and Gazos Creek Road

The coast was beautiful, with a strong northerly breeze helping us make good time. This is what the coast looks like right where we came out along Gazos Creek Road.

Pacific Coast along California 1

Pacific Coast along California 1

The coast is not flat. There were some hills to climb, but overall it was an easy day of riding. Here’s Paul cresting the hill. Notice who’s in front? :)

Coastal Hill

Coastal Hill

We stopped at a roadside fruit stand. They sold mostly berries, but only had fresh strawberries. This sign said they offered a 10% discount, but we didn’t take advantage of it. We each sat and ate a basket of yummy fresh strawberries.

Bicyclist's discount

Bicyclist’s discount

My cue sheet for this area was a little off. It didn’t account for sections of California 1 where bicyclists are not allowed. We took the scenic route along the coast through Santa Cruz. We stopped for lunch at Pacific Ave Pizza


View Larger Map

Then we meandered along the shoreline until we reached New Brighton State Beach.

New Brighton Beach

New Brighton Beach

New Brighton State Beach Enjoy Your Stay

New Brighton State Beach Enjoy Your Stay

We had our first hiker biker campsite experience here. There were 6 other bicycle tourists in the camp. There were a couple of guys from LA that flew down to San Fransisco then rode 87 miles to the park. There was Ian and Courtney from Vancouver, riding the Pacific Coast Tour. We hope to hear from them when they make it to San Diego, near the end of their trip. Frederick is from Belgium and it wasn’t quite clear where he had been riding. It seemed he came to Colorado, then rode his bicycle to LA, and now he’s headed north along the coast. He was very friendly, but English isn’t his first language. There was one more single rider, out for a 5 day trip by himself. I didn’t catch his name.

Paul & Frederick

Paul & Frederick

We had a great time sharing stories and talking about our adventures on the road. Compared to many of the other bicycle tourists in the campsite, we felt like beginners. A trip of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Friday August 2, 2013

Friday Morning Hiker Biker Camp

Friday Morning Hiker Biker Camp

Friday morning we were the last out of the park. Ian, Courtney and Frederick all planned to stay a second day. We were headed to Big Basin. There would be climbing involved. As Paul would say, and did many times “It is what it is.”.

New Brighton State Beach to Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Friday August 2

If you look close, you can see that we had to double back once, because we got off track. My cue sheet had us traveling California 1, where bicyclists aren’t allowed. We tried to find the most direct route back to Highway 9. Then we had to work our way around the cue sheet. We found our way and started riding up Highway 9.

Along the way we met this local guy “Lucky Lonnie”. Lonnie insisted that we should take a trail that he and several friends had been working on for years. It would keep us off the more heavily traveled highway for a quieter route. The detail we missed was that it isn’t a road, it’s a dirt single track. It may be great on a mountain bike but on a heavy self-contained touring rig, it was a little too challenging for us. We turned back and resumed our ascent up Highway 9 toward Big Basin Road.

Lucky Lonnie & Paul

Lucky Lonnie & Paul

We continued up Highway 9 and the traffic was pretty light. The cars that were there, were courteous and I never really felt endangered. Much of the time we were riding under deep canopy with only occasional bright sunlit spots. Here’s Paul coming out of the shade.

From Shade to Bright Light on Highway 9

From Shade to Bright Light on Highway 9

We stopped in Felton at the New Leaf Market. A local man asked us where we were headed. He told us he worked at Big Basin Redwoods State Park and suggested an alternate route, West Park Ave from Boulder Creek would be less stressful than Highway 236. He explained that it was the old road to the park and eventually rejoined Highway 236.


