Joey Balboa

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Today, in Ventura County, California,  I felt like Balboa.


Not like Rocky Balboa.


Like Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

Because after pedaling over 3100 miles (889 to Chicago, 1416 to Albuquerque, 861 thus far to California) from our home on the Atlantic Ocean, we (like Vasco Núñez de Balboa in 1513) reached the Pacific Ocean.

(Poor Nancy.  Now, every time she and Jeffrey fly across the continent, Jeffrey will tell her, “Look down.  I biked that!”)

Today we saw much more than the Pacific.

Early on today’s 82 mile journey, we climbed a long steep winding road to reach a mountain pass at over 1200′.


Jeffrey had to work hard to keep our speed above 3 mph. He worried that, in the heat, we wouldn’t reach our destination before dawn.

When we reached the top of the pass, we enjoyed the relief of a cool breeze, and met Mark, a fellow lawyer and avid cyclist.


Mark had knowledge.


Jeffrey had a map.

Mark doesn’t practice immigration law, but he supports our effort to provide counsel to asylum applicants.  He also is kind: he worried that our route might include the dangerous Norwegian Grade, a steep, narrow, busy road with no shoulders.  After talking with Jeffrey, Mark offered to examine our route on his computer.  Mark sent a text an hour later, saying our route was safe.  What a relief!

On our way down the mountain, we spotted Frank, who had pulled off the highway to take our photo.


Frank was late for an appointment and didn’t have time to talk at length.  Jeffrey briefly explained the Ride.  Frank thanked us for our work and promised to follow this blog.

We descended into Simi Valley, where paved bike paths alongside an arroyo/drainage canal (mostly but not entirely dry) took us miles farther west.

As we climbed out of the valley, we passed the Reagan Presidential Library.

The sight reminded us of the Reagan years, the bad and the good. We’ll mention the good.  Reagan’s positive attitude was infectious; we see value in that. And the 1986 “legalization” of about 3 million unauthorized immigrants was a humane and common-sense (if limited) solution to the problem of unauthorized foreign-born members of our national community.

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We enjoyed this view from the highway near the library.

We saw irrigated fields, some huge, some newly planted.

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A few lemons from this grove had rolled onto the highway.  Jeffrey scooped up two.


At Camarillo Springs, Jeffrey stopped for refreshment.  The genial store clerk, who declined to be photographed, said her husband was an asylee from Albania.  The clerk buys the canard that millions of today’s refugees can be housed in camps rather than resettled.  She doesn’t recognize the inadequacy of the U.S. refugee quota (recently reduced to 50,000, which is twice Canada’s target number—but the U.S. is much wealthier, has much more habitable land, and has almost ten times Canada’s population).  She did say, sadly, that her family now is scattered around the world, and that although things are better here economically, they all miss life in Albania. It’s important to remember this.  Refugees are grateful but most would prefer to stay home, if only they could.

Meet Reynold.  He cares for trees.


Reynold wants America to be its good self.

He was so taken with our having pedaled from NYC that he gave Human Rights First a generous donation even before learning what the Ride is about.  Now that he knows, Reynold will be following us online.

So will Manuel and Esperanza.

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L to R:  Fernando, Edgar, Alex.  All are Californians.  All see how immigrants and refugees are being treated.  All support Human Rights First.

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Junior and Paul support the Ride too.

As we neared Cousin Hillary’s house in Carpinteria, fog blew in.

We arrived after sunset but before dark.

We’ve almost run out of West. Tomorrow we will go North.

5 thoughts on “Joey Balboa

  1. Dear J&J,
    I congratulate you on your successful crossing of this vast country on behalf of human rights. It’s a big achievement and I will miss your daily blog when you are done.

    Liked by 1 person

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