Los Angeles to San Diago (October 31st to November 20th)

We finally broke out of the hills of Burbank on November 16th – albeit lazily! We spent two weeks with Dave’s parents (Ana and Lawson) along with their daughter Sara. We had a kitchen full of bustle and a dining table crammed with food to put down a horse. Probably the most intense exercise I got was sweeping up leaves with Augustine in the yard, hitting up the local Verdugo mountain bike trails and lifting up the newspaper in the morning light.

Augustine got love and entertainment from every direction throughout the duration of our stay – Ana kept suggesting: “Augustine! You can stay with me, I will teach you Spanish and your crazy parents can go travel for as long as they want!” Augustine probably wouldn’t mind, though she’d probably never want to rejoin her parents.

Though we are pretty terrible tourist, we did manage to hit up a natural history museum and two science centers in town along with the Griffith Observatory on Hollywood mountain. Augustine probably most enjoyed (along with her parents) the newest Discovery Science center with great activities for kids and parents alike.

Apart from that, we did try and take down the whole Leggitt family with a stomach bug that started with Augustine and slowly moved through the ranks – only the two moms, Ance and Ana, avoided the full onslaught of the stomach terror. Beyond just being awesome hosts who let the vagrants stay in their home for two weeks (sorry Sara for stealing your bed for so long!) we also stayed for an extended period to swap out our bicycles. We upgraded to two Surly Long Haul Truckers. All you bike heads can check out the specs here: http://surlybikes.com/bikes/long_haul_trucker_gray

Before reaching Dave’s parents, we had spent a week or so with Andy’s gentle mother’s house on a quite suburban corner in Thousand Oaks and then hit the road for a short ride to Sherman Oaks where Augustine got a Halloween playmate and fellow trick-or-treater. Augustine pulled off her Pink and Purple Pirate with flying colors while Andy and his niece Charlotte played clever characters out of Betelgeuse

It is a good thing that most of the people that find themselves at our page are in it for the photos, because I’ve done a miserable job of keeping a journal on the last few weeks of our ongoing journey. The problem lies in finding yourself in good company and leisurely enjoying the good graces of great people and poking around a new place. Circumstances pose a deep trench of laziness for jotting down the mundane greatness of life.

After days of Los Angeles tourist playing, Verdugo mountain biking and shuffling up our own bicycle situation, we hit the road again for a leisurely three day trek into the San Diego area to meet up with another friends parents – Este and Kent’s family for a Thanksgiving gathering of magnanimous proportions.

Due to my own slackish nature, we’ re delivering mostly photos raw and uncut and devoid of my usual long winded commentary. Hope you all enjoy the photos and stay tuned for our upcoming adventures into Mexico. Oh, and be sure to enjoy these holiday things, we will.

November 16th to 19th

On the first day out of LA we pulled our longest day – about 65 miles to Crystal Cove state park. Luckily it was mostly a downhill and flat affair. We spent all day weaving out of an endless morass of suburban homes and signs that indicate that you’ve crossed into a different city. As fate would have it, we blew out one of Augustine’s tubes in the first half of the ride and spent each of the three days into San Diego fiddling with tubes that kept going flat. The rubber from Eugene, Oregon has gone soft.

We’d actually started fairly early according to our standards: 8AM baby! So, by the time noon rolled around for lunch we’d already put in about 30 miles. We spent lunch in a park near Santa Fe Springs, where Augustine made friends with an all smiles nearly two year old.

Getting late we rolled into Crystal Cove state park and were greeted by a kind young man with his laptop open in the Ranger shack playing something that looked like world of warcraft. With a boyish smile he gently told us that there were no Hiker/Biker spots and the fee for the night would be $35 dollars. Already dark, we miserly agreed to the fare and set off to a campsite on the edge of darkness being whipped by the Santa Ana winds.

On November 17th, we took a much more leisurely day of 20 some odd miles. We barreled down into Laguna beach to spend some time at the public library. While Augustine and Ance read some books I was accosted by a truly unique parade of characters. One guy wore a black and white captains hat, white gloves and a red sequin vest. He road in on an ancient rusty Schwinn and asked me to watch his bike for him. He waved and talked to everyone in the nearby vicinity.

As we were getting ready to leave, another salty character heard we’d traveled from B.C. He went off into a meandering monologue about building a sail boat by hand: “That was years ago, great boat. I was never a sailer though.” We proceeded to Doheny State Beach, where there were actual Hiker/Biker spots for $12 dollars. The helpful young woman Ranger indicated that just down the road at San Clemente state park we’d also find reasonably priced hiker/biker spots as well.

We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun, swimming a bit and eating the ridiculous amount of food we’d packed for the three day trek into San Diego. Upon getting to San Clemente in the early evening, no attendant was working the shack and there obviously were no hiker/biker spots or rates. We ended up throwing up the tent for the night in a beautiful spot and hitting the road early the following morning free of charge – the universe provides.

Rolling out of San Clemente at 6:30AM we met one of those happy helpful spandex wearing road cyclists that told us all about the road into Oceanside. We stopped in San Onofre state park for breakfast just beyond the shutdown nuclear power plant that looks like a pair of breasts with hard nipples. So scenic.

We then proceeded for a short day to Guajome Regional Park. We stopped at a strip mall in the afternoon to kill some time – Ance and Augustine ate at Denny’ s for the first time. It was like I remembered, overpriced and not very good. The mass American diner experience was a bit faded from my childhood.

We rolled into Guajome in the fading light, ate a dinner of creamy pasta and broccoli, played some cribbage and fell asleep in the cool air.

November 19th consisted mainly of slow to moderate climbs. Jesse, Este’s father, managed to see us 3 miles before reaching their house and tried to persuaded us that he could load up our bicycles for the last few miles – “people on this road are crazy!” We thanked him for the offer but suggested that after 3000 miles or so, we could probably make the last three to his house in one piece.

Now we’ve arrived at our Thanksgiving home anxiously awaiting the Fieldings coming in from Skagway, Alaska to catch up and generally be lazy vagrants in the San Diego sun. We sit in the hills of Valley center over looking scenic mountains with roosters crowing in the morning and just a few minuets ago peacocks landing on the deck to check out what’s happening for breakfast.

Its a rough life.

Best,

LatvianAlaskan Family