David Freeze begins cross-country cycling journey in San Diego

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, July 27, 2021

My flight west on Monday morning went well until just before the initial descent into San Diego.

A passenger collapsed just as he passed my row of seats. Quick reaction by several medical personnel onboard revived him and emergency medical technicians got him off the plane once we reached the gate.

With a direct flight, I was on the ground well ahead of scheduled arrival time. Bernie’s Bike Shop opened, and as soon as the display bikes got put out Roger Lovett went to work on mine. He put on two new tires that I brought with me. While he worked, I repacked the gear into the panniers and got the bike ready to go. Yasuko Lovett sold me a new multi-tool and a pair of leather gloves. I asked them both about the route and what I needed to see. Roger Lovett was more focused on the days ahead. So was I.

He gave me excellent pointers and told me that riding the first mountain was too much for Monday, but we both thought it was a good idea to get a start on the dreaded climbing.

I decided to think about when to start as I rode over to the nearest beach at Ocean Beach State Park. Officially, I had to get the start photo, only properly done when that new rear tire got wet in ocean surf. A nice young lady took the photos and we laughed as the surf chose to make the next wave bigger and soaked my shoes. The same thing happened at the start of my other west-to-east cross-country ride back in 2013. I will count it as a sign of good luck ahead since that other trip turned out very well.

With my feet wet and sand on the bike, I decided to wash off the bike and start riding east. The Adventure Cycling map called for following bike paths, not my favorite thing. Bike paths protect the rider from excessive fast moving traffic, but they also limit contact with locals and scenery. I followed the bike path for a while, then jumped on the main roads and ended up in El Cajon. I rode an extra three miles to save $40 on a motel, something I consider part of the game. This afternoon’s ride was 28.5 miles, a large part of it very hilly as I climbed east of San Diego. The first big climbing day comes tomorrow, as I will have another short day filled with extreme climbing.

Just before finding a Motel 6 with some dollars saved, I met my first special person in Santee. Steve Bradley was intrigued by my bike and gear and my plan to go to Florida in 6 weeks. Steve weighs about 300 pounds and is hard at work on dropping some weight. He was on his second ride of the day when we met.

I have a couple minor gear issues to work on and need to decide from what point I will attack the climb to Pine Valley. I had discounted how challenging the climbs set for the next day will be. I should spend three days in California, working hard to complete it ahead of entering Arizona.

I saw regular gas for $4.73 per gallon an hour ago. Prices are higher in general than any state except Alaska and Hawaii.

Primary sponsors for this trip include Frank and Janis Ramsey, Father and Son Produce, Vac and Dash, Dick and Jean Richards, Leonard Wood, The Trophy House and Gear for Races.

Check back for updates online and in the printed Post on Thursday. Thanks for riding along once again. We’re going to have fun!

David Freeze is riding from the West Coast to the East Coast along the southern border. Email him at david.freeze@ctc.net.