To El Cajon - Christmas in Joshua Tree - CycleBlaze

December 23, 2015

To El Cajon

Or, The Incident of The Lost Wrench

I left the room a bit after 6 to head to the cafeteria, so I could eat and then get started on assembling the bikes early.  If everything went smoothly we would have time for the longer route to El Cajon, detouring for a ride around the south end of San Diego Bay.  On the way to breakfast I stopped by the bay again for a look at around.  It felt amazing.  I told everyone I met how wonderful it was, and they all thought I was bats because it's been so unseasonably damp and cold here.

Looking across North San Diego Bay to the city this morning. Overcast and 63 with a light offshore breeze. After three straight weeks of cold and rain in Portland, this feels idyllic.
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Shelter Island Marina, with Point Loma rising behind it.
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After stuffing myself on corned beef hash, eggs, and potatoes, Rachael arrived and we traded places.  I went back to the room and started in on the bikes.  Refreshingly, everything went smoothly.  Afterwards we packed for the road, dropped our suitcases at the front desk, and rolled out by about 10.  Great so far!

And so we begin. This is one of the better reassembly spots we've been given over the years - roomy, out of the way, dry, and with a view.
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Just a few minutes later, we stopped at a bench by the side of the bay to adjust Rachael's saddle height, and soon became characters in The Incident of the Lost Wrench.  After adjusting the saddle I set the wrench down somewhere (presumably on the bench) to take a photo of Rachael framed by an arbor, after waiting for a family with a small boy stroll by.  We then started biking again, but a few minutes later I realized the wrench was gone.  After retracing our steps and scouring the scene, we gave up and decided we'd been robbed.  The Kid did it.

It threw the whole day off.  Now we needed to find a bike store before leaving town and heading out into the wilderness, and we didn't have that much time in the first place.  Along the way we had a nice cycle along north end of the bay, and a blitz tour of San Diego's obvious attractions.  We just wheeled by the enormous USS Midway, barely paused at the impressive Maritime Museum, and gave no time at all to the city's beautiful Old Town.  We will have to come down here again someday and budget time to explore the city.

This isn't a particularly good photo - not quite what I'd pictured when I reached for the camera. It was expensive besides - it cost us a wrench and over an hour of lost time that we would have been happy to spend elsewhere.
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A one of the remarkable old ships at the Maritime Museum. This place is obviously worth some exploration time, but we didn't have it. Losing the wrenches a bit earlier threw off our schedule enough that we felt we couldn't spare more than a few minutes. Hopefully we'll be back this way again someday.
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Fully equipped again, we returned to the waterfront, found our way to the terminal for the ferry to Coronado, and arrived just minutes after it departed.  After discussing it a bit we decided to wait a half hour for the next departure rather than skip the loop around the bay, so we cooled our heels awhile and concentrated on thinking bad thoughts about The Kid.

Boarding the Coronado ferry, after a 28 minute wait. We just missed the previous sailing (and probably the one before that) because of the Incident of the Lost Wrench.
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On the Coronado ferry. Those Bike Fridays - always looking for a chance to get into the picture.
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Basking in the first warm sun in months, on the Coronado ferry.
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Arriving on the other side, we had to allow some time to look around and take in the wonderful view back at the city.  And, since it was midday already and we were depleted by the eight flat miles we'd ridden already, we felt we needed a spot of lunch.  Finally, a bit after 1 we are ready to ride.  Over 3 hours of daylight left, and 33 miles to go.  Should still be fine.

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A Heermans Gull, Coronado. I don't think I've ever seen this species before. With that bright orange bill and black feet, it is really a handsome bird.
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San Diego, from Coronado. Finally, we're ready to ride a bit. It's just after 1, and we've only gotten 10 miles in so far. We'll have to stay on top of the time if we want to get to El Cajon before nightfall.
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The ride south from Coronado is great, and highly recommended.  When we come back to San Diego some year I'm sure we would repeat it.  It follows the good Bayshore bike path all the way to and around the south end, before finally petering out around Chula Vista.  Along the way we enjoyed beautiful views across the water much of the way, and at the south end we were intrigued by the salt lagoons and the old South Bay Salt Works.  Even better, much of the South Bay is a protected wildlife preserve, and is awash with birdlife.  The channels were all stuffed with waterfowl of all kinds - widgeons, pintails, grebes, ruddy ducks, surf scoters, great egrets, dowitchers, gulls, terns, and on and on.

Silver Strand State Beach
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Handstand, Coronado Cays
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The Bayshore Bikeway, south of Coronado
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The San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge - a Mecca for winterng waterfowl.
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The South Bay Salt Works
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South Bay Metal Bikes, a work of art near the Salt Works.
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At Chula Vista we left the bay to angle northeast and uphill to El Cajon.  By now it was getting fairly late in the day - we used up all our spare time on the bay, so we kept our heads down and stayed on task for the rest of the ride.  We dropped into El Cajon a bit before 4:30, and not long before sundown.  No thanks to The Kid.

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 44 miles (71 km)

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