Statistics Southern California:

Distance: 1876km
Daily Average: 60km
Days in the Area: 31
Days on the Bike: 23
Altitude covered: 12110m
Daily Average: 527m
Nights in Tent: 17
Nights in Houses: 14
Breakdowns: New Frame, new Tires
Daily Costs: 10,14€
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the last stretch of the USA
4 months in the country left traces. I´m no longer that curious about America, it´s time to start something new. But between me and my next country there is a full month of riding…

By the way a problem came up. After 60.000km my best friend Kosmos started to get weak. The lite wobbeling in the fork that was accompanying me for the whole trip went worse so I couldn´t ride the bike one handed at all any more. It´s somewhere between adventurous and dangerous when the frame starts to shake more and more. I thought a lot and decided to replace the frame before I go on to Latin America. It took me a while to organize but at the end I got a replacement that I can pick up in LA.
So my trip splits up in a first part that I can share with Kosmo and a second one that’s for adjusting the new bike and getting used to it.

My start in San Francisco was a rainy one. I fought my way through the suburbs in a drizzle and partly dense fog. Cycling up hills and down on the other side again. Tiring. The last climb out of the urban area was fun, a disapearing road up a hill and a washed out gravel and dirt road down on the other side. I was quite wet when I reached the Campsite in the late evening.
South of San Francisco it´s mostly agricultural country. Vegetables and Fruits taking turns. You can see why California takes so much care for their immigrants. I just can imagine how much of the latinamerican workers out in the fields are illegal.

The first real City is Santa Cruz. The name is popular for bikes and surfboards and thats exactly what Santa Cruz is about. You cycle to the beach having the board attached to the bike, great construction! Santa Cruz is laid back, the Amusement Park down at the waterfront is the biggest and almost only Attraction. The Beach flair is celebrated and lots of people are strolling along the waterfront with their surfboard under the arm.The surf zone is spotted with black dots that look like birds ore sea lions but are definitely surfers if you got closer.

Near Monterey I left the coast. After heavy rainfall in the winter the Part of the coast called Big Sur is closed cause to landslides. I’m not using Facebook so I didn’t get the Information that you can push your bike over the slides i the night. shit happens.I cycled through the backcountry, more Fields more Vegetables, Wine and Fruits. Also a few really tough climbs. One of them finally killed my shifting. I finally had to replaced my cassette and my chain in the next town. After that it felt like riding a totally new bike, great!

Back at the coast I felt tired and unmotivated. I took a day off at a campsite and tried to recover. Worked so lala. I did too much in the last time. 11.000km in the last 4 Months was (for my standards) crazy. But there was no place to rest or I had to hurry cause of the weather forecast that showed closed mountain pass roads after the next precipitation.

Next stop Santa Barbara. Here I can stay at Michaels House. He is a warmshowers host. I have to check some Gear questions. For Central- and South America I need some new shoes, my bike needs new tires and also some smaller things have to be repaired/replaced. So I wander through the city and shops, ask, try and check out.
After three days it´s time to leave again. This time away from the coast again. I want to visit Joshua Tree National Park, but that off the track in the backcountry of LA. I could cycle there after visiting LA but my frame has not arrived. SO I did a loop, around 1000km the way to Mojave Desert and back.

The Area I cross will be hit by the worse wildfires a few weeks later and all the beauty I’ve seen will be burnt to ashes. Brutal! On the way I lost my Fuelbottle on a bumpy road and realized that too late. F@•k! I cross Route 66 in Victorville, that lost all the reasons to exist with this road and is slowly declining. Sad.
But sometimes you have to have a little bit of luck. A guy at a traffic light waved me over. John asked me if I know warmshowers and invited me to stay at his house for a night. As I told him about my loss he came back a minute later with a fuel bottle and gave it to me as a gift. Cool! The fitting pump for my stove was still missing and it took me until San Diego to get a new one. He also gave me a gas canister so I could cook that way for the next days. Unbelievable how generous the people are out there.. We had great conversations and a fabulous meal at a burger restaurant in town. thanks for your help, John!

Joshua Tree National Park is a wonderful place. The name giving Tree is only growing in the high altitude Mojave desert and is just a giant Yucca palm. In the park there are a couple of groves that, together with the rocky Desert around it, makes this place really unique. I stay 2 days in the park and after that cycle back to Palm Springs. After the totally dry desert the valley is a shock. Cause of Irrigation the valley is a place with thousands of Palms and dozens of Golf courses. The Air is highly humid, the Rich and Beautiful (mostly white people) live behind fences and walls while the mostly latinamerican workers keep the Golf courses in shape. Modern colonialism?

In Palm Springs I planned to take a train into LA to avoid the heavy traffic and a windy pass on my way there. But finally I overestimated the public transport in the US. No train today and taking a bike with you has to be announced three days in advance… Grmpfff….

So I had to bite the sour Apple and start cycling up the hill. Surprisingly the wind was my friend and blew me up the hill!
On top I got confronted with the Santa Ana Winds. They are blowing very strong down the hills surrounding LA. These hot winds are the reason wildfires in the Area are so unpredictable. Every time I passed an empty property or a street crossing the wind hit me and pushed me into the middle of the road. Rad!

I stayed two nights in Pasadena north of LA and planned the Construction of my new bike with Jeffrey from Ergon. He helped me with organizing the frame and let me build the new bike in his backyard. After a few hours Kosmos was stripped down and my new companion was ready for a ride! Except a Shifting cable, the Headset and the Bottom bracket I could use all my old parts, fantastic! This Phoenix from the Ashes should have a proper name and so he will accompany as Kosmo 2.0 the number of parts that made the whole trip is decreasing rapidly…
Jeffrey is living in West Hollywood, not far away from the Hollywood Boulevard and the Residential Areas of the Rich and famous. So I had the opportunity to take a look at that part of town too. But like everything in the States is mostly facade and declining. Jeffrey let me stay for two more nights in his gardenhose so I could solve all the little issues on my bike, thanks a lot Jeffrey for your help and hospitality!

On my way out of town I crossed some neighborhoods that I don’t really want to visit in the night. The stronger the contrast is when you reach the coast again when South of Long Beach the rich people show off. Denise gave me the Address of friends down here where I could send a parcel to. I visited John & Joni on Balboa Island near Newport to pick up my new tires and tail light. Thanks for your help!

The coming days were relaxed cycling down the beaches. On an Afternoon I met Ron who accompanied me for some hours and finally invited me into his house. His Wife GG and he were fabulous hosts! thanks for that…

My final Destination was San Diego where I want to take a deep breath and do my final preparations before crossing over into my next adventure Mexico!
Roman gave me the opportunity to stay at his Garden hut and wait for the last parcels to arrive. The Fuel pump and the new battery for my Garmin arrived the same day so I could continue the next day…

America you have been good to me. You gave me the chance to take a look into your Psyche, to study your habits and unashamed stare at your good and bad sides. I didn’t get you at the end, Huge Riddle US of A… Thanks for the Opportunity!

But now it´s time to cross a border. If just a little bit of the story is true all the people told me up here it is the most dangerous country in the whole world. But that’s exactly what they told me about every coming country on the trip… I’m curious!

But that’s another story I will tell you next time…
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