View Larger Map

We took the advice and it was enjoyable. One of the interesting things we saw was this clock in front of the Kersten’s house. It seems to only be right twice a day. :)

Kersten House

Kersten House

Our final night of the tour was spent at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Headquarters

Big Basin Headquarters

One of the great things about traveling by bicycle is that many parks have special campsites set aside for hikers and bikers. Big Basin Redwoods is no exception. Although we were only a few hundred feet from the highway, the site felt secluded and private, because of all the forest. When we arrived we saw this mandala on the ground.

campsite mandala

campsite mandala

Big Basin Campsite

Big Basin Campsite

Saturday August 3, 2013

This was the last day of our tour. We awoke in Big Basin Redwoods State Park and slept in our own beds that night. This was one of the biggest climbing days of the tour. We only traveled about 25 miles but we climbed almost 2800 feet. Compared to early days of this tour it seemed fairly easy. I guess that’s what happens when you ride 5 days in a row.

Big Basin State Park to Los Altos

Saturday August 3

Paul final day of tour

Paul final day of tour

We had an awesome time, and are looking forward to our next tour. The Santa Cruz mountains are a great place to tour and the redwoods are amazing. It was an adventure we won’t soon forget. We rode about 172 miles, 15,000 foot of climb. We averaged 8.4 MPH with a maximum speed around 40 mph. The amount of fun we had was immeasurable. It is what it is.

Share

San Diego Backcountry Tour – Velorambler plus one

The maps and images may take a while to load, depending upon your network connection and load on the servers.

Our plan was to ride four days with three overnight camps. Thursday, the first day, would be the toughest. We would ride from Poway to La Jolla Indian Reservation Campground. The distance is 40 miles, but the elevation change is more than 4000 feet. That’s more than 100 feet of climb per mile. There are two big climbs to get there. First we had to climb up to Valley Center on Valley Parkway from Escondido. Then we drop down into Pala Valley and start climbing again up the side of Palomar Mountain, until we reach the campground on La Jolla Indian Reservation. We tentatively planned riding to William Heise County Park in Julian on Friday.

Here we are as we prepared to leave. We have our bikes loaded it’s 8:00 AM and we’re ready to go. I didn’t ride the bike this time. Last time I did, the bike, gear, water and rider weighed three hundred pounds. I was probably about that this time.

Ready to go

Ready to go. Neil (Velorambler) left and Paul (plus one) right

When we reached Lake Hodges we crossed over on the pedestrian bridge. We met Ranger Brian in the middle and had him take our picture. Lake Hodges is very green, though there is no water under the bridge right now. The lake was much higher a year ago.

Lake Hodges Bridge

Lake Hodges Bridge

You can see the traffic on Interstate 15 behind Brian. The ridge line in the distance is where Valley Center is, our first big climb of the day.

Ranger Brian

Ranger Brian

Here is Paul taking a break after the tough climb up to the crest and before riding down into Valley Center. According to the map the climb is from 8 to 18% grade and about two miles of climb. That’s not even the hardest climb of the day. The heat made the climbs even more challenging.

Crest of hill on Valley Parkway before going into Valley Center

Crest of hill on Valley Parkway before going into Valley Center

After the climb we dropped down into Valley Center. I stopped to have a smoothie and a short break in Valley Center. After that we dropped into Pauma Valley. Paul wanted to stop at the Subway by Harrah’s Rincon Resort, for lunch. He had a salad and I had a cold water. Then we rode on toward Highway 76.

Elevation 2000 Feet

Elevation 2000 Feet

Stopped to take this picture. We were already pretty worn out, but we have about another 800 feet to climb. We started the day at about 560 feet and will end it at about 2200 feet, after climbing to nearly 2800 feet. Might not seem that tough, but remember we were carrying fully loaded panniers with camping gear and food. It felt like the temperature was about 100 F. It’s a tough climb, even on a cool day. Hot weather makes it even more challenging.

La Jolla Reservation Campground

La Jolla Reservation Campground

We finally arrived at the campground at about 5:30 PM It had taken us nearly thirteen and a half hours to travel 40 miles. I’ve done this ride twice and it doesn’t seem to get easier. IT was a good test for a future ride up to Crescent Lake in Oregon. The distance is a little shorter at Crescent Lake, but the altitude gain is about the same.

