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  • Blake Raney. Thank you Captain.

    Blake Raney. Thank you Captain.

    Where do I start with my brother Blake. Our lives are so different these days, and Blake is super busy with three kids and the family job. I was surprised and super stoked when Blake committed to the last leg of the trip. Ventura, CA to Mexico.

    There were a couple reasons I thought it would be good for Blake to do this section. Our Grandparents and family live in Ventura, Blake knows the roads and its super flat.

         

    We met up in Ventura, and stayed a couple days before setting off again. It was obvious Blake was meant to do this leg, as our Grandfather who was 98 passed away the day before I cycled into town. It was heartbreaking to have missed him by a day. Still, I was glad to look back on 98 years of a great life and to be there with my Grandmother the following few days. They all arranged for the funeral to be after the completion of the bike trip and with that in the back of our minds Blake, Jeff and I set off to finish the Journey with 300 miles of the West Cost ahead of us before we reached Tijuana Mexico.

    I enjoyed cycling with Blake almost more than any other trip we have taken together, and we have gone on some cool trips. He was super patient with my big brother back seat instructions. Soon, I realized I didn’t need to give him so much bossing, he was super competent on the bike and good with his phone map he used for reading directions. iPhone maps worked well down in Southern California because there are no areas without service. I guess they have that going for them, cell service and lots of people.

    Blake was a good sport when it came to all the surf checks. The Ventura waves are some of my favorite and there are a couple of them that I have very fond memories of as a kid. November can be really good with Northwest swells coming down and lighting it all up. However it was horrible for us and so we had to check every spot I knew, in case it magically was four feet bigger a mile down the road….ha, ha.

    A friend in Laguna set us up with a condo overlooking Salt Creek. We surfed Huntington the day before and it was good, little did we know they would be the last waves of the trip. We would get in the water every day, but no more real waves. Blake enjoyed the condo on the cliff, as did we, I was stoked to see him relax.

     

    The cycling was generally pretty easy from Laguna to the border, with only one real hill out of San Diego.

    We spent our last night camping in Cardiff, on the beach sites next to train tracks. It felt hectic and crowded and the furthest thing from nature.

    The next day had a looming weight to it, and we were all aware that real life was going to show up quick. I was excited to see Madrona and Becca, they were flying into San Diego that night. I was sick to my stomach, for some reason, thinking about the trip ending. I tried all day to just think of Becca and Madronas faces.

    We made sure to eat lots of street tacos on our last day. As we approached the boarder it became obvious that some crossings were made on a daily basis through the water drainage aquifers. Those washes had all sorts of goat trails; make shift houses and weird trash piles. It gave it a definite feeling of environment change and I was beginning to feel done with it all.

     

    We hit the border crossing to Tijuana and got off our bikes. No one said much, and it was so hectic with poverty and random street people that we didn’t get noticed as strange bikers with surfboards. A Hispanic gentleman tried to sell me a watch, and I think that it might have been code for Human Kidney…but I sill don’t know. I was ready to see my family, to ride in a car, and sit in a comfortable chair.

    My friend from high school, Vanessa Spencer and her husband Mike drove down from San Diego with two big SUV looking cars, and we loaded them up with bikes and boards. It was a surreal feeling. To work so hard, and be done, I was tripping out in my own head the whole drive back to San Diego. Just sitting in a car, watching the freeway fly by at 70 mph, with AC pumping, we covered the 40 miles back to Diego in less than an hour, which took us all day to pedal. I think someone even suggested Starbucks…but I wasn’t quite ready for that yet…better ease back into this life we all live.

    Thanks for everything Blake. I look forward to the next one.