We made it through LA and are almost to Mexico!!!

Our experience in Los Angeles could be summed up with: “It really wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be.” The four days of biking through urban sprawl was enhanced by being graciously housed by friends – new and old.

Our first destination was Chatsworth to see our old Juneau friend Sunshine (aka Justin Kennedy). 5 flat tires lengthened the ride to Sunshine’s house that evening, but seeing Sunshine and a lasagna dinner made it all worth it. The next morning we found two more flat tires on bikes bringing the count to 7 flats on one ride – a new ‘ATripSouth’ record. We stayed with Sunshine the next day and made a foray into Hollywood via public transportation. It was nice to get off the bikes and travel more quickly but as any commuter in LA knows the public transportation is quite inefficient and we got to spend much time on buses and train.

Hanging with the Stars in Hollywood

Posing with Sunshine

Being in LA we knew we had to make a trip to Snoop Dogg’s favorite eatery – Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles.  We got two dishes there: chicken with a side of waffles and waffles with a side of chicken – both delicious.

Famous Chicken and Waffles

The next day we said goodbye to Sunshine and headed towards our friend Lucy Squibb’s Aunt and Uncle’s Ann and David, who had offered to house us. Waiting for us they had a platter of snacks, warm showers, soft beds, and more pizza than we could finish. It was great recounting stories of the kayak trip and listening to them telling tales of the Squibb family.

Leaving their house we shot through Santa Monica to the beach and the Pacific Ocean once again. There is a great bike path right on the beach that winds through all the attractions and was an excellent ride.  We enjoyed checking out the characters of Venice beach.  There were gymnasts swinging from rings, body builders pumping iron, and entertainers of all sorts.

Artwork in Venice Beach

That night we made it into Long Beach.  One of the first people to e-mail us about our trip and to offer a place to stay along the way was Josh Church in Long Beach. All of us recognized his name, but none of us could place his face.  Upon showing up to his home we were treated with unbelievable hospitality and it was great to share stories about Juneau.  We ended up figuring out that Kanaan and Chris were freshman on the junior varsity football team, while Josh was a senior on the varsity. Andrew realized that he had grown up only four houses down from Josh!  We ended up having a great night and we were spoiled by the huge feast that Josh prepared for us.

Josh presents a meal of King Crab, Corn, Potatoes and Sausage

Group Pic with Josh before leaving Long Beach

South from Long Beach we ran into the coastal towns of Orange County.  We were impressed by the amount of great bike paths to follow, and grateful to avoid the traffic.  We even were able to meet up with our good friend Carlo Ebron from Juneau for a quick lunch.

Following the L.A. river back to the Ocean

In the next days we stacked the miles to make it down to La Jolla at Kanaan’s Aunt Kristi and Uncle James’ home for Thanksgiving.  We have had no shortage of things to be thankful for, and this was no exception.  James slow cooked two beautiful turkeys under a bed of coals.  There were mashed yams, brussel sprouts, three types of stuffing, and an endless table of pies.  With 29 people in attendance,  it was certainly a spectacle.

Looking down on the Feast

Turkey Day

Max shows his caveman heritage

After waking up from a food coma, we were taken out to explore the surf.  Kristi and James have been the best guides and teachers and we have all gotten a lot better on the surf boards.  We arrived back home to receive a tragic message from Josh Church.  He informed us that our good friends Casey and Kelly Newman had passed away in a boating accident near home.  We could not believe it.  We all had the privilege to grow up with the Newman’s.  There is no doubt that these great people will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to cross paths with them.

Casey talking about Eaglecrest for our short film

Josh was good enough to come down to La Jolla to share memories.  We spent the night crying, laughing, and saying good-bye to our friends.  We love you guys, and you will forever be missed!

We are waiting in La Jolla for our final vaccinations, and we will be entering Mexico by the end of the week.  Many adventures lie ahead of us, we could not be more excited to continue South.

San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara… we are headed south!

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With so much to do in the Bay Area we easily stretched our stay to over a week. We bounced around trying to see as many friends, family, and as much of the city as possible. Our first nights were spent with our good friend Alvey exploring the city and eating great Mexican cuisine.  Between watching the herd of bison in Golden Gate Park and dancing the night away in the Castro we enjoyed our time in the city.  One night Alvey took us to a large hill south of the city for an outlook of the lights sprawling out below.  We attempted to do some light writing, but Chris was a little confused on which way an “S” squiggles.

We visited Kanaan’s grandparents Bobby and Dave as well as Uncle Kelley in San Rafael. We shared many stories and terrific meals.  Ping pong, bocce, cribbage and chess made for a relaxing day of games at the house, and Kelley’s interactive presentation of David Byrne’s True Stories was especially entertaining. Excitement was very high as we watched the baseball playoffs unfold.  The San Francisco Giants made a spectacular run to eventually win the World Series.  Thanks so much for having us!

