A week has come and gone in San Diego with socializing and preparing for our next leg replacing our daily cycling routine. We have been staying with the Kramers in their dream home in South Park. The company has been grand.
We hauled tail to get through southern California. Our last three days were 70 miles plus each as we pushed our way through the sprawl that began in Santa Monica and was still going strong 200 miles later as we entered San Diego. There were long stretches through LA county where we pleasantly found ourselves on white-sand lined bike paths. Though the long stretch through Torrence in the heart of LA evened out the serenity of the beaches as we rode on bike lane-less streets along roaring traffic. Yuck. Luckily, there is such little foot traffic in LA, that we were able to easily hop onto the sidewalk and claim it as our own. Road kill was replaced by pieces of tire and the grit of the city, and a tailwind was replaced by the swoosh of air as vehicles swept past.
Our final day was entirely on familiar ground and it was a nice change to not glance at our bike map at all. Home! Family! Friends! Former Students! Home!
Looking at the map, the section of land that we’ve ridden looks so small compared to what we have ahead of us. The 34 days of riding from Seattle to San Diego were wonderful but they do feel like a warm up for the riding that we have ahead of us. The elevation gain and loss, the quality of the roads, the frequency of amenities will all dramatically change. Luckily, the consideration towards us from truck drivers is also said to be dramatically different in South America. They are known to slow down, to give short “here I am” honks, to move to the far lane of traffic, to only pass when there is no oncoming traffic, and to even offer water. In the words of another touring cyclists: “See, Oregon truck drivers, it can be done!”
We fly to Bogota, Colombia tonight on a red eye flight. We will arrive at 2pm which allows us plenty of day light to pull our disassembled bicycles from their boxes in a quiet corner of the airport, piece them together (this will take a few hours – luckily the temperature is expected to be a cool 65 and overcast) and ride on the bike paths (!Gracias Colombia!) to town where we will be staying with a family of cyclists who we met on “Warm Showers” and who have been recommended by a fellow rider. This will all be done at 8,000 feet above sea level in a city surrounded by few flat streets and so we will allow ourselves a few days to acclimate before riding west towards the great PanAmerican Highway.
This is, at least, the plan for now.