Although we got out of the KOA at 7:45, we didn't actually really get going on the route until a bit after 8:00 because we were trying to get our Garmins to do their thing. Finally, the purple line was visible, and we started following it. We stayed on a paved bike path for awhile, then we were on a dirt hiking path. As we were riding along, past a golf course, I noticed the little arrow was no longer following the purple line. We turned around and went back to the last street. That was the route. We were back on pavement until the end of the road where we picked up another dirt trail. Basically, the first half of the day was like that. Some road, then some path, then back to road, and so on. We missed a couple more turns, but the Garmin was quick to show we were going the wrong way.
Our second to last wrong turn was where we got onto a trail, but realized we needed to be on the road below. We rode back to where we could get onto the road. Then we came to the singletrack section. We could have just stayed on the road, but a guy there told us it was easy singletrack. The first part was not what I would call "easy". In fact, it was quite rocky. See the photo below.
Once again the arrow was not on the purple line. Oops...we turned around. We got back onto the paved road in the correct spot, and were on pavement the rest of the day.
So far, we hadn't seen any other riders. We knew we were ahead because they weren't leaving the start (8 miles back from where we started) until 8:00. We pulled into a cafe/store/Thousand Trails to have some lunch at noonish. Right behind us, Harry pulled in. He is riding from Prudhoe Bay to Argentina, and happened to be here in time to do the Baja Divide. He told us we weren't on the most current route. The route we were on would not take us over Otay Mtn. He said he was taking an easy day and staying on the pavement. We went in to the store and got some lunch. When we came out, and we're eating our lunch, riders started rolling in. More and more riders came in. We met Nicholas and Lael! Turns out, we were on the most current track after all. This was the turn to go over Otay Mtn. However, the climb over Otay was 3000 feet over 5 miles. With Brent still dealing with his cold, and me at the tail end of mine, and it being the first day and all, we decided to stick to the road. We still had 1800 feet to climb. It wasn't too bad. It was good we did the road though.
We came down a huge descent thinking we still had another 7 miles to go. Nope, the Barrett Junction Cafe was just at the bottom. I went in to the cafe to find that we weren't the first to arrive. Jon, from South Africa, was here, and also a couple other guys. We set up behind the restaurant. At about 3:00, the riders that went over Otay started rolling in.
Before dinner we got all the swag that Nicholas and Lael got from the various sponsors--everything from water bottles, tire plug kits, tons of energy gels, and even stroop waffles (my favorite). I didn't really take too much, only the things I thought I would really use. Also, earlier, they brought out some snacks, including small bottles of pickle juice. It's supposed to be great for muscle cramps. I took one to save for a muscle cramp emergency.
I'll end this for today, and post about the dinner tomorrow (or not, we'll see).