TRIP 2017

Update #05 - February 17th
San Diego, CA
Mission Trip 3,282.41 miles (5,251.86 km)
Year Total : 1,331.18 miles (2,129.89 km)

The trip across the country is over and I am now heading North along the Pacific Coast to Bothell, WA. I arrived in Chula Vista, CA yesterday afternoon. I had ridden 2,583.90 miles (4,134.24 km) from Perry, FL and 3,282.41 miles (5,251.86 km) from St Augustine, FL. From Chula Vista, CA, I have a 1,587.69 mile (2,540.30 km) ride to Bothell, WA where I will be turning East to Kittery, ME. Currently, I'm 19.39 mile (31.02 km) into my ride Northwards.

Feb 14, 2017 : El Centro, CA to Ocotillo, CA : 28.73 miles (45.97 km)
Trip Total: 3,212.98 miles (5,140.70 km)
Year Total: 1,261.75 miles (2,018.80 km)

I had a somewhat okay afternoon and rough night in the youth room of the First united Methodist Church. Antonio got me the password to the wifi network but the signal was really weak in the upstairs youth room because of the concrete block walls. I went down to the fellowship hall but the signal wasn't that strong there. I had to move a small cart down to the door to the office section of the church near the restrooms. The signal was kind of strong there but the wifi signal kept dropping. At least, I was finally able to update my ministry website after not being able to for around a weak. I got everything updated except for the monthly totals of visitors from the different countries.

While I was updating the website, some strange and loud noises came from the office section of the church. There was the sound of the alarm going off and somebody trying to put in the passcode. The person did a lot of failures and after ten tries the alarm really went off loud. There was no way that I could investigate because the internal corridor door was locked. After about fifteen minutes of loud noise, the alarm finally went off.

I took what I needed for the night and went upstairs to the youth room. I spent some time watching movies on my laptop. I was hoping to get a lot of rest but that didn't happen. As soon as I laid my head down on the pillow, a spot in the back of my throat started to hurt and I started to cough. The coughs usually came in sets of two and sometimes sets of three. I coughed so deep that my toes curled up and started to hurt. All I had on Alice in my medicine pack was aspirin and over-the-counter medicine for day colds. I really wished that I had some cough drops. I was hoping to find some in the downstairs fellowship hall or kitchen but I couldn't find any. The more that I thought about that sore spot in the back of my throat the more it hurt and the coughing started up again. I was a little concered that the cold was becoming another bout of walking pneumonia but I didn't feel or hear any whirring in my breathing. It was a long night for me and I maybe got about three hours of sleep total.

The sun was up by around 6:30 am. I told the pastor and Antonio that I would be gone by at least 7:30 am because there was a lady group coming in around 8:30 am for some kind of classes. I left the church around 7:0 am. It was a little cool but not that cold. I went North about eight blocks before I could turn West on BUS I8/ SR 80. I rode through motel row, I was hoping to find some place where I could get some night time cold medicine and some cough drops and I happy to find a Dollar General Market open. This Dollar General had a full grocery store section in it. On the way out of town, I happened to spot a McDs so I opted to stop for something light and some sweet tea.

It was probably around 8:20 am when I got back on the road. I rode passed a lot of large fields of truck farms. About five miles out of El Centro was the El Centro Naval Air Base. I got a rare treat in watching a squadron of four fighter jets go through some tight maneuvers. They must have been practicing for the air show that was going to be at the Yuma airport in March. The ride to Seeley went okay. I stopped at a gas station / grocery store for a short break. It got warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off.

Once I got passed Seeley, the road surface became rougher and rougher. The truck farms ended. I rode through an area that must have had some earthquake activity at a faultline. It was a really weird area of terraign. Beyond that area, the terraign got more desolate and civilization sort of ended. Instead of being productive, the land was more sand dunes and designated as area for offroad vehicle usage. There was one large sand truck plowing up flumes of dust.

By noon, I had made about 22.4 miles. I didn't stop along side the road for lunch. The gypsum board plant in Plaster City was a lot bigger than I had remembered. Beyond Plaster City, the road surface really got bad. The last mile or two into Ocotillo was especially bad.

