22/Feb Day 2. Santee- Pine Valley
33 Miles. Highest Elevation: 4000FT 

Day 2. We left behind urban cycling for an uphill struggle through the mountains beyond San Diego. It was a baptism of fire. A small five mile stretch of Interstate Highway (motorway) cycling was unavoidable and not something either of us were looking forward to but thankfully the shoulder was wide. The unanticipated glitch: a week long cold snap typically coinciding with the start of our cycle. The result: stable 15-20’c temperatures, replaced with snow! More typically, this was a freak event (according to the guy who’d stopped in our cycle lane to shovel snow into the back of his truck, to take home for his kids). His story was backed up. Pine Valley was a tiny settlement, now full of news crews and they hadn’t come to interview The Flying Fox. Motel was basic and expensive but preferable to camping outside in the icy snow.

(Photo above: Leaving Santee)

(Photo above: Looking at the uphill Interstate section )

Do you have an accent!? (Adopt an enthusiastic American twang.) Is this the American way for asking where you come from? Twice we’d been asked this today. A chatty lady and her daughter were interested in The Flying Fox and then went on to explode L’s ego. He reminded her of Hugh Jackman! L was delighted, until she queried “It is him, the one in the Notting Hill film!?” Pop. L’s ego had burst and he found himself reluctantly letting her know that it was actually Hugh Grant who she was thinking. Personally I found this hilarious. The other occasion: Breakfast, when a lady approached with “You have an accent? I love accents!” and the conversation went from there. Motel breakfasts: not great, basically sugar served up on your choice of a non-environmentally friendly polystyrene bowl or non-environmentally friendly  plastic plate.

(Photo above: Pine Valley)

23/Feb Day 3. Pine Valley - Desert View Tower
36 Miles. We spy: The Mexican border.

An overhead helicopter lifting telegraph poles caused a 10 minute road closure in the mountains. This was a welcome rest and afterwards we started our first prolonged downhill, whizzing behind the ‘pilot car’ through the helicopter road works. Half way through the day we sighted the Mexican border wall. We cycled parallel to the boarder for sometime whilst watching goat farmers over in Mexico herding their stock. Jacumba Hot Springs: A tiny rundown place with quirky characters right on the border, so much so that our phone couldn’t decide if we were in the USA or Mexico. Whilst it was having a fit, a local came over to talk about The Flying Fox and kindly lent us his/ her (didn’t want to ask) phone. We needed to confirm our arrival with a pre arranged free accommodation at the Desert View Tower. What an interesting place that turned out to be!

(Photo above: 'The Wall')

(Photo above: Looking into Mexico!)

(Photo above: Jacumba)

(Photo above: Desert View Tower)

(Photo above: Door to the desert)

Continuing the Southern Tier Route across the USA.