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Cycling the Ventura Highway in the Sunshine

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Only two small hills stood between me and the flat coastal plains of southern California. I hadn’t really taken any notice of where I was going and what sort of sights I might expect for the days ride.

So when I hit the flat coastal plains and observed hundreds of cars and motorhomes parked by the side of the road I was curious. Elephant Seals. Hundreds of Elephant Seals on the beach, just resting. Its not the first time I’ve seen these large sea mammals lazing on a beach.

Last year when I first started this journey I found myself hiking on a remote beach in southern Tasmania. I found a large seal on the beach, much larger than I’d ever seen before. It was an Elephant Seal. They normally don’t travel to Australia preferring to stay in the sub Antarctic waters. My sighting was rare.

In fact I was contacted by a scientist that had somehow found my website and was able to identify the very seal I was looking at! Ah Science, gotta love it. Anyway, I stopped and had a wander along the boardwalk to observe these large creatures. If they share anything in common with their southern hemisphere cousins then I suspect they rarely come onto land, spending almost their whole life at sea. But I’m not really sure.

A short distance from the Elephant Seal Beach I saw a large gathering of cyclists. I thought about stopping but continued. Turns out it was the turn around point for a 100 mile Saturday morning  cycle trip. With my heavy adventure touring bike I couldn’t keep up with most of the riders on their 6kg lightweight bikes.

My bike is about 40-45kg fully loaded. As I rode along I was encouraged by the large amount of positive comments I received from the riders. On several occasions I was offered a meal by the riders. Eventually I decided to join them for a meal. It was close to the end of the day and I had planned to camp nearby. Soft delicate meat, baked potato with sour cream, ice cream and cake. So nice at the end of the day.

The following two days were rather boring days of riding a combination of freeways and backroads with little or no shoulder. I decided early on to just make miles as their was little of visual, cultural or natural interest for me. So I just cycled and stopped just long enough to rest and eat. It set me up for another stunning ride as I rode along the coast from Ventura.

So very close to the metropolis that is Santa Barbara and Malibu yet the roads were not crowded. I camped near the coast at the mosquito infested Sycamore Canyon with two German cyclists I met at the previous campground.  In between dinner, showers and providing a meal to the mosquitoes we chatted about our travels as is common when a group of touring cyclists get together.

We talked about gear, bikes, destinations, people, other cyclists and more. I mentioned to them about stopping at the Starbucks Cafe in nearby Malibu for a coffee in the morning. I mentioned how I saw some guy called Bruce Jenner when I was there last year. I believe she has now changed his name! Anyway, we all arrived there and went in for a coffee.

I recognised somebody but couldn’t quite pick out who it was at first. Turns out it was Chuck Norris. I drank coffee with Chuck Norris. Well, not really, but in the same room as him. I was too shy to ask for a photo, but I did take a photo of his star on Hollywood Boulavard when I was here last year!

The road into Santa Monica was easy enough as I cycled past the beach houses and hilltop mansions. My body was awfully tired. I needed a rest. The pain in my legs and feet have yet to ease. My hike on the Pacific Crest Trail has really hurt me and I’m looking forward to some time off in Los Angeles to rest, swim at the beach, read and go to the cinema.

  • Plaskett Creek Campground to Morro Bay 100km
  • Morrow Bay to Lompok 115km
  • Lompok to Carpintaria State Beach 106km
  • Carpintaria State Beach to Sycamore Canyon 73km
  • Sycamore Canyon to Santa Monica 50km
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Elephant Seals
Elephant Seals
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Next : Last Days Cycling in USA

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Sydney, Australia.

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17 thoughts on “Cycling the Ventura Highway in the Sunshine”

  1. This is amazing place in southern california, I have not seen such place before and biking is an wonderful experience in this nature filled area.

    Reply
  2. Hi Brad,
    You are now in my part of the world and I might be one of the surfers in the water as you pass San Onofre State Beach in South Orange County. I really enjoyed following your PCT hike and posted a few times on your FB page. (I ask you about the ages of some of the older hikers after you had completed the journey). My wife and I are now seriously considering a 4 stage section attempt of the PCT. Ride on Aussie friend.

    Reply
    • Good to hear. Good luck with the hike. It really is just a lot of section hikes strung together into this amazingly long trail. Any questions let me know.

      Reply
  3. I’m glad you survived the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s full of reckless speeding drivers. And those are California sea lions. I’ve never seen so many together on the sand. Enjoy your visit to L.A.

    Reply
  4. Great pics as usual. And Chuck’s real name is Carlos. My father-in-law is his mom’s doctor here in Texas. She calls him Carlos. It’s pretty amusing.

    Reply
  5. Great posts. I’m really enjoying following you along on this leg of your journey. When we were on the Oregon coast this year, we saw a lot of cyclists riding the Pacific Coast highway. It definitely got me thinking about our next adventure…
    I hope this isn’t discouraging, but it took at least two months before the pain in my feet really subsided after our hike. Hopefully its a shorter timeline for you.

    Reply
  6. Hey Brad,
    I’ve enjoyed following you on the fantastic and at time arduous adventure, well done!
    I’m currently in Caracas, Venezuela, currently listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world…. Well it is now ‘Danger Mark’ is here! Ha ha! Keep well, keep fit, keep strong.

    Take care and thanks for sharing.

    Mark.

    www.boydslatinoadventure.blogspot.com

    Reply

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