The La Jolla Reservation Campground is primitive, but they do have showers. We thought $20 a piece was a little expensive for bicycle camping. We weren’t in any position to make another choice. We had to pay $15 each for camping and a $5 “environmental” fee. You can rent inner tubes to float down the river. They also have a video game room, if that’s your thing. Portable toilets are everywhere in the campground. We chose a “family site” that was reserved for the day we left. Not a bad site, except it was too close to the entrance. Flood lights are on all night long in driveway and vehicles are coming and going. Because of the river, the noise was minimal. I slept pretty good, except when leg cramps woke me. I had the same issue the last time I rode here. Rolaids or Tums seem to help. I’ve also read that dill pickles and mustard straight from the bottle will stop them.

We had a masked bandit come into the camp a couple of times. It’s good to remember that Racoons are everywhere and will raid your camp if you leave out anything to tempt them. They aren’t picky eaters and they are smart enough to figure out how to get into most packages. I’ve read they will even chew a hole in your panniers to get to your food.

Here's Paul Holding up Tree at La Jolla Reservation Campground

Here’s Paul Holding up Tree at La Jolla Reservation Campground

The next day Paul was feeling much stronger. He demonstrates by bending over this giant oak tree. :)

Vellorambler and Tent

Velorambler and Gear

I didn’t feel so strong, and could barely hold myself up, let alone smile.

We planned to ride Friday to ride to William Heise County Park in Julian. The next day we planned to either ride back to the start, or stop in Ramona for another night. This is the route we planned.

Instead we took this route to go to Ramona. We spent the Friday night there.

It was quite a few miles more before we left the La Jolla Indian Reservation. I think we crossed four or five reservations on our trip.

Leaving La Jolla Indian Reservation

Leaving La Jolla Indian Reservation

It was a beautiful morning Friday and we cruised along heading east on Highway 76 on our way to Lake Henshaw.

Velorambler taking a picture of Paul taking a picture of Lake Henshaw

Velorambler taking a picture of Paul taking a picture of Lake Henshaw

The lake was lovely and there seemed to be quite a bit of water still. We started to ride up Mesa Grande Road. But, the grade was steep and our legs were tired, so we decided to ride to the junction with 79 and bypass Mesa Grande. We still ended up climbing a bit up to Santa Ysabel, which is at just short of 3,000 feet.

Highway 79 to Santa Ysabel

Highway 79 to Santa Ysabel

We decided to stop at The Santa Ysabel Mission.

“The Santa Ysabel Asistencia was founded on September 20, 1818 at Cañada de Santa Ysabel in the mountains east of San Diego (near the village of Elcuanan), as a “sub-mission” to Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and to serve as a rest stop for those travelling between San Diego and Sonora.”

Cemetery at Mission Santa Ysabel

Cemetery at Mission Santa Ysabel

The cemetery is small, but still being used today. I recognized some recent headstones. I didn’t go in, just took pictures over the fence. We did manage to find an electrical outlet where we could charge our phones while we recuperated and hydrated. I have learned to drink a full bottle and refill whenever the opportunity arises. It’s hard to drink to much water when you are working this hard.

Commemorative Bell at  Mission Santa Ysabel

Commemorative Bell at Mission Santa Ysabel

I thought the commemorative bell was fascinating. It closely resembles the bells that were placed along El Camino Real in 1906. Most of those bells are gone now, but a few still remain. Up around Santa Barbara you can see them along Highway 101.

We arrived at Dos Picos Park in Ramona after a grocery stop, at about 2:00 PM. There was a sign at the Ranger’s office that the campground was full. We asked and were told that they had a space in reserve, and since we were riding bicycles, they would make a space available. It was cheaper than the Reservation Campground and we got a premium spot. The only negative was that we were right across from the cabins and someone decided to leave the porch light on all night. The campground was noisy until late. No river here to mask the sounds of other campers.

