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Old 05-15-03, 01:45 AM   #1
RainmanP
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William Karstens drags Rainman's fat, old carcass up Point Loma

Settle in, children, for the continuation of Rainman's excellent San Diego cycling adventure. Today, as scheduled, young William Karstens met me at my hotel, the Horton Grand, in the Gas Lamp district of San Diego. We headed right out, getting onto the main drag that runs out of downtown San Diego between the bay and the airport. It might have been a bit disconcerting were both of us not used to commuting in rush hour traffic. After a while we got around the north end of the bay to where the road heads uphill toward the lighthouse at Point Loma.

We had originally planned to take the ferry across to Coronado and ride down the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach and back, but somewhere I think William got the idea I like to ride uphill since I never get to do it at home. Being the excellent young gentleman he is, WK was just trying to be polite and accomodate an old man. The climb to Point Loma was not as steep as the climb up Torrey Pines grade that John E dragged me up, but it did seem to go on longer. I loved every minute of it. Luckily, John has sensibly low gears on the old Peugeot he loaned me so I was able to make it up just fine. In fact, this time I made it up with one low gear to spare.

Unfortunately, when we got almost to the top we found that the park had closed a few minutes before so we couldn't go all the way to the lighthouse just a couple of hundred meters away. I did take a couple of pictures, and we got the nice National Park Ranger guarding the entrance to take a picture of us. Almost directly over my head is the world famous Hotel Del Coronado, a sprawling wooden hotel where every president except George W has stayed. Well, since it was built, anyway. Oh, yeah, Rainman is the old, fat guy. The hunky, young guy is William Karstens.

William was a great tour guide, pointing out many interesting sights along the way, including the bar scene in "Top Gun" where they are singing "Great Balls of Fire". Near the top of Point Loma is an interesting national cemetery, parts of which are on either side of the road, as well as an old Army artillery battery location for protecting the harbor against invaders. Obviously the battery was very effective because NO invaders have ever made it into San Diego Bay.

After we turned around near the top of Point Loma the fun really began. I shifted into the old Peugeot's top gear and cranked up the cadence. I think we averaged a bit over 30 mph going down. William said his computer registered 36 somewhere along the way. All I know is what took 20-30 minutes to climb took about 5 minutes to descend. YES! By the way, it was cool enough at the top that I put on arm warmers and a light vest for the descent and was glad I did! As we crossed a bridge near the marina, headed back into San Diego I stopped to take a picture of where we had climbed to. That picture appears right after this.

I really want to thank William for delaying his commute home to go out and play with an old guy. He is a great guy who has had some very interesting experiences, including having lived in Iceland, one of the few places in the world I have a burning desire to visit.

It has been so great visiting San Diego and riding with John and William. If it weren't for two great riding experiences I might be feeling a little down about having to go meet John in the morning to return the old Peugeot. But because of those experiences, and especially the opportunity to meet two more members of our community, I am feeling so pumped nothing can bring me down. Thanks, guys for making what might have been a ho-hum week of meetings into an unforgettable experience. We have no hills, but if you come on down to the Big Easy I will definitely enjoy giving you the grand tour.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 05-15-03, 01:46 AM   #2
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Point Loma viewed from sea level.
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Old 05-15-03, 09:53 AM   #3
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Thanks for sharing! I used to live near Point Loma -- in the then-hippie/alternative community of Ocean Beach -- so your photographs made me a little nostalgic. From what I remember, biking in San Diego is great, though the traffic can be maddening.
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Old 05-15-03, 09:58 AM   #4
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I didn't think there was any dragging going on! Raymond you kept up really well, especially if you had no hills. And I should say on the flat land you laid it out pretty well. It was a nice ride up to the point (Cabrillo), especially since I hadn't been there in quite some time (I think November). It is a pretty decent climb and you do (as you can see) get a decent view). It's always cool to meet new people.. and the great thing as I see is that two strangers who might normally never talk get a chance to share something in common and enjoy.

It didn't rain at all (there was some looming clouds over head) and I was home by 830. My over all ride in the afternoon was 39 miles. Add in 2 miles on base and 17 miles to work in the morning, and I got some SWEET mileage yesterday!!

Anytime you've got a bike and are in SD, I'm game!
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Old 05-15-03, 10:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
young William Karstens
Good thing I didn't take off my helmet to show my hairline!
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Old 05-15-03, 11:44 AM   #6
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Geez, I haven't seen Point Loma since I left San Diego in '82. I used to live in OB and graduated from PLHS, it seems like a hundred years ago (actually not quite 50).

