19.4 mi / 10.7 mph / 99 ft. climbing
Home: San Ysidro Motel 6
Our week of social-activities continues! Our downtown hostel (which stayed relatively-quiet and unparty-like through the night, despite common review complaints) was just a few blocks from Sandy’s place. She had come up to visit us during our stay in Redlands, and we were excited to now see her in her home turf.
Rett and I got breakfast at Cafe 222 (Sandy’s recommendation), a place that brought “Seattle-style breakfast”(?) to San Diego. I guess that means peanut-butter/banana-stuffed French Toast and pumpkin waffles, and it was good. Then we attempted to find a park to relax in while we waited for Sandy to finish her morning activities, and had a beast of a time. The extension of Petco Park was still fenced off from last night’s concert, the next park we tried was fenced off for construction, and finally we had success at Ruocco Park on the waterfront, where Rett could do some stretching on the grass under one of the last two trees remaining whose shade was unoccupied.
Sandy had the brilliant idea of joining us on our ride south towards San Ysidro. It’s so great to have a local showing us around, and just fun to have someone else being part of our journey, even if only for a brief time. Even better, her local knowledge put us on the ferry to Coronado, where we could ride the beautiful bike path, a much more relaxing and fun route than the east-of-the-bay “practical” route that I had defaulted to.
But as we were waiting to meet her at the ferry, she messaged to let us know she’s discovered a flat tire on her bike, the first ever in her life! Luckily she had someone with a ton of tire-changing experience just blocks away, and had her own tube and tools, so I made the quick ride over (leaving Rett at the ferry to burn through a bunch of Spanish lessons on Duolingo) and got us back rolling to the ferry right at the moment of the next departure.
We rolled a bit past the southern end of San Diego Bay, and into Imperial Beach, where we went as far as the pier to get some views and photos, and then back up to Mike Hess Brewing / City Tacos for a great taco lunch just as the Super Bowl was starting.
And then it was time for us to move on, towards the already-visible Mexico, and for Sandy to return home. We wished we had more time, as Sandy knew of plenty more cool places for us to ride to, but maybe that gives us more reason to come back? (we also still have to see our bike-touring friend Nick, who we have now shamefully failed to meet up with for a drink three times in three separate cities!! (Astoria, OR, Palm Springs, and now San Diego))
The next 8 miles were then that beautiful, post-meal, late-afternoon easy pedaling that is one of my favorite bits of bike touring, when I can find it. Imperial Beach had great roads and bike lanes, it was flat, and the temperatures stayed comfortable even as we moved inland.
And as we moved south, we marveled at the fact that the building-covered hillside we saw in front of us, across the open Tijuana River Valley, was in another country. Neither of us had ever been near the Mexican border, and besides Niagara Falls (which is quite different), we couldn’t remember anything similar at the Canadian border.
We got so close that we could easily see “The Wall”, but then turned slightly north into our cheap motel (thanks to Rett getting us a cheaper rate when we walked in!) to give us the shortest/easiest/safest day crossing into Mexico tomorrow.