Palomar Mountain tour

Distance: 103 Miles
Moving Time: 11 hours 29 minutes
Max Speed: 36.5 MPH
Moving Average: 9.0 MPH

This started out to be a ride from home to Palomar Mountain and back. I planned to make the first night camp at La Jolla Indian Reservation Campground then the next night I would stay at Fry Creek Campground on Palomar Mountain, then home on Sunday.

I was so exhausted by the time I reached La Jolla Campground Friday night, I was already calculating how  I was going to modify the route, while I was setting up camp for the night.

Here’s a little review of my trip. My first extended tour completely alone and self supported. It was a weekend adventure.

Bike packed and ready to roll

Bike packed and ready to roll

I weighed everything just before I left. Me, the bike, two full water bottles and a 110 oz. Camelback, everything I was carrying on my person, food for three days, tent, sleeping bag, pillow, and cook kit. Total weight of me, my bike and all my gear was 299.5 pounds. That’s a lot of mass to get moving! 🙂

David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge Monument

David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge Monument

Leaving Poway, as I headed north I crossed Lake Hodges on the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge. It’s a nicer way to get across the lake than riding the freeway, though I’ve ridden the freeway shoulder for years.

First long climb of the day

First long climb of the day

This shot was taken at the top of the climb from Escondido to Valley Center. I estimate it’s about 800 foot of climb. Nice views at the top, looking back at Escondido. It’s not a very steep grade, but it is really long.

Valley Center from the summit

Valley Center from the summit

Then I saw Valley Center in front of me. I’m headed for the opposite side of the valley.

Which Casino are you looking for?

Which Casino are you looking for?

Where Valley Center Road meets North Lake Wohlford Road this sign directs you to the various reservations in the valley to the North. In the distance you can see the Valley View Casino. It looks somewhat out of place in this mostly agricultural area. The distances are deceiving for a cyclist. It may only be 16 miles to Palomar Mountain, but it’s almost all uphill.

It's all down hill from here.

It's all down hill from here.

Don’t I wish it was all down hill from here!  This was a somewhat long relatively steep downhill. It’s definitely long coming the other direction. There are definitely some uphill rides in my future. The bike is steady as a rock even at 35+ MPH. 🙂

Another Casino

Another Casino

After the long downhill is another casino, this one is Harrah’s Rincon Resort and Casino. Traffic is pretty steady around the casinos. And some of those people sure seem to be in a big hurry to go lose their money. 🙂

Stowaway

Stowaway

Haven’t seen Frigid for a while. Maybe he’s been mad at me, he really didn’t have much to say. I just looked and there he was hanging out in my rear pannier. Maybe we can get some of his impressions of the ride, later.

First good look at Palomar

First good look at Palomar

As I said, this is mostly an agricultural area, with a lot of orchards. Here I got a good shot of Palomar to the North. Some of the hardest climbing is still ahead. Before I reached the campgrounds I rode nearly half way up the side of Palomar Mountain along the San Luis Rey river.

La Jolla Indian Campground

La Jolla Indian Campground

Nice friendly people at the campground. If you go, it’s good to know no pets are allowed. I’m certain this is to protect the river. Pretty nice facility and pretty popular based upon the number of people I saw camping.

Campsite

Campsite

Camping is right next to the river. One nice thing about it is you can hardly hear anyone else over the gurgling and splashing of the river. Makes for good sleeping.

 

Morning at La Jolla Indian Campground

Morning at La Jolla Indian Campground

The downside of camping next to the river is that everything is a little damp when you get up in the morning. Tent was damp, and even my sleeping bag was a little damp. Have to dry them off at the next campground.

 

Here’s a map of the route.

Satellite Map Poway to La Jolla Reservation Campground

Satellite Map Poway to La Jolla Reservation Campground

You can tell by this elevation profile that this ride just kept getting tougher as I rode along.

Elevation profile Poway to La Jolla Reservation Campground

Elevation profile Poway to La Jolla Reservation Campground

Estimate Elevation Change: + 3918 / – 2263 Feet

This was one of the toughest days of riding I’ve ever done. I’m not sure if it’s the extra weight of a fully loaded touring bike, or just that I seldom climb 4,000 feet in 40 miles on a ride. I saw some racer type riders coming down the mountain as I was going up and they were rolling along quite fast. I imagine it was quite a thrill. I would have to wait a little while before I got a downhill ride.

Lake Henshaw

Lake Henshaw

Saturday I was on the road a little after 8:00 AM. The traffic on Highway 76 was light, and I stayed in the lane for better site lines and to be better seen. Most people were courteous and I tried to veer right as they approached if it was safe for them to pass. Some people still think that because they own a two ton automobile, they have special rights on the road, that supersede mine. Fortunately they are the minority.

Mission Santa Ysabel

Mission Santa Ysabel

I’ve passed this Mission many times over the years, but I never stopped to look. One a bike, it seems more convenient to stop and look around. I guess it’s traveling at 9 mph  that make you feel more relaxed about time. I’m sure not racing anyone. I was passed on Highway 79 by three riders on race type bike with full race kit. Don’t know where they came from or where they were going, but they were riding their ride and I was riding mine. And we were all having fun!

Angel of the lost bells

Angel of the lost bells

Interesting and sad  story about the bells. They would be the oldest bells in California, made in 1723 and 1767. But in 1926 the bells “mysteriously disappeared”. Only the clappers were found and returned.

