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June 28, 2018

Bayshore Bikeway - Bicycle around the Big Bay

A bicycle route around San Diego Bay has been in the works since 2006 when the Bayshore Bikeway was first proposed, it is not yet complete.  When I first rode the route about a decade ago, I did not find it really much fun, too much of the route was on existing paved roads without well marked bike lanes, with no route across the tidelands at the Sweetwater Marsh - it was not a scenic pleasure ride.
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Earlier this year a bike path over the Sweetwater Marsh was opened, along with bike lane markings and another short section also added to the bikeway in Chula Vista. It was time to ride it again and see the changes.  The local news made this sound like a delightful family fun ride around the Big Bay.

This interactive map provided by Sandag is useful in planning out the ride.  The map has the rider start at the Downtown Ferry Landing and end at the Coronado Ferry Landing.  A distance of 24 mostly flat miles, it will be a decent workout for a day ride.  

The original plan was to park at Spanish Landing had to be tossed when we discovered that it is now pay parking!  It was free last time we parked there … It’s $1 for a maximum of 4 hrs, and we expect to be longer than that.  Parking at the Midway is $10 all day, but will also save us 6 miles of riding to/from Spanish Landing.  While we were getting the bikes unloaded, the training ship T.S. Golden Bear was being docked.
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We head south along the Embarcadero through Seaport Village, the bikes need to be walked through the village.
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Seaport Village has a nice collection of touristy shops, some decent restaurants and is just a good place to people watch.
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Just south of the village is Embarcadero Park, concerts are performed here during the summer. 
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Finally the Embarcadero opens into a wide isolated Malecon like pathway, as it passes along the expensive boat docking spots.
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But the pleasant pathway does not last long, it ends at the Convention Center where it becomes a bike lane along Harbor Drive.  At least it is wide and well marked.
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Well it is well marked until the Barrio, where it is just a remarking of the roadway.  Although this is an improvement, a decade ago, when there were no bike lane markings at all.
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For 3 miles through the busy industrial area of port the bike lane remains what I would call a suggestion.  At last just south of Naval Station San Diego, a real bike path!  It doesn’t last long but does take us to the waterfront and Pepper Park.
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Back in the day we launched our jet skis here a couple times.  There indeed have been some nice improvements to the park since then.  We watched as the National City Mayor  recording a commercial to attract business to the area … ‘blue water’, ‘clean air’, ‘large port facilities’ ….
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This is what all the news media hoopla was about – a new section of bike path!  On my ride a decade ago I rode my mountain bike across the abandoned trestle, but there is now a nice easy route that runs parallel to I-5.  The route is elevated offering some views into the tidelands.
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But unfortunately it only goes across the marsh and onto a surface street that does not have a bike lane.  At least it is a short stretch before the bike lane reappears along side the roadway.
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Although we are not a bike path, they are working on it!  That’s the bike path down there, but for today we need to dodge the CalTrans signs that are blocking the bike lane.
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There are quite a few of these DWY XING markings.  These are warnings for driveways that may have heavy truck traffic.  One of these driveways is for the South Bay Salt Works (the second oldest business in San Diego – 1871).  Bay water is allowed to enter into several evaporation ponds leaving the salt to be harvested after the water evaporates.
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The final bike path is up the Silver Strand.  Since I was last here the path has been widened a bit, some of the bridges have been replaced.  This all to allow for more traffic along the route.
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Most notably new are the number of walking paths, observation points and interpretive signs and kiosks.  All very welcome additions.
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I have to admit it was nice to see the Coronado landmarks!  They meant it was time for a leisurely lunch and then catch a ferry back.
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Personal Comments:
With the exception of the path at Pepper Park, the east side of the ride is much the same as it was a decade ago.
Although there is a bike lane marked, both Fran and I were chased out of the lane by heavy trucks cutting us off.
If you do want to do the whole loop, take extra water!  We took 2 extra bottles and used them both.  There are not many places along the route to refill.

I may do it again in another decade, but I doubt it. 
Considering the condition the Bayshore Bikeway is now I would take the grandgirls only on the Coronado side of it, but certainly not on the San Diego.

We will continue to take the ferry to Coronado and bike the city, bike the strand, enjoy the beach – but for sure skip the east (city) side of the Big Bay.  Coronado will continue to be an out and back for us.

June 17, 2018

Squatters - some unexpected guests

While taking the trash out in late May, I noticed there was an unexpected guest taking up residence in one of the Macadamia Nut trees.  I’m sure you’d do much the same thing I did - lock the door.  I also put a sign on the door to remind Fran and I not to use it.
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Our unexpected guest was a female Red Throated Hummingbird, with 2 tiny white eggs in her nest.  When she made a trip to the feeder I brought the trash cans and the lawnmower to the front yard.
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I took the chance that she would be out feeding for a little bit longer and managed a shot of the two hatchlings.  They really are not all that cute at this stage.
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In a few weeks one was noticeably a bit larger and the more aggressive sibling.  Although I had been talking to them, even with the camera in hand – the aggressive chick made it known I was not a BFF.
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I then set up a spy camera, to keep an eye on their development.  The larger one would often step out on the edge of the nest and test his wings.This is my last picture of the pair.  After testing his wings for the past couple days he/she has taken flight. 

Bye little guy and best wishes for a life of your own.
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A couple fun facts:
They chicks do not leave the nest until they are adults and ready to be on their own
The nest is made of a lot of spider webbing to allow it to expand as the chicks grow
Once the chicks can generate their own body heat, mom leaves.  She does stay close by and continues to feed her offspring.