Days 36 – 38 • April 6 – 8 2012 • Cardiff to Imperial Beach • 49 miles
Friday we split our activities– the girls went to Sea World and I rode the trikes to our motel in Imperial Beach. I managed to stuff the Trets into the front passenger seat of Lisa’s Hyundai rental car but it was a little precarious so I pulled it out and took it with me. Lisa had most of our gear so the ride was pretty fast. We considered meeting at Torrey Pines to watch the hang gliders fly but there was a long line of cars to get into the park and when I rode by there was only one paraglider in the air, scratching for lift at ridge height. It was a fun, multi-modal ride for me including various bike paths, a ferry ride from downtown San Diego to Coronado Island, and a screaming fast tailwind-enhanced cruise along the Silver Strand, a narrow, utterly straight strip of land that connects Coronado Island with Imperial Beach. On the ferry I met Matt, another touring cyclist who knew Gary, the Catrike rider from San Luis Obispo we met a couple nights earlier . Meanwhile Lisa and Zoe had a blast at Sea World, closing the place down.
With no one to talk to, I listened to music while riding. When we’re riding with traffic together I prefer to pay more attention to the cars around me and we’re usually jabbering back and forth anyway so this was the first time I felt like breaking out the headphones. I use a behind-the-head non-ear bud style headphone that fits under my helmet and doesn’t completely block traffic noise. I connect it to my Windows phone.
When I arrived at our motel in Imperial Beach there was a new tire waiting for me. I’d been monitoring very rapid wear on my rear tire and back in Long Beach had called my friend Chip for a replacement. With only about 900 miles on the tire it is looking like I’ll have to replace it several times during the trip so Chip suggested switching from the existing Schwalbe Marathon Plus to the Kenda Kickzumbutt which is about half the price. I expected rapid wear on the rear tire because it is carrying a lot of weight and the Trets, I think, creates some sideways force on the wheel. This was worse than I expected but I don’t think is a reflection of the tire– I’ve had Marathon Plus’s on all five tires and they’ve performed extremely well with zero flats so far. We’ll see how the Kenda does. While waiting for the girls I installed the Kenda and swapped tires between the Trets and the Trice fronts to get the the tire that was asymmetrically worn by the loose headset onto the Trets, where it should wear better. Thanks Chip for the quick tire delivery! Chip of the Recumbent Trike Store in Denver, ask for him by name.
On Saturday we drove back to Coronado Island and wandered around the beach and Hotel Del Coronado, a grand old Victorian hotel built in 1887 and one of America’s largest wooden buildings. It has been used in a number of movies including Some Like It Hot w/ Marilyn Monroe. It also has an old time elevator like the one we used in San Francisco, but in much better condition and with an operator to work it. That night I had the voting power necessary to steer dinner toward sea food, something I’d been craving since the awesome crab sendoff my mom gave us at a restaurant in Fort Bragg. We chose an interesting looking Mexican seafood joint in Imperial Beach called Marisa’s. I knew we were in trouble when their tap of Mexican beer blew and I was stuck with Bud. The service was extremely slow and they ran out of chips!? But their Seven Seas soup was incredible, with more sea creatures staring back at me than I could identify. A mixed bag for sure, but Marisa’s satisfied my craving for sea food.
We spent most of Sunday at the San Diego Maritime Museum. Connie, the First Mate on the Irving Johnson, had scored us a couple of tickets. However Sunday was a special event, the Chocolate Festival, and they weren’t accepting passes. The museum was well worth paying full price, with a US and Soviet submarine to explore, several tall ships including the massive Star of India, and numerous other ships including some America’s Cup contenders. There was a very knowledgeable staff of volunteers on board the tall ships and Zoe added to her knowledge gained on the Irving Johnson, learning to make rope, fire a canon, and when to come on and off ship watch using the ship’s bell. HMS Surprise was another tall ship we got to peruse. Originally named HMS Rose, Surprise was the ship used to film the movie Master and Commander. Both of these ships are considered active because they are still taken out to sea on special occasions. We never saw the Californian, another tall ship there, because it was out for the day with passengers. For the Chocolate Festival they had a scavenger hunt for “chocolate facts” scattered around the Star of India. Did you know M&Ms became popular when troops, accustomed to them in their rations as a form of chocolate that didn’t melt as easily, returned from WWII? I got to sample a flight of locally brewed beer (Karl Strauss) and wine paired with chocolate. Yum.
After the museum we did a provisioning run at REI. I needed to sort out our camp stove situation and Zoe had a wardrobe issue to address. As for the stove, I went in thinking I’d replace my ailing Jetboil with an upgraded model that includes a pressure regulator. But you can’t buy just the stove– I’d wind up with another cup, stabilizer, and pot adaptor that I don’t need. And at about $120, the $40 MSR Pocket Rocket, suggested by my friend Jimmy, seemed like a better bet. The MSR feels higher quality than the Jetboil, has really good simmer control, and seems to boil water at least as fast if you use the Jetboil cup. Using the Jetboil cup with the MSR stove is a little precarious but a lot better than using the Jetboil in flamethrower mode. The Pocket Rocket is so small that by packing two canisters in the Jetboil cup instead of a canister and stove, we get a net reduction in space used in our panniers. Of course this solution doesn’t solve our bigger stove problem—finding the stinking canisters. I decided to invest the $40 into one more try and stocked up on a few canisters. We’ll see how this goes in the middle of Kansas.
It was great to spend a long weekend with Lisa. Being month(s) apart from Zoe and single-handedly keeping things going back home is a huge sacrifice, thanks Lisa for this opportunity. Zoe sez: Mommy’s awesome!