Well, we’ve done it. Seattle to Los Angeles in just 6 weeks.
1,558 miles cycled.
Monday 25th June
With the last 35 ish miles of the home straight to do today a pretty leisurely start, no 5.30 am wake up call for us.
Getting up with blue skies and sunshine peaking through the trees it’s actually hard to remember that only a few weeks ago Phil was still cycling in woolly socks, both in waterproofs and I was sleeping in 4 layers with my soft shell jacket at night.
We just can’t believe it’s almost over. Our last camping in a Californian state park. Sycamore Canyon facilities were a bit grubby but shady trees, steep cactus filled canyon on both sides, more soothing noise of the waves on the beach last night and no rattlesnakes spotted so all good.
Last day with representatives of the Swiss cycle touring team so packed up our trusty Coleman Towers and headed off together for breakfast somewhere along the coast in Malibu. Sadly the frequency of decent diners has diminished somewhat in this neck of the woods – perhaps due to the cost of land/ property etc. But even so we ended up eating at a local’s favourite Lily’s and trying a bit of an Californian institution, a Mexican Breakfast Burrito. The tortilla, cheese, refried beans, 4 scrambled eggs, hot sauce and more bacon than you can shake a stick at is probably overkill with the few miles we need to do today… but hoping the healthy carrot and ginger juice that followed cancelled it out somewhat…err?
This was the last time we would see Patrick, Andrea and Benjamin, so we said our goodbyes after handing over a few cycle goodies to them which we would no longer need. This included ceremonially handed over our precious burger bell to Andrea, on to ring out in more distant valleys (Andrea and Patrick are off to cycle in central America now www.weltblicke.ch).
With Dave’s rear tyre still in tact, we hit Highway 1 to complete the last 20 miles into the outskirts of LA, Santa Monica being our final destination.
The road was busy and we had to dodge in and out of the shoulder to avoid parked cars, coming to a complete halt when we had to (thanks for the advice Ann).
Property for the last 50 miles has been impressive, but the density, size and engineering solutions to hang huge pads from the sides of the hills and over the beaches was becoming more and more jaw dropping. Topography doesn’t seem to be a hurdle now. If there is some land with a sea view, guaranteed someone will have made a home there.
With 5 miles to go, the increasingly busy road thankfully had an a escape route, this being the peaceful Los Angeles Bike Path. So the cycle instantly went from daredevil to daydreamy. The path winds its way through the huge, clean sandy beaches of Northern LA – past volleyball nets, palm trees and beachside cafes – a joy to cycle.
Guessing that all hollywood films must be inspired from things around here we now know where the maker of the film Swarm got his/her lightbulb moment… on the path a couple of miles in we hit a huge cloud of bees . People running all over the place. We just put our head down, closed our mouths and hit a speed Sir Hoy would have been proud of. We survived without a sting between us.
At 1.30pm we hit the streets of pretty Santa Monica and the city limits of LA, our final destination. Imogen’s cycle computer reading 1,558 miles. My computer read less, but then it hasn’t been recording anything below 8 mph since it got a good soaking in Oregon, so we’ve chosen to ignore it.
Dave the tandem, had made it also, even his worn our rear tyre:
It is at this point we need to say something about Dave, because Dave and Little Dave (Dave’s trailer) overall have been great to us. Yes we had some blow outs going down some hills, but we were pushing the limits of what he was originally designed to do. Since that point and with taking care on the descents, he has been as solid as a rock. Smooth gear changes, good breaking, strong climbing and super fast. We couldn’t have asked anymore from him. We will be toasting Dave later.
And on that subject it turns out dave is a true Brit afterall, loving blighty but loving the sun even more. He’s decided to stay and make Santa Monica his home.
Since cost of shipping him on this leg of the flight is pretty pricey and as the trip has drawn to a close we’d been toying with the idea of finding Dave a new home. After asking around a few cycle shops when we arrived it looked like we would be packing him up and happily taking him back to a less Californian lifestyle in the UK. But it’s a bit spooky as after we walked out of one swish bike shop at 3pm this afternoon (which turned out only deals in new bikes) a couple walked straight in and asked about second-hand tandems for an anniversary trip they are planning in August, what are the chances??! The lovely guy Thomas at the bike shop passed on our number and by 6pm this couple were trying Dave out for size. They are also exactly the same height as us respectively which is perfect.
So Dave is going to a lovely and knowledgeable new home with keen cyclists called Julie and David (another sign we think).
Wrapping it all up:
It is at this stage of the blog when it is time to say goodbye. From the both of us, a big thank you for following us on our trip. We’ve had a fantastic experience over the last 6 weeks and really value the friends we have met and the kindness we have received from the folks of America.
We hope you’ve all enjoyed reading our blog. We’ll be adding another page in a few days with our thank yous, best bits, trip top 10’s, kit list and favourite photos.
Good bye and thanks again for all your support while we’ve been away.
Phil, his scruffy beard, Imo and Dave xx