As promised in the previous post, we are publishing a new ride report of our most recent bicycle tour last month. Without further adieu, here is Day 1 of our 4 day, 3 nights adventure from Los Angeles through Santa Barbara and back.
Hollywood to Oxnard
Our journey started at 6:30AM from my home in Burbank. After a brisk ride to the North Hollywood Metro Red Line station, we took the train into Hollywood with the herd of Tuesday commuters. Hollywood, West Hollywood, and eventually Santa Monica was teeming with cars who were constantly speeding by to get to work. We finally made it to the coast and proceeded to ride north on Highway 1/ Pacific Coast Highway.
We made it a point to take breaks as much as we wanted to, and we did just that, at almost every hour. It was a refreshing feeling to not have to worry about the usual everyday stress of work and only focus on nutrition and hydration. Our climbing started right before we reached Pepperdine University in Malibu. I methodically pedaled ahead upward, but Sang Hyun’s slow and steady approach was also effective in conquering the hills of PCH. As we crested each hill, we were rewarded with a fantastic, albeit short, down-hill. Along PCH, I counted about 10 bicycle tourists riding south. We did not stop to chat, but we also did not spare our waves and smiles as we passed each rider.
When we made our final turn off of PCH into the Naval Air Base in Oxnard, we pedaled into a picnic area where there were displays of war planes and missiles. Both Sang Hyun and I were not interested in the exhibit since we’ve been through this location several times on previous tours. This served as a refuge from the sun and hunger. We enjoyed our lunch and snacks for 30 minutes while watching tourists after tourists stop by to admire the American war machines.
Oxnard to Ventura
We continued on after lunch through Oxnard’s farming community on E Hueneme Road. The first priority was to find a place to relieve our bladders. The second priority, ironically, was the need to refill our bottles with water. Luckily, there was a port-a-potty on the side of the road secured by a string which I quickly undid in seconds and took care of business.l As I pedaled off, I think the owner of the farm knew I had “borrowed” his facility as he acknowledged me on his drive home. We continued on Hueneme Road to find a shopping strip mall to buy a gallon of water that was quickly divvied up between the 6 sport bottles that we carried on our bikes. I’m not sure about Sang Hyun, but for some reason, my spirit always kicked up a few notches when we refilled all of our bottles. We continued on Hueneme Road avoiding road construction and shipping trucks buzzing by us. We finally reached E J Street which was a one way road with a bike lane. This was the first time we took J Street through Oxnard as we normally travel on Ventura Road. It was pleasant to be away from dust and traffic for a quick 15 minutes.
We eventually had to make a left onto W Channel Islands Blvd which was the major connecting street from Oxnard to Ventura, as it turned into S Harbor Blvd. We spent quite some time on this street which had a constant stream of cars. As we reached the San Buenaventura State Beach, we missed a bicycle friendly road and ended up riding straight with a few careless drivers who tried to overtake us with inches between our shoulders and their car doors. I lost a few years of my life from the few minutes there.
Passing the San Buenaventura State Beach we found ourselves meandering onto the bike path that lead us all the way in to our first stop for the night at Emma Wood State Beach. We were the only campers there. There was flow of cars driving in and out of the parking lot never seemed to let up. We had our own row of bathrooms with toilets, which had running water, but opened up to a hole in the ground. There was an outdoor shower with only one setting – freezing cold. Life couldn’t have been better after our long first day. We quickly set up camp and unpacked our bikes.
For dinner, we pedaled in to Ventura’s finest 24 hour Subway restaurant, which was only 2 miles round trip. We inhaled our dinner and stumbled back into camp before sunset. We were walking zombies at that point. We were visited by cops and the campsite authority, who collected our $10 per person camping fee and made sure we came in by bike. Sang Hyun went into his tent and never came out until the next morning after popping a couple of ibuprofen. I couldn’t stand the grime and sweat and decided on a quick squirt from the shower. Even though it was not a full-fledge shower, I felt better to rinse off the sunblock and salt. With the sounds of the freeway to the East and passing trains to the West, I found my earplugs and quickly fell into a deep slumber.