Soaking up the last of California

Sunset at South Carlsbad State Park

From Oceanside, CA we had planned to ride to San Elijo State Park, but on a hunch we decided to stop and check in with folks at Carlsbad State Park.  We had already hit a couple of state parks that had been unexpectedly closed on our route, and without the state updating their websites or answering their phones to indicate closures, we wanted to make sure our next stop wouldn’t be another disappointment.

Sure enough, they confirmed, “San Elijo is closed for three weeks for maintenance.”  But after a quick conversation with the nicest state park volunteers we’d met in California, they offered to let us stay in one of their sites at a hike/bike rate, even though their particular park didn’t normally offer hike/bike rates.  Say what?!  They even put us in a very pleasant site near the bathrooms and in the sun!  Without being secluded from other campers, people walking by our site actually stopped to chat and exchange stories with us.  We were able to walk less than 30 feet to partake of the spectacular view of the beach, surfers and the sunset.  It was wonderful.  Thank you South Carlsbad State Park staff and volunteers for being so kind and for making our last state park camping experience in California a good one!

South Carlsbad State Park

View of the beach from campsite at South Carlsbad State Park

South Carlsbad State Park

A sliver of the moon hanging over the beach.

We spent a long time in silence, looking out over the ocean and watching the sun set as soothing sounds of the waves washed ashore.  We saw birds diving for fish, dolphins jumping in play, and whales passing through.  I found myself in awe of the enormous beauty of it all.  Here’s a short video capturing some of the magic (make sure to watch the waves for dolphins, fish, and whales):

We decided to make short days of it heading down our last stretch of California, stopping off in Solana Beach for a night, then spending two days with our warmshowers.org host family in San Diego.  (Thank you Moyer family!)

San Diego Bay

San Diego Harbor

San Diego

Streets of San Diego

Sign in Warmshower's Host Yard, May Peace Prevail on the Earth

Sign found in our San Diego host family’s yard, translated: “May Peace Prevail on the Earth”

The sun was shining, as usual, when we pedaled out of San Diego toward the U.S./Tecate border crossing.  The ride out was surprisingly low-key and we found ourselves travelling on fairly quiet roadways within miles of leaving the city.  We heaved a sigh of relief, glad to be in the quiet countryside again, mountains slowly unfolding before us.

Although a Google search had shown zero campsites between us and the border crossing we came upon Pio Pico campsite in Jamul about 25 miles into the day.  Knowing that there was some climbing between us and the border we decided to stay the night, preferring to make a day time border crossing the following day instead of a possibly frantic and confusing evening entry that night.

Sheila, Campo Road riding toward Tecate border

Sheila on Otay Lakes Road

Campo Road, to Tecate border

Otay Lakes Roadside

Campsite, Campo Road

Campsite at Pio Pico in Jamul, CA

Campo Road, California

Crow, Jamul

You don’t really appreciate small favors as much as you do when cycle touring.  In the early, frigid, morning we had a kind-hearted camp neighbor come over and offer to make us hot water for tea, indicating it would be quick & easy for him to make in his RV.  His offer saved us a ton of time, not having to unpack and repack the stove.  After chatting with him for a bit we found out he and his wife were headed through Baja as well, and that they had recently figured out the carbon footprint of their travelling by RV.  They were actually considering making this trip their last, being less and less able to resolve in their minds the negative environmental impact of their travels.  It was refreshing to find out that they were even considering such things as they traveled.

The ride to the border consisted of climbing over 2000 feet with a quick 700 foot dip thrown in the middle.  Fortunately, the landscape was breathtaking, and it offered a change of pace from the California coastline we had become used to, so our roaming eyes kept us occupied as our legs carried us over the mountains.  It was a beautiful way to end our time in the States.

Campo Road, California on way to Tecate, Mexico

Campo Road, CA

Post Office, Campo Road

The last U.S. Post Office before we hit the border.

Campo Road, to Tecate border

Looking back on Campo Road

Farmers Tan!  Sheila, Campo Road heading toward the border

Nice farmers tan!

Campo Road, to Tecate border

Up in the mountains now, looking toward Tecate.

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Next Stop : Tecate, Baja, Mexico

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