Jennifer Schofield
Pacific Coast
The Big Day I met Billy for one last ride together at Dana Point. His cycling group was doing a century from Anaheim to San Diego (my camp was about 25 miles in). It was fun to ride among 20+ people! Everyone was so nice, especially the SAG moms who shared oranges, Cheez-Its and huge chocolate chip cookies. This was the first century for many in the group. It was a big day for all of us.

The really big day—border day—was Sunday, July 28. The sun was shining, and, packing up and getting ready, it was like any other day of riding. Except I only had about 30 miles to go, and they happened to be the last 30 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Kalyana, Sarah and I had planned to reach the border together, and they had camped much farther north than I. So I had a leisurely morning, rode through Balboa Park and got downtown with plenty of time to spare. Kalyana texted that she and Sarah were in La Jolla, about an hour out. No worries, there was an Indian buffet just down the street. Two platefuls, two desserts and one weird fusion chai later, I pedaled around the Gaslamp Quarter in search of a bookstore to pass the time, and settled for a pretty park instead.

Tourists were out in full force, clogging the roads, sidewalks—people, cars and exhaust everywhere. I got impatient and started riding north to find my friends. I spotted Kalyana in her signature mauve, with Sarah just behind. We exchanged warm hugs, caught up on the last few days' adventures, Sarah hummed a few bars of "The Final Countdown" and we were off!  

While stopped at a light, a driver called out, "Hey, are you going to the border?"
"Yes!"
"Where did you start?"
"The other one!"
"California?"
"No, Canada!"
"Oh, cool! I've done a few bike trips to Utah … How many flats have you gotten?"

Kalyana made a circle with her hands to indicate "zero" and I held up my index finger to indicate "one." Sarah was busy photographing a mural. A quarter of a mile later, Sarah got her sixth flat at less than 20 miles to go. Kalyana and I took care of the eye rolling and grumbling at the bad timing, while Sarah efficiently busted out the repairs. After aiming an appropriate amount of expletives at the offending splinter, we hit the road, again singing "The Final Countdown."

About six miles from the border we made a quick pit stop. I couldn't resist getting a beer, and when Sarah saw I was getting one she insisted on joining me. "I am French, I cannot let you drink alone," she explained. More spirited singing of "The Final Countdown" ensued.

And before long, we saw road signs for San Ysidro and the border. Across the valley, the next hill over just had to be Mexico, we were getting so close. As we approached, the money exchange places grew in number. The final hundred yards was a confusing jumble of detours to the new pedestrian border crossing. We cautiously rode among dozens of people walking across the border. I assume many were returning home, carrying only a shopping bag or purse, if anything. When we finally arrived at the point which we could go no further, it took a few minutes to realize … we had finally arrived!

Shifting from logistics and map reading, giddiness quickly took over. We decided there couldn't be too many photos, and we celebrated and toasted each other and our success for a very long time. More than once I caught the armed (!) guard smiling at us from the other side of the fence. A woman stopped to congratulate us and snapped a few photos of three very happy and proud cyclists.

Like most of the last few days, I wanted to savor the moment, to find a way to make it last. But it was getting dark and we needed to get back to the city. Kalyana and Sarah pedaled away, and I reluctantly followed, realizing that the only way to have the next adventure would mean first leaving this one.


- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Jennifer Schofield

Gear List

- MY BLACKBURN GEAR -

- MY BIKE SPECS -

- PERSONAL ITEMS -

- TECHNOLOGY -

- CAMPING GEAR -

- CLOTHING -

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Jennifer Schofield
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past? Reading Bruce Weber’s New York Times posts about his 2011 cross-country bicycle trip rekindled my 20-year old dream of doing a long bike ride. Then I talked with several friends who have done long tours – both the PCH and Transamerica…and I started thinking, hey, if these guys can do this, I can too. I’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic a couple times – what’s a few more hundred miles?
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? Have you traveled by bike in the past? Reading Bruce Weber’s New York Times posts about his 2011 cross-country bicycle trip rekindled my 20-year old dream of doing a long bike ride. Then I talked with several friends who have done long tours – both the PCH and Transamerica…and I started thinking, hey, if these guys can do this, I can too. I’ve done the Seattle-to-Portland Bicycle Classic a couple times – what’s a few more hundred miles?
  • What is your goal for the route? What do you hope to get out of this journey? I intend to ride from Port Angeles, WA to the US-Mexico border. I am hoping for adventure, time on the beautiful Pacific coast, a good tail wind and embracing life outside the cubicle! I’m looking forward to visiting the small towns along the coast and especially meeting new people along the way.

MY MUST HAVES

  • Magic Feather Because believing I can do it is what's going to get me there
  • My Journal Documenting the memories as I go
  • My Phone Staying connected with friends and family
  • Lip Balm A little bit of comfort that I carry with me on every long ride

- MY RIDE -

- Pacific Coast Milestones -