Saturday, February 28, 2009

On the Road (San Francisco, CA)

My friends John and Lolita met me in San Diego and we hit the road on Wednesday. The drive was along the coast and offered some great stops on the way to Ventura. In Ventura I saw Mike one last time on the West Coast. We checked out the local shops and walked around Ventura for a while before grabbing a bite to eat at a Thai restaurant. After that we hung out with Mike and his girlfriend Galen at their place.

The next day we drove to Santa Cruz to catch a great sunset and walk along the shore before jumping in the bus and driving the rest of the way to San Francisco.

Adam and Garren live in Oakland and James and Travis flew in about the same time that we drove into town. We went to Radio, the bar where Garren works, our first night. The next day we did the touristy thing at the harbor.

Yesterday we drove to Sacramento to visit my buddy Whit and his wife Emily. Whit held a small bike swap the next morning at his frame building shop. Now we're back in Oakland and tomorrow night the bus will be heading to Salem, Oregon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


A vacation from my vacation - how nice is that?

My Dad and stepmom have been vacationing in Hawaii for six seasons and this year they invited my brother and I to join them for a week. The entire week was great and it was nice getting to spend some time with them during my west coast retreat.

Some highlights of the trip were kiteboarding, sailing on a catamaran, whale watching, surfing, snorkeling, and seeing my Dad and brother RUN the local pool table. The trip charged up my batteries for the long haul back home which starts TOMORROW!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

San Juan Capistrano

After a rough day of nonstop flat tires on Anderson Truck Trail, Andy and I decided to reward ourselves with a trip to San Juan Capistrano. At the base of the trail we met some riders that were about to shuttle the trail, so we hopped in their truck and rode up to the top of the mountain. I really enjoyed the climb last time we were there, but the shuttle allowed us to cover some additional trail that isn't available on the out-and-back route.

Before the main descent we hung out and talked to a few other riders for a bit. By the time we were all ready to descend, there were six or seven of us, so we staggered our start. I headed off first and decided to ride nonstop to the bottom. The downhill is pretty long and offers some areas of uphill effort, so tying it all into one run was fairly tiring. I'm not sure how long it actually took, but it felt like thirty minutes or so. Once I hit the parking lot at the base, I waited for the next rider behind me. It was Andy. He'd picked off a few of the other guys and made it out of the woods in second place. Even with a staggered start, he wasn't far behind me.

The next day I headed off for Hawaii...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Camera Woes

My recently exchanged camera broke yesterday. I should have read the online reviews before buying the original. Apparently the problem I'm having is commonplace with this model (Kodak M1033). It's a shame too, since I can't take any photos of beautiful Hawaii. Luckily I can use my Dad's camera, but it's half the resolution. Maybe I can swap it out for a new one this afternoon; but what's to say that one won't crap out by the end of the week? Oh well.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Trolley Tour

After I swapped out my busted camera for a new one (which was a complete pain in the ass), I hopped on the MTS Trolley and headed south. I rode down to the border of Mexico, walked around for a bit to check it out, then boarded the trolley heading north, stopping anywhere that seemed interesting.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the sights along the trolley tracks are really not that spectacular. I'm sure there's plenty that I just didn't discover, but it seemed to just get poorer and dirtier as I went south. I did snap a few photos of some local graffiti when I was in Chula Vista, but the majority of my wandering occurred near San Diego. Not a complete bust, but less than I'd expected from the Tijuana area.

Today I'm busy planning the trip back on the TomTom. I'm also trying to find veggie oil hookups in some of the cities that we'll be visiting. The drive back will be over 5,000 miles, so I hope to fill up [on veggie oil] at least four times, reducing our diesel-only miles to about 3,600.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

San Juan

Wow! What a breath of fresh air. It's been a few days since I've ridden and today felt great!

This morning's sun got us going - we had a relaxed Sunday morning unwind, then loaded up for the trails. On the highway we hit some spots of rain, but decided to press on since we'd packed for the worst anyway. When we got to the trailhead there was some light precipitation, but the temperature wasn't too cold, so it felt comfortable.

The climb was really nice. It's a few miles up, but it's steady and the mist in the air felt good. Halfway up we were warm enough to shed the rain jackets. The rain and cloud cover was spotty, so we'd just ride through short showers and then into bright sun. It was a nice change from the normally sunny days.

When we reached the summit, we sat at the top for a few minutes to just take it all in. I felt like I was taking my camera out constantly on the way up. There was just so much to see and the sights were breathtaking.

We knew the ride down would be muddy and fast, so we opted to leave our rain jackets on. The ride down was awesome! I'd blast downhill for a few minutes, stop for a small break, and then shoot down the next section. The ride up was so pleasant that I'd hardly realized how long a downhill we'd earned. The entire descent probably lasted a solid 30 minutes, which is fairly long considering how quickly we were covering trail [between breaks].

I doubt I'll have the chance to ride at San Juan again before I leave, but I'm glad that I was able to get a sample of it before hitting the road. Just one more week in San Diego, then it's off to Hawaii for a vacation with my Dad and brother, followed by the drive up the coast. I'll pick up James and Adam in San Francisco, then the three of us will continue north before heading back to the east coast.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Noble Canyon

The forecast for this weekend wasn't promising, but Andy and I decided to try our luck at Noble Canyon. There were spots of rain during the drive, but still a chance of riding lured us on.

When we got there, however, the rain had turned to snow. The temperature dropped from a chili 56 degrees to a downright cold 34. We just drove around for a bit to take in the sights, but our day of riding was definitely not happening.

Click on the pano [twice] to check it out in full size - the thumbnail just doesn't do it justice.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Black Mountain

Yesterday morning Andy and I got our free breakfast, then I headed to ride a new spot - Black Mountain.

There are plenty of ways to climb to the summit, but the most direct is a fire road that runs to some sort of cell tower at the peak. The climb is steep, but short. I took a few minutes at the top to relax before riding the singletrack and doubletrack to the trailhead. The ride down was short, but over loose rocks, which slows the pace slightly and makes it seem a bit longer.

After I got back to the house, Scott and I rode down to Balboa in search of more jumps. We found some, but they were small and neglected, so we went back to our original set and sessioned them for a bit.