Historical Landmark

Historical Landmark

The Mission is a designated Historical Landmark. I didn’t stop to look but I wouldn’t be suprised if there were some interesting headstones in the cemetery.

World Famous Dudley's Bakery

World Famous Dudley's Bakery

I can hardly make a trip through Santa Ysabel without stopping at Dudley’s Bakery. My favorites are the fruit bars with raisins ginger and molasses. Great energy food if your pedaling your bike. I ate about three and two pints of chocolate milk, before I got back on the road.

Wildflowers in bloom

Wildflowers in bloom

This picture was taken a little way up the road from Dos Picos Park. I don’t recognize the bushes with red flowers. They appear to be natives, but I’ve never noticed them before.

Saturday Morning in Dos Picos Park Ramona

Saturday Morning in Dos Picos Park Ramona

When I arrived at Dos Picos Park there was a sign at the Ranger’s desk that said they were full. The Ranger said they always have room for hiker / bikers. He mentioned that the item, hiker / biker spot, had been removed from their computer so they had to get creative to charge me. Just five dollars, what a bargain. I was only about fifty feet or so from the Ranger’s station right by the entrance. It felt a little like being on stage.

Look Mom, what is that guy doing?  He’s a rare species of human known as a Bicycle Tourist Susy. He rides his bike to and fro camping here and there. Is he a hobo Mom? Close Susy.

I did get a great view of the goings on. There was a group I surmised to be the Y-Indian Princesses having a camp-out. They had a carnival going, when I first arrived. And there were contests for bicycle decorating and just a lot of fun events, for pre-teen girls to do with their fathers. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. Someone taught the boys and girls to stick a plastic water bottle between the frame and tire to make this annoying noise, the the kids really loved.

I didn’t know when I set up camp there is an owl box about 40-50 feet overhead. All night long I could hear the chicks crying out for mom to bring them more food, and mom click-click-clicking as she flew around searching for food. I spoke to one of the rangers and he said that there are about half a dozen owl boxes throughout the park. That probably helps keep the rodent population down.

The Park was full  of Y-Indian Princesses and their fathers

The Park was full of Y-Indian Princesses and their fathers

 

Satellite Map of La Jolla Campground to Dos Picos Park

Satellite Map of La Jolla Campground to Dos Picos Park

This wasn’t as much of a challenge as Friday, but it still covered some miles and I peaked at over 3,000 feet during the ride. Not super high altitude, but when you’re hauling camping gear and food along, it can be a challenge.

Elevation Profile La Jolla Reservation Campground to Dos Picos Park

Elevation Profile La Jolla Reservation Campground to Dos Picos Park

Estimated Elevation Change: + 1971 / – 2645 ft

Sunday morning after I broke camp I headed for home. Rather than taking the highway and deal with the traffic, I chose to go down Highland Valley Road. I usually ride it from the other direction, and did pass one rider coming up. It’s challenging in both directions. Lots of short steep hills and rollers. Always a challenge, but more so at the end of a three day trek.

San Pasqual Valley overlook from Highland Valley Road

San Pasqual Valley overlook from Highland Valley Road

One of the great things about Highland Valley Road are the vistas. It is definitely a picturesque area to ride, if you’re up for the challenges.

Baby Christmas Trees

Baby Christmas Trees

Evergreen Nursery seem to be busy acquiring farms along the San Pasqual Valley on the south side of the road. The north side seems to be mostly Open Space Preserve.

Water Plants in Opens Space Preserve

Water Plants in Opens Space Preserve

Estimated altitude change: + 980 / – 1944 ft

The Sunday morning ride home was much easier than the previous two days. A good way to end a three day adventure into the back country of San Diego County.

Ramona To Poway Satellite Map

Ramona To Poway Satellite Map

 

Elevation Profile Ramona to Poway

Elevation Profile Ramona to Poway

I had a great adventure, even though there were times when I questioned my sanity. I look forward to more camping trips this summer, if time allows.

Always remember, keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down!

 

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7 comments to Palomar Mountain tour

  • Thanks for the nice compliments. I started with inexpensive components on the trekking bars, until I decided that I was going to keep that configuration. Then I upgraded the shifters and brake levers. I do ride a Brooks Flyer on the LHT. I also ride fat tires, 700×40 Schwalbe Marathon Supreme folders. The fat tires soak up most of the road vibration. The Flyer absorbs the “buzz” you get on some pavement that has large stones on the surface and other small road imperfections. I rode 64 miles yesterday on it, though my legs were tired, it was mostly a comfortable ride.

  • John Alldredge

    Your LHT is beautifully set up! Not only functional but a pleasure to look at. I’m about to try trekking bars on my own touring bike but I’m using downtube shifters and MTB brake levers with foam handlebar covering (like GrabOns). I assume your saddle is a Brooks Flyer? I think I’m inclined to go that way myself.

  • This time I used Ride with GPS and took screenshots. Then I cropped those for the images on my web site. What you see is about as much documentation as I have. It’s complicated but it works for me. Now if i can figure how to do it on a smart phone. 🙂

  • Brian Rawson

    Wonderful trip blog. Thank you for sharing. Quick question. I’m curious about the mapping software you are using to document your trip. Can you elaborate?

  • Marcos Netto

    Great ride! Nice photos!

  • It’s a MSR Skinny Too tent.

  • Great read and photos. Thanks for sharing. I do like your setup – very slick indeed and your riding area is really quite different to mine, so nice to “share your experience”. BTW which model MSR tent are you using?

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