We had a visit from another masked bandit. Paul left a partly eaten block of cheese laying on some ice. The raccoon could not resist. It was dark at the time, and I heard some noise. There was the little bandit munching away. We threw away the cheese and cleaned the camp. We need to learn to be very careful with food in camp. Raccoons seem to be everywhere and they will steal anything they can eat. Certain smells really attract them.

Breaking camp in Ramona

Breaking camp in Ramona

Paul wanted to take a picture of this sign, because his son works there.

Orfila Winery Escondido

Orfila Winery Escondido

We had a great stay in Ramona and we started packing Saturday morning. We were back to the start at about noon Saturday.

Share

2013 Velorambler Three Amigos Sideways Tour

Home to Santa Fe Station

Wednesday April 3rd

Mileage estimate: 25 miles from home

We wanted to make this a no car trip, so I started riding at 7:30 from my home in Poway and met Dennis about an hour later. We rode together through Kearney Mesa, Linda Vista, Old Town, then straight down Kettner to the Santa Fe Station. Our train departed San Diego at noon, but we wanted to allow some safety margin in case of mishaps. We absolutely didn’t want to miss the only-once-a-day train  going all the way to San Luis Obispo. As far as I know this is furthest you can go North from San Diego on Amtrak without having to box your bike. There were seven spaces for bikes in the baggage car on the Amtrak 777 this day.

Reflections

Instead of finding someone to take our picture, I shot our reflection in a store window.

IMG_0155small

We rode down Kettner Boulevard to Santa Fe Station in downtown San Diego, to board Amtrak 777 to Guadalupe California, the start of our tour. The bicycle gods smiled down on us so we arrived more than an hour early. We decided to saunter down to the waterfront to check out the views.

IMG_0158small

Another gorgeous day and an auspicious start to our first “Three Amigos” tour. We met up with the third “Amigo” when the train stopped at Solana Beach.

IMG_0159small

Here Dennis and I were “snacking” on the waterfront. In the background is The Fish Market and The USS Midway Museum both popular attractions in San Diego.

Third Amigo

Paul joined us on the train at Solana Beach. He was in good spirits as were we all.

All Aboard

All Aboard! We had a 15 minute stop over at Union Station Los Angeles

Guadalupe to  Santa Maria

Wednesday evening April 3rd

Approximate Mileage 15

We arrived in Guadalupe on time 7:43 PM. We left the train, and started riding North, but we were supposed to be going South. About a mile down the road we realized our error, because our route slip showed a turn at .6 miles.  It was already getting dark, when we left the train. It was still dark when we rode the 8+ miles to Santa Maria and our first hotel, dodging broccoli in the roadway. :) This is a very rural area, so there is very little ambient light. We had lighting on our bikes. Paul’s was super bright, blinding my mirror riding in front of him. Dennis’ light appeared to be more yellow, don’t know how well it lit the road. I have dynamo lighting with Busch & Muller front and rear lights and ride with confidence. I always have lights and don’t give it a second thought. I can see the road and am visible too. I never have to think twice about my lights, they are on all the time. I augment my dynamo tail light with a Portland Design works tail lamp. The only think I don’t like about PD tail light is that it can  be hard to turn on and off with long finger gloves.  The road where traffic was looked rough, but the wide shoulder where we were riding was smooth. No pictures of this part of the adventure, because it was at dark. :)

Town and Country Hotel

The Town and Country Hotel in Santa Maria turned out to be a very bad choice. The rooms were filthy and a couple of the “Amigos” had dirty towels. In the morning as we were leaving one of the other guests asked if we had bed bugs. Fortunately we didn’t get any of those. The “breakfast” for guests consisted of some plastic wrapped “honey buns”. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Santa Maria to Solvang

Thursday April 4th

Approximate mileage: 42 Miles

The weather  report predicted 40% of showers. Shortly after daybreak there was a light mist, which made the pavement wet, but not enough to run off. That was the 40%. :) As the day progressed, the weather got more glorious. Our first stop was for breakfast at Coco’s for breakfast. Then we headed for our next destination Solvang.

