Day Eleven: Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Distance for the Day: 56.9 miles: Pt. Mugu State Park to Auntie Elsie’s in Echo Park (east of Hollywood), Los Angeles
Accumulated Trip Distance: 559.34 miles
Altitudes: Starting/Ending: 10’/677’, Highest: 714’, Accumulated: 2333’
Speeds: Avg: 8.6 mph, Max: 65.9 mph (cyclometer appears to be partially broken)
Weather: Overcast, cool
Woke up at 6am, got on the road by 6:45. I had to do a little maneuvering to get around a locked gate, but made it out just fine. Went immediately out to the coast to try seeing the full moon set on the ocean, but low clouds obscured the last few degrees. Today, I was going to finish the first leg of my trip: the major goal of San Francisco to Los Angeles. I hit the Malibu city limits at 8:10am, and took a rest stop at 8:45 to make more Gatorade and eat and energy bar. I’d done this route (Pt. Mugu to L.A.) a few decades ago, when I used to live in L.A., but didn’t remember Malibu as being a several miles long community. It sure is now, though. I finally did make it to Santa Monica at about 10:30am, and spent a little time videotaping riding the bicycle trail that runs through the long beaches, there, leading to the Santa Monica Pier, where I rode up and down its length, videotaping the whole time. I notice it doesn’t work very good, though, when the sky is overcast, because the camera’s auto-exposure settings make it underexpose the things on the ground when it overcompensates for the brightness in the sky. From the pier, I took Colorado St. heading east, and after a while, moved up to Santa Monica Blvd, itself. I kept on Santa Monica for a long time, and moved further north to Highland, Sunset, and finally to Hollywood Blvd. Now, I knew generally where my aunt lived, but didn’t know exactly how to get there. I needed a street map, but was too cheap to buy one, so I kept looking for maps on bus kiosks. After checking several, I gave up, and asked a couple of small businesses, still without luck. Then, I saw my answer: a fire station. And, indeed: they did have them. I found several firemen putting lacquer on a wooden ladder and asked if it was okay to check out their wall maps. Absolutely, said they. One of them even came over to give me a hand, looking for the street. He found it first, and I wasn’t more than a mile or two from my destination. My Auntie Elsie lives at the top of one of L.A.’s steepest (not highest) hills, so I knew I was in for a very tough final push. I made it, barely, and thus ended the first major leg of my journey.