Oceanside, CA

As this was supposedly going to be a very average day with 33 miles of riding, I took my time. Robert has a unique work schedule. He goes to work nearby, but every few hours, comes home to take care of his mother. He gave me a key to the house so I could walk out to errands in the morning.

Robert Lee
My host and old friend from college, Robert.

Since Robert doesn’t have broadband at his house (he uses his phone as an access point), I went to McDonald’s a block away, for a delicious breakfast, as well as blog work.

I walked to McDonald’s and got the deluxe breakfast.

The next order of business was to find real athletic shoes, as I was just going around in kung fu shoes.

Huntington Beach Salvation Army
Just as Robert had said, the thrift store was just 2 blocks away.
senior discount day
Wednesday just happened to be senior discount day. Another sign.
addidas savages
There are the shoes I got for $10 – 2.50 = $7.50 . The cashier didn’t even card me for senior discount. The shoes had a “10” written on them, which I thought meant size 10, but actually, that was the price. I thought they felt a bit snug. Robert advised me to bypass the top lace holes to make them looser.
I was riding down the bike path near Newport Beach, and followed this local. Turned out, he wasn’t headed south, he was just stopping to look at the beach. I had a good laugh, and introduced myself. When I gave him my card, he said I wouldn’t believe what his name was. Rhoderick (Filipino spelling), but he goes by “Eric”.
The campground is just past San Clemente. Looking good.

Laguna Beach should have been called Laguna Hills. It was brutal climb after climb. Drivers were courteous.

dana point groceries
I went into a Ralph’s at Dana Point, and got a pre-made sandwich, 2 donuts, and a can of unsalted cashews.
Snaking through the twists and turns of San Clemente streets would have been hard, if not for the green signs marking the path.
San Onofre state park, which includes the San Onofre nuclear reactors. As you can see from the shadow, it’s getting late. But no matter, I still had more than an hour of light. And maybe the campsite would be glowing…
san onofre nuclear plant
Someone told me what the nuclear containment domes resembled.
It’s 6:30 pm, with one hour of sunlight left. I should have been happy having made it to the campground, except for this surprise.

All right, don’t panic. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. Long way to lodging, and over hills, behind me. I’m on military land, don’t want to stealth camp. Long distance ahead to get off the military complex, plus, even though I have permission, will they allow a civilian cyclist through the main gate so close to sunset?

I decided to go forward. Reached the main entry gate at 7:00 pm. The guards scanned my ID, and let me though.

Note that from this point forward, I have no pictures. Not only was photography disallowed in Camp Pendleton, I was in too much of a hurry to get to shelter. Too bad, there were dozens of bunnies on the bike trail, probably because few humans visit the area.

The terrain was hilly. By 7:30, the sun had gone down, but there was still dusk light. I heard “Taps” being played on the loudspeakers. Shortly thereafter, I made the decision to stop, unpack my pannier, retrieve my red flasher, and clip it onto the back. There were swarms of gnats that came up at dusk. I couldn’t see them, but could feel them bouncing off my face. Occasionally, I would have to spit one out. By 8 pm, I made the exit gate, and put on my headlamp.

I got lost around the harbor at Oceanside, but was able to get directions from some RV’ers. Checked into the Beachwood Motel, the first one I saw. This was the first motel I’ve seen on the whole trip with a non-Indian/Pakistani owner. It was a (I think) Chinese woman at the desk. For $77, I got a huge room with 2 bedrooms and a full kitchen. Bigger than any apartment I’ve lived in. It was not new, but that didn’t matter.

I went down the block to Pappy’s Market, and got an apple, Gatorade, and saw on the rack – a Headlight for $9.99! I’ve been wanting a spare, even since the original one started flaking out. Also got 2 bananas, which he let me have for a dollar, since they were starting to spot.

Back at the room, I had my dinner sandwich. There was no cell service for my Tracfone, but the motel had internet, so I was able to skype Merrianne. I took a shower, which was basically tap water temperature in Hawaii. I turned the shower on to full hot, but even after a minute, it was barely lukewarm. So I just took a beach shower, shivering through shampoo and soap. Some 5 minutes later, when I was about to turn the water off, it got hot.

My feet, especially my big toenails, were hurting. Shoes too tight. I will need to get new ones first thing tomorrow.

Lots of adventure. Often I think it’s more adventure than I want. In fact, I’m straining to think of anyone I know that would enjoy the learning experience that I had today. But perhaps it’s better to learn now than in the desert.

Lesson learned: check campground availability if there are no alternatives nearby. Don’t just go by icons on the map.

Miles for the day: 61.4, hilly.

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