So, since my delicate constitution can't handle the race back every week (and because my long-suffering wife is not about to tolerate me doing rides on both Saturday and Sunday mornings), I generally use Saturdays to get in a ride of 60 miles or more. I treat the first twenty-three miles around the bay as my warm-up, followed by a more challenging 40 or so after I pit-stop (yeah, I just used pit-stop as a verb, you know what to do) at Caffe Italia for some nourishment, espresso and conversation with my buddy Chuck (read HERE to learn more about Chuck and Caffe Italia), regulars Errol and Rosemary, and Chuck's legions of admirers.
Love the breakfast panini with egg, cheese, and prosciutto here (it's no "Breakfast Pizza", but it's pretty good), and they brew freshly ground Lavazza espresso -- nice --
Once I'm fueled, I bid adieu to my friends and head north on India toward the wilds of North County. The ride I'll describe here actually takes me only as far as Torrey Pines, but when I'm starting to build mileage to get ready for the big summer trek, I'll push beyond to do 80 (Encinitas) to 100 (Oceanside pier) miles rather than my usual 60. India is actually pretty calm on Saturday mornings, and SOOO much more pleasant than Pacific Highway. I have always been amazed that Pacific Highway is designated as a major bike route. Sure, it sort of has a bike lane (in most parts), but the lane is in complete disrepair, forcing riders to edge even closer to the traffic whizzing by at 70+ mph. India is much more calm, taking me along the east side of the airport (with a great view of the constant comings and goings of jet-liners).
After a quick climb through the tunnel that separates Little Italy from Middletown, I crest (crest as a verb!) the hill and zip down toward the restaurant row at the end of India where it intersects Washington. No time to stop this early in the ride, but I still glance longingly at Saffron and Lucha Libre after I bear left right before El Indio and cross Washington onto San Diego Avenue. Almost immediately on the right after climbing the short hill from Washington is one of the best little secrets in San Diego:
Dos Brasas has the best carne asada breakfast burrito on the planet. There I said it - now I can't take it back. I know this is a bold statement considering that we live in breakfast burrito heaven, but I dare any of you to find a better steak and egg breakfast burrito. Some say this classic taco stand has the best Mexican food in San Diego (an even more bold statement), but my certified expertise is limited to breakfast burritos, fish tacos, and pizza, so I'll just have to take their word for it. On weekends when I don't spy my friends waiting at Caffe Italia, I pedal the extra few miles here before pit-stopping (did it again, yo!). Most weekends, though, I pedal past, but not without some Pavlovian salivation triggered by the aroma of tortilla and grilling meat wafting into the cool morning air . . .
Less than a mile from Dos Brasas, I crest (again!) this hill (past the former Thomas Jefferson Law School), and head down the other side toward Old Town. Bear left onto Congress and head right toward the Old Town Transit Center to avoid all the clueless tourists looking for parking near Old Town Mexican Cafe on San Diego Ave. Congress "T's" (used T as a verb!) with Taylor, where I hang a left and then make a quick right onto the calm part of Pacific Highway. Perry's (awful) Breakfast Cafe is on the left and the world's most unfortunately located motel fast approaches on the right:
Yes, the "EZ 8" Motel sits directly underneath the freeway. I always pedal extra fast as I pass the entrance due to all the derelicts who always seem to be gathered there. I also snicker to myself a little imagining the poor fools who thought they booked an incredible bargain on an Old Town motel only to find themselves in this dump (not about to find this photo on the EZ 8 website). Here's my favorite TripAdvisor post on the EZ 8:
"Mir fallen keine passenden Worte für dieses Motel ein... es ist ein grauenhafter Ort - hier halten sich augenscheinlich nur gescheiterte Existenzen und Besucher mit kriminellen Absichten auf. Wir sind kurz nach dem Check In "geflohen" aus Angst um unsere Gesundheit und Sicherheit! Im Übrigen liegt es DIREKT unter zwei Freeways, neben einer Eisenbahnstrecke, das Lärmaufkommen kann man sich also vorstellen"