Tops in their field

The weather kept getting better as we rode along. Here we stopped at a farm to take a break, shed some clothing and continue on our ride.

Lettuce

Salad anyone? :)

Agro-Jal

It can be a challenge to photograph the vistas. Foxen Canyon Road runs through a rich agricultural area where there are a lot of fruits and vegetables growing. The mountains are visible to the North and East. We saw crops of lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and others. There were grapes, we were heading toward an area of wineries as we started climbing toward Solvang.

Paul pointing

Lot’s of smiles as we rode along. :)

Dennis taking picture

We spent so much time taking pictures we hardly made any forward progress for the first few hours. It seemed we were stopping every 10 minutes to take more pictures. The scenery was that beautiful. :)

IMG_0185small

We turned a corner and saw the Garey Store and Deli. This store seemed to be thriving and neat as a pin. We saw others along the way that were closed. It made me wonder how much longer these small stores will survive. The slowing economy is always hard on small business. I wonder how many families it takes to support this small store?

Old Farm Building

This old building is slowly returning to the earth it sprung from. The adobe walls at the bottom are eroding. If no one intervenes,  one day the building will collapse. We could see what appeared to be lime plaster still on the walls above the lintels. Could this be a house from the Mission period? Interesting to look at and lots more questions than answers.

Wine Country

The beginning of wine country, vineyards and vistas. The motor traffic was exceptionally low. We might ride for an hour and not see a car. Every once in a while a car or truck would come along to remind us we weren’t in bicycle nirvana, just close by. :) Most of the traffic was driving the highways, we tried to avoid them as much as we could.

Vineyard

Did I mention vineyards? :)

VeloramblerRiverBench

Here I am in front of River Bench Vineyard & Winery

Tree Skeleton

Something seems to be killing off the ancient oaks that dot the hillsides of the Central Coast. Some on-line research turned up an article that seems to implicate the California oak moth. This particular tree is next to a gate, so trampling the ground around it’s roots could have been a cause. I noticed the ground around healthy trees is mostly fluffy and not at all hard packed.

lupines

Views like this are part of the reason we stopped so many times. It’s so nice to just take time to savor the moment. This is what it means to get away. This was along Foxen Canyon road.

Benjamin Foxen Adobe Site

There is a historical landmark showing where the ruins of the Benjamin Foxen Adobe is. The date is 1837. So now we know how the road got it’s name. There was nothing to see but a mound of dirt. The adobe has returned to the earth.

Zaca Mesa Winery

We had been climbing steadily and it seemed like a good time to eat some lunch. We stopped here and had a picnic in the shade. The timing couldn’t have been better. When we left the Winery we started the steepest part of our climb that day, right before we headed down the hill to Los Olivos.

View from the top

Here’s the view at the summit before heading down Los Olivos.

FixAFlat

The bicycling gods designated me the recipient of the only flat tire. :) This was just before we turned into Los Olivos. About an hour after we fixed the flat we were in Solvang looking for our Hotel. We stayed at the Viking Motel in Solvang. It was neat and clean and the peak of our trip. We had so much fun here, I forgot to take any pictures. It’s the only motel this trip I would stay at again.

Hangin’ out in Solvang

Friday April 5th

Approximate Mileage: 25 miles

We came to the consensus that we weren’t prepared to ride the entire 50 mile ride I had planned for Friday. We decided to ride over to  in Buelton.  We rode through the Chalk Hill Road in Solvang.

Topiary Horses

Along the way some animals caught our eye. There was this herd of topiary horses. :)

Longhorn Steer

This is no bull. There was this long horn steer. :)

Rancho San Ysidro

There were fancy gates to ranches and ranchitas.

Buellton Salute to American Flag

Just outside Peasoup Andersen’s is this sculpture in a small park. To the South is Avenue of Flags. We rode down Avenue of Flags until it turned into Santa Rosa Road. We rode a mile or two down Santa Rosa Road then decided to turn around. The wind was blowing 15 or 20 mph directly in our faces when we rode down Santa Rosa Road. We sailed back up the road when the wind was at our backs. According to my GPS we rode 15.5 miles. Later in the afternoon, Dennis and I rode over to Hans Christian Anderson park and up to a hill on the north side of Solvang, adding probably another 5 miles.

