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After a month-long hiatus, I decided to hop back on my bike. I’d ridden the Bike the Bay event (39 miles, door to door), and it reminded me how much I love to bike ride around Point Loma. So, on a Tuesday, we took a 22-mile ride that we fondly refer to as the “Tour de Pointe.”

We left the house at 5:15 p.m. and rode out Catalina Boulevard to the guard station. You used to be able to go to the lighthouse and Cabrillo Monument during the summer, but they changed the hours and now no one can get past the guard after 5 p.m....which kind of stinks for people wanting to ride their bikes down to the tidepools after work or people who have out-of-town guests because this site is a favorite destination for out-of-towners as well as locals.

I asked them why they were closing early now, and they told me it was for security reasons. I think it has more to do with saving money, but I can’t confirm it.

Turning around at the guard station, we stopped at the red light and watched a motorist stop and then proceed to go through the light while it was still red. Some people do own the whole damn road. We turned into the Wooded Area and rode down Silvergate — a lovely street dappled with rosebushes and festooned with BMWs and Mercedes Benzes — and past the gated entrance to Kellogg Street, home to Point Loma glitterati such as Joseph Wambaugh and the WD-40 heir. Flying down Gage at 30+ mph, I felt exhilarated and fortunate to be alive on such a beautiful day in such a beautiful place.

In the village of Point Loma we turned to get to Shelter Island. Going past the Le Rondelet condominiums, I was reminded of their swinging history, where the occupants reportedly had a swell time in the ’60s and ’70s. It seems that the same swingers still live there, only now they have walkers and blue placards. Sadly, their swing has swung.

We passed my old office, still a place I can walk into anytime, any day, and be welcomed with a smile and a crowd of happy-to-see-me faces. We cruised by the Brigantine and the Red Sails, two venerable establishments that have their fair share of regulars (we prefer Red Sails — love the deck).

Pedaling on, we passed Humphrey’s, where we had our wedding-rehearsal dinner. We recently saw Garrison Keillor there (love him, but he really does have a face for radio).

We got to the end of Shelter Island and turned around, past the old Kona Kai where we got married, then back around to Bali Hai, whose views cannot be beat. We repeated this lap and headed out Scott Street to Harbor Drive.

Harbor Drive can be a bit treacherous for a cyclist — lots of airport taxicabs, who do not yield for any man, woman, or child, let alone anything with wheels. I looked to my right and saw the marina, filled with giant floating condos and lots of other watercraft, big and small, and wondered at which end of the happiest-days-of-our-lives spectrum are the owners.

We turned into Harbor Island and passed the Sheraton, the site of many a work party I’ve attended over the years. There was a strong headwind heading north on Harbor Island, so it was a relief when we turned at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, benefactor of one of the best Bloody Marys I have ever had (and there have been many) and began the southward portion of our lap.

Looking to the right, there was a small sailboat relay race going on, consisting of maybe 20 boats. Their pretty white sails stood in stark contrast to the bright, cloudless blue sky. The downtown skyline was sharp and glinting and brilliant, so bright I had to squint my eyes to take it all in. There were many people fishing off the rocks lining the bay — husbands and wives and children and dogs.

We continued down to Island Prime and C Level, and I couldn’t stop thinking of C Level’s amazing garlic fries. Thin, crispy, and fragrant with garlic, I can stuff ten of them in my mouth at once, and I do whenever we go there. We took another lap around Harbor Island and headed back to Harbor Drive for the trip home.

As we passed the airport, I was grateful for its proximity to our home. Some want to move the airport. I think it is just fine where it is, and so do our visitors. We can hear the planes where we live, but just barely. I do feel for those directly in the flight path. I used to live in the flight path, and it can be deafening.

Crossing over Harbor Drive, where Nimitz connects, we had to ride in the center of the road. I looked over my shoulder once, twice, three times and finally shouted “clear” to my husband, and we raced to the center bike lane while cars whizzed by. Up through Rosecrans we went, left onto Locust Street through Tunatown, then past our old condo where we lived when we first got married.

We reached Canon Street and began the slow climb back home. I wanted to turn at Point Loma Avenue, but my husband wanted to go all the way up Canon, so I followed him up, maxing out at 7 mph on the incline. Going past the new Fresh and Easy, I thought about the store being nominated for an “Onion” architectural award for not using a different façade than all the other Fresh and Easys. We are just glad a grocery store is there.

Turning right on Catalina, we barreled home like horses after the turnaround. I was tired, but in that good-exercise way, and as I pulled off my helmet I caught a glimpse of myself in the bedroom mirror. I was grinning from ear to ear.

Sometimes I think I have no memories here because none of my family lives here. When I ride my bike, I am astounded at how many people and places in this 22-mile loop hold memories for me. They are everywhere, and I was lucky to have had the opportunities to create them. I just have to remind myself to remember that.

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Comments

nan shartel Sept. 1, 2010 @ 5:33 p.m.

WOW!!!!!!!

ur a bikewarrior...

good on u kiddo!!!

and what a beautiful area to ride a bike in....all along the bay and such

did HB go 2??

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nan shartel Sept. 1, 2010 @ 5:35 p.m.

we had my Niece Carrie's 50 birthday party at Tom Hamm's breakfast buffet in late March...tasty stuff!!!

