**Before I forget**
Yesterday, whilst idling along the beach, I was left looking stationary by a chap on a two seater, electric, bike. Not happy, I upped my effort, drew along side and started up a conversation. The electric bike put out 500 Watts! 500 Watts! That may mean nothing to many, but that is as much consistent power as two reasonable and committed cyclists, outrageous. He gave me his sales spiel on how it helps less fit people to get on a bike etc, etc… Whatever, it’s cheating, the only thing worse than an electric bike is the current scurge of Southern California, the rentable, electric scooter. Those are truly the most dangerous and irritating invention I’ve ever encountered. Surely to make an appearance in London within the next 10 minutes. Be warned.
So, Day 20. After meeting a lovely couple from Bournemouth at breakfast, because it seems, only the English rise early, I got on my bike for the short trip to Carlsbad. Although on paper an easy day, I was apprehensive, as today’s route was taking me through the Naval Military Base, Camp Pendelton, which you need a pass to get through. Of course, being the forward thinking, experienced and organised cycle tourer that I am, I had no such pass in hand! To make getting a pass harder, the powers that be at Camp Pendelton are currently in the middle of switching systems. The old system was turned off in July and the new one gets turned on in September, brilliant. The only way to get access is by turning up at the gate with photo ID and getting a pass granted on site, which I attempted!
The cycle to Camp Pendleton was brilliant, starting along the beach and then switching on to the old route 1, for the 12 kilometers or so to the base, I essentially had a private road.
Through a couple of sketchy fenced off areas with big signs explaining I was entering a military base and only approved persons should continue. I ended up at the entrance to Camp Pendleton. What followed was a classic catch 22. The guard on the gate explained he couldn’t let me through without the pass, I explained the system was down, he agreed and said I had to go to the other gate, where they could manually give me the clearance required. Fine. Where is the other gate? Oceanside.
Oceanside is the other side of the base, it is where I needed to get to! The reason for going through the base in the first place is that the only other way to get to Oceanside is by taking Interstate 5. The guard waved his gun, indicating he had had enough of my chatter. I guess I’ll take the interstate then!
I had to take this photo whilst cycling like a bullet on I5. It was quite honestly the most frightening 30 minutes of riding I have ever done, I spent the entire time in fear of being wiped out by an articulated lorry or worse being arrested for being a complete pillock and being on the road in the first place!
Off the road and feeling slightly shaken, I racked up and had a much needed coffee. Assessing my day, I realised I only had about 30 minutes to go. Every cloud.
Once I got to Carlsbad I stopped the clock and had another coffee. Looking for accommodation I noticed 20 kilometers down the road had a really nice beach and cheap motels, so I booked one and restarted my journey, after all, 20 today is 20 less tomorrow and tomorrow is my last day!
Checked in, for the last time I threw my worldly belongings on to the spare bed. I haven’t been carrying much, but packing my bag every morning has become such a chore. It’s amazing how many different ways I’ve tried to stuff all the un needed stuff I’ve brought with me.
A short rest and then out to see the sights and another jog along another fantastic beach.
Another great day on and off the saddle. With my heart rate returned to normal and the fear of I5 behind me, tomorrow should bring my adventure to an end.
1 more day until I can have a shave, wear some clean clothes and have a few hours out of lycra! Only a few hours mind, wouldn’t want to go cold turkey.