Mission Santa Ines

We also spent time visiting the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang.

Three Amigos in front of Chapel

Here we are, all three in front of the sanctuary at Mission Santa Ines.

Solvang to Santa Barbara

Saturday April 6th

Approximate Mileage: 39 miles

Saturday we got an early start. We tried not to spend quite so much time stopping and taking pictures. We got to Lake Cachuma in a little over an hour. Traffic picked up steadily as we rode South East toward Santa Barbara along route 154. Watching cars, keeping ourselves safe in 55 MPH traffic allowed us almost no chance to see sites until we exited on Stage Coach Road. Suddenly we were in a different world where there were hardly any cars at all. We were back to almost nirvana. Although the grade was steady uphill, because it was built for stagecoaches, not cars, the grade is good for bicycling.

Cold Spring Arch Bridge

At the time of construction, it was completed in 1964, the Cold Spring Arch Bridge was one of the longest steel arch bridges built in the United States.

Cold Spring Tavern

Our next stop was The Cold Spring Tavern . “The Cold Spring Tavern was built in the 1860′s as a way station to serve the travelers on the new “turnpike” over the San Marcos pass that was constructed by Chinese laborers to ease transportation over the mountains. Passengers boarded stagecoaches that were very uncomfortable and they endured dangerous roads and the inevitable highwayman to make the trip over the pass.” For us it was a perfect stop after a long climb up Stagecoach Road.

Summit looking back at Lake Cachuma

If you look closely you can make out the Cold Springs Arch Bridge and Lake Cachuma in the background behind Dennis. We pedaled all the way up there, from below the lake. Someone at the Cold Springs Tavern suggested we ride El Camino Cielo. We tried, but the road became impossibly steep with our touring loads and after so many days and hours riding. We did make it about one or two miles up the road before turning back. We could see why the road was recommended, the views of Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands were phenomenal.

Santa Barbara home

Sunday April 7th

Approximate Mileage: 25

Dennis and I opted to take the 774 Amtrak to Solana Beach at 9:25 instead of the 768 that left at 6:45. Paul took the earlier train. We had a nice breakfast at IHOP and then pedaled around Santa Barbara seeing the sites, especially along the harbor.

Dolphin Fountain

We departed the train in Solana Beach and rode home through Del Mar and up the Highway 56 bike path. Here’s the last photo of Dennis in front of the Poseidon in Del Mar with the famous smoke stack in the background.

Poseidon Snack Shop

The three amigos had a great time and we’re already making plans for our next trip. Looking forward to our next adventure. :)

Share

4th Annual San Diego Tweed Ride

Sunday December 9, 2012

I estimate there were more than 100 people participating. This little bike was painted up just for the occasion. It was both and advertisement and a road marker for people looking for the ride start.

Cargo Bike painted up for the ride

Cargo Bike painted up for the ride

This was one of the more organized Tweed rides I have attended. I missed the first year, but have ridden the second, third and now the fourth. The last two with my wife on our viewpoint tandem.

Fire Engine with Pizza Oven in back

Fire Engine with Pizza Oven in back

One of the more interesting vendors was Dang Brothers Pizza. Their pizza oven is built into the back of an American La France fire engine. You can see the oven door lined with brick on the back of the fire engine. That’s Hans’ vintage bike with the picnic basket on top of the Fire Engine.

Don't shoot the piano player

Don’t shoot the piano player

 Greg Watson played ragtime and other olde time music on a piano supplied by Acme Piano Restoration.  Great pianist and great sounds to set the mood. I’ve never seen a piano player at a Tweed ride before. Perhaps we’ll start a new fad. Maybe in the future someone will rig a bike trailer and haul Greg along. Wouldn’t that be fun? :)

Penny Farthings or High Wheelers were in attendance

Penny Farthings or High Wheelers were in attendance

The Penny Farthings also lent and air of nostalgia to the event. If you ever wanted to try one out, several owners offered to let you try theirs.

