Preface - 2017 Bike Across USA Main Page - Next Day #2

Day 1: San Diego, CA to Ramona, CA

32 miles - Start at Pacific Ocean, Cycling With John Wylie, Scripps Poway Parkway - February 9, 2017

Bike Across America Trip #3
Steve Garufi Bike Across America
Me, my bicycle, and the Pacific Ocean on the morning of Day One.

Really, what was there to do except express gratitude for having the opportunity to bike across America a third time? I was thankful for every person and situation that helped me get to this point. It was so pleasant to be at a beautiful beach at Torrey Pines State Park in San Diego too. A mix of joy and nervousness went through me -- joy as I marveled at how amazing it is to even embark on such an adventure, and anxiety that soon my body would be hit with physical demands every day for the next seven weeks.

For this trip, I used the same Trek 1.2 that I bought in Phoenix, Arizona in 2008, after my Giant road bike was stolen during my first cross-country trip. Being that it had been winter in Colorado for the preceeding months, my cycling fitness was below average. All I had done was some gym workouts and spin classes. Was my fitness good enough? Was my mental toughness ready for the challenges ahead? Did I have what it took to reach the Atlantic Ocean? ... or even the mountains outside of San Diego? I was about to find out.

Two Videos at the Beach
Facebook Live video. San Diego has beautiful beaches. :)

Brian Sinnott


I was grateful for the support on Day 1. In some ways, it felt like a party at the beach from all the conversation and laughter.

TOP: Me, Tim, Beth, and John. (Tim and Beth shuttled us from Prescott, AZ to San Diego the day before.)

SECOND: Me with Brian Sinnott, a friend whom I graduated high school with in 1989 in New Jersey. Brian wisely moved to San Diego many years ago and had been in communication with me through Twitter. It was so great to reconnect and catch up with him over the past 28 years. :)

Also, much thanks to Brian for sending me online encouragement long after I had biked out of California and was toiling through the southeast USA.

Pacific Ocean at San Diego

Pacific Ocean

It was my first time seeing the ocean in years. I gazed at the horizon and took in the rhythmic sound of crashing waves for as long as I could.
Rock On the beach, I picked up a rock and decided to transport it in my trunk box (the compartment above the rack) all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Would it make it there? I suppose you could cheat and skip to Day 53 of this journal, or you could remain in suspense. ;)

John We spent a lot of time at the beach. No one was in a rush.

Then it was time. John got on his bike and was testing it on the other side of the road. I pulled out my camera and he posed for me. Then I joined him and we headed south.

Touring Bikes We had only gone about 0.2 miles when... this is funny to say... John had to pee. Luckily there was a public bathroom nearby.

During the break, I got a nice shot of our bicycles loaded up. There was a feeling of disbelief. Were John and I just going for a casual ride in San Diego today? It certainly felt that way. But no! This was Day 1 of a long journey. :o)

San Diego Bicycle Trail

San Diego Bike Trail

San Diego Bicycle Trail

San Diego Bicycle Trail - SR 56 Bike Trail

Much thanks to John for researching a bicycle trail ahead of time that helped us get out of San Diego with minimum exposure to city roads.

There is a bicycle trail that runs about 12 to 14 miles along the Ted Williams Freeway (Highway 56). Search for it and you'll surely find it online. The trail goes through wooded areas, sections where it's right along the noisy highway, and even a posh neighborhood with a golf course.

Mind you, because we were riding away from the ocean, much of today's ride was uphill. Be advised that you will get a significant workout on your first day if you start in San Diego or pretty much anywhere in southern California.

I did a "not too shabby" on the trail...

San Diego Bicyclists We met two local cyclists named Stan and Neville who rode beside us for miles. They were so friendly. :)
Black Mountain Road in San Diego The bike trail ended and we went south on Black Mountain Road. From that point all the way to Ramona, I would bike on my Day 1 route of my 2008 trip. Black Mountain Road had a steep downhill and then we turned east on Mercy Road. That's when the steepest climbing began for over a mile. At one spot, I stopped, turned back, and snapped a photo as I faced the junction of Mercy Road and Black Mountain Road.

