Bike Odyssey
Alaska 2006

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Journal for 25-Sep : Los Angeles

Woke nice and early again, still not quite enough sleep.

Another puncture (rear wheel this time), in first 10ks. Fixed it by the ocean - took some time too, as the injured tube removed one of the patches covering one of the many gaping holes in the tyre.

Fantastic morning cycling by the flattest of oceans watching these little curling waves slowly wash in and break gently on white (ok, yellowy black) sandy beaches.

Got way layed on the promenade bike path in Ventura. It was such a glorious morning, in such a beautiful place. I was off my route, but didn't really care at this point.

Finally ran down some touring cyclists on the road. An Estonian couple riding flat pedals and fat knobby mountain bike tyres. Very well too. I caught them OK, but staying with them on climbs seriously hurt!

Flat, relatively unscenic roads through Port Hume.

More fantastic surf side riding along highway 1. LA's urban sprawl didn't start till Malibu. Malibu stretches on for ages, with lots of luxurious and uninsurable homes reaching out over the beach into the ocean.

Once on the Santa Monica bike path I felt I had wings. The Santa Anna winds were in (at last), there were no more hills, and I could *see* the (in)famous Santa Monica pier through the smog ahead. I'd actually done it!

Got a map, and directions to the AAA, only 28 blocks away up Santa Monica Boulevard. Got my map of LA there, plus directions to an Internet café which turned out to be a KFC outlet, with no Internet of course. Cycled back to Santa Monica and booked airport hotel through the library Internet facility.

Got back on the beach bike path, which is 4m wide and laid right on the sand.

Ate a late lunch at Venice Beach, where I drew no attention to myself at all, everyone else was trying mucyh much harder.

Cycled on around the Marina district to quieter beaches around near the airport, where (in theory it) would be safer to leave the bike unattended

Went for my ceremonial swim, which was very much more refreshing than I anticipated. (ie it was cold :-)) The smallish surf proved surprisingly entertaining too, with a bit of afternoon chop and an irregular wave pattern keeping things interesting.

Gee I felt great when I got out. I really had achieved what I'd set out to do. And I'd enjoyed it, far more than the whinging in there journals would suggest.

Tried (unsucessfully) to find a place to buy a bag to ship my panniers in.

Cycled to plush hotel. Very disappointing. Free high speed Internet doe ethenet only, but wifi is $7/half hr. Concierge no help at all, no phone book in my room, they had no record of my reservation and gave me a lower standard room than I booked, slow disinterested service in the restaurant etc, etc.

OK: Now for some best of and worst ofs:

Best Road: This is a tough one. The Yellowhead Hwy was a real standout. Several stretches of highway 1 in California were magnificent too, the section between Port Hume and Malibu as good as anything. The Big Sur coast was as awesome as it was challenging.

Most Crap Road:
- Sunshine Coast Hwy around Sechet
- Hwy 1 from Pacifica to Montara
- Hwy 1 from Monteray to Big Sur (awesome scenery though - probably shouldn't have done it on a Friday evening)
- Astoria Bridge on the 101 heading south.
- Hood River Bridge.

Best Meal: Not too many good contenders here.
- The buffet breakfast at Bell II ski resort wasn't at all bad.
- i've become quite partial to the "Stagg Chilli" tins (though the "silverado" is awful), eaten with a mountain of rice and a bit of flat bread proved very satisfying. I'd never have thought a camp dish would make this list, but there you go
- Pancakes at Iskit might not have been the best cullinary effort, but they were they were the most gratefully devoured.
- Grilled Salmon taco at SLO. Sound strange? It was two small pieces of fresh salmon grilled, and served with a delicious guacomolie and tomato salsa ona soft flour tortillia. I regret only getting two.

Worst Meals:
- Disgusting A&W burger at Whitehorse
- Equally disgusting burgers from Dairy Queen in Shelton.

Best place to stay:
Moose Meadows log cabins on the Cassier highway.

Worst place to stay:
Sunrise Motel, SLO town.

Places I most wish I'd sent more time:
- Salt Sprig Island, BC
- Fort Warden, Port Townsend, WA.

Places I felt I spent too much time:
- Oregon (though their tourist info services are second to none).

Best Weather:
Southern California, probably best around Santa Barbera LA is always hazy (ie smoggy), San Francisco gets foggy.

Worst Weather:
- Anchorage - didn't see the sun the whole three days I was there, and much of that was with drizzly rain.
- Cassier Highway - where constant cold drizzling subtracted from the experience, not because of the weather's inherent unpleasantness, but because it denied me views of the incredible scenery.

Trip Highlights:
- Northern Lights display at White River
- Dawn on the Yellowhead highway
- Southern California coast

Some Trip Stats:
Riding Days: 36
Average Speed: 21.4 km/h
Total Distance: 5702.8 km
Total Riding Time: 267 hrs
Total flats (approx): 12
Longest day: 230.5 km, 10:25 hrs

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