Beaumont, CA. Probably the reason Adventure Cycling starts its southern crossing of the US from San Diego is because it’s too complicated getting out of the L.A. area.
I started late from Riverside because I waited until the nearby bike shop on Magnolia Avenue opened at 10. I needed a safety pennant and a Camelbak hydration kit before venturing farther east. I also wanted a local perspective on the best route since the trails had ended and it would be all thoroughfares and highways from here on.
Jimmy Pratt, the manager at Cyclery USA, gave me the lowdown. He put me onto the route he rides when heading up the escarpment east to Beaumont. It would be longer but safer and avoid getting onto the freeway.
With Jimmy’s written directions in my pocket, I was underway at 11:15. Once through Riverside traffic it was hard work heading up a long grade on Alessandro Avenue. An elevation that was sea level a day earlier rose to 1800 feet during the course of a day when the temperature touched 85.
Two hours later past Moreno Valley the urban sprawl was gone. It was high country southern California. I knew I was in the country when a tumbleweed blew across the road and there were horse farms aplenty.