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.