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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Jaro - shotgun navigator in San Diego.....

This is looking east, in the direction of Salton Sea.  Borrego Springs is just off to the left in this view.

Too far to bike from Solana for a one-day out-and-back ride - plus a hike in the park.  Even the drive was quite a haul, especially with all the switchbacks to get over the pass.

Looking west, in the direction of San Diego, where all the rain was.  It was really nice to get away from it, and a bit of a surprise that Borrego Springs was in the sun all day.

Just ordinary palm trees - the weird thing is how this grouping is in the middle of nowhere, far away from any other trees, just because there is a ground water source that creates an oasis.

I wondered where all that sand stone came from.  There was an information display that said that millions of years ago, this part of California was at the bottom of an ocean where sand was deposited by rivers flowing into it.  Later, the land was uplifted, and now the shore is getting eroded away by runoff from precipitation and by the tides.

There were many people at the beach - temperature about 26C.   The water only about 15C - still, there were a few swimmers.

Photos belong to Jaro Franta

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Our fifth stop was Puerto Vallarta, Mexico....

Unfortunately, we were only here until 3 p.m.  By the time you had breakfast, spent a little time downtown, then it was time to go back to the ship.

Wear shoes with good soles - this was the street behind - where you are walking is a little better, but you know you are walking on cobblestones.

When you get off the ship, they immediately load you into taxis.  We went 10 to a van, about 20 minutes, and it was $3.   We were dropped off at McDonald's - lots of restaurants, souvenir shops, drugstores, tequila and cigar stores......

If you walk about half-way, you will see the Flea Market.  Lots of stalls, and in the middle, a little pub.  I sat right besides the big fan, ordered a Mexican beer, $3 with tip, and had a nice visit with two young men from Edmonton.

I went to McDonald's for lunch - right outside, they were loading taxis for the ride back to the ship.  Again, it was only $3, and I rode back with the same English couple that I had met in the Pillars Hotel.

Once we got back, there was maybe 20 souvenir stalls set up just outside the ship.  The vendors were so aggressive that I did not feel comfortable walking through the stalls.  But then I meet a nice one - with a joke and a smile, he had me in his shop, and I bought a red purse to wear with blue jeans for $25 US money.

There was also a pharmacy set up outside the ship.  I bought some pain pills - they had a medical journal in English where you can look up any pill.  The pills were priced at $20, but I only had $17 left, and this was acceptable to them.

Photos belong to Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Bike/Car accident in San Diego.....

I saw another bike/car accident scene on the hugely popular coastal route 101 at Cardiff Beach.  This time, I did not see the accident happen; just the aftermath.  There is a wide bike lane in Cardiff (like most of the 101 up to Oceanside) and the car was immobilized diagonally, with the back blocking the right car lane and the front in the bike lane, with the cyclist lying under the front right of the car.

There were several other bikers around by the time I got there, and some cars were stopping too.
This was another obvious case of the car turning right into the bike lane, without looking if there was any bike traffic, or just assuming that he would complete his right turn before the bike passed – i.e. underestimating the biker’s speed.

This is almost identical to the situation I faced a couple of days ago in Torrey Pines, where a right-turning car would have taken me down in the bike lane, were it not for the hard emergency braking that saved me (there was another biker several meters back who saw the impending accident and shouted to warn me, but I already knew what the driver was up to).

Now, back to my visitors.....

This is Del Mar beach - just south of Solana.  Actually, the cliffs in the distance are in Solana.

Unfortunately, there is no train station in Del Mar.

This is on the road to Borrego Springs, just after cresting the pass.  It was raining all day on the west side of the pass (see the dark clouds) and sunny all day on the east side.  Extremely windy here at the lookout point - glad I was not on the bike - the wind nearly blew the door off the car when I was getting out.

Accident photos were published in Quebec, 2010 
All others belong to Jaro Franta.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Our fourth stop was in Guatemala......

There was a tourist area set up right outside the ship.  There were lots of souvenir shops and a 

I spent about an hour sitting on the rocks watching the iguanas.

I gave her a tip, and said to save it for college, but I don't think she could speak English.  Lots of rest areas - a big fan that you can stand in front of.

Two of the shops were air conditioned with nicer stuff  - I bought a jade necklace for $140 - the vendor told me it was made here - and a child's necklace - $10 US money.

In the first building, there was a post office, and men playing music.  I mailed a postcard home - $3 for the stamp.

They put on a fashion show for us - very nice.  And you got to sit in the shade.

Later on, I was talking with some cruisers - they were 9 on a small bus and went to the city of Antiquana for $35.  They stopped and visited an old church, then went for a smorgasbord for $12.   I wish I would have gone with them, because it was a long day here.

Photos belong to Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Jaro had visitors in San Diego....

This was on a weekday before the holidays, so not all that many people around, and the pelicans hang out closer to the paths - these guys were just a couple of meters away in La Jolla.  In Oceanside, they seem to be even more tame.

This was before Mark and Vera showed up with their rental car, so the bike was my normal means of transport.....

This is Fletcher Cove .... very popular spot, with various cafe's and shops nearby.  I think that with the sun's track across the sky being so low at this time of year, there is an increased chance of seeing a double rainbow.

Off the coast of California.   Maybe missed two  days because of rain - I took off more days than that for hikes or just rest/shopping.

My sister, Vera, from Quebec, and my nephew, Mark, from Oregon. They were here for 10 days  and stayed at my apartment.  We had a great time visiting a bunch of popular venues in the region, and Mark spent a lot of time surfing at Del Mar beach - rented a board and wet suit at Rusty's, near the beach.

They had a rental car the whole time, so I got to do things that are normally off limits for bikers.  The rental car is  about getting somewhere, and then being able to do a stroll or longer hike without worrying about the bike being safe.   For instance, the photo here is on the pier in Oceanside - bikes not allowed.  Same with the San Diego Zoo.  Other places are just too far to bike, like Ansa Borrego State Park.

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Our third stop was Puntarenas, Costa Rica.......

There were lots of souvenir stalls along the beach - I bought a puzzle box, a bug in a box, and a hand knit purse with a doll - everything under $10. 

Besides the souvenir stalls, there was a couple of open air restaurants, but I did not see any cruisers eating.  There was also a small grocery store.

The beach was full of garbage - hard to believe that when a cruise ship comes in, the beach is not cleaned up.   Also, the beach area was very stinky.......

I wanted to walk downtown, but two police officers told me that everything for tourists was here at the beach - they said to watch your backpack and camera going downtown - so I stayed at the beach for about an hour but again, once you have bought a few souvenirs, then you might as well go back to the ship.

 A taxi driver offered to take me about for $80, but it was too hot.

A long walk off the ship - there was a little train afterwards to take us up and down.

 Photos belong to Dorothy Lloyd.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Jaro's ride to San Marcos.....

This is looking down on San Marcos, to the north of San Elijo hills - and yes, this is a nice looooooong descent from San Elijo hills.....

I  noticed that many of the existing bike lanes have been widened - in some places, you can see the old lane marker painted over black, with a new line maybe two extra feet to the left. 

No potholes on this one -- relatively new road (maybe 10 years).  Older roads may look a bit more familiar to Quebeckers.  The worst is when roots from large pines and eucalyptus trees push up the pavement, creating hazardous bumps -- typically hiding in the shadows of those same trees.

This stature is called the Cardiff Kook....

I think these are planted, but they don't require any care.

The salt marsh is in Carmel valley, not far from the beach.  The hill in front is Torrey Pines park.

La Jolla again...

Photos belong to Jaro Franta.