Beautiful multimodal journey from Portland to SoCal


Hello from the deluge!

Wow. It’s been raining solidly for more than 24 hours here in Carlsbad, California, and the forecast tells us to expect a few more days of this. There have been flood warnings in the area, and some places north of here, around LA and Santa Barbara, have been losing power, experiencing mudslides, and worse. (I read about three fatalities so far in the region as a result of all this rain.)

Fortunately, I am warm and safe and dry with my Host a Sister host Kimberly (and her friend, brother, and pug Ruby) and she has graciously offered me a ride tomorrow to my upcoming cat sit in Escondido, 17 hilly and soggy miles east of here.

Kind and generous hosts continue to be a theme for me, especially from Facebook’s Host a Sister groups. Since my last blog post, I stayed for nine nights in northeast Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood, just south of the Alameda ridge, with a woman named Dee and her family. Coincidentally, during five of those nights I had the house to myself, when they all were vacationing in the San Diego area!

Small world.

Dee dropped me off three days ago at Portland’s Union Station, and my southbound adventure began!

I’ll mostly leave you with these photos to tell the rest of the story. A few notable items, though:

On the train, we didn’t see much rain, but skies were very cloudy and overcast for much of California (surprisingly not Oregon—that rainbow is from the stretch between Portland and Salem) which made for a different experience from the usual scenery. Normally, the sun sets spectacularly over the ocean, just north of Santa Barbara, on the second day of the journey. The darkening of the sky was much more subdued this time.

When we arrived in LA at about 9 pm, the rain was just starting. It made the 2.3-mile, mostly uphill, bike climb to my hotel less than wonderful, but I made it there and got a good night’s sleep, managing to capture a few cool night shots of LA along the way.

In the morning, I headed back to the train station to catch the Surfliner train to Oceanside.

However, the train only took us as far as Irvine, where track work (I think) forced us all to transfer to three buses to cover the final 40-minute leg of the journey.

Once in Oceanside, I set out on my bike ride with quite a bit of wind in the forecast. It did show up later—in the form of a headwind, of course—and even some blowing sand to complete the effect.

But first, I had mechanical troubles when my recently “repaired” trailer hitch began malfunctioning, dropping the trailer off the bike while I pedaled, no fewer than three times in a ten-block stretch. Thankfully, no harm came to the trailer nor anyone else on the road or sidewalk, but it was a stressful and dangerous situation.

Fortunately, when I stopped for lunch at a cute classic natural-foods store, I spotted a bike shop right across the street. They were able to help me out, and I got back on my way.

Much of the ride took place on a dedicated car-free path, right near the ocean. The sunny skies were wonderful, and I was biking in a T-shirt. This was what I came down here for! Later, some darker skies loomed, but miraculously, I completed the 13-mile bike ride a couple of hours before this relentless rain began.

And when I pulled up to Kimberly’s house, what should I see in her front yard, but a Little Free Library!

Small world.

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