25.8 mi / 12.0 mph / 593 ft. climbing
Home: Mark and Christine’s WarmShowers house
We’re trying to keep our days at 25 miles and under, and since it doesn’t take all that much time to ride that distance, we almost need to stay in our previous night’s spot as long as possible. So we left Temecula at 11am checkout, into an already hot morning, which isn’t exactly optimal.
We rolled through old-town Temecula, which looks like a mostly-fake but still pretty cool and unexpected old Western town (especially since we’d been watching lots of Westerns, like ‘Godless’ and ‘Django Unchained’ in Redlands). Still found no evidence of the “Wine Country” advertised all over our motel, so I established a belief that there is actually no wine country in Temecula, and the town just decided to brand itself that way to attract tourists, and hoped that none would notice the lack of actual vineyards.
Nearly two months ago, we climbed upwards when we turned inland from the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica, and had been operating at more than 1000 ft. above sea level since then. Today we finally cashed out that deposit, on a day where we didn’t really need a lot more cash; it would have been nice to keep that 1000 ft. in the bank until we truly needed it, but gravity doesn’t really work like that.
On the other hand, it was such a hot day, that maybe we needed that drop more than I thought. It hit 91 deg. F, abnormally hot even for southern California. We heard on TV that it’s the first time a Heat Advisory had been issued for the area in February. And it’s actually kind of “lucky” for us that we’re getting a chance to experience what riding in hot desert-like conditions is like, before we head into Baja.
The first bit of the ride remained annoying suburbia, but then we hit empty I-15 frontage roads, and finally SR-76 taking us southwest back towards the coast, a divided highway but one with giant shoulders and signed as a bike route. So quite an easy route overall.
Our 25-mile distance limit put us out of reach of any motels or campgrounds, but luckily there was a WarmShowers host right at that mileage point. When we arrived at peak heat of the afternoon, Mark ushered us and the bikes into his amazing backyard gathering space, and immediately offered us our choice of cold drinks out of the outdoor refrigerator. He’d previously messaged us inviting us to have dinner with him and his wife, and asked if there was any foods we’d been missing since being out on the road. What a lovely thought, and along with the drinks, it showed that this is obviously a guy who knows bike touring!
But no! His planned first bike tour, essentially mirroring our own route down the Pacific Coast, got cancelled by COVID in 2020. So it was his general skills at hospitality (evidenced by the back yard being designed as a place to gather people together) that made him such a generous WarmShowers host, not even anything cycling-specific. But he was finally going to be doing his Pacific Coast introduction to bike touring after all, starting in March, so it felt like we, as WarmShowers guests, finally had something useful to offer our hosts in exchange: information!
Even though we had told Mark that our stay in Redlands let us take care of all of our cravings and to just make what they like, he and Christine made a great dinner featuring grilled chicken, which is actually something we haven’t had home-cooked for years, since we left our grill behind in Chicago. Magic!
They had to head out in the evening, leaving us alone in their house to work on planning. I’ve always loved the concept of WarmShowers, but it really struck me as insane and awesome how the fact that we simply identify as “touring cyclists” gives us membership into this club where we can end up sitting alone on the living-room couch of a family who we’d met just hours before. It makes me think that other similar “clubs” should be formed for things like “people whose last names begin with ‘TR…’”, just to give more excuses for strangers to have a reason to meet and take care of each other.