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MsGrant Sept. 1, 2010 @ 6:17 p.m.

He did, Nan! What a great evening it was. San Diego needs to work on its bike paths a little, but it is a great city for cyclists scenery-wise. Tom Hamm's is so super-cool old school.

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David Dodd Sept. 1, 2010 @ 8:36 p.m.

Had no idea that Wambaugh lives in Point Loma. By complete coincidence, we attended the same college. It's so interesting to see your northern perspective of Downtown as compared to something I have looked north toward for all of these years.

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MsGrant Sept. 1, 2010 @ 9 p.m.

I forgot to mention in my story that Wambaugh's son Dave was a room-mate of my old fiance from the early '90s. No sh*t. We called him Big Wave Dave. One of the funniest guys I've ever met. There was a waitress at the Old Ox that he had a crush on. We called her "Bug Eyes" because she had these huge bulging eyes. The first time he saw her he said "she may have bug eyes, but she has a righteous toilet". I saw "The Choir Boys" and "The Onion Field" with my mom when I was really young. I have been a fan ever since, and have read most of Joe Wambaugh's books.

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David Dodd Sept. 1, 2010 @ 9:13 p.m.

Bug-eyed gal, shades of Susan Sarandon. I read most of Wambaugh's books, long before they made movies out of them. I never learned that we attended the same college until years later. A hundred bucks says that college never taught him a damned thing about writing. College sucks that way ;)

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MsGrant Sept. 2, 2010 @ 7:10 a.m.

Yes, Susan Sarandon, exactly. If the same college turned out him and you, I think it couldn't have been all bad :) But you are right - my husband says the same thing about college.

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nan shartel Sept. 2, 2010 @ 8:30 a.m.

ditto Grantie and Refried but getting into a writing habit often happens in college...i wrote extemporaneously for several classes i had in College...but none of them were writing classes

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 2, 2010 @ 8:33 a.m.

We turned into the wooded area and rode down Silvergate

At the end of Silvergate it butts up to the base, and if you look right inside there where the fence is you see three old homes, each on a couple of acres, with some of the BEST views in San Diego-this is Navy housing and are where the admirals live. . . . We cruise by The Brigantine and The Red Sails, two venerable establishments ============== The Red Sails has been in business in San Diego for over 70 years-but I don't know if all the years have been at the current location. . . We get to the end of Shelter Island and turn around, past the old Kona Kai, which is now The Shelter Point Resort, ===================

They actually swithed the name BACK to the Kona Kai Resort. Shelter Pointe was a dumb name. . . . then back around to Bali Hai, ================= Best view in San Diego IMO, and the cost, for the experience, is a good value. BUT, are they still remodeling the Bali Hai?????? . . Point Loma is to me what San Diego is all about-the nicest area in the county.

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MsGrant Sept. 2, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

I was going to mention that, nan. One of things school does teach is discipline, which can be one of the hardest things for a writer to master. I have none whatsoever, which is reflected in my dismal attempts.

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MsGrant Sept. 2, 2010 @ 8:47 a.m.

SP, my husband read this last night and that was the first thing he said - they changed the name back to the Kona Kai. Shelter Pointe was a dumb name, I agree. The Bali Hai remodel is done. I looks more like a freshen-up than a remodel. I was there for the Tiki Oasis party a couple weeks ago, and it was packed, so I couldn't really see much difference. I'm going to check it out for dinner soon. And the military ALWAYS gets the best land. Thanks for reading - as you can tell, I am kind of proud to live here :) I take our guests for tours all over the peninsula and then apologize for boring them, but I can't get enough of this place.

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MsGrant Sept. 2, 2010 @ 9:04 a.m.

Real quick - the tall ships come in today at 11:00 and if you can get there, Shelter Island is the perfect place to watch. It is really something. Bring a camera.

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MsGrant Sept. 2, 2010 @ 10:09 a.m.

It's in the OB Rules and Regs. You gotta have a pooch. I love OB too. They have a saying here "Ocean Beach - it's beside the Point" ;)

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Donald Sept. 29, 2010 @ 8:10 p.m.

"It seems that the same swingers still live there, only now they have walkers and blue placards. Sadly, their swing has swung."

LOL! I love the last line, you write very well.

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David Dodd Oct. 5, 2010 @ 6:11 p.m.

Very fine work there, Ms. Grant :) Congrats!

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Founder Oct. 5, 2010 @ 6:17 p.m.

Bicycle On and don't for get to Whee-e-e-e as you go...

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MsGrant Oct. 5, 2010 @ 6:51 p.m.

Thanks, mrbreese - The Rondelet is still a cool place. If I had the money, I'd live out my golden years there!!

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MsGrant Oct. 5, 2010 @ 7 p.m.

Thanks, RFG - your blog was the first one I ever read on this website and what got me interested in trying my hand at entering. Which has turned out to be a lot of fun, not to mention the great friends I have made!!

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antigeekess Oct. 14, 2010 @ 10:56 p.m.

This is just so good, Grantie. I keep eyeing an apartment that's available in Point Loma. Been in to see it twice. Right near Shelter Island and down the street from Point Loma Seafood.

Maybe if it's still available by the time I get a JOB, I'll rent it after all. :)

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