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Messages - vbgal

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California / Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« on: July 16, 2011, 06:12:30 pm »
You're welcome, Jennifer. Glad to be able to give ACA a little input. One thing to add to this description through Torrance: Three streets converge at the intersection of Engracia and Arlington, at a stop sign just past the churches. The cross traffic on Arlington does not have stop signs (Arlington serves as a feeder to Torrance Blvd.), so proceed with caution, though it's not usually a high-traffic area anyway. A quick change to that would be to go right on Arlington and left on Post (one block down), which will also lead to Cravens and the downtown Torrance area.

Historical note: Just south of this neighborhood, across Carson Street, is the childhood home (2028 Gramercy) of Louis Zamperini, our hometown hero who was the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's book "Unbroken." He was an Olympic athlete who later became a WWII legend. Zamperini no longer lives in the home, but still resides somewhere in the Torrance area.

California / Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« on: July 14, 2011, 11:50:35 pm »
Another quick note: I agree with a previous post that said some parts of Laguna feel as if you have to push hard due to lack of room. Those uphills were not only challenging, but nerve-wracking as well because the only "good" time to be on them is before 7am on the weekend. Cars will slow down grudgingly in  those areas.

Depending on how much time you're taking, you might want to take a rest day in Laguna and attend the Festival of Arts--Pageant of the Masters. It's an incredible art show, and if you've never seen the Pageant of the Masters--well, you've got to see it at least once! It's showing 'til August 31.

California / Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« on: July 14, 2011, 11:39:57 pm »
Just a suggestion for the area going through Torrance, CA:

Torrance Blvd., Western, and 223rd can be a little busy during rush hours, so I'm sharing a quick alternate that I use. I live in Torrance and have cycled to San Diego several times. I also use part of this alternate route to go to work, so in my opinion it's a better option than the one on the ACA map. It doesn't add any mileage or hills, either.

When you leave the South Bay Bike Path and head east on Torrance Blvd., take a right on Maple (just past Madrona, a couple of miles east of the pier) if you want to  enjoy some quiet residential streets. A few blocks down you'll turn left on El Dorado and cross Crenshaw Blvd. at a signal. Continue on El Dorado for one block; turn right on Beech, then left on Sonoma. Take Sonoma past the train tracks, and you'll get to an intersection with a small grassy park. At this point, Sonoma becomes Engracia. Follow Engracia past Nativity Catholic Church (also on your left) and St. Andrew Episcopal Church (on your right).

Take Engracia to Cravens and turn right. This will take you into Downtown Torrance, which has many wonderful choices for dining, including Torrance Bakery (on El Prado Ave.) if you have a craving for delicious sweets.

Take Cravens to Carson St. and go left on Carson St. In my opinion, this is a better option than either Torrance Blvd or 223rd as you head east because there's more room for cyclists. Continue on Carson for about 2 miles; turn right on Main Street in the city of Carson. This will take you straight to 223rd, where you'll turn left to continue with the ACA map. At this point, there's plenty of room for cyclists on 223rd; however, the short stretch from Western to Main Street (if you follow the ACA map) can be a little harrowing because you really have to take the lane to assert yourself. Better to have plenty of room, as this alternate route will do.

Another idea, if you have the time and inclination to put in some more miles and hill work, is to take a slow ride around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is a little further south. It really is a beautiful ride, but can be strenuous if you're loaded with panniers. PV is bicycle-friendly, with bike lanes all around its perimeter, but it'll add significant mileage in order to enjoy.

Good luck with your ride! I'll be heading the opposite way, going up the coast, on the same departure date and heading toward San Francisco. Very possible that we may pass each other at some point.

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