Category Archives: brunch

An LA Urban Oasis – Puddingstone Reservoir Camp ‘n Brunch ‘n Ride

At the east end of Los Angeles County, at the junction of Pomona, San Dimas and La Verne, lies Puddingstone Reservoir, a flood control and groundwater recharge facility that for decades has been a draw for its fishing, boating and swimming.  It is surrounded by Frank Bonelli Regional Park and the huge Raging Waters water park, while the LA Fairgrounds (Fairplex), and Bracket Field small plane airport are adjacent.

East Shore RV Park (some tent sites too) has some 500 sites, although 300 of those are long term. Built in the hills above the lake, many sites have panoramic views of the lake and the San Gabriel Mountains.

At the lower, or “Unit F” Loop, two trailheads lead to our main attraction, a fairly easy bike route around the reservoir, with only a handful of manageable hills. It is a combination of paved lakefront promenades along the north and south sections of Bonelli Park, a scenic novice mountain bike trail, and a long easy scenic cruise across Puddingstone Dam.  It is a 5-mile loop, or 8-9 miles if you opt to cycle on Class I/III roadways around the airport, perhaps stopping at Norms Hanger cafe for breakfast or lunch, a popular thing to do with cycling groups.

Bonelli Park has a lot of trails throughout, and much of it is more challenging mountain bike singletrack.  For those who like to stick to roadways, there are both easy and difficult hilly options around the lake.  East Shore RV Park is expensive, and is full well in advance most weekends.  We take advantage of the 3-for-2 weekday special.

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View of lake and dam from our site at C Loop of East Shore RV Park.
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Path leading from Unit F along east side of lake.
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Path winding along southeast shore of lake.
Scenic mountain bike trails on west side of reservoir.
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Long flat road over Puddingstone Dam.
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Nice promenade along north section of Bonelli Park.
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Closed road next to Bracket Field leads back to Unit F of the campground. Norm’s Hanger is a popular spot to park/stage from, and have an al fresco meal on the patio watching the small planes take off and land.

CAMBRIA BIKE ‘N BRUNCH – CENTRAL COAST BEAUTY

By Richard Fox

Cambria is an upscale jewel of a coastal community near the north end of San Luis Obispo County, and is the gateway to San Simeon, home of the fabled Heart Castle.  Its historic downtown is located inland, east of Hwy 1,  a popular destination for shopping and dining.  The spectacular coastline is accessed along Moonstone Beach Drive, a short bike ride from the downtown.  The coastal Fiscalini Ranch Preserve contains some welcome open space and provides a mile-long bike cruise on a fire road, or some hilly singletrack for mountain biking.  A very pleasant ride on trails and low speed limit roads will take you to all of these Cambria highlights.  Those who feel comfortable with rural road riding can amble inland up scenic Santa Rosa Creek Road to the Stolo Winery and Linn’s Fruit Stand, famous for its Olallieberry pies. The perfect way to explore the town nicknamed “Pines by the Sea” is via a two-wheeled cruise, as described in the book “enCYCLEpedia Southern California- The Best Easy Scenic Bike Rides.”

