Today was a luxuriously slow day (I didn’t even get out of bed until noon) which felt wonderful after the past two active riding days.
The weather was beautiful. My first destination was a vegan Vietnamese spot for lunch, Thanh Tinh Chay, in the City Heights neighborhood southeast of my friend’s place. The only time I’ve been to City Heights before, actually, was about ten years ago, on my initial “recon trip” to San Diego. I had been researching cities that I might want to move to for the months of December through March, and San Diego looked like my best bet. So, never having seen it in person, I hopped on a plane—in late April, as I recall—and spent three or four days here checking it out “on the ground.” (No bike, of course; I got around by bus.) At that time, I stayed in the cheapest Airbnb I could find in the whole city, which turned out to be a tiny but very cool spot in City Heights. It was a small vintage travel trailer parked in the recently remodeled backyard of a woman who owned a small two-bedroom house. The remodel added two bedrooms’ worth of outbuildings—not including the Airbnb trailer, which contained a king-size bed but little room for anything else—as well as an outdoor bathroom complete with shower, and a complete outdoor kitchen! She had a contractor friend who had done all of the work. She herself lived in one of the outbuilding bedrooms, and I think her boyfriend lived in the other. She rented out the two bedrooms in the main house on a long-term basis, and the trailer for Airbnb.
It’s funny, too, because the only other time I’ve seen an outdoor kitchen was yesterday, at the house of my Mira Mesa Warmshowers hosts! They had had a flood a few years ago that nearly destroyed their house. (Hmmm, I wonder what that’s like?) They chose to live in their RV in their front yard rather than move into temporary housing for several months (like I did, first in a hotel and then in an apartment) and they used the insurance company’s “housing allowance” to build an outdoor kitchen instead.
The restaurant meal of crispy eggplant was great. I ate it at a park nearby. The woman at the restaurant was extra nice and friendly, and even gave me two free desserts: some sort of sweet bean pudding, and a vegan flan!
After relaxing in the sunny park for a bit, I decided I wanted to check out a vegan cookie place I had been hearing about in vegan circles since they opened a couple of years ago. Maya’s Cookies is a Black-owned, woman-owned business, both of which I always enjoy supporting. Plus, I had heard the cookies were amazing.
They were indeed, and I even got to meet Maya herself! I enjoyed a classic chocolate chip on-site, and later, a s’mores chocolate chip.
Unfortunately, the ride over there from the park showed me some of the bike-infrastructure gaps in this city. It was a bit harrowing at times, with green bike lanes (kudos to the city for that) sometimes “pausing” for freeway on- and off-ramps. The photo shows just one of probably at least three of these situations I encountered on that one segment of the ride today. (I also encountered three similar situations in Mira Mesa the other day, traveling from the Loving Hut restaurant to my hosts’ place.)
But I made it, even crossing the 8 freeway on a dedicated bike-and-ped bridge.
When I was looking up directions to Maya’s, I noticed on the map that there was a basilica nearby. Despite all my trips to San Diego over the years, I had never been in these areas in the NE section of town. I rode over to check it out, arriving right before they closed so I couldn’t see inside, but the outside looked pretty cool; again I admired the Spanish architecture and multiple-bell towers.
Then I headed back to my home base. What should I discover along the way but the actual bike path along Interstate 15 that I should have taken yesterday. I had misunderstood Google’s directions; they didn’t mean to route me onto the shoulder of the freeway itself, but to the off-road path on the east side of the freeway.
This was much better!
When I reached the end of the path, the light was starting to dim, but I decided to stop for a rest on a bench in a lovely neighborhood park before heading back inside.
Tomorrow I’m meeting a friend for a tour of trees!
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