Newport Beach - Looking Back With 2020 Vision, Part I - CycleBlaze

January 1, 2020

Newport Beach

Well, if today’s ride is a harbinger of what lies ahead, 2020 is going to be an unforgettable year.  Let’s see the preview:

Video sound track: Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In, by the Fifth Dimension

Today’s weather is even fairer than yesterday’s.  As fine as you could hope for at this time of year - mild, comfortable, calm, shirt sleeve conditions already when we leave our room at about 10.  We have a leisurely day ahead of us, riding the Santa Ana River trail the entire way to the coast.  We rode this trail four years ago and know what’s in store today - a surprisingly enjoyable ride through the coastal range and past the outskirts of Los Angeles.

There’s not much need for narrative about an easy ride on a bike path, so I won’t provide much.  A pretty great way to ring in the new year.

There’s one point worth noting though.  We logged 800’ of elevation gain, on a ride that looks almost exclusively downhill.  How did we manage that?  By climbing fifteen feet at a time, over and over and over again.  A great thing about this bike path is that you can ride the entire forty miles without ever crossing an intersection because there is an underpass beneath every crossing road.  Not so great is that you have about a hundred of these steep little dips and rises, which come with increasing frequency as you near the coast.  All small climbs, but they do add up.

We ended the day in Newport Beach, which was a much better plan than our last time through when we continued on south for another twenty miles to Dana Point.  Trying to make the most of the two week vacation we pried out of our work schedule (and being younger and a bit tougher of course), we put in longer days than we’ve been doing now that we have more time.  It was great to be done by mid-afternoon, with time left in the day to wander along the waterfront and join the throng out on the pier, watching the pelicans soar past and the sun drop below the horizon, to produce the most spectacular sunset we’ve seen in quite some time.

Corona’s broad boulevards are nearly empty this morning. Thank you, Rose Bowl! New Years Day is really one of the most peaceful days to be out on a bike in America.
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Dropping from Corona, we get a last view of the San Gabriel Mountains before dropping into Santa Ana Canyon. I’m still amazed by the snow on these mountains. When we came through the first time there was just the faintest trace of snow on them.
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Hey, I want a look too, wails GBO from the tool bag. I’ve never seen California before! Not too exciting though, he decides after taking a peek - just looks like a big, rusty iron wall. Let’s go back to Spain!
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Jen GrumbyOh, GBO looks so handsome and vibrant against that backdrop.

Looks like he's ready for another 10,000km!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyHe was trying to reminisce about the old days, but stainless steel has such a poor memory - it’s hard to etch new memories into such a tough storage medium. I’m trying to help him update his life list of states he’s visited now that we’ve shown him the west coast, but he doesn’t remember. Didn’t he go on the L&C ride with you though?
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyTo Scott AndersonI'm pretty sure the original GBO was with you (in Croatia?) while we were on Undaunted Porridge.

Good thing! I don't think the GBO would appreciate tornado warnings and frequent nighttime lightning storms.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbySo it seems like the poor thing has only visited three states so far. Such a sheltered life! We’ll have to see if we can up it a bit for him.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonOh, good catch! No bike though.
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2 weeks ago
Dropping into Santa Ana Canyon on abandoned Green River Road, which will soon transition to the Santa Ana River Trail. The next few miles as we cut through the coastal range are the most dramatic stretch of the ride.
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The Santa Ana River is beautiful along this stretch. This must be about the best season to enjoy it, I imagine.
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We’re past the mountains, but this is another lovely stretch, the river still full and its sound drowning out the freeway across on the other bank.
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Jen GrumbyA victory for the sound of the river!
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2 weeks ago
This section of the Santa Ana, braided through small sand bars, reminds me of photos of the Mekong that I’ve seen. That freeway doesn’t quite fit the image though.
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Bruce LellmanStrangely, there are no real freeways in Thailand even though the Thais drive like they are on a freeway on some of the roads.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanMaybe they’re coming though. Those new waterfront promenades are probably just the beginning, claiming the space for better things to come. Maybe By the next time you go back they’ll be linked up.
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2 weeks ago
Bruce LellmanTo Scott AndersonI would love to see all the promenades linked up as a bike trail. But it will never happen because there are about a thousand little tributaries to the Mekong that would need bridges and this is all about taking the sand to be used to make cement by Siam Cement, one of the biggest companies in the world. They, nor the government, have any interest in spending what it would take to link up all the promenades. Maybe in 50 years it could happen.
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2 weeks ago
The river trail switches banks several times en route to the sea. You can cross over on any of many concrete bridges with the cars, or on one of these rickety, colorful wooden trestle bridges.
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Rachael checks her cell phone and announces its time to eat. I’m starving! Let’s eat lunch. Now!!
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We were so excited to see five white pelicans yesterday on Lake Elsinore, but today we find a colony of fifty or more. This one looks like it’s being orchestrated by a conductor.
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Didn’t we just see this posture in a brown pelican?
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Jen GrumbyYes! So nice that neck was designed for those hard-to-reach underwing itches.
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2 weeks ago
I love this maneuver. They plow under water briefly, and then fluff their wings furiously when they resurface.
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In perfect formation.
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Stuck the landing! Merits a 10.0, the judges agree.
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Jen GrumbyAnd another 10.0 for the photographer .. what a shot!!
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2 weeks ago
Image not found :(
Nearing the outskirts of Anaheim.
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It’s so surprising to have this fine riverside trail pass just yards from Angel Stadium.
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Just past the stadium, the river dries up completely. It turns to sand for a ways, then serves as a water hazard for a golf course, then finally just disappears under the concrete.
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Another bridge selfie, this time crossing the Santa Ana ‘River’.
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The Pacific Ocean! We consider dipping our wheels in the sand and act like we’re completing an epic journey, but then decide it’s too much effort.
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Biking the waterfront at Newport Beach is slow going and a bit of a challenge. You have to be patient, pay attention and mind the gaps.
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The Newport Beach Pier - the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
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New Year’s Day, Newport Beach
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Jacquie GaudetNot exactly the setting for a Polar Bear Swim!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetNo, you’re right. I think it was near 70 today. It’s a shame I forgot my swimming trunks.
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2 weeks ago
We were surprised that the mountains are visible above the town from out here at the end of the pier.
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Best sunset of the year so far!
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Jen GrumbyAbd with a perfectly positioned sailboat!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAnd just barely. He was already steaming off stage before I noticed him up there.
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2 weeks ago
For about ten minutes the colors of the sky and sea keep intensifying. On the horizon you can just make out the outline of an island. I wonder what it is?
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Twenty-six miles across the sea Santa Catalina is a-waitin’ for me, Santa Catalina, the island of romance, romance, romance, romance. (26 Miles, by the Four Preps)
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Patrick O'HaraShould have known to scroll down and see that, of course, you already knew the answer! Got me!
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1 week ago
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Ride stats today: 42 miles, 800’; for the tour: 518 miles, 23,100’

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 518 miles (834 km)

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Jen GrumbyThat Fifth Dimension song is on my mental playlist .. and now whenever it comes up, I'll picture you two riding across that bridge singing, "Let the sun shine in!"

Love today's ride and pelican videos!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyThat was Rachael’s idea. She thought it was the perfect, optimistic way to usher in the new year.

Aren’t those pelicans wonderful though? I don’t think the browns do this, but they’re plenty entertaining in their own way. Hopefully we’ll see a video of those soon too.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonGreat video of the ride - that orange jersey is perfect on the bridge with the orange railings, too.
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyTo Scott AndersonI love that vision, Rachael!

May peace guide the planets and love steer the stars in 2020!
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2 weeks ago