Thursday, August 27th
Once we joined up with Route 66 in El Reno, Oklahoma, we started using Bicycle Route 66 maps. Up until this day we hadn’t had any hiccups with the route, other than the typical pavement conditions. Unfortunately during Thursday’s ride, we had to hit the brakes on using the maps. Starting out in our usual routine we had a nice morning of back roads and little traffic. Getting closer to Los Angeles, we started passing through more and more cities, which meant heavier traffic. We’ve been through many cities and towns that have had heavy traffic, but this day was the first time we ever felt unsafe.
At mile 63 Dad and I pulled over to check the maps because where they were sending us caused much concern. The company had cyclists riding on a section of interstate 15, going down a steep grade for many miles, and Dad wasn’t comfortable with me riding on it until we checked it out. While we were pulled over on a side street, we watched 18-wheelers and cars fly by in packs down the descent. Dad decided that we should load up my gear and check out the road before I rode any further.
The valley behind us had countless Joshua Trees!
We couldn’t have made a better decision! Driving down the interstate we discovered they were doing heavy road construction, which resulted in the shoulder being blocked off. Five lanes of high speeding traffic and rerouted lanes, it would have been very dangerous! There were five lanes, but one split away from the others going a whole other direction to bypass a section of the construction. Vehicles were slamming on their brakes and swerving in and out of lanes; it would have been extremely unsafe. Thanks to Dad’s foresight, we saved ourselves much stress and panic. Unfortunately, this was the only road that connected to the next section of the maps, so we had to go back home and reroute.
The three of us took Friday and Saturday off to research an alternative route. We decided to make Ventura our stopping point which is more north, and away from the heavy LA interstate traffic. Mom and Dad figured we should drive the route on Friday just to make sure we wouldn’t run into the same problem. Besides a few low shoulders it was a great route with countless sights. This was also a great day for us because we got to drive through different areas, and even were able to see the coast early. After picking out the best beach area for Sunday’s finish, the three of us were pretty hungry. It has been a long time since we’ve had a really good salad bar so we were excited to find a Souplation in a nearby city! Delicious!
We drove back to the campground by way of the northern LA interstates, passing by Griffith Park (which I am definitely going to visit before we leave), and many well known cities. When the sun went down, we were stunned by the amount of city lights; none of us had ever seen so many lights in one area in our lives!
We took Saturday off as well to plan other important to-dos, and to rest up for Sunday’s ride!