The end of the ride is within sight. We started the day, in beautiful weather, with only 53 miles to cycle and the thoughts of the ride coming to its close fresh in our minds. The day's ride would take us along the coast once again. We started out from the uninteresting city of Oxnard. This would not be a place I would ever consider living in.
|Tracey, Mike, Karen and Jeff - team Roark|
Along the route, we rode by a Naval station, which had old missiles on display. The obligatory pictures where our backs were lined up with the trajectory of the missile were made. Gary and I were to ride the whole day together, and this was one of the several stops that we decided to make.
|Part of the old missile display|
We rode much of the day along the busy Pacific Coast Highway, which was quite the adventure. Cars were fairly careful as they passed us by. We additionally had to navigate past a string of parked cars, hoping that they would not be opening their doors into us. Other cyclists also made it into the mix, ensuring that we had to watch out for pretty much anything.
|Along the Pacific Coast Highway|
For about 15 miles we endured the dense mixture of moving and parked cars, until Gary and I stopped somewhere near where his sister lives. While Gary made a call to try to connect with her, in the walking overpass near us, I spied 2 youngsters holding up some type of sign. I waved at them and they waved back. Once Gary got off the phone, unsuccessfully making his call, he noticed the youngsters as well and exclaimed “Those are my nieces!”. They knew he was riding by that day and had prepared the “Hi Uncle Gary” sign they were holding up. After a quick meeting with us, we then continued on our ride to the bike path that took us along Venice Beach.
|You can see Gary's nieces in the overpass|
Venice Beach and the Santa Monica Pier have been in numerous television shows and movies. It contains a bike path that is used by more than just cyclists. Everyone is either walking, running, skating, boarding or riding along it. It has a dusting of sand over it as it is adjacent to a beautiful, wide beach that follows the ocean. Expensive properties are built with views of the entire area.
|The bike path along Venice Beach|
Gary and I stopped for a quick lunch. By that time, several other riders caught us and joined in as well. As we had plenty of time to spend, we sat, talked and watched the people go by. There was quite the variety to choose from, including a man who rode a bike with a large parrot sitting on his handlebars, to a woman that tried to ride a 3 wheel bike with her helmet on backwards. I called over to her and once I mentioned the problem, she figured out that she needed to turn it around.
|The Santa Monica Pier|
We finished the ride along Venice Beach and past the Santa Monica Pier and made it to the hotel with plenty of time. Tonight we had our banquet and said our speeches, as tomorrow we just have the last 50 miles to ride. Everyone will go their separate routes once they get to the hotel, where the ride ends. Some of us, like Baltimore Mark, Joe and me, will spend one more night as we have to get our bikes ready to return. It's too late to get a flight until the next day.
|Along Venice Beach|
Let's see what tomorrow brings.