This morning was...well, a little stressful! When I arrived at the airport, the baggage guy told me I couldn't take Stella in the bike bag. "All bikes must be boxed". I told him the website for Alaska Air said I could bring the bike in a soft case AND, I had called and asked if I could bring my bike in a clear plastic bike bag (they said yes)! He continued to say I had to have her in a box. I told him I would sign a waiver. He said they didn't have waivers. I continued to insist that I should be able to bring her in the bike bag. He said my bike would be "ruined". I told him bikes get damaged in boxes. He agreed! Finally, they realized they would have to do it my way. I was not going to give up. Magically, the guy produced a waiver that I was able to sign! They told me they would not be responsible for any damaged. I said that was okay, I was pretty confident Stella would be fine. Then they tried to dissuade me by saying it was going to cost me $50. Well, I thought it was going to be $75, so $50 was great!
That snafu solved, I headed for security and had no other issues. I tried to get a photo of them loading Stella, but I had to board before I saw her.
The flight was fine. At the San Diego airport, I headed to Oversize Baggage to get Stella. The Chinese Shopping Bag came through baggage just fine. The window for oversize baggage opened, but it was just a bunch of car seats (in plastic bags no less). Finally, the window opened and there was Stella! The guy CAREFULLY handed Stella to me. I unwrapped her and cut away all the bubble wrap and, lo and behold, Stella was unharmed! Yep, not a scratch on her! The bag itself was also not damaged. So, all that mess at Seatac was for nothing! I was right! Stella was fine!
It took me 1 1/2 hours to get everything packed and arranged for riding. I called Dennis, then headed out. I rode along Harbor Dr like last year. In fact, it seemed like I was back to continue last summer's ride! Soon I turned away from the water and headed up...and up. A few blocks up I got to turn before going up a much steeper hill. I worked my way, following the directions to a store called Adventure 16 to get fuel for my stove. Along the way, I passed a Subway. Well, I stopped, but I didn't have a sandwich (even though I hadn't had anything of substance to eat since 5:15am (it was about 2:30). I got a bottle of water and some cookies. I ate one cookie, then continued on. After Adventure 16, I followed the directions to the Richardson's house. As I was coming up Mission Gorge Rd., I saw the sign for Father Juniper Sierra Trail. It was also on my map as part of the route. I turned into the park and rode the trail (actually, Old Mission Gorge Rd.), came out the other side and got back on Mission Gorge. The trail was a nice departure from the traffic. From there I worked my way through Santee and into Lakeside only making one sort of wrong turn. Once on Riverside Dr. it was only one more turn then up the road about a mile to the Richardson's house. Dennis welcomed me (just wheeled Stella right into the house). I had a shower and then Dennis showed me the farm. He has all kinds of fowl (including turkeys) in all stages of growth (eggs to adults), dogs, goats and sheep.
Then we went to the grocery store and I stocked up with food.
We had a great dinner of burgers and pasta salad. Now, I am doing this blog then I need to go to bed.
It was a pretty great first day!
Total miles: 24.8
Ride time: 2:29
Ave. Speed: 9.8
Max. Speed: 30.4
Subways seen: 4