As there is much to catch up on, I’ll re-iterate that this journey is that. It’s not an accomplishment to be chalked up, but rather, a series of experiences that comprise a story. It unfolds, or as is sometimes the case, I manipulate it and “unfold” it.
The San Luis Obispo hostel was very good for my needs. I got a bottom bunk, and a secure place to park my bike. The folks at the hostel were friendly, and there was a Virginian there! As a matter of fact, he lives about 50 miles from John and I. Tom is from the Pantops area of Charlottesville. He is a very friendly guy, and we have some strong faith similarities. When I began to plan my route for the following day, Tom volunteered to accompany me for the first 5-10 miles. I enjoyed having someone else to navigate, and the company. We chatted about our christian faith, and our choices and churches. Before I knew it, it was time to part. I cycled on through Pismo beach to Grover beach, and right by an Amtrak station. The entire time, I’ve been thinking how much I really didn’t want to ride such a long day. This was a great solution! I U-turned to the Amtrak station, and bought a ticket on the scenic train to Galeto, CA. That would put me on the otherside of this long section of inland cycling, and the otherside of the AFB or property, which I needed to cycle around, but wasn’t on the coast.
On this weekend, there were festivals and festivities at all the small towns along the coast. Several towns were celebrating the train and Grover Beach had an AmpSurf event, in which amputee surfers were being recognized and were doing a surfing event. While waiting for the train, I explored Grover beach and had a very good Thai lunch.
When the train arrived, it took longer than usual to unload, with so many young families doing short trips to take part in the celebration of the train. As a result, the train employees just grabbed the bike, and swung it up into the cargo car, and told me to quickly get on one of the passenger cars. I did as I was told, because I didn’t want to get separated from the bike. Once I sat down and thought about it, I realized that not only had they swung the bike up with the panniers on, the handlebar bag was still on it. I had 2 hours to kill, and didn’t have my book, my ipod, my computer, or money to buy a drink. At first, I thought this was very inconvenient, but realized that any of those things would just provide a distraction from the scenery. Though I wasn’t passing along the coast, I didn’t want to miss the landscape I was passing through. It was a very lovely and peaceful ride.
I disembarked at Goleta and immediately found a very nice bike path heading south toward where I thought Gaviota state park was. Unfortunately, I had already passed it and Refugio, my back-up park for the night. They were actually more than 15 miles back up the road behind me. Ahead of me was Santa Barbara. Of course, I cycled forward. Santa Barbara was OK, but I couldn’t find a hotel room, a motel room, or a campground. The hostel in SB gets very bad ratings, so I felt stuck, because by the time I realized and had confirmed that every room in SB was booked because of all the events in the area it was really, really dark and a Sat. night, and traffic was heavy. Thirteen miles of cycling on Hwy 1 would put me at Carpenteria State park, but that seemed very dangerous. Someone recommended going to the bus station, because they should be open all night, but they had closed recently! I decided that the only safe thing to do would be to take the money I would have spent on a room, pick up another train and ride to the first stop that I could find a hotel room in (looking for rooms on the comp.) Once I found a room, I began looking for a train, or city bus. UHHHH, none of them would be running until the morning. Drat and double drat. That plan just went down the drain. What in the world was I going to do? Spend the night on the streets? Suddenly an inspiration struck (God inspired, of course), I could call a cab and get a ride to Carp (the local knickname for Carpenteria Park) and camp there. So, with a whopping bill of $65, I arrived near Carp, and rode my bike the last block, because if you arrive in a vehicle, you can’t camp at the hiker/biker site and the rest of the campground is full! Taaaaa Daaaaa! it worked.
In the morning, I met the only other biker in the site, Ute, a german from Switzerland. We had breakfast together and then cycled 15 miles together, to Emma Wood state park. She had some arrangements to make to get her bike back to San Jose, and I had miles to ride to get to Carillo state park for the evening.
I wish wifi had been available sooner, as much has been forgotten, but at Carillo, there were only 2 of us in the H/B site again. Didn’t meet the other biker, and left early to cycle on to LA. After 50 miles, I hopped a city bus to escape worsening rush hour traffic. When I got off the 3rd bus, I was only 2.5 miles from Shirley, my host’s, house. Shirley is the sister-in-law of a friend in Richmond. Bud, my friend, contacted 2 family members out here and made requests for hospitality on my behalf.
This morning, I cycled out from Shirley’s with my clothes and self clean, home-made chocolate chip cookies in my bag, home-made bacon and eggs settling into my tummy and a new friend. Shirley had made a delicious cheese souffle the evening before. This morning, while we had breakfast, we had a devotion time together and though our blessing was brief, it was excellent to pray with a friend:)
I cycled out from Shirley’s around 8:30 or 9, hoping to visit a local wetland, then hit the local consignment shop for an outfit or two to wear in San Diego. The traffic was really too heavy at that time of morning for me to feel really comfy cycling down that road, so I just went over to Starbucks and used the wifi while I waited for the consignment shop to open. Just before 10, I headed over, only to find out that they didn’t open until “11-ish”! ONWARD!
My ride was only going to be 30 miles, so no hurries;) I cycled to Capistrano Beach, where I was greeted by Bud’s niece, Karen. She and her family embraced me fully and I was blessed with one of Karen’s delicious meals, and a family dinner table. What a blessing. Mom, Dad and all 3 kids. It was like being home. We chatted about our interests, and ate the delicious cookies that Shirley had made. They were even better because I could share them. After the kids went to bed, I wandered the house admiring Karen’s beautiful photography, and she and Rick and I schmoozed for a while before heading to our respective quarters. What a good week.
Decisions that were made:
1. Spending all my additional days in San Diego, rather than LA. I anticipate being back in LA in March, so can research what I want to see before then.
2. Sending the bike home from San Diego, so I don’t have to trek it back to LA.
3. will use public transportation in San Diego
4. Got room reserved the night before flight out of LA
5. got rooms reserved in SD
6. Plan on seeing the zoo, the USS midway, Coronado beach, Old town San Diego, and still need to eat a truck taco.
Will post pics later.
Go make your own breeze and remember: if you’re not having fun; you’re in the wrong gear.
As I’ve ridden what I could and walked what I must, there has been more and more riding and less and less walking.