San Diego is a great bicycling city! I miss the smell of the Eucalyptus trees.

Thanks for the story and the memories.
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Old 05-15-03, 11:58 AM   #7
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The Pointers! Cool. My wife went to school at PLHS for awhile. These posts bring back so many memories of my stay out there. Kinda miss the place, a little. Just wish I'd been more into cyclign back then.
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Old 05-15-03, 12:26 PM   #8
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I greatly enjoyed cycling with the Rainman, and I am pleased that my 1980 Peugeot "almost a PX-10" PKN-10 worked out so well for him. Incidentally, the "sensibly low gears" in which he climbed Torrey Pines (9%) and Point Loma were 40 and 44 inches, respectively -- not bad at all for a flatlander!
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Old 05-17-03, 08:38 AM   #9
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Well, back to reality. I flew back into New Orleans yesterday to be welcomed by our typical swampy heat and humidity. If you every fly into New Orleans you will see what I mean. Whether you approach from the north, south, east, or west, you fly in over either Lake Pontchartrain (north), Lake Borgne (east), or swamp (south and west). On the positive side, at least if you crash it will be a softer landing. Speaking of which, something happened in Houston (where I had to change planes) yesterday that has never happened to me before. When we were VERY close to touchdown, going quite slowly, the pilot had to abort the landing! It was a little tense as none of us had ever experienced this before. As the pilot explained "A little Aero Commander couldn't find the exit." That is he wasn't getting off the runway fast enough so the tower ordered the abort as a precaution before it was too late. It seemed like there was never any real danger, and we probably could have landed just fine, but they can't take a chance on waiting too long.

This just made my Houston airport adventure even MORE fun. Because of my itenerary (I had stayed in Houston last week to be with my Mom for Mother's Day), it was cheaper to book two separate round trips, NO-Houston, Houston-San Diego. I do this kind of thing often, and it has never been a problem. Of course, I usually just have a small carry on. This time, since I was taking cycling shoes, helmet, and other cycling stuff, at the last minute I decided I needed a larger suitcase that I had to check. This didn't seem like a problem until I realized that I had a 1 hr 25 minute plane change on the way home. A little close for a cautious traveller like me, but really plenty of time to claim a bag, recheck it, then get through security, right? Then a connecting flight in Phoenix had gotten held up getting out of LA so we were about 45 minutest late. The pilot made up about 15 minutes so we were only about 30 minutes late. Still almost an hour for the baggage process. THEN we had the abort so I wound up with about 45 minutes. Luckily the baggage system is good at that airport so the claim went quickly. There was a line to recheck the bag. 20 minutes left till pushback. I asked the counter agent if my flight was loading. Nope you've got plenty of time. Then there was, naturally, a line at the security check. Still I figured no huge urgency if the flight wasn't even boarding when there were 20 minutes to go. So I didn't run down the concourse, but I was walking briskly. There was no one waiting, they had all gotten on board already, but the door was still open. This was still about 10 minutes to pushback. Now I KNOW they couldn't have loaded a plane in the 10 minutes between "not boarding, no problem" and the time I got there! Anyway my bag and I both got home, but for a guy who likes to be at the airport 1.5-2 hours early it was harrowing.

OK, I'll shut up except to say I doubt I will be needing vest and arm warmers for my ride tomorrow as I did for the downhill from Point Loma. Thanks again, William Karstens and John E for a couple of memorable rides.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 05-17-03, 05:39 PM   #10
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When are you guys coming to Glacier???

Doug
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Old 05-17-03, 06:01 PM   #11
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Raymond and William
those are nice picture,
oscar
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Old 05-18-03, 05:11 PM   #12
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Dougmt and Oscar,
Hey, don't be surprised if I show up on your doorstep with my helmet and shoes on looking to borrow a bike!
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 05-20-03, 06:42 PM   #13
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When are you guys coming to Glacier???

