My cycling journey around the American perimeter
64 miles – Total so far: 2181 miles
The day started out with a bang, as I immediately climbed about 15 miles of hills south of Newport Beach. After settling in to what was to be a 64-mile jaunt, I found myself at the gates of Camp Pendleton, a massive 125,000 square mile marine training facility, where countless American men and women have undergone boot camp training on the West Coast.
Believe it or not, the route today took me right through the heart of Camp Pendleton. As we entered the front gate, two MP’s checked our ID’s and allowed us to pass through, after summarizing our responsibilities as cyclists on a U.S. Military Base. Once on base, I immediately heard the sound of mortar shells in the surrounding hills, obviously emanating from some sort of training exercise. The sound of exploding mortars was quite impressive, if not a bit unnerving. Further down the base road, I came upon an obstacle course full of men and women, in full combat gear, sweating through their paces. In the midst of that intense activity, one group of marines were literally carrying their comrades on their backs like gunny sacks, at full speed, as they were navigating the obstacle course. Watching those well, badass marines in the midst of this kind of training gave me goosebumps. In all honestly, I will rest easier tonight after having seen that display of commitment from those selfless Americans! I’m sure they’re sleeping well tonight also.
As I was nearing the outer edge of Camp Pendleton, having crossed a large chunk of the base, we ran upon a huge swarm of bees. They were big, they were angry, and they were looking for trouble. Not sure what set them off, but they were pissed and chasing me. I was a bit frightened since I’m allergic to bee stings, so I think I came close to setting a land speed record on the fully-loaded Surly Pearl! I spent much of the rest of the afternoon recovering from that little windsprint.
I passed through the towns of Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano (yes, the one with Swallows), San Clemente (yes, the one President Nixon lived in), Camp Pendleton, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas. Of particular note was the meandering ride through the beautiful seaside towns of Oceanside, Carlsbad, and Encinitas. I must say that I was completely enamored by these villages and I’ve promised myself to return with my family for some R&R someday.
Spending the night at San Elijo State Beach and readying myself for a sweet push tomorrow into San Diego.
It’s All Good.
Photo of the Day: Rest stop in USMC Camp Pendleton
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