Archive for March 25th, 2011


The U.S. Postal Service: We’re There for You…Not

25 March 2011. The day started well at the Ayres Hotel in Alpine. I had been pleased to learn the night before that they serve breakfast. Lots of choices: waffles, French toast, bagels, fruit, yogurt, muffins, juice. You name it! I was looking forward to it—stoke up on carbs.

When I went to the breakfast room, I was the only one there. I had decided on waffles and quickly spotted the hot waffle iron. But where was the waffle batter? I looked everywhere, then finally discovered a large dispenser—it looked more like a cappuccino machine of something. With clear signage, I was told to dispense batter into a plastic cup then pour it into the waffle iron (after spraying the waffle iron with some sort of aerosol grease—Pam, I guess). I skipped the Pam, and was pleased that the waffle didn’t stick.

What struck me at this breakfast nook was the waste. Everything was throw-away: the plates (extruded polystyrene), the cups (HDPE), the utensils–everything. And I’m sure that the contents of that waffle batter dispenser goes into the trash as well after it has expired—or is the batter mixed somehow as you draw out your portion? Even the “syrup” (quotes intentional) was in little plastic packets. Welcome to our throw-away society! I realize that in the establishments I frequent back in the Green Mountain State I’m somehow shielded from this level of waste. It was striking.

But that’s not the subject of this blog.

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Day One…and Sore!


Alex at Ocean Beach Park

I rode about seven miles to this official starting point of the Southern Tier route at Ocean Beach Park. Click on image to enlarge.

March 24, 2011. After posting the last blog (and struggling a bit with photos in my hotel room), getting breakfast around-the-corner from the Hotel La Pensione (a great place—and reasonably priced—in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego), and walking a lot farther than I expected to buy some sunscreen, I wheeled my laden bike (with at least 50 pounds of gear and water) to the elevator and down to the first floor. By the time I finished chatting with the proprietor and got on my bike, it was around 10:30 am.

My plan was to start my journey at the Pacific ocean—Ocean Beach Park, which is the western terminus of Adventure Cycling’s Southern Tier bicycle route across the country. I don’t have any expectations of biking all the way across the country, but I wanted to enjoy the first five or six miles of that route, which is on a bicycle trail. So I biked the roughly seven miles there from the hotel—testing out the loaded bike for the first time. Quite the different performance with a lot of weight on the front!

The above photo with me in it was taken by an obliging guy who was running his dog at Dog Beach (Adventure Cycling’s map instructions warn you about dogs here, but I didn’t have any trouble).

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