Ricky Persky on his Penny Farthing

Ricky Persky on his Penny Farthing

Two years ago Ricky rode the Tweed ride in a white linen suit and Pith helmet. Ricky’s  outfit was a little more pedestrian this year, except for the green socks.

Official Tweed Ride sign

The Tweed ride keeps growing year after year. Now there’s even a backdrop for picture taking and other media. The same graphic appeared on some of the web pages related to the Tweed ride. It’s a fun way to spend the day.

Large number of riders

Large number of riders

 

I estimate there were well over 100 people of all ages. There were youngsters and oldsters and everything in between. What a great way to spend a Sunday. Many people brought picnic lunches and spend the afternoon in the park after the ride.

View from front of tandem

View from front of tandem

From Ward Canyon Park we rode along Mountain View Drive which is wide but lightly traveled. We almost had the appearance of a parade. There were several people carrying music players, adding the festive atmosphere. There were a few cranky drivers. :(  Most drivers honked and cheered as we rode along. :)

There were three Penny Farthings

There were three Penny Farthings

The High Wheelers were a popular attraction. Some of the more adventurous  riders took turns test riding the Penny Farthings.

Tweed was the style of the day

Tweed was the style of the day

We made several stops along the way. One was Trolley Barn Park. At each stop people took time to admire the vintage bicycles and attire of the other riders. We were a mobile attraction.

Vintage bikes were everywhere

Vintage bikes were everywhere

A very popular bicycle for this ride are vintage British bicycles. Old Raleighs as well as some less well known like Rawlins were present. Schwinn “townie” style bikes were well represented too. Also popular  was vintage wool cycling attire and vintage racing bikes to match. The Tweed ride is an opportunity to show of vintage style, both in clothing and choice of bicycle.

Hans Wangbichler

Hans Wangbichler

Hans was one of the main planners for the ride. He invited the piano player and pizza fire truck. We think he did a great job.

Kids and dog

Kids and dog

Several people brought their dogs along for the ride. Some were in special baskets.

Stylish couple and their dog

Stylish couple and their dog

Some were carried in their arms.

Hangin' out in Balboa Park

Hangin’ out in Balboa Park

Balboa Park was the turnaround. The riders drew a lot of attention. One person misunderstood about the “Tweet” ride, until we explained that it was Tweed not Tweet. Though I’m sure there were people who tweeted about the Tweed ride. :) We can’t wait until next year when we do it again.

Share

Safety Quiz

I found this cool safety quiz. The answers are based upon facts and data from various sources.

Go to this link to view the page directly

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

Share

Traffic Control: An Exercise in Self-Defeat

On The National Center for Bicycling and Walking, I found this article titled oddly, Traffic Control Back to Basics a scholarly paper complete with Bibliography. I was most impressed by the arguments the author Kenneth Todd presented for a different kind of traffic control.

Some of the radical ideas include replacing most street control lights with Yield signs.

The opening paragraphs really grabbed me.

The traffic control system in force today was put together in the early days of the automobile by
public officials who knew little about regulating this new means of locomotion. Contemporary writings describe how traffic laws were adopted without prior research on the basis of personal opinion. “

Into traffic regulations crept misconceptions, inconsistencies and contradictions — too many to describe all in this article — that have killed innumerable people, cause massive traffic jams, waste innumerable hours of time and vast quantities of fuel, pollute the air, and lead to unjust decisions in civil accident litigation. The system runs counter to basic legal, engineering and safety principles, and billions of dollars are being spent on high-tech computer equipment intended to overcome self-inflicted problems.

I recommend this article highly, that’s why I’m making it available at this link . If nothing else it may make you think about the possibility of something better than the mess we have now. And if the author is right, it would be simpler and less expensive to operate.

Share