I got into the small town of Ocotillo around 1:20 pm. I couldn't get on I8 at that interchange because there was a restricted access sign. There was a gas station south of the interstate. I went over there to use the restroom and to also find out directions. I found out that I would have to travel South for about a half mile and then turn west on SR 98 and follow it for a little over a mile and then I could get on the shoulder of the interstate.

The last couple of miles really wiped me out. I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to make it to the top of In-Ko-Pah Pass by sunset and not make it into Jacumba as I had planned. There wasn't much interstate traffic at the gas station so I didn't think that I could try and hitch a ride.

Around 2:20 pm, I rode back into Ocotillo to see what was there. There wasn't much in the small town of 300. There was a fire station, a community center, a Bible church, and a grocery store but this closed up at 3 pm. There was a house trailor next to the church but it looked empty and there was a padlock on the outside of the door, There was no contact information on any of the church doors. In back of the church there was this teenage boy who was herding up some chickens. I walked over there to talk to him. He wasn't sure if the pastor lived in town or not so he went to get his father to talk to me. The boy's father told me that he didn't know the pastor of the church but he had the keys to the community center and I was invited to stay there. The only problem was that a key had to be used to lock up the door. The guy assured me that I would be safe even with the unlocked door because the county sheriff has a substation in the fire station next door. To make myself feel a little more secure I used my plastic door stop to wedge the door in place so that it gave the impression that it was locked. I'm not going to turn any of the lights on inside at night because the front door is made out of glass and there are no blinds to cover it.

Tomorrow morning, I'll have about a 14 mile climb to the top of In-Ko-Pah Pass and I'll probably try and make it into Potrero instead of just riding to Jacumba and stop there. This move will still get me into the San Diego area Thursday. There are several WS members in the San Diego area.

Feb 15, 2017 : Ocotillo, CA to Campo, CA : 32.57 miles (52.11 km)
Trip Total: 3,245.55 miles (5,192.88 km)
Year Total: 1,294.32 miles (2,070.91 km)

I had a somewhat okay night in the community center. I didn't use any inside lights so people wouldn't know if I was there. I was able to get some sleep even though I had used my doorstop to keep the door closed. I got maybe six hours of sleep. The sun was up around 6:30 am.

I got on the road around 7:20 am. The ride to CA 98 went okay and so was the ride to I-8. I got maybe a half mile down the interstate when a black guy in a pickup truck stopped to see if I needed any help. I just asked him ifhe could take me up to In-Ko-Pah Road at 3,000 feet of elevation where I could get on Old US 80 that would take me to Jacumba and then on to Chula Vista. It didn't take long to get Alice and my gear into the back bed of the truck. The ride up to In-Ko-Pah Road went fast. The guy was pretty friendly. He did offer to take me clear to San Diego. I found out that he was staying with his son's family because his son was in Utah helping to plant a Church of God church. Before we parted company, the guy slipped me a small GH.

Before riding down In-Ko-Pah Road, I walked back to the interstate exchange so I could take a picture of Alice at the elevation side and the Road Side. The ride to Jacumba went okay. I got into Jacumba around 9 am. I stopped at a store to get something to drink. I talked with some people who had a gift - craft store called the Love Shop. The couple were actually nudists. The guy was just wearing a large tie dyed towel. I was probably off the road about 20 minutes.

At Jacumba, I was just several hundred feet away from the Border Fence and the Mexican Border. I took quite a few pictures.

I took my time going through the mountains. I stopped alongside the road for some lunch. Because of how Alice was acting up, I spent a lot of time walking up the hills. I stopped at a gas station about a little before dusk to go to the restroom and to get something cool to drink. I got into Campo a little after dark. The rear tire went soft. I stopped under the light of a museum to fix the tire. I found a small piece of glass sticking in the tire so I used a pair of fingernail clippers to get it out. I put in the spare inner tube.

I wasn't sure where I could camp out. I stopped at a grocery store across the creek from the museum. I found out that there was a campground behind the museum where hikers from the Pacific Crest Trail camp out. I found a spot hidden by a storage shead to pitch my tent. It took a lot of time getting the tent up because of the broken ridge pole section.

Feb 16, 2017 : Campo, CA to Chula Vista, CA : 15.97 miles (25.55 km)
Trip Total: 3,261.52 miles (5,218.43 km)
Year Total: 1,310.29 miles (2,096.46 km)

I had a somewhat okay night camping out. It was a little cool but my new sleeping bag helped. There was a lot of border patrol vehicles going passed but nobody saw where I was.