It's beginning to look a bit like Big Sur as Cambria is the gateway to the fabled Hwy 1 along spectacular coastline. Here is the boardwalk along Moonstone Drive, great for a stroll but not a bike ride.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Big Sur since Cambria is the gateway to the spectacular Hwy 1 coastline.  Pictured is the boardwalk along Moonstone Beach Drive, great for a stroll but bikes must ride on the adjacent low-speed roadway.
Find free parking and restrooms at Leffingwell State Park at the north end of Moonstone Beach Drive, a good starting point for your ride.
Find free parking and restrooms at Leffingwell State Beach at the north end of Moonstone Beach Drive, an option for your ride start.
The hardpacked fine gravel fire road provides a very scenic 2 mile round trip ride across the coastal Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.
The hardpacked fine gravel fire road provides a very scenic 2 mile round trip ride across the coastal Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.  A hike-only path closer to the sea allows better views of the sea otters foraging in the kelp beds.
Beautiful coastal vistas from the Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. A hike-only path closer to the sea provides glimpses of those darling sea otters foraging in the kelp.
Beautiful coastal vistas from a neighborhood park en route to the  Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.
Singletrack MTB trails in Fiscalini Ranch Preserve lead to a grove of rare Monterey pines.
Singletrack MTB trails in Fiscalini Ranch Preserve lead to a grove of rare Monterey pines.
Downtown is split into the west village, and the East Village, where you'll find historic Linn's restaurant.
Downtown is split into West Village, and East Village, where you’ll find historic Linn’s restaurant, among others.
Choose from many restaurants in town. This interesting Danish breakfast is at the Creekside Garden Cafe, popular with cyclsts.
Choose from many restaurants in town. This interesting Danish breakfast is at the Creekside Garden Cafe, popular with cyclists.
Lovely Stolo Winery, open for tastings, is 1.5 miles up scenic Santa Rosa Creek Road.
Lovely Stolo Winery, open for tastings, is 1.5 miles up scenic Santa Rosa Creek Road.
Linn's Farm Stand sells fresh pies and fruit-related gifts.
Linn’s Farm Stand, 5 miles up Santa Rosa Creek Road,  sells fresh pies and fruit-related gifts.
Linn's is famous for their olallieberry pie.
Linn’s famous olallieberry pie.
October is a great time to visit Cambria, when most businesses and organizations create a scarecrow that represents themselves.
October is a great time to visit Cambria, when most businesses and organizations create a scarecrow to represent themselves in lighthearted satire.
Here is a humorous entry for Cambria's dog park.
Here is a humorous scarecrow at Cambria’s dog park.

 

 

Video: A Ride Along the Beautiful Foothills Rail Trail near Tacoma, WA

By Richard Fox

The Foothills Rail Trail is one of our favorites, located southeast of Seattle between Tacoma and Mt. Rainier, and here’s a short video with soundtrack depicting a ride on it on a beautiful late spring day.  There’s great Mt Rainier views, rivers, mountains, forests, ag land, a cute town midway, Orting for lunch, good paving, and it’s busy but not crowded. It’s 15 miles long now between Puyallup and South Prairie,  but someday will double in length and reach from the mountains all the way to Puget Sound at Tacoma.  As described in last year’s post “The It Can Happen Tomorrow Ride” (http://wp.me/p4pOXg-8a), the trail lies in the shadow of an “episodically active” volcano.

 

Yachats Oregon Bike ‘n Brunch Video

The spectacular Oregon Coast is a worldwide destination for ambitious cyclists that brave busy and hilly US 101 for the rewards of ocean vistas, pastoral countryside, and access to many wonderful coastal towns.  For the Easy Scenic Cyclist, however, there are precious few places available to explore this region by bike.

My favorite town along the coast is Yachats, the “Gem of the Oregon Coast.”  It lies between Newport and Florence, just north of the spectacular Cape Perpetua coastline.  Cyclists riding along Hwy 101 can pass through the town in a matter of  minutes, but those of us that enjoy slower, scenic riding can linger on its waterfront gravel 804 Trail in the north (part of the Oregon Coastal Trail) and Yachats Ocean Road to the south, with the lovely village in between that offers several interesting eateries to choose from.  You can spend over an hour pedaling around this town that travel guru Arthur Frommer  named as his #7 travel destination in the world!

This short video gives you a feel for what it’s like to pedal around Yachats.

 

Local Trail Map: Yachats Trails 2015

 

 

 

Circling San Diego Bay on the Bayshore Bikeway

By Richard Fox

San Diego Bay curves gracefully around the Coronado peninsula, its entrance  guarded by dramatic Point Loma where Portuguese navigator Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho landed in 1542.  Along its shores are the downtown San Diego waterfront district, its port and shipyards, Naval installations, lots of private boat marinas, and some important wildlife preserves to compensate for some of the habitat that was taken away during urbanization.  The downtown waterfront is a tourist center featuring the Midway aircraft carrier museum, San Diego Maritime Museum, harbor cruises, and shops and dining at Seaport Village.  Coronado is famous for its beautiful ocean beaches and the Hotel del Coronado.

