Day 2: (10 uphill strenuous miles) We awoke at our campsite with the sun rising over the mountains. San Diego county has seen a lot of rain in the past weeks which meant a view of GREEN mountains and flowers blooming. We made coffee and a delicious breakfast of eggs and hash browns (thank you again Eidon) and started our trek for the day. It was soon apparent that we had nothing but uphill climbing ahead of us. Our afternoon objective was met when we reached Janet’s Montana Café. Here we tried to curb our exhaustion with milkshakes and tasty wraps. This plan failed and we decided we would be better served by a restful night than a grueling evening of more climbing. After relentlessly attempting to get a room at the Alpine Apartments and Hotel, it proved unsuccessful so we trudged on. A couple miles down the road we ran into a National Forest Ranger, he too was unable to help with his closest camping option being a “30-40-minute drive” away so we trudged on again. Finally, we decided our night would be spent in luxury at Viejas Casio and Resort hopefully our most expensive room of the trip. We finished our lunch left overs, did some laundry in the sink and went down for a night capper at the bar.
Day 3: (21.5 miles) We filled up our water bottles, made coffee, and tapped into some of our supplies for breakfast to hit the road at 8:00am. Less than a mile down the road we passed Alpine RV Park where we likely could have stayed, comfortably and much cheaper. A couple miles after that we pedaled onto our first section of I-8. Our entire 3.5 miles on the interstate was an uninterrupted incline. Exiting onto State Route 79 we stopped for some much needed shade and a snack. Route 79 soon transition to Old Highway 80. In the town of Guatay we found a shop owner who invited us in, introduced us to his dog Rango and confirmed for us that our camping destination was in fact open. His final parting news was that our two-and-a-half-day climb to Pine Valley was nearly over – he was right (phew). Soon we found ourselves happily coasting into town for lunch at the Frosty Burger where we shared a chicken sandwich and a vanilla milkshake. Satisfied and a little weighted down, we attacked our final climb of the day which brought us to our highest elevation yet – 4100 ft. Ignorantly enjoying our decent along the route purported by our ACA map we eventually realized we had been led astray. Thankfully, it was only a 2.5 mile return to the correct route and a quick 2 miles to Boulder Oak Campground where we found a pleasant campsite, the cheapest rate yet, and Michele’s boyfriend returned bearing more camping pleasures.
Day 4: (24 miles) Our shady campsite made for a cool morning, we made breakfast and coffee, packed our things and made it to the road by 9:15am. We knew the day was starting with an uphill climb so we were mentally prepared. Eidon decided to be our support crew for the day. He met us at the tops of mountains and provided a little boost when needed. Some time throughout the day he decided he would join us in Jacumba Springs. His cheering and support helped us get through the climb. We stopped in Live Oak Springs for lunch under a live oak tree. From there, there were some mild climbs and a lengthy downhill until we finally rolled into Jucumba Springs. After asking around town we figured out there was a friendly “park host” and free camping near the local library and adjacent to the little league field. Our tent was set up next to a large pavilion within sight of Mexico. Shortly after we arrived at camp we were joined by a solo cyclist, Ken, who departed San Diego the day before. He is currently headed to Washington, DC and intends to spend the next three years cycling the world. We shared stories and some of Eidons beer-tang “Shandy” concoction and called it an early night.