If you've read my book, it was right at that junction in Chapter 3 where I was lost in San Diego, and a mountain biker gave me directions up this way to Mercy Road. This road turns into Scripps Poway Parkway which leads to Highway 67 and eventually Ramona.

Traffic There was some kind of car crash and the police were doing an investigation, so there was a huge back-up of cars. John and I biked beside them.
Poway, California

Poway, California

We were officially out of San Diego and into this lovely suburb.
Scripps Poway Parkway

Scripps Poway Parkway

Scripps Poway Parkway


Scripps Poway Parkway

The weather was remarkably hot for an early February day. The high temperature would reach 83 degrees. Also, there was more serious climbing to be done on the east side of Poway.

It was slow going.
I was out of shape, but doing my best to hang in there.
And the sun... my gosh, the sun beat down on me!

I stopped frequently on the shoulder. I drank lots of liquids. All I can say is, I was slow and out of shape. To be honest, this climb wasn't any big deal for my Colorado standards of cycling, but like I said, I was struggling. At least I got decent pictures of the scenery.

John was way ahead of me and waiting at the top of the hill. He cheered me as I reached the top. :)

Rest At the junction of Highway 67 and Scripps Poway Parkway, I needed to rest. I felt overheated. I knew I needed to: 1) get in the shade (and out of the sun!), 2) rest, and 3) drink lots of liquids.

Although I didn't know the term at the time, I was experiencing the early stages of heat exhaustion. I told John that I needed to sit in the shade for at least 30 minutes, and maybe 60. I sat against a tree in the shade, and John continued towards Ramona. That was our goal for the night, as we had reservations at the one motel in that town.

As I faced someone's yard with palm trees and lemon trees (see photo), I was disturbed over my lack of fitness, and frankly, how it appeared my older age was playing a factor in today's difficulties with the heat and climbing. Then a thought hit me, and I'm embarrassed to admit it. I call myself a born-again Christian, but I really hadn't prayed much during the day. Heck, I didn't even have a major prayer at the beach. You'd think maybe someone who expressed a devotion to Jesus might pray a little before taking on such a crazy adventure like this? Well, I hadn't it.

So right there, I spent some time praying. I asked that this trip would be a blessing to God -- and that I would honor Him in words and deeds. I asked that my journey would make a positive difference in others' lives. I asked for wisdom. I asked for the strength to continue on.

After about 35 minutes, I decided to continue riding. I didn't feel 100%, but took it slow.

Ramona, California Ramona was only nine miles ahead, but there was a lot of climbing to go.
Bicycle Tour John was waiting for me at another crest in the road. Here's a shot of my bicycle resting on a guard rail.
Pizza and Powerade When we neared Ramona, we were blessed with a descent into town.

The first convenience store we saw had a pizzeria inside, and we stopped for a break. I bought cold drinks and a slice of pizza. I was so relieved to be in Ramona!

By the way, tropical mango Powerade is one of my favorite flavors. :)

Steve In our motel room, I showered. I still had a headache. My face felt flush and burned. I felt kind of weak and as if my thinking abilities were a little slower than usual. I wasn't even that hungry. These are all symptoms of heat exhaustion.

So I rested. I drank more liquids. I took Ibuprofen. And I went to bed early. Thankfully the next morning, I'd be okay and ready to ride.

As for the photo, I distinctly remember sitting there with my arms folded. It reminded me of how the body of the deceased are often positioned in a casket during a funeral. That's how tired I was. :o)

You are welcome to stay connected with me on my author page.

Other Videos
Having a good time on Scripps Poway Parkway Scripps Poway Parkway and Kirkman Road (Poway, CA)
Pretty mountains along the road. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel: youtube.com/kisscactus. :)

Preface - 2017 Bike Across USA Main Page - Next Day #2

Other Resources: Steve's Book About 2008 Trip - 2011 Trip Journal - Steve's Help & Advice


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