The sights and sounds of this area are guaranteed to fill the memory card on your camera, and the incredible choice of restaurants will fill your belly.  The 26-mile Bayshore  Bikeway loop circumnavigates the east finger of the bay, and is mostly flat as a pancake.  The route includes one of the Southland’s only substantial rail trails, waterfront bike trails, and some yet-to-be developed sections in the port area.  San Diego Trolley light rail is available to those who want a shorter route and less riding next to traffic through the industrial section.  A highlight is a harbor ferry ride that transports you and your bike across the bay to complete the loop. Bikes are not allowed on the Coronado Bridge.

The Bayshore Bikeway project is a stellar example of community cooperation to provide a valuable recreation asset to its residents, neighbors, and visitors.  Kudos to the cities of San Diego, Coronado, Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, and National City, and San Diego County.

SDBayshoreBikewayMap

Map by GObyBikeSD.com and SANDAG

 

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The pedestrian ferry allows bikes for no extra$. From the Coronado Ferry landing boats travel to the Convention Center (next to Joe’s Crab Shack), or for a longer ride on a larger boat for the same price, to the downtown waterfront.
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A moving bike statue along Coronado’s scenic waterfront path.
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Short but sweet path and beach next to Hotel del Coronado.
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A scenic section of the Silver Strand rail trail past a wetlands wildlife refuge that connects Coronado to Chula Vista.
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On our latest ride we visited popular Emma’s Pancake House on E Street in Chula Vista near the Trolley station. 
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San Diego Trolley’s Blue Line travels parallel to the east side of the bay, and if you want to “cheat” a bit you can squeeze on (preferably not during rush hour) and skip as many miles through the industrial zone as you like. Some sections have bike pathways already completed, but others are pending and require an on-street bike route past ship yards. The 12th & Imperial Station is the junction of the Blue and Orange lines, and a good place to hop off to get to the MLK Rail Trail through downtown/Gaslamp Quarter/Convention Center or the waterfront pathways.

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Author’s Note:  Since enCYCLEpedia focuses on only the most scenic rides, the book’s featured ride SD7 is a very scenic back and forth from the Coronado Ferry Landing along Coronado’s pretty water pathways and the Silver Strand rail trail to the sands of Silver Strand State Beach. Option 1 extends the rail trail journey to its terminus in Imperial Beach/Chula Vista. Option 2 continues on a variety of routes to encircle the bay as presented in this article, with Option 3 an additional jaunt along the Sweetwater Bikeway pathway along a channelized river to the restaurants at Plaza Bonita. Option 4 combines this ride with a full tour of San Diego Harbor (Ride SD4).

New Years Day San Diego Coast Bike ‘n Brunch ‘n Rail

Perhaps the most popular cycling route in San Diego County is the coastal highway between Oceanside and Del Mar. On weekends and holidays hordes of cyclists zip up and down the roadway, enjoying the ocean vistas and breezes.   Riding southbound, the blue Pacific is ever present on your right and wide bike lanes make the route fairly safe.  The terrain is mostly flat except for a view manageable grades.  Navigating through the coastal cities is a bit trickier, but they have all installed either bike lanes or sharrows to help you along, and you can often escape down side streets to get off the main road.   We also tend to duck into the two State Park campgrounds that run for long distances parallel to the roadway.

Steve and I started the New Year by cycling from Oceanside to Encinitas, a casual 14 mile ride.  We started by following the Rail Trail route, a 44- mile work in progress as a combination of trails and on-road bike routes.  It served us well through Oceanside, however in South Carlsbad we opted to stay along the coast rather than heading inland to follow that route.  We stopped at the South Carlsbad State Beach campground and watched from the seaside cliffs as dolphins surfed the waves next to the humans.  Weather was sunny and brisk but perfect for cycling.