Doug
Montana is on my list of places to go, but not neccesarily for bike reasons. I hear the most beautiful, isolated spaces are out there Doug. I'd like to go backpacking there.
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Old 05-20-03, 06:53 PM   #14
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To give you a perspective, the city of Seattle, Washington has more people than the state of Montana! You can get all the 'splendid isolation' you crave.
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Old 05-20-03, 06:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by txroadie
The Pointers! Cool. My wife went to school at PLHS for awhile. These posts bring back so many memories of my stay out there. Kinda miss the place, a little. Just wish I'd been more into cyclign back then.
I left San Diego for Hawaii in '61. I returned in '72, sold airplanes in El Cajon, owned a motorcycle shop in Escondido, in north San Diego county in the late '70's. Fabulous rides in the hills and the Cuyamaca Mountains. Sometimes I would go to Julian just to get some Manzanita Ranch apple juice.
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Old 05-20-03, 07:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Davet
I left San Diego for Hawaii in '61. I returned in '72, sold airplanes in El Cajon, owned a motorcycle shop in Escondido, in north San Diego county in the late '70's. Fabulous rides in the hills and the Cuyamaca Mountains. Sometimes I would go to Julian just to get some Manzanita Ranch apple juice.
FYI, I was raised in the Cuyamaca mountains, went to elementary and one year of high school in Julian (also 2 years in Descanso), and the owners of the Manzanita Ranch (the Barnes's) were and still are good friends of my sister. My aunt and cousins live in Escondido and my mom lives in Poway.

I later went to and graduated from Hoover High, a big rival of Point Loma High.

We must have met somewhere!!

Of course, this was in the 50's!!
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Old 05-20-03, 09:22 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by DnvrFox

I later went to and graduated from Hoover High, a big rival of Point Loma High.
We must have met somewhere!! Of course, this was in the 50's!!
I went to Hoover for the 1st quarter of 10th grade, then my family moved to Ocean Beach and I transferred to Point Loma.

When I moved back from Hawaii in '72, I bought a house in Alpine. I had always remembered Alpine as a pretty little town that we stopped in on the way to YMCA Camp Cuyamaca when I was a boy.

I doubt our paths ever crossed. As I recall, your 'age' would have you graduating from Hoover in what, '56 or so? I graduated in '59.

When I bought the motorcycle shop in Escondido, I was living in Alpine. What a great commute, from Alpine through Lakeside and Poway to Escondido.
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Old 05-20-03, 10:18 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by Davet
I had always remembered Alpine as a pretty little town that we stopped in on the way to YMCA Camp Cuyamaca when I was a boy.
The YMCA camp was in Julian at Camp Marston (actually Pine Hills) 15 miles away. Camp Cuyamaca was an outdoor education camp/school during the school year, and was operated by the San Diego City County Camp Commission as a recreation camp in the summer. At times it was rented to various special agencies, and it is possible one of them was the YMCA.

I know because I was raised at Camp Cuyamaca, and my dad was the camp superintendent (like a school principal).

I also was a counselor at Camp Marston and Palomar Mtn Camp in Palomar State Park. As teenager, I led hikes for folks through the mountains there. Never saw so much poison oak.

Anyway, in regards to biking, I did a lot of biking as a kid around the area, including I guess some mtn biking up and down trails, although it was on my 3 speed Hercules. My friend had a French 10 speed and did a lot of road biking through those winding roads (this was in about 1954)
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Old 05-20-03, 10:27 PM   #19
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It's been too long. You're correct about Camp Cuyamaca, my elementary school did some days there when I was in 5th grade. I remember selling soap door-to-door to pay for my summers at Camp Marston. I did volunteer work there, digging the new drainfields for the septic system and was a counselor my last year there. I think my highlight at Camp Marston was becoming a Brown Ragger. I think I still might have that Rag somewhere.
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Old 05-20-03, 10:29 PM   #20
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Hey, if you graduate in 59 and I graduated in 57, that means that when you were a sophomore at Hoover I was a senior.

I was the "Commissioner of Finance" (school treasurer/vice-president combined) and would sometimes preside at assemblies.

I bet you saw me or perhaps had heard of me, if my math is correct.
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Old 05-20-03, 10:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by DnvrFox
.

I bet you saw me or perhaps had heard of me, if my math is correct.
Oh yeah! I remember all that stuff that happened almost 50 years ago. I'm dreading my 50th class reunion in '09. It's going to be filled with old people
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Old 05-21-03, 05:41 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by Davet
Oh yeah! I remember all that stuff that happened almost 50 years ago. I'm dreading my 50th class reunion in '09. It's going to be filled with old people
I guess better old and alive than dead. The long list of dead folks in my graduating class scares me to death. You remember folks in their high school prime, but now they are gone. My best friend in HS died about 2 years ago of "multiple system failure." His body just shut down - like Lou Gehrig's disease. And he was a weight lifter and biker, also!!

I did not go to my 45th, but, instead, chose to have lunch with a few old friends in San Diego. I don't really care for those 4 hour dances and dinners.

Yes, I guess it is hard to remember a lot almost 50 years ago. Just thought that maybe . . . .

Take care.
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