22.9 mi / 10.8 mph / 484 ft. climbing
Home: Wesley’s Airstream AirBNB
With another short-mileage day planned, we had the luxury of staying with Mark and Christine, our WarmShowers hosts, until nearly lunchtime. That gave us a chance to talk more about Mark’s upcoming trip, and do some planning, and just relax a bit more in their comfortable house.
We followed Mark’s helpful directions to the San Luis Rey Bike Trail, which started up just west of their house, and roughly paralleled SR 76 all the way to the coast. It was another hot day, but as we got closer to the ocean, we began to feel the cooler breeze coming off the water. Or, it wasn’t even necessarily cooler, but the air had a different feel to it.
And then we were there, back to the sea! No majestic sea stacks or wild water like the northern coast, but the busy, populated beaches that define Southern California. We stopped at the touristy Oceanside Pier, got a touristy lemonade to have with our packed lunch, and watched the tourists go by on the beachfront bike path on their four-wheeled pedal death-machines.
We continued on south along the well-bike-laned coast road, and at 3pm, finally made a roadside decision on where to stay for the night. We’d been endlessly debating and flip-flopping for a couple days on whether we wanted to stay at the hiker/biker site at San Elijo State Beach. It’s one of the few oceanside hiker/biker sites in Southern California, and a rare opportunity to camp near the water (on a bluff), at a place that gets fully booked six months in advance. But because of that, they have strict rules on the hiker/biker site (in after 4pm, out by 9am). And while it’s only a couple of park lanes away from the water, the site itself backs up onto the highway and the railroad, separated only by a chainlink fence that bounds the square of dirt.
Most importantly, we were meeting up with Rett’s friend Kristen, and her new fiancé, who live in nearby Vista. We haven’t seen Kristen since our wedding more than three years ago, and while the barren campsite might have been a good stand-in for a swinging bare-lightbulb interrogation room in which to grill her fiancé, we had found an Airstream trailer with a nice back yard that would present a much more comfortable place to hang out. Plus we always enjoy the opportunity to explore different types of RV-living. So we sprung for the Airstream, and sprung its owner into last-minute action to get it cleaned up for us while we hung out in the back yard.
After showers and dinner, Kristen and Steve came over bearing wine and desserts, and even better for Rett, Kristen’s dog Riley. Set up under the cafe lights in a combination of Adirondack-, camping- and hammock-chairs, we enjoyed talking well past our normal bedtime, catching up, and generally feeling like “normal” people having normal social lives and hosting people at our “home”. Which felt like a nice bookend to Mark and Christine hosting us at their home in the morning (but we forgot to get a bookending photo together!) After all the hemming-and-hawing, the Airstream was definitely the right call!