I was looking at getting an early start but I noticed that the rear tire was a little soft. I really hoped that the new inner tube was punctured. I washed out the inside of the tire. I actually broke off the lever on the pump. It took a while figuring out how I could stil inflate the tubes. I used a wheel barrow to a bubble test on the tube and I didn't find any leaks. I was able to get the tire inflated to the right pressure. I think that the tire was a little soft because of the cold and the elevation. I was still a little over 2,000 feet above sea level.

It was almost 9 am when I was finally able to get on the road. The ride to Potrero went slow. Old US 80 ended and I got on CA 94. Traffic really picked up when CA 188 connected that brought in traffic from Tecata, Mexico. I was really getting concerned because there wasn't much of a shoulder and I had a 4 mile ride of winding road to get down to Barrett Junction. Before I got that far down the road, a sheriff car and a fire truck zipped passed me. I learned that there was a two car wreck with injuries about halfway down the road. I was told that there would be at least a two hour wait till traffic would be allowed. I found a spot off the road to wait. Traffic started to go down the mountain again after about a seventy minute wait. I waited till most of the traffic jam to go passed before I started my coast down the hill. I carefully went down the mountain because I didn't know long my brake pads would last. The rear brake squealed a lot.

I got into Barrett Junction around 3:00 pm. There wasn't much but a restaurant. I was hoping to maybe find someplace to camp out because I didn't want to try and make it over the next mountain to the South. This would be the last major obstacle. I went into the restaurant to see if I could find a restroom. The owner of the restaurant got me a pitcher of watcher. There were just a few customers. There was a couple of elderly ladies who I found out that they were part of the pioneer families. I made friends with an elderly couple from Pismo Beach who were in the area to do some treasure hunting. They were concerned about my safety on the road and offered to take me to either Potrero or all the way to Chula Vista. They also offered to get me something to eat. I got a good hamburger and some fries. While I was eating, another customer started to talk to me. He was a fire fighter who went up to the top of the fire towers. I was really surprised when he slipped me $20 in a GH.

It was almost 4:30 pm when we headed out from Barrett Junction. I'm glad that I didn't make the attempt to get up and over the mountain. There wasn't much of a shoulder. There was a campground in Potrero but it wasn't open so the offer to take me into Chula Vista was extended. We got into Chula Vista a little before dusk. We didn't really know where we were going but we got to San Diego Bay beyond I-5. We landed on the Bayshore Bike Way. I got dropped off near the edge of the bikeway where it turned to Imperial Beach. There was some open land that was a conservation area. Before we parted company, I got slipped $5 in a GH. I was able to find a place to camp out in the high brush.

I really can't believe that my trip across the country is over. Now, the ride up the Pacific Coast starts.

Feb 17, 2017 : Chula Vista, CA to San Diego, CA : 20.89 miles (33.42 km)
Trip Total: 3,282.41 miles (5,251.86 km)
Year Total: 1,331.18 miles (2,129.89 km)

I had a somewhat okay night camping out. It was a little cool but my new sleeping bag helped. I was pretty surprised at how much sleep I was able to get even though I was really close to I-5. There was the constant din of traffic going to and coming from Tijuana, Mexico.

I woke up around 6 am. I was back on the road by around 7:20 am. The ride North was a little tricky because there wasn't really good signage along the Bayshore Bikeway. In National City near the US Naval Station, I happened to come across a McDs. I took a working breakfast. I was really shocked to see my bank balance when I checked it. I found out that a friend of mine in MS gave me a large online donation. I was really concerned about the weather tonight. I had heard that there was going to be a major Winter storm come through the area with high winds and rain. I really didn't know if I could connect with a WS member in the area. Just to be safe, I decided to use more of my Wyndham Rewards points and get a discounted rate room. I found a room on Hotel Circle South along I-8 about 1.5 miles East of the Pacific Highway.

It took a while getting to the hotel. I rode through the downtown area and went passed the international airport. I was amazed at how many homeless campsites I found along the streets of downtown San Diego. The winds were really strong through the downtown area. I got to the hotel around 1 pm. I was able to check in early even though they had a 3 pm check in time

The next update will be posted between February 24th and March 03rd.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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