Encinitas - Looking Back With 2020 Vision, Part I - CycleBlaze

December 26, 2019

Encinitas

We said yesterday that we were leaving San Diego today, come rain or come shine.  Well, it’s come rain from the sound of it when I’m awakened this morning at about four to the steady beat of it hammering against our hotel window.  I look up the weather report, which accurately describes the current conditions as windy with heavy rain.  The forecast is for rains to continue throughout the day, heavy at times, with a chance of flooding.

We knew rain was in the offing for today, but were hoping for a spottier forecast.  Our plan last night was to pack for rain, stow away the camera in a dry place, watch for a break in the weather, and then bike like hell when one comes.  This morning though, with it pouring outside, this sounds even less inviting than it did last night.  We’ve just seen how you can get completely soaked here in about two minutes if you’re exposed at the wrong time.

Amtrak.  It finally occurs to me to look up the Amtrak schedule, and I’m happy to see that this region has some of the best service in the country (like that’s much of a compliment).  The Pacific Surfliner runs up the coast to LA frequently, almost hourly, and takes roll-on bikes.  We’ll take the train to Oceanside, stay at a motel there, and pick up with the biking again tomorrow when warm, sunny skies are due to return.

I go back to bed, whisper my news in Rachael’s ear, and we happily snuggle under the warm covers for another hour to the warm thought that we aren’t going to drown today after all.

At 6, I head across the street to Lofty Coffee for breakfast.  It’s still pouring out, and I have to step wide to span the rivulets running alongside the curbs - it reminds me of that deluge in San Jose, back in Spain just a few weeks ago.  We’re in no rush this morning so I  settle into a leisurely start to the day, enjoying coffee and an almond croissant as I polish off yesterday’s post.  

At about 8 it occurs to me to look at the weather.  I’m shocked.  The rain is stopping right now, and it looks like a four hour window of blue sky is miraculously just opening up, one covering the coast from here to Encinitas.  At almost the same time, my phone rings.  It’s Rachael, who’s just seen the same thing.  Come home!  Now!

Such happy news!  The train would be fine, but biking is better.

With a dry sky and the wind blowing our way, we make a dash for it and head north.
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We leave the hotel about twenty minutes later.  The sun is out, but it’s cold and windy.  Even more luck - the strong wind is going our way.  For the next three hours we’re blown north up the coast, staying dry the whole way.  We have to dodge a puddle here and there, but by and large it’s a beautiful ride, and oh so much better than we’d imagined possible.

Toward the end, as we drop down from Torrey Pines to the coast, we see clouds developing ahead and become concerned that we’re losing our fair window.  We pick up the pace a bit, biking through a string of coastal communities - Del Mar, Solana, Cardiff - with hardly a pause to admire them or the sodden lagoons that separate them.  It’s a beautiful landscape, but we’ll be coming back this way in another ten days anyway and can take our time then.

No sense spoiling a perfectly good ride by getting soaked in the last mile.

We arrive at our motel just after noon and head up the highway a few blocks to Pannikin, a quirky place with a great menu and character but with English sparrows hopping around pooping on the deck.  It makes us just a bit squeamish and we eat our lunch quickly, keeping a careful eye on the state of our eggs and coffee.

The rains return just as we return to our room, and continue without letting up all afternoon.  We’d hoped to go out at sundown to look at the beach, but in the end are happy to stay indoors and dry until dinner.  The beach will still be there in the morning.

In case you’re short on time this morning, we’re putting the video first.  It covers the whole ride and gives a good sense of the day, and then if you still have a bit of time you could looks at the stills as well.

Video sound track: Candleman, by Billy McLaughlin

Mission Bay again. So amazing to see this big, beautiful blue hole in the sky open up four hours wide.
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Cormorants on cable
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Some Water Coots. There were thousands out on the bay this morning.
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Jen GrumbyI challenge you to get a photo of a coot foot.

Of all the bird feet I've seen, it's my favorite.
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat’s a rather strange fetish, I must say. Nevertheless, challenge accepted.
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7 months ago
Some Land Coots. Considerably less common than their close cousins the Water Coots. Very similar species but easily distinguishable by their dry feet.
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Jen GrumbyDry, and still incredibly interesting feet.
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7 months ago
I tried to get Rocky to bike through and create a wake, but she’s not having it.
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Some pithy palms.
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Bufflehead: a funny name for a funny bird. Looks like a plush toy.
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A Redhead. Where did the elders come up with these odd names, anyway?
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Rose Creek is raging this morning. It nearly laps over the bike path under the bridge. It was just a quiet stream, nothing like this when we biked past five days ago.
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Wow, is this fun!, exults Rachael as we’re blown up to the summit through La Jolla Village.
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Rachael, you see, is getting warm enough that she’s ready to shed a layer.
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The long view east from Torrey Pines.
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The roadside cliffs are awesome as we drop through Torrey Pines Reserve.
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We didn’t see these huge flanged cliffs on our first pass through here, and didn’t know what we were missing. We biked the small park road through the woods above these cliffs instead, but fortunately it’s closed to bicycling now or we’d have missed them again.
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Looking across Los Penasquitos Lagoon, which is flooded and under water today. The palm trees spaced along the rail line are interesting, almost like snow poles marking the highway through a mountain pass.
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At Del Mar, looking across the mouth of the San Dieguito River.
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San Elijo Lagoon, and Cardiff-by-the-sea.
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Occupying an old train station, Pannikin Coffee & Tea is a crowded, colorful place, full of attractive junk. It’s also got an attractively worn wood floor that would look even better if it weren’t spattered white from all the free range sparrows.
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In Pannikin Coffee & Tea. An appealing place for a meal, if you’re not concerned about getting histoplasmosis.
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Jen GrumbyHistoplasmosis, schmistoplasmosis!

(Actually, I am concerned. I just had to say that .. cuz it sounds funny!!)
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7 months ago
Pannikin uses a unique system for identifying food orders. We’re Warhol and Jagger, and our neighbor is waiting for her Billie Holiday to arrive. Much more interesting than #18. It must be a challenge for new employees to learn all those faces though.
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The wall art in our motel room. Seems like a pretty obvious idea, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this.
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Ron SuchanekThat's a great idea!
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7 months ago
A bit belatedly, we celebrate our first 200 miles (an inside joke which Patrick will appreciate).
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Jen GrumbyThey should create another beer for this day .. Dos Ce. CC.

¡Felicidades!
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbySi, si!
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7 months ago
Patrick O'HaraI suppose you had to down both of them since Rachel doesn't drink beer? Enjoying following along, Scott! I feel honored to be mentioned, too!
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7 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraCorrect. Two’s my limit though, so I’m not sure what to do for future milestones. Maybe so for a stack of empties from the kitchen.
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7 months ago
I was surprised by these sidewalk seals in Leucadia, but I see that they mean the community began in 1875, not Highway 101.
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Ride stats today: 29 miles, 1,200’; for the tour: 259 miles, 8,300’

Today's ride: 28 miles (45 km)
Total: 259 miles (417 km)

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Jen GrumbyA decision that reflects your long-time residence in the PNW...

It's not raining for four hours! Let's ride!
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7 months ago