The next nights we spent with Carly Lehnhart (our long-time friend from home).  She baked us her famous chicken pot pie and kept us well fed on cake and cookies.  Her and her roommates, Anna, Alyssa, and Cici were gracious hosts and they put up with us taking over their entire living room floor.  Their friends Darren and Peter were awesome to meet, we attempted to teach them how to party like you have a beard.  Thanks all of you for a wonderful time.

 We also got a chance to say hi to Cathy, Rod, Erin and Laura who had come down for the weekend to visit Colin and us all.

Hanging with the Flyn Family

Eventually we mustered up the energy to get out of Carly’s house and the pull of the Bay.  Riding south we were right back to coastal views and sweaty clothes.  Next we pulled into Santa Cruz and the beautiful home of Kevin, Kim, and Brianna (Kanaan’s uncle, aunt, and cousin).  It’s hard to fully understand the culture that surrounds Santa Cruz without spending some time in the swell so Kevin set us all up with surfboards and wet suits and sent us out into the ocean. We can’t thank you all enough for a great stay!  We stuck around town long enough to receive a Yellow Fever vaccine, and also for Halloween!  On Halloween night we stopped by a local thrift store and outfitted ourselves for a trip down town to Pacific Avenue which was closed off and full of people celebrating the occasion.

Continuing on, we rode the wonderful beach bike path to Monterrey and our first experience with a Warm Showers host.  Warm Showers is a website that gets cycling enthusiasts in touch with traveling cyclists to trade a warm house and shower for stories from the road.  Our host was unbelievably generous and allowed for our 8 bodies to grace his floor next to the 2 who were already couch surfing, thanks KG!  KG gave us some information about a cool hot spring in Big Sur to the south, so we hit the road early to check it out.  We didn’t get to the trailhead until late afternoon, but we knew the stars would be bright so we set off for the springs.  Luckily enough we found a great vantage point on the way up to catch the dazzling sunset.

Fabulous sunset in the Ventana Wilderness

The trail got a touch confusing towards the end, with a lack of signage and some previously unknown backtracking, but the springs were well worth it.  We spent our night soaking in the pools.  The next morning we jumped in the springs for one final soak before making our way out.  We were told that by following the river we could eliminate some mileage.  Although this was not the case, we sure had a fun adventure trying to make our way down.

Evan relaxes in a warm pool

Stacked stones along the river bank

 

We continued pedaling south and were met by Evan’s parents Jeff and Janis in San Simeon who generously treated us to an amazing dinner and a stay at the Motel 6!

Biking through Big Sur pioneered a new habit while biking – jamming out to our Boombotix. With one person carrying the ipod we can all listen to the tunes.

We worked our way down to Santa Barbara where we were taken in by Shalya, a high school friend of Katie Bausler. Upon arrival at her house we were sternly greeted by three large Rhodesian Ridgebacks from behind a gate but were glad to find out that they were friendly as ever and welcomed us in. Shayla treated us to a wonderful meal of carne asada as well as much needed showers and laundry. She shared valuable knowledge of what is to come and had all the tools that we needed to get our bikes cleaned up and in order.  Thank you Shayla!

Our next stop down the road was in Ojai where a friend of Kanaan, Jen and Caroline was doing some natural building on an organic seed saving farm. Bryce and his partner Kelly introduced us to the farmers and gave us a tour of the farm and all that is happening there. We spent a week in Ojai helping with Bryce and Kelly’s project, a cob and straw bale cottage that would house one of the farmers after completion. We spent our nights cooking meals with fresh produce from the farm and singing songs around a fire with the others we had met in the area.

The Cob House

The Cob Building Crew

During our stay in Ojai we heard that Patagonia was showing at their headquarters in Ventura the movie Groundswell. This film by Chris Malloy in conjunction with Patagonia and Raincoast Conservation Foundation highlighted (from a surfer’s perspective) an issue we had become very familiar with – the Northern Gateway Pipeline Proposal. A beautifully done film that will hopefully expose this issue to a great audience. At the showing we spoke with quite a few people interested in our trip and were invited  to stop at Patagonia when we left Ojai. Two days later we stopped by and were welcomed by many employees interested us going south. They graciously treated us to an amazing salad bar and gave us directions for the journey into Los Angeles.

Posing in front of Chounaird Equipment, the birth place of Patagonia

From Ojai we are on our way through the Los Angeles sprawl and on to San Diego; with the border in sight we prepare to leave the familiarity of the States behind.