Dining choices are endless as you cycle through Carlsbad, South Carlsbad, and Encinitas, each with its own train station which is handy if you’d like to do a one-way ride.  We love train travel, so it adds more fun to our bike trips.   Farther along, Solana Beach has a station, but after that the next coastal station is downtown San Diego.  Certain Amtrak Surfliner trains stop at all stations, but a free reservation is required to take your bike along.  The local Coaster line welcomes bikes on all of its trains.  Look for a car with a bike insignia, which indicates it has spaces for two bikes.  The fare between Oceanside and Solana Beach is only $4 since it is considered one zone.  Weekend and holiday schedules are reduced, so some advanced planning is required.

We met friends for an al fresco lunch at Lobster West in Encinitas, and started the New Year with their delicious lobster rolls.  We then boarded a Coaster train and returned to Oceanside in about 20 minutes, in time for a spectacular sunset at the beach there. What a fantastic way to start the New Year!

Class II biking along the coast highway in Carlsbad.
Class II biking along the coast highway in Carlsbad.
Rich along Coast Highway near Carlsbad.
Rich along Coast Highway near Carlsbad.
View from Coast Highway.
View from Coast Highway.
Campers at South Carlsbad State Beach, a great Camp 'n Ride destination. Expensive and no hookups though.
Campers at South Carlsbad State Beach, a great Camp ‘n Ride destination. Expensive and no hookups though.  We watched as dolphins surfed the waves and chased fish while pelicans tried to grab them. 
Meeting with good friends for lunch in Encinitas.
Meeting with good friends for lunch at Lobster West in Encinitas.
Closeup of Lobster West's delicious lobster roll.
Closeup of Lobster West’s delicious lobster roll.
Steve awaits the Coaster train at Encinitas station. It's only $4 fare to Oceanside.
Steve awaits the Coaster train at Encinitas station. It’s only $4 fare to Oceanside.
View from the Coaster window.
View from the Coaster window.
Steve emerges from the Coaster car. Note the bike insignia. There was a space for our two bikes on this car.
Steve emerges from the Coaster car. Note the bike insignia. There was space for our two bikes on this car.
Returning to Oceanside. Steve with the pier beyond.
Returning to Oceanside. Steve with the pier beyond.
Sunset at Oceanside beach.
Sunset at Oceanside beach.

 

Tahquitz Creek Loop December Bike ‘n Brunch

It’s holiday season and once again you may find yourself getting together with friends to go out to eat.  My advice will come as no surprise to you.  Do a bike ride first!  Living in Southern California means that this will be possible most days, even if you have to, shudder, don a windbreaker to fend off the winter chill, like when the temperature dips below 70F.  That was the case on this clear beautiful Palm Springs day when the mercury barely hit 65F.

The fun group (l to r), Karin, Bryan, me, Steve, Victor
The fun group (l to r), Karin, Bryan, me, Steve, Victor

Bryan, Karin, Victor, Steve and I pedaled the 8-mile Tahquitz Creek Loop in Palm Springs, a route that consists mostly of bike trails that are so rare in these parts, albeit mostly on sidewalks next to roadways eastbound and next to golf courses (and the hazard of being whomped on the head) westbound.

Group pausing on the westbound trail.
Group pauses on the westbound trail. Mt. San Jacinto in the background.

This ride (enCYCLEpedia’s PS3) is best done in the counter-clockwise direction to take advantage of the stunning mountain views as you pedal west adjacent to the golf courses.

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Classic Palm Springs Scenery as trail passes Mesquite Country Club.
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Stunning Palm Springs view near the end of the trail.

Of course being Palm Springs there are plenty of after-ride eateries to choose from.  On this route the Manhattan in the Desert patio is one of our favorites on warmer days.  Today we chose to reward ourselves at the  Monsoon Indian Cuisine (Sunrise south of Ramon), with it’s delicious lunch buffet ($11).  All left very satisfied.

Victor and Karin at our just reward, delicious Monsoon Indian lunch buffet.
Victor and Karin at our just reward, delicious Monsoon Indian lunch buffet.