Point Loma - Winterlude 2021 - CycleBlaze

December 13, 2021

Point Loma

It’s warmer this morning, nearly in the mid-fifties when we awaken.  Overcast though, and not expected to warm up much beyond this.  We’ll miss the sun but feel lucky to have this day - rains are due by late tonight and tomorrow will see rain and strong winds.  Perfect for us, since tomorrow we’ll be spending the day safe and dry inside of a steel box cruising east to Tucson.

Today’s ride begins the same as yesterday’s, with a straight shot south to Mission Beach.  It’s relatively quiet this morning and a much more pleasant ride than yesterday’s.  We decide to add a few miles to the ride and keep following the waterfront walk to its end at Mission Point Park at the tip of the peninsula before doubling back along its landward side.

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Looking down Pacific Beach from Palisades Park. We couldn’t get to this viewpoint yesterday because the park was blanketed solid by a huge calisthenics class.
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Rich FrasierUmm, sorry to quibble, Scott, but this is Pacific Beach. As a proud (sometimes) resident, I have to stick up for my neighborhood. We’ll be back in town in just a couple of weeks!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Rich FrasierI see that now, although you have to zoom in for the different sub-beaches to show up. If you’re out far enough it all looks like Missiom Beach.
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1 month ago
On Pacific Beach.
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The view on Ocean Front Walk, Mission Beach (Or Pacific Beach? I’m not sure where the transition point is.)
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Pelican maintenance, Pacific or Mission Beach.
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Jacquie GaudetThey look so different out of their tuxedos!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetOh, good point.
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1 month ago
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Biking the walkway along Mission Beach is much more enjoyable on a weekday morning before the masses arrive and clog it up.
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Next we skirt the edge of Mission Bay, cross its mouth, and continue following the shoreline south along the bay and then through Ocean Beach.  Going is slow along the channel as it is filled with myriad birds wading and fishing the shallows of Smiley Lagoon: herons, egrets, godwits, cormorants, gulls, peeps, buffleheads, and a great abundance of widgeons.  Especially impressive is a huge raft of cormorants, strung out offshore like a thin reef.  Zooming in, I can see that there must easily be a thousand birds congregated out there.

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In the entrance channel to Mission Bay. A familiar species, but no less impressive for it.
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Fishing in the channel.
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Great Egret, one of many in Smiley Lagoon at the mouth of Mission Bay.
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A marbled godwit with an itch, in Smiley Lagoon. It was hard to get a focused shot because it was in constant rapid motion scratching and preening. The video was more effective.
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The view north from Ocean Beach.
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A huge raft of birds offshore from Ocean Beach.
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Another instance where a more powerful zoom is needed, but they look like they’re nearly all cormorants - Brants probably, from their behavior. I’ve never seen such a huge congregation of cormorants before - there must be a thousand or more.
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We have a gradual 300’ climb out of Ocean Beach up to the top of Point Loma’s long peninsula - not bad, but the cool and damp conditions and headwind aggravate Rachael’s intermittent breathing issues.  After that it’s a gentle ride south for a few miles, passing through Fort Rosencranz National Cemetary and the navy base before coming to the entry gate for Cabrillo National Monument.  At the entrance we’re given the happy news that my National Park Senior Pass gives us free admission, and there is a urgently needed restroom just a half mile on at the visitor center.  We head there straight away and break out lunch, sitting on a sheltered bench and taking in the broad views.

Afterwards we take the dead-end switchback spur that drops down to the lookout above the waterfront, admire the views, and then turn back for the long climb back up again before continuing north and biking our way back off the peninsula.

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The National Monument protects the southern tip of Point Loma. It’s another instance when we’re rewarded for having remembered to bring our Senior Pass along.
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Looking across Coronado to San Diego from the end of Point Loma.
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Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, from the visitor center at Cabrillo National Monument.
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Descending to the shoreline in Cabrillo National Monument - a steady 9% grade, dropping about 300’ in 2/3 of a mile. More fun in this direction.
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Rich FrasierNice view of the Islas Coronadas out there. You’re looking at Mexico 🇲🇽!
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1 month ago
looking down at the beach, Point Loma. This is as close as we’ll get. We’re about 80 feet above the water, and signs warn us to stay well back from the extremely dangerous, unstable sandy cliffs.
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Shaw’s agave? more common in Baja, this is a rare species in the United States, found specifically here at the south end of Point Loma more than anywhere else in the country.
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Shaw’s agave, do you think?
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Bill ShaneyfeltYup!

https://www.calflora.org//app/taxon?crn=115
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1 month ago
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Fort Rosencranz National Cemetery. The last time we were out here the stones were all adorned with poinsettia wreaths for Christmas. We must be a bit too early this time.
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We’re back at Mission bay at about two.  With only about 15 miles remaining in the ride we have plenty of time to make it home before dusk.  It’s been a fine ride so far, but the next five as we skirt the southern and eastern edges of Mission Bay turn it into a really special one.  These waters too are filled with birds and we enjoy one wonderful sight after another.  Many ducks, godwits, peeps and widgeons again; but also pintails, a kingfisher, and the thoroughly charming sight of six white pelicans fishing as a team.  And then, along Rose Creek, one last bird stops me in my tracks.  Rachael’s been extremely patient with me all day, but she reminds me now that she’s getting cold and wants to be heading for home.

A segue: when I was a child in West Virginia, my most treasured book in the household was dad’s copy of Audubon’s The Birds of America.  It’s a large, heavy hardback volume, with each page a full size print of one of Audubon’s paintings of a different species.  It means enough to me still that we made space for it in our storage unit when we liquidated most of our belongings four years ago; and I even dedicated this post to it at the time.  I credit much of my lifelong interest in birds and natural history to the fact that this book was in our house.

I spent countless hours with this book, tracing the outlines of birds onto tracing paper and then coloring them in with crayons or colored pencils.  One of my favorite species was the little blue heron, a colorful bird that I’ve never seen until today because I haven’t spent any time in the southeast, nearly the only part of our country within its normal range.

Until today.  I knew what it was as soon as I saw it, I think probably because my memory of it was refreshed when either the Grampies or Jean-Marc Strydom saw one in Mexico recently.  So of course we’ll have to wait even if Rachael’s growing cold or impatient.  I explain it to her, but she thinks I’m pulling her leg at first and claiming to be looking at a small great blue heron.  What an awesome day!

My life list is in my Peterson’s field guide back in storage, so I’m not sure but this may be my first Black Brant. Not an uncommon goose, but I don’t remember seeing one before.
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A wonderful sighting - these six white pelicans sailing in a pack on Mission Bay, intermittently diving in unison. a dynamic scene, and another time when video does a better job than a still.
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Pintails, Mission Bay.
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Mystery plant of the day.
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Lednar De NallohLimonium Perezii for sure, very tough plants.
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1 month ago
Bill ShaneyfeltGood call Lednar!

https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=photos_index&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-taxon=Limonium+perezii
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1 month ago
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More information, for those who need it.
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For the Alphabet Quest: Gorgeous Heron Indeed! In a day that keeps on giving, we find this little blue heron in Rose Creek. Another lifetime first for me, and maybe a surprise this far north - we’re barely within it’s reported range.
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Video sound track: Rosa Dos Ventos, by Anat Cohen and Trio Brasileiro

After that, we more or less race the final twelve miles home.  Wind is with us, and the first eight are a downwind cruise on the excellent Rose Creek Cycle Path.  After that we come to the mile-log gradual climb up to La Jolla Heights, pass the colleges, and then plummet steeply down to La Jolla and our room.

It’s been an outstanding day, and we don’t really need an outstanding dinner to make it memorable.  But it doesn’t hurt either.

We ate well all three nights in La Jolla, but Bernini’s Bistro was our favorite. The sweet walnut salad and the grilled salmon with rice, butternut squash and asparagus were both excellent but we thought you’d rather see this fine Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing of San Diego. Am I right?
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Bob DistelbergYou are correct. But I bet the dinner pic would have been pretty nice too.
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1 month ago
Graham FinchRight -- was it a good pint?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Graham FinchVery good I thought, one meriting a second round.
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1 month ago
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Ride stats today: 42 miles, 2,100’

Today's ride: 42 miles (68 km)
Total: 544 miles (875 km)

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