Pacific Coast Tour: Day 22
Day 22: Leo Carrillo State Beach, CA to Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA
Approximate daily mileage ~ 106 miles
Approximate total mileage ~ 1,784 miles
Approximate daily elevation gain ~ 1,500 feet
Approximate total elevation gain ~ 70,700 feet
Day 22 consisted of an entire day spent pedaling through the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area! I started north of Malibu at Leo Carrillo and passed through the famous areas of Venice, Santa Monica, Marina del Ray, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, and through a stretch of the city. Then again there was another long distance traversing Long Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and finally through Dana Point.
With all of that riding in store for the day, it was a good excuse to start with two bagels packed with cream cheese for an early breakfast. This provided the necessary fuel for a strong start heading south along PCH past a beautiful stretch passing through Malibu and its numerous dramatic cliffs and vistas. I stopped for a quick restroom break after cruising along while feeling great. Upon inspection of my front tire I noticed a wire stuck into it. I decided to pull it out and gave the tire a spin. Fortunately, the sealant in the tube worked like magic and quickly sealed up the small leak. It lost a little pressure but retained enough to safely continue. The Stans sealant worked again!
The views continued as the traffic increased as I traveled further south toward Santa Monica. There were many times I was moving more quickly than all the traffic passing cars along the shoulder. This proved to be the most traffic I would encounter the entire day which was a blessing in a city known for incredible amounts of traffic! Before long, I could see the historic Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel in the distance. Cruising along the beach bike path was a joy. It almost didn't seem real as there were barely any other people on the beach. The morning during the middle of the week has a much different appearance than a busy weekend afternoon.
After passing the Santa Monica Pier, Venice quickly came into sight with all the shops, entertainers, and muscle beach included. By this time my hunger had set in once again, so I stopped along Washington Blvd for a second breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, and coffee. This was after just over 30 miles, and there was still a long way to go. My front tire seemed even a little lower than initially after the puncture so the next stop was at a bicycle rental shop in Marina del Ray. This was a fun place to stop and check out all the sailboats and yachts in the marina. The bicycle shop owner was generous enough to allow me to use his floor pump and also gave me some great directions for navigating through the city further south toward Long Beach.
I used a combination of his directions and Google maps to continue through Manhattan and Redondo Beach then through a long stretch of city streets as the temperatures really warmed up. Again, the traffic was really manageable for LA, and before long, I was was cycling along the LA River which led directly to Long Beach. Once arriving in Long Beach, I rode by the Aquarium of the Pacific and another luxurious marina where I stopped for some ice cream in the shade. One young man asked where I was riding so I told him. He looked shocked then all he said was, "Legs like redwoods!". I couldn't help but laugh. Following that, there were more very long stretches of vast beaches including Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach. There were a couple decent hills to climb before reaching Laguna Beach which was incredibly scenic as well. There, I stopped at a peaceful park and relaxed on the lush green grass for a short while. The next town along the coast would be Dana Point which was near my planned final destination for the day!
Dana Point seemed like the perfect place to get a full meal for supper with only a few more miles before reaching the campground. I stopped and had a feast before continuing toward Doheny State Beach. It was a very nice beach with campground directly along the beach side of PCH. There is no longer a hiker/biker section in this campground as I was informed by the rangers. Fortunately, there was another solo touring cyclist already camping at one of the sites and he was generous enough to split his site with me. His name was Caleb, and he was quite the character. His journey had begun in Florida. He then road north along the base of the Appalachian Mountains all the way to New Brunswick. Then he took the train all the way across Canada from East to West, and started his journey south along the Pacific coast with plans to end in San Diego. His hilarious stories were endless.
As it turned out, this would be my last night of the tour sleeping outside. It couldn't have been a better one. There was a huge concrete picnic table where I could stretch out, stars were shining brightly, temperatures were perfect, and the nearby ocean waves crashed in the background.