The morning riding was great! Bike lanes, a stop at a little cafe for pancakes, more bike lanes, ocean views, only 30 miles to do... even the big hill at Torrey Pines State Park wasn't so bad. Torrey pines, endemic only to this small area north of San Diego, were a novel species of tree for us nature nerds. That area, La Jolla, is also a research center where the Salk Institute and J. Craig Venter Institute are located (in honor of the guys who formulated the polio vaccine and sequenced the first human genome). It's pronounced La Hoya; I was reading it phonetically, gringo-style, for awhile.
The highway around La Jolla got a bit more trafficked and split into a bunch of roads. Civilization is tough to navigate and we wanted to go to a bike shop in Pacific Beach, so we took the straightest route we could see on the map. The name "Mt Soledad Road" should have tipped us off. We started climbing up 10-16%, and it didn't stop until we had climbed almost 1000 feet to the top of Mt Soledad. Surprise! The view from the top was fantastic; on a clear day, we've heard, you can see all the way to Los Angeles.
After a wonderful stop at Souplantation for a buffet salad and soup lunch, we ran some errands and got picked up by our good friend Noel, with whom we worked for the past few years. We spent the night eating good food, telling stories, and chatting with Noel and her roommate Kelly.
Me and Noel
Noel is a high school science teacher and a fantastic, caring, motivated one at that. We were excited to see her teach, and she invited us not only to her classroom but to do a presentation about our trip to some of her students. Happy to oblige, we whipped up a powerpoint and shared some stories, pictures, and what we had learned while biking from Alaska to here in San Diego. We had as much fun as we hope the students did! We'll spend tonight and probably tomorrow hanging out here.