Thursday, December 28, 2006

12/28 San Diego to Pine Valley. I left the cyclocomputer on the bike, which is 1/2 mile walk from the library I'm at now, so I don't have the average speed, but the total mileage today was around 58, over 35 of which was spent climbing in lowest gear. Hard work, but very rewarding. The views are spectacular. From Alpine, at 2000' elevation, where I stopped for lunch and the earlier posting, the road climbs to 4000' with an average grade of about 8% and a few pitches over 10% and then drops to about 3700' into Pine Valley. That last drop was a two-mile downhill from Guatay on the shady side of the mountains during which all the sweat I was soaked with damn near froze! I figured I'd warm up with a hot shower at the Pine Valley Motel, but they'd rented their last room just before I rolled in. I'm now camped out in the back yard of the community center (with the Sherriff's blessing) on some nice, soft ground. A couple of good restaurants in town and warm, dry clothes on, so I'm all set. Supposed to be in the 20's tonight, which will be perfect for the sleeping bag I brought. No wind and no rain forecast, not that either would matter, but it should be a nice, clear night. As I mentioned to my niece, Rachel, in an earlier e-mail, I'm glad I had 1500 miles under my belt before I tackled today's climb. If this was day #1, like it is for the folks who do the official route from west to east, it would've darn near killed me!

Beautiful country up here in the southwestern mountains. Some of the peaks look like piles of stony rubble, with very little vegetation, but then there are hundreds of square miles of peaks and slopes that are solid green and lush. Here in Pine Valley, the flora lives up to its name, with huge old pines scattered everywhere and little creeks running through the stony, steep-sided valleys. The route up was on the old US-80, then joined I-8 for a few miles before breaking off onto Rt. 79 and back onto the old US-80 around the north side of Guatay Mountain (4885') through farm country that was reminiscent of (a dryer version of) New England, with grassy pastures backed by mountain vistas. Really pretty. Tomorrow, the route climbs to 4200', then drops to 3200', then climbs back up to 4100', then sawtooths its way up and down to 3300', then drops to 300', all within the next 50 miles! Not sure how early I'll be able to start, since the bike lane was wet in places on the way up and those spots will be iced in the early morning hours. Should be an interesting day. And now it's time to go fuel the furnace!


Blogger Web said...


Been reading your blog and I must hand it to you - this ride you're doing solo is pretty awesome. I've been on your route and it has many long, desolate stretches.

Perhaps I missed it but are you doing this ride simply for the challenge or to raise awareness to a charity?

Larry Lagarde
Urging bicycling for recreation, commuting, health and a better future.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Hi Frank,
I know the area you are in quite well. I have spent alot of time in that area and it is truly beautiful. My nephew lives about three houses down from dog beach and runs his dogs there a couple times a day. Ocean Beach is one of the last little beach towns left that hasn't been completely taken over by Condo's. Please let me know if you are coming this way?
Love & Prayers Paula

8:52 PM  
Blogger loanar said...

i can imagine it gets warm in the day and a bit nippy at night. today i,m looking out the window watchtng the snow. it,s funny they say snow flurries but we are way past that. sounds like your going on a roller coaster ride up and down the hills. well have a good one and stay warm in that sleeping bag. see ya. steve

10:43 AM  
Blogger MLO said...

The Phx group wants to know when you plan to be there. Also, will you be riding through Tucson? Thanks,

11:29 PM  

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