The day started strong with a breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, oatmeal, mixed fruits and homemade vanilla yogurt. After taking over breakfast we got our things together and got ready to go. Jim suggested I raise my seat a little to help with the knee pain, so we did that then set off into town with Jim guiding us along. Jim set a great pace and made sure not to go too quickly, asking regularly how my knee was doing.
We rode together to Oceanside where we stopped for smoothies and a snack, before heading into the long stretch that is the Marines military base. Jim made sure we got to the front gates, where we had to show ID and had to wear a bike helmet to be allowed in. Upon entering we first made a left turn and ended up in a dead-end. Then we started to go straight through, however there was a sign that said “Absolutely no bikes, no exceptions” so we back tracked and went the third and only way left to go. There were some roadies who had just come through the base so we knew it was still possible to get through. Eventually we saw the bike detour signs and knew then we were going the right way. These signs would have been useful a bit earlier!
Although it looked like any town at first glance, you start noticing all the men have shaved heads, then hearing minor explosions off behind the barbed wire fencing that had warning signs about ‘live fire area’ (my first thought was that it was an area susceptible to forest fires), and then further along we saw a group training and a helicopter doing some sort of training as well. Also, the tanks that passed us on the road had signs on the back saying “student driver” – best not to get in their way!
It is a long stretch through this area, but once you leave the check point on the other side you have a bike pathway to ride for a while. There is some camping in this area but it didn’t seem to be open and functional. Not having anything decent to eat for dinner we knew we had to push on. It was during this stretch, when we stopped for a couple minutes, that I had my first fall. I had recently put the clips back into my shoes and forgot to remove my right foot before stopping. The worst part of this kind of fall is that it’s very slow motion, so you know exactly what’s happening but you still can’t do too much to stop it.
A bit further along we met a roadie named David who started chatting to us and offered to take us to Doheny campground at Dana Point. So we road along with him for a while, getting tips and advise along the way. Another roadie caught up with us and started chatting with me, telling me many things to see and do as we continue north. By riding with David we were able to take the nicer route through a residential area instead of taking the highway and potentially completely missing the campground.
David dropped us off at the campground entrance and suggested we stop by the bike store he knows tomorrow to have my knee and bike setup looked at.
After parting ways, we paid $12 for our hiker/biker campsite, setup the tents, then found a way across the street to A’s Burger for dinner. After ordering way more than we could eat, we continued on to McDonalds for ice cream and to use their wifi.