If the extremely delayed creation of this final blog post doesn’t tell you how exciting, busy, and fulfilling our arrival to San Diego was, I’m not sure what will.
Our last week of riding was nothing but exciting. Each day brought us through crazier, busier cities of southern California. We had traded the ever expansive wilderness for the ever so overwhelming civilization. Once filled with big rocks, sticks, and terrifyingly beautiful cliff sides - the bike lanes were now full of glass, tourists, and luxury cars with their doors wide open. The only constant was trying to swerve around it all.
Being that campsites were now few to none, we had our first experiences using Warm Showers (the bikers equivalent of couch surfing). Through it, we met some incredibly generous, and inspiring characters. Our final week stops included Pismo Beach, Refugio Campground, Santa Barbara, Leo Cabrillo State Beach, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, San Clemente and Carlsbad.
Leaving Huntington Beach on a powerfully windy day, the beach side boardwalk was probably best avoided. But we couldn’t find ourselves straying away from the views of Catalina Island, the home we share and miss so very much. Checking the radar for the following days, it was clear we would be finishing our journey in these forceful winds and some torrential downpours. Although "endless summer" Southern California was the last place we expected to get caught in a storm, riding through it was rather exciting and brought us lots of laughter.
On our final night, we sheltered from the rain in Carlsbad, with our New York friend Andrew, and slept on the covered patio of a WS host, Jodi, who was currently in Hawaii. She would be arriving home at midnight but generously offered her patio, happy to meet us in the morning. She also offered to take us to breakfast with her and a few cycling girlfriends that morning.
Little did we know we’d spend our final morning at breakfast with Denise Mueller, who holds the world speed record on a road bike. She hit 189 mph through the Bonneville Salt Flats!!! It was an honor getting to chat with her and hear her very humble stories about pre-ride hypnotherapy to lower her fear of risk.
Kate and I felt a little unworthy of meeting a world record holder considering we are still very new to the bike scene. Luckily Andrew, who had heard of Denise in his many years of biking, was with us and also got to experience the excitement. Nonetheless chatting with other women in the bike community was very empowering.
With rain was on and off, winds blowing from all directions, and the end in sight, we hit the road for a final ride. Some great friends from Catalina Island jumped on their bikes and joined the stormy excitement. Now riding down the busy, stormy streets there were 6 of us, the largest crew we’d ever rode with.
Along the coastal highway, through fancy neighborhoods on secret bike trails, down empty, stormy boardwalks, and before we knew it we were pulling into Ocean Beach, San Diego. More Catalina Island friends braved the weather and gathered (masked and distanced) to shower us in love and champagne. We only cried a little ;)
Ocean Beach was where Cameron lived and loved, a place that welcomed him after his long journey and held him in its vortex until his life was taken. It only felt right to have this be the official end point of a long ride inspired by him.
The day after arriving we made our way to the beloved Wild Willow Farm with Brenda, DJ, and Angel, 3 of Cameron’s best friends. We were warmly welcomed by Sierra and Gregg who we’d been in touch with for many months of fundraising. After a full tour of the farm, and some much needed time petting goats, they set us up for some incredibly fresh pizza making in the farms brick oven.
Our hands came together to plant a cherry tree in honor of our missed friend. We created art on rocks and stakes that will forever surround the base of the tree. It stands in an orchard with many other happy healthy fruit trees, and will soon have a plaque that reads:
In loving memory of
Cameron “CamBob” Loren
June 4, 1995 - June 4, 2020
A steward of humanity and the earth, who was gentle and caring towards all creatures. He lived life courageously and joyously, and always wanted to keep people fed.
We officially hit our $10,000 goal to help feed families through Wild Willow’s Farm to Families program. We truly can’t thank you all enough. We talked every single day about how grateful we were to have the support and love of so many friends and families. I can’t write enough words to express our genuine gratitude. Thank you all so much for following along, sharing our story, cheering us on, and donating.
May Cameron's spirit live on in each of us as we continue to eat veggies, compost our scraps